Friday, July 29, 2005

A Moment in Time...

The week, it seems, has passed by in a flash. It was supposed to be the toughest week of my graduate career, an abstract to submit to the American society for Cell Biology (ASCB), a lab presentation and numerous experiments were waiting for me at the beginning of the week. On Monday, I was thinking to myself that if I came out of this one unscathed, I will survive anything. But as days of the week rolled by, I realized that all the weekends I had spent in the lab before this really did not go waste. I managed to finish scripting my abstract, successfully put together a slick presentation and finished my pending experiments. I feel like I have achieved so much in just one week. Just three weeks ago, things were looking bleak for me. For two months of trying hard to get in foreign DNA into the cell type I was working with, I had absolutely no success. There is nothing worse than not getting results in the laboratory and to compound it I would forget the simplest of things I needed to do. I was an epitome of disorganization. My desk in the lab would be filled with piles of paper scattered all over and I would go crazy trying to comprehend where I had just put away something. My boss was losing faith in my research skills; my interactions with her were limited to discussing my failures. The ASCB abstract deadline was fast approaching. I had three weeks left for the deadline, and she was wondering if I would make it to the meetings this time. My other lab mates each had a nicely written abstract and were waving it in front of me to compound matters. I nearly broke down that day; I was contemplating ending my career in research there and then. Then the moment suddenly seized me, I cannot exactly describe what it was, it was a moment that completely changed things around for me, an idea that had not occurred to me for the last 3 months suddenly popped up. I took an hour to put together a master plan and asked my boss for an appointment. She seemed to have assumed that the meeting was to discuss another failed experiment. I walked into her room and put the paper with my ideas scribbled in the worst handwriting of all time on her table. She had one long hard look at it and said “I knew this is what you had to do all along, I was just waiting for you to come up with it on your own”. I had this feeling of being in a sinking boat “she knew it but she didn’t tell me?” I started to implement my “plan” immediately. From that moment success was the buzz word. Experiment after experiment yielded good results and my hypothesis was looking good. When I was writing my abstract finally this week, I felt like I might just break down thinking about the times I went through to get to that stage. I understood the real meaning of my boss’s words, she wanted me to come up with the idea, be self reliant and I am very grateful for having someone like that as my mentor. It has been three months since I started blogging. I started to blog basically to forget about my problems in the lab. I could focus on other aspects of my life when I blogged, I no longer had to just think about life in the lab. It helped me take life easy during tough times. The DC bloggers meet was also a blessing in disguise, I met so many wonderful people there and I could relax my mind and not worry about the things I was going through. I cannot forget the people who have been there for me always, the only people I can call “family” in DC-Ganesh and his wife. Ganesh is infact my friends cousin and I met him when she had visited DC two years ago. We have become the best of friends since then. I cannot remember one weekend when Ganesh and his wife have not invited me to their place. His wife would cook delicious food and also pack some food for me. I have always wondered if I deserved such special treatment from them. I always keep pulling Ganesh’s legs but he never complains, he remains one of my best friends. Thank you Ganesh, I couldn’t think of a better opportunity to thank you. This has been a very successful week and I will sleep peacefully tonight having unloaded all my thoughts.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

She leaves me breathless...

picture courtesy
The clock just struck 12
I tiptoed out of my room Into hers...
There she lay like an aphrodite
waiting for my arrival
I swooped her into my arms
and placed a kiss on her lips,
She swayed and gasped
I couldn't stop kissing,
I saw her crimson frame in the darkness
Her face radiated a brilliant blue
I saw her eyes closed, arms outstretched
A picture of beauty
as she lay on the bed
I took her lips into mine,
My neurons fired a salvo...
I gasped in relief,
Fell into her arms,
We left our past in the passion,
Will our lives get salvation?

Friday, July 22, 2005

The Terrorist

picture courtesy:
Disclaimer: This story is purely my imagination and any resemblance to any individual living or dead is sheer coincidence.
He opened his eyes and was welcomed by the warm rays of the early morning sun pouring into his room through his Venetian blinds. His anxiety grew as he looked at his watch; it was 9:00AM. He was late for work, again. He washed his face and scrambled around his bathroom looking for the mouthwash. After what seemed an eternity he finally found it. He finished his ablutions and finally got ready for work. A copy of the Koran was waiting for him in the hallway. He knelt down to his knees and prayed hard to Allah. It was his first prayer of the day; he had to do it five times each day. He remembered his mother telling him as a child the importance of seeking god’s blessings before he left home.
He had to reach central London. His mother would be waiting for him; she had something important to give him. He went down the subway and waited anxiously for the train. He did not notice the whirring sound of the closed circuit cameras. They were taking pictures of him. The train approached and he was soon traveling at god speed to central London. I will be there by 9:45 he thought. Allah! It’s been so long since I saw mother. She must be looking out for me. 9:45AM: a thunderous blast shook the tube station, shards of glass and debris hit him hard, he was thrown yards away by the impact of explosion, before he breathed his last, he remembered his mothers last words, “mein tumhare liye intezaar karoongi beta” (I will wait for you).
The news paper next day carried his face on the first page and below his picture was the caption “suspected suicide bomber…”

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Random thoughts...

picture courtesy

She was asleep...
It was a breathtaking sight,
The silhouette of beauty,
It turned and spoke,
A distant buzz swept in,
The speech subsided,
It was listening...
The winds picked up speed,
It started to pour heavily,
Water covered the land,
The seas ruled over mountains,
Extinction ruled the earth.
The buzzing stopped,
There was silence in the air,
I could hear her breathe,
A marvel of science,
She survived!
She was asleep...

Saturday, July 16, 2005


an·o·nym·i·ty ( P ) Pronunciation Key (n-nm-t) n. pl. an·o·nym·i·ties The quality or state of being unknown or unacknowledged.
I was thinking about a subject to write about and recent conversations with friends came to my mind immediately. They all involved comments from anonymous people and how people could get away with what they said just because they were anonymous. In reality, we all live anonymous lives. There are certain aspects of our life that are totally anonymous to people who are very close to us. But, I am not going to analyze anonymity of that sort or anonymity on the internet. The purpose of this post is to try and look at anonymity with a very different perspective, something people have not written about in the past(or I hope). Anonymity is a boon as well as a curse for many people across this planet. So what if someone is anonymous? What are the advantages/disadvantages?
To answer these questions, I will have to go back in time to beginning of mans reign on earth. When man evolved, there were many reasons for him to be anonymous; predators, environmental factors and the fear of meeting other humans were reasons enough.
A human being even though termed a social animal is probably the most individualistic of all creatures on earth. Like Richard Dawkins writes in his book “THE SELFISH GENE”, altruistic individuals have a slim chance for survival. His argument is based on the following, imagine a population of altruistic individuals with just one selfish individual. The selfish individual thrives on the altruistic ones and enhances his chances of survival, while they put their lives on line. In this case the selfish individual is totally anonymous; the others do not recognize him. This is nature’s irony according to Richard Dawkins, but can this in principle apply to truly altruistic humans?
Human beings on the other hand have the power to convert selfish individuals to altruistic ones (there are many examples of this phenomenon, the conversion rate might be poor but the resolve to altruistic thoughts increases exponentially with each converted individual).What is the connection between altruism, selfishness and anonymity?
Anonymity is an altruistic behavior, where the quality of state of being is unknown. In a truly altruistic society, everyone is anonymous; there is no place for acknowledgement of an individual’s effort.
The curiosity for the anonymous has always lead human beings to great inventions and discoveries. It is this quest to unveil the mysteries of earth, which has lead man to destroy earth. Anonymity for the earth has been a curse, and for Man a boon in disguise. Man’s social behavior is also very heavily influenced by his curiosity for the unknown. All of what Man has invented including God, science and religion are all influenced by his curiosity for the unknown. I hope I have confused everyone enough. After all, like my friend says, if you cannot convince, at least confuse:)
p.s. I welcome anonymous, controversial comments for this post:P

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Christina Rosenthal

This is my effort to simplify Archer's greatest short story...
Christina Rosenthal: A short story from Jeffrey Archer’s ‘TWIST IN THE TALE’
She came into his life like a breeze, taunted him, teased him and showed him heaven. He was in bliss, shocked at the unmeasured love she showered upon him. Everything just seemed right, he proposed to her, she said she wanted to marry him and all of a sudden one fine day she left him. Her parents forced her to leave him; she married her parent’s choice while she bore his kid in her womb. He was devastated, sank into the deepest realms of depression. He worked harder and harder, got every award, every scholarship and earned every accolade that life could offer him. Yet, he was so lonely and dismal, for her love haunted him. He would sleep with every girl he desired, but they were just objects of lust, love wasn’t an emotion he could associate with these objects of desire. He felt an abyss building inside him, his loneliness compounded by his social status.
He saw her again, many years later, crossing the streets, his son besides her walking into a cosmetic store. Life took another turn at him; she left her husband to come back to him. He got her back but lost his son to her former husband. Love bloomed for him again; she was finally there for him, right next to him, where she always belonged. His happiness hit the roof as she became pregnant again. On the day of her pregnancy, he paced anxiously to and fro at the hospital. The doctor opened the door and informed him that Christina was dead and that the child was still born and that she had been warned about consequences of her pregnancy. Lost in desperation, with the love of his life dead, he killed himself...

Monday, July 11, 2005


The little boy in this picture is an orphan...
I was reading through Swahilya's recent post and I was moved into writing something about this very serious issue. Whenever I hear an orphan story, I feel that urge to do my bit to the society. I cannot believe that there are so many orphans on planet earth when there are so many people that can take care of them. We even name receptors in biology as orphans if there are no recognizable ligands that activate them. This could have happened to any of us, but we are all so incredibly lucky and can do something to help this cause.
How can we help as human beings? I have two aunts in Salem who have dedicated their entire lives to social service. They run a school for the poor children in our neighborhood. They teach them about the basics of living life and civics. I also teach them for a few days whenever I visit India. Interacting with those kids was a very special thing for me. The love and devotion that they show is just mind blowing. I was teaching them about various diseases and how they are transmitted and about prophylaxis just before the day I came back to the US, and one little boy stood up and asked me “Anna neenga ponapporam edhellam engalukku yaar solli thara pora?” (brother, who is going to teach us all this after you leave?). I just hung my head in shame after that; I did not know what to reply to that kid. I still do not know the answer. My heart is all set to go home and teach these poor children, but my mind is hell bent on staying here and finishing my education. Is it possible that I can stay here and do something about what is going on in India? Do I leave the past behind me and forget about these kids? Do I only listen to my mind and pursue a career in academics?
How many times have I thought about such things? How many times have I written about it? This is just the beginning…
I just felt like sharing this poem I wrote quite a while back. I felt that it reflected the mood I am in right now.
Eternal Slumber
I was searching
I couldnt find it
I ventured deeper inside
It was all darkness
I searched in vain
It seemed to be there
It dissappeared
I pondered deeper
My tunnel of darkness lit up
like a beacon of hope
It lingered in my heart
Is this my answer?
Time alone will tell
For at the end of the tunnel
There lies eternal darkness
Surrounded by the mysteries of the world
The question still lingers,
While I immerse in eternal slumber...

Sunday, July 10, 2005


As most of you visiting this doggone blog know, we had the DC indibloggers meet yesterday. It was three hours of clean, pure fun. I haven’t had such a time since my college days. Since, both thennavan and Arvind have described most of what happened yesterday, I will introduce you to the DC indiblogger gang that met yesterday.


THENNAVAN: The oldest blogger in the meet and our gang leader. He came in a clean white dhoti and kurta. He wanted to be the odd one out and seemed to be very proud of his Indian heritage. There is a lot one can learn from this man. He is a very simple, charming and disciplined individual. He reminded me a lot of my elder brother. He has been in the United States for 11 years now (correct me if I am wrong, brother) and is still very much retains his Indian ness. In my conversation with him yesterday, I learned that he never has the Monday morning blues anymore (I wish I were him) and that he enjoys his job a lot (They apparently let him blog from work!!) Thennavan is the diplomatic types, he is about 6 ft tall but very soft natured. He is also an incredibly spiritual human, in peace with his surroundings. It seemed to me that I could deprive him of all his wealth and he would probably have shrugged it off and carried on with life. Extremely cool guy!! He seemed to be so much at ease with all of us yesterday. Thank you for the great time brother!

GANESH or KK NAGAR KIRUKKAN: Ganesh was the only married man in the meet. He has also been my friend for the last three years. Ganesh is a very charming guy. He exudes confidence in everything he does. He involves himself with whatever he does. He is extremely talented, and loves music. I have not met another person who is so readily approachable. He is the type of guy you can just walk up to and shake hands with. He believes in Sanathana Dharma and is a spiritually inclined guy (If you don’t know the meaning ask ganesh, he loves explaining).He was mostly the centre of our leg pulling activities yesterday and he so very graciously took all of it in his stride. Hats off to you bro!!! You are my best friend in DC and I will never forget the times we have had together. I thank you for all the great times I have had in DC, and for the unforgettable memories of fall 2002.

SENTHIL: The first time I ever met this guy I was afraid that he would shoot me, coz I had commented some nasty things about malayali movies in his blog. Luckily for me Senthil turned out to be a gentleman. He is an imposing figure, over 6 feet tall and with a small goatee French beard. Senthil always seems to be lost in thought. Once you get him into an argument it is difficult to get out of it without conceding to his point. He is a very strong character and lives his life outside the box (Senthil’s favorite word). He is the walking encyclopedia of the rare breed of Indian cinema. In the numerous conversations I have had with him, he came across as a very cerebral individual. If you ever want to listen to old Mallu songs (especially sung by K.J.J) ask Senthil for his choice. He will hit you with the best songs available. He also seems to be a very good judge of character. Overall, an incredibly nice guy!

RAMAN: I don’t know how old he is but from now on I guess its guys who are below their 30’s. Raman is a bespectacled, tall, cerebral looking person. He doesn’t speak a lot, but when he does he can take you by surprise with his in depth analysis of a situation. I haven’t had many conversations with him to write too much about him but he seems to be the quiet types. Reading his recent blogs make me feel that he is a very rational and a very technically savvy individual. Ram exudes a quiet confidence and his presence in the meet yesterday was a blessing in disguise (coz me and Arvind were making a lot of noise). Was very nice meeting you yesterday dude!! Hope to know more about you.

SIVA: If someone was bubbly and full of energy yesterday it has to be him. He came to the meet with Raman and Eshwar and immediately made his presence felt with his bubbly nature. I visited his blog for the first time today and he seems to be lost in his past. He writes pretty well and has a very subtle sense of humor (pst.. pst… that babe in your post she’s awesome dude!!).

ESHWAR: This guy loves to write about politics and books. I read his recent posts and wondered why I had not visited his site earlier. A very quiet guy by nature and very friendly. He was one of the few quiet ones yesterday along with Ram. I guess he was having fun watching it all happen. I seriously wish I would get to know him more. His blogs have now made me wonder if I met the “REAL” Eshwar yesterday.

ARVIND: Finally, introducing the “I DON’T CARE ABOUT THE WORLD” Arvind. He is the kind of guy who would just get out and do his thing an incredibly stubborn guy:P. He was the biggest social animal of us all yesterday. He has a sound knowledge of music and is not afraid of flaunting it (he should seriously think about a career in singing… what a voice!! I am sure ganesh and senthil would agree:p , just kidding dude!). Like Senthil told me yesterday, Arvind was probably an example of diplomacy and he is a very multi dimensional personality. He has terrific control over his vices for his age and I should say that I was very impressed when I first met him.

I am glad that I met all these guys yesterday. Don’t you guys reading it feel like you missed meeting these great people?
Gotta gear up for the week ahead…damnit!!! Tomorrow is Monday!!!!

Monday, July 04, 2005

HOLY COW!! its Roger “Fede(fuh)rer” and Venus “Will(to win)iams”

This weekend I witnessed two incredibly talented players scale the Mount Everest of Tennis for the third time. On Saturday it was Venus who fought the odds to win against Lindsey Davenport. Davenport was the number one seed at Wimbledon and had a 14-12 career record against Venus. Venus had all the odds to beat. She was returning from an injury and had to prove that she could compete in grand slam events again. She was relegated to number 14 in the Wimbledon rankings despite having won the championships twice. In addition to all this she had a tough draw which included a face off with the defending champion Maria Sharapova. To come out and win the championships this year was a tall order for Venus and she somehow beat the odds this Saturday and made it happen all over again. The Venus vs. Davenport match was the longest women’s singles match ever played in the history of Wimbledon. The match lasted 2 hrs and 35 mins beating the existing record of 2 hrs and 28 mins. It was a war of attrition between two of contemporary tennis’s finest. Every point was fought with vigor by both players. There was little to choose between these two, but in the end Venus’s superior physical fitness paid off. I felt bad for Davenport for this might be the last ever Wimbledon finals she might feature in ( she won in 1999) and considering that she hurt her lower back again during the finals it is very doubtful if she will play at this level ever again.
Yesterdays match on the other hand was one of the most lopsided finals I have seen at Wimbledon. Roger Federer destroyed Andy Roddick in one of the best displays of tennis I have ever seen. McEnroe calls Federer the most complete player he has ever seen play tennis. Federer had his complete array of shots on display on Sunday, he volleyed, hit passing shots with his forehand and backhand and served better than Roddick. Federer hit a total of 49 winners compared to Roddick’s paltry 19.He hit almost equal number of forehand and backhand winners. He played from the baseline as well as the net. He did not leave any part of the court uncovered. If Roddick served well, Federer served better, if Roddick hits his forehands hard, Federers forehand replies stung harder, if Roddick volleyed, Federer answered with passing shots cross court or down the lines. Federer was simply unstoppable. Federer might not equal Sampras’s achievement, but he is a more complete player than Sampras ever was. Federer’s all court game has earned him the tag of Mr. Perfect. He has no weaknesses. He has the world record of winning 21 consecutive finals. Federer also varies his playing style every year. In 2003 he won it from the net, in 2004 he stayed back and played from the baseline this year he mixed it up. This leaves his rivals wondering about what his strategy is going to be in the future. He has lost only 3 matches this year and won 58 (won 96% of his matches).
Is he the best ever?I strongly feel that he is but arguements are welcome.