What'd'ya expect from a blogname like ours :D, we leave it up2 you :p

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

"But let's not have an apopletic fit just cos we're where the Harappans once were", he continued. Priyanka amused him. She seemed more involved with the Harappan era than her own. She probably wouldn't know who George Bush was but ask her about John Marshall and she wouldn't be able to stop talking. "Oh, stop pretending to be cool, Gaurav", she teased now, "I'll still like you if you drop your macho blase attitude". Gaurav smiled, " That's a weight off my mind. Now I can join in your cavorting enthusiasm, I suppose". "Guys, let's start unpacking", it was Arundathi. "The Big P says we can start a preliminary exploration today if we unpack quickly". The Big P, as they not-so-affectinately called their Professor was a big man, with an even bigger moustache that made him look like a walrus. He hired young Indian archeologists on pay that wouldn't be enough to sustain anything other than..well, a young Indian archeologist. And he would stop at nothing to get results. In spite of that Priyanka respected him, because archeology was his passion and the crimes he commited at her sanctum were pardonable. "Priyanka, Look", yelled Arundathi.

Melito walked around in a rectangle. Thats what she did when she was nervous or scared. Something just didnt seem right. She heard shouts and screams coming from just outside the citadel. She peeped outside through her window. Many people were running around...scared and helpless. Puzzled.....she peeped out further. A face rushed past her window...wait! she knew that face. She rushed outside...searching....searching for THAT face. 'Something smells funny' was the last thought she had. ANd the face dissapeared not to be seen until later...much much later.
Priyanka stepped out of the bus. She smelled the fresh air. She was REALLY excited. She was standing on the VERY same spot where the Harrapan civilization used to be. She had heard a LOT about it. It was said that the bodies of the people were found while doing different actions......like a plague had struck or something.....now she and her 'crew' were going to investigate. "Hiya! Priyanka" a cheery voice called behind her. It was Gaurav......the newest member of their team. Priyanka had grown to like and think of him as more of a friend than a colleague. "EXCITED??" was all Priyanka could say. "You bet" said Gaurav...coolly.

A thought.....

...if you woke up tomorrow and found that all your beliefs were going to turn into reality would you still stand by each and every one of them?

Update: Giving in to the overwhelming and deafening cries from the public to add to this post, lemme include that I believe that if I had to choose the beliefs that I'd really want to become real, I'd believe in God, and the basic goodness of human beings, and good intentions, and I'd also believe that politicians had the welfare of the nation as their paramount interest and I'd believe that men actually CAN be monogamous, and that size doesn't matter (from any angle) and that looking good does not overshadow everything else and war is unnecessary and terrorism can be solved and well, what the heck might as well go the distance, pollution doesn't exist, there is no such thing as global warming, or poverty, or injustice..Amen

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Licentious Artists and Suchlike

I thought this one was particularly noteworthy :)

There was a sculptor named Phidious
Whose manners in art were invidious
He carved Aphrodite
Without any nightie
It startled the ultra fastidious

Thursday, November 23, 2006


Read these lines on India Uncut :

All the world is taking sides
It don’t worry me
Cause in my empire life is sweet
Just ask any bum you meet
Life may be a one way street
But it don’t worry me

Globalisation? Nuclear weapons? Racism? Corruption? Pollution? Population? Poverty? Rape? Everyone has an opinion on everything it seems these days. Heck, I have an opinion on everything, it seems. And in the middle of frenetic arguments I sometimes want to quote Nietzche, "Its hard enough remembering all my opinions without having to remember my reasons for them". There's the media, there's people you meet, websites you surf, and suddenly there's all this information falling at our feet and it seems like you have no choice but to have an opinion. Lunch time conversations that used to revolve around which passing lady had prettier shoes now somehow or the other veers around to election-fixing, or some similar, oftentimes obscure conversation. The world is full of issues. How did we, as a species manage to populate the world with so many issues? When I was growing up, my dad used to tell me every problem has a solution. So never despair, he would say. Now I feel he should have told me every solution has a problem, and where there is no hope there can be no despair. I'm not a cynic, or a pessimist, or any other depressing label that we attach to people who sound despondent about the state of life on earth. That's why I loved the words. When it seems like there's no direction in which you can turn without encountering a problem, perhaps its time to throw the towel in, cos Life may be a one way street, But it can't worry me (at least it can't if I don't let it).

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Calling a Spade An Instrument Used for Removing Soil (and other material) from the Floor (and Other Surfaces)

I was thinking about the discussion spawned by Sunshine's post on Sardar-jis. It is, I think an interesting focal point of something that affects all of us - racism. A lot of people I meet (I'm talking about foreigners and by that I mean people foreign to India) are careful to be politically correct around me. They will not make jokes about the Indian accent, or curry or Indian sadhus or anything else that they might secretly think is hilarious. And in what can only be considered beautifully ironic fashion it is THIS that makes me feel more alienated in a crowd of foreigners rather than anything else. Racism after all, basically refers to any discrimination based on race. So everytime some one censors what they were saying simply because I'm among those present, or everytime a group of people quickly stop talking when I join them and hastily wipe the smirks off their face, it is THEN that I feel discriminated against. Racism, to me is not about having curses yelled at me, or insults heaped on my head, but the simple everyday acts of people around me that emphasize the fact that I don't belong SIMPLY because I was born in a country different from this one. When people make jokes about Indians, I would rather laugh WITH them (especially when there is some truth or humor behind the jokes), or be given a chance to state my point of view than be laughed AT behind my back.

Disclaimer: This is not about violent racism, or extreme racists, or the other kinds that you see on the news, who are rabid and irrational. This is the sort of racism that "normal", educated people who you could meet at work practice without thinking twice about it.

Friday, November 17, 2006

This Too Shall Pass

My sister and I came up with this together. I don't remember when or how but I remember where (memory is such a strange thing). I have never forgotten it. Never. There have been times when its been the only thing that got me through. I would keep saying it in my head over and over. Just those four words. And I would know that everything would be ok...Eventually...cos This Too Shall Pass. I know most people have words like these that somehow feel right, that make sense, in a way you believe is unique to yourself (but actually is not, as most things that you think are unique to yourself are not *sigh*). Oscar Wilde said Life is too Important to be taken Seriously. I read that first when I was still in school and I thought it was the most amazing thing I'd ever heard. I read it again a couple of days ago and this time around I confess myself baffled. Why is life too important to be taken seriously? Does he say that because generally when you take things seriously you tend to botch them up because of nervousness or fear or stress, in other words the general problems associated with caring about things too much and taking them seriously. But if that's what he meant what a curious way of putting it. Or did he mean its too important to be taken Too Seriously. Which would change the sentence dramatically and ironically make it less dramatic. I would think that since this life's the only thing we've got we should make the most of it, we SHOULD take it seriously, shouldn't we? We should laugh loudly and long when we're happy, cry hysterically and from the bottom of our hearts when they're broken, fume and fret about the things that make us angry, feel every thing that happens because without feeling what is life? In the words of the Goo Goo Dolls, you bleed just to know you're alive. Don't you? So, Mr. Wilde, I would like to politely disagree with your venerable opinion and suggest that Life is too Important to Not be taken Seriously. How, you wonder, will she connect her opening bit with the second bit. Was she just rambling, you think. But, mi amigos, watch as I masterfully sew it all together. My point in all of this is simple, life sucks a lot of the time, it seems meaningless, purposeless, and we try to hold on to the words of the people who came before us (like Mr. Wilde) who seemed to have a handle on all of this; but sometimes you need to come up with your own words. Because words are like shoes, One Size Doesn't Fit All. The right ones have to be sought out, tried out for size, polished by repeated use and then cherished. Words like that aren't easy to find, and once found they aren't easy to lose. And these are mine (and my sister's if she remembers them) : This Too Shall Pass.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

There's just NOTHING

Like doing something when you outta be doing something else. That apart. I distinctly remember a time when deadlines seemed like fun (Good Lord! What was I thinking????). My friends and I would keep putting something off until the evening before the deadline. And then we would spend hours on the phone with each other, chalking out EXACTLY how we would all tackle the said deadline, thereby cutting the time we had to tackle the deadline in half. We would then be left with something like 8 hours until the minute (the actual minute!) we'd have to hand in the assignment, to take the test or exam. After 2 hours of working steadily at the deadline we would either be completely panicked and would have to call each other up just to calm down, or else we would be exhausted by all the unaccustomed hard work and we'd have to call each other up to recharge our spirits (see a pattern here?). But the point of it was that it was never Drop Dead Chills Down My Spine Scary. Ah, those were the days. When I didn't know that not keeping up with deadlines would not Bother the World at Large (wow THREE negatives in one sentence! A new record I believe), and I thought that teachers and other such Persons in Power would come running up to me if I forgot a deadline and give me an extension, when I didn't know that even if I called one of the Deadline Monsters (read people who set deadlines) and pleaded with them for another week, weeping tears of helplessness and frustration, the DM could Not Care Less. And what sucks is that now I KNOW. Isn't growing up depressing?

Friday, November 10, 2006


Y'know how sometimes to get somewhere you have to go through something? Like you're at A, you see B and you want B. But in order to get to B you first have to do C,D and E (using alphabets and such like to provide insight into the workings of a scientific brain ;). And C,D and E suck! And take forever. But everytime you want to stop and say you've had enough and sulk, you look up and see B. And you're like, "Dang it! I CAN'T quit! Cos I really want B". I hate those things. I really do. But what I really, REALLY hate is when you struggle through C, D and E and reach B and then find out that B was not at ALL what you expected but you can't go back cos you've burnt all your bridges behind you. Now THAT sucks. Its beyond hatred. Its life (yeah, right! If you were a bitter cynic who smoked cigars and drank whisky straight maybe!!!). I was at A, and I'm halfway through D at the moment. And I'm so worried that B won't be B when I get to it.

OK, that was the insightful post for the day and hopefully the last for a while cos my industrious *sniggering at own sarcasm* team members are back from where they were and ready to start posting.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Stupid Rant

Gosh, what is it about some people that makes them just judge others based on whatever's going on in their own screwed up brains! Whatever happened to not jumping to a conclusion until you've listened to the other person's side? How can someone be so opinionated and prejudiced as to believe that they're right? How DARE people judge you when they dont know the first thing about you or what you've been through and where you're coming from??? Seriously, how dare they? Freaking a** h*****. I'm kinda really mad and Sunshine style I might remove this post later but for now it feels good to just write this down and put it out there.
In the beginning there was the Thing. The Thing found a very pretty round pebble and decided that its life work was to find a place to fit this pretty round pebble perfectly in to. The Thing looked around and saw a big block of stone in which there was a tiny square hole. "Ooooh", thought the Thing, "that's a perfect place for my pretty round pebble". The Thing then began to try and fit the pebble in the hole. Of course we in out omnipresent omniscient knowledge can see that that round pebble is NOT going to fit into the hole, but the Thing couldn't see that. "Hmm", the Thing thought, "Maybe if I just try to make this hole a littttle bigger, and this pebble a litttle smaller and more square, maybe then it'll fit". And it got to work on it. In the fullness of time, because this is the Nature of all Things, the Thing gave rise to another Little Thing. The Little Thing observed the Thing at work (for the Thing was still working at its life's mission and was destined to keep working on it till the end of Time or till it died, whichever came first) and realised that this must be its purpose in life too. So Little Thing went forth and found a shiny triangular pebble. It looked around for a place to put it. Little Thing could find no place big enough or of the right shape. Little Thing searched day and night to find a place. Finally Little Thing realised that there was no place here where the pebble would fit, so Little Thing decided to go out in the world and find a place for its little pebble. So gathering its belongings (which consisted of the pretty, shiny pebble), Little Thing wandered out into the world, constantly looking for holes to fit the pebble in. In the fullerness of time, Little Thing produced a Littlest Thing. Littlest Thing went with Little Thing wandering around the world trying to find a place for the pebble. Finally one day, Littlest Thing bursting with curiosity asked Little Thing why they were doing this. "Well, Littlest Thing," said Little Thing wisely, "when I first came to this world I realised that the most important thing to do was find a place to fit this pretty pebble into. So that is what I'm trying to do." Littlest Thing thought about this for a while, and then asked Little Thing, "How did you know its the most important thing in life?". Little Thing then told her the story of the Thing, and how the Thing had spent its whole life trying to fit its pebble into a hole that it could never fit into. "There's a moral to the story", continued the Little Thing, "and its that you shouldn't try to fit a round pebble into a square hole. Which is why I have gone around the world looking for a triangular hole for my pebble". "Oh" said Littlest Thing thoughtfully, "but then what if there is no triangular hole in the world? And the pebble wasn't meant to be put in a hole in the first place?". Of course, Little Thing did NOT miraculously realize that what Littlest Thing was saying made sense, and that it was wiser to just look at all the beautiful pebbles and stones, and leaves, and shells without trying to put them into a hole. But Littlest Thing did, and this, fortunately, is the story of Littlest Thing.

P.S No prizes for guessing which one of the Things I ran into today!

The Chocolate-Bandit Strikes Again

I bought the large bar today with almonds in it *sigh*. I told myself it wasfor the 'Emergency Stash'. Yeah, I have an emergency stash of chocolates,and yeah, its STRICTLY for emergencies (and being bored out of your mind DOES qualify as an emergency). There are times (other than when you're bored out of your mind) when there are chocolate emergencies. When the guy your girlfriend's been making sheep's eyes at for at least a month now, turns out to be gay or married or (horrors!) both, and imagine if you didnt have an emergency stash within grasp! You could hand out Kleenexes until the cows come home, or pat her back comfortingly till your hand gets sore, but its not going to help in the least bit! You'd be tearing your hair out wondering what to do next. But me? I just whip out my emergency stash and say "Awww honey, I'm so sorry. Hershey's?" and there would still be sniffles, and Kleenexes and plenty of back patting but everyone knows that the Crisis is Past. Nothing seems like the end of the world after you have some chocolate inside you. Course Mr. Ben and Mr. Jerry (two gentlemen I adore) would protest and tell you that they can help much more than any ordinary chocolate. And while we sympathise and agree with them, all of us know that ice cream is just not as convenient! You can't stick a box of ice cream in your bag, or under your pillows, or in the top draw of your lab bench where foodstuff is prohibited (and of COURSE I don't have ANY chocolate stashed there! The idea!! *sniff*). You can't whip it out in an emergency. No, its just not practical. So chocolate it has to be. And while in a true emergency any sort would do, ideally one would prefer Hershey's (not that one is picky but simply cos one has good taste and one knows that Hershey Rules the World). Which is why I bought it. The extra-large one. But on my way back down the corridor to my lab I...umm..er...got mugged. Yeah!! This guy just said "Your chocolate or your life"!! and grabbed it, GRABBED it I tell you from my hands and ran away. This masked guy! Some chocolate-bandit, no doubt! So many of them around these days! Its disgusting!! What was that you asked me? Is that chocolate on my chin?? Well, Excuse Me! No, it is NOT! Not that it's ANY of your Business!!! *shaking head in disgust while surreptitiously wiping chin with Kimwipes* The cheek of it!!!

Monday, November 06, 2006

The Quest

If any student comes to me and says he wants to be useful to mankind and go into research to alleviate human suffering, I advise him to go into charity instead. Research wants real egotists who seek their own pleasure and satisfaction, but find it in solving the puzzles of nature.
Albert Szent-Györgi (1893-1986) U. S. biochemist.

I was talking to one of my friends (a conservationalist) and she during our conversation said casually, "Well, it feels good at the end of the day that I'm doing something to save the world". Pshaw! We are not saving the world, we're not saving animals, we're not saving humanity, we're not saving anything. Maybe we're temporarily slowing some process down. Holding things back for a bit. That's about it. Science has never been about humanity. Science has masqueraded under the guise of serving humanity cos otherwise humanity won't accept it. And science needs humanity for all the vulgar gold it can provide. Cynical? Realistic, I prefer to think. The truth of the matter is that few scientists think about humanity. Sure, if in the course of my work I find something that I can sell to humans, yayyy! good for everyone involved and more money in the coffers. If I find out ten years down the line that the medicine I thought was going to save lives actually ended up causing more puzzling and deeper problems, oops! back to the drawing board with a sheepish smile. That's why I decided right at the beginning to take the coward's way out. I decided to work on yeast models. Nothing I do can directly affect human beings or any sort of living beings (yeast cells are essentially non living) for atleast three quarters of a century or so, by which time chances are we'd have nuked or smoked or poisoned ourselves to death anyway!

Why this obscure rant about scientists? Cos I'm fed up with people asking me what I do and then on hearing that I'm a scientist, smiling benignly at me (the visual equivalent of a pat on the head) and saying something inane like "Trying to find a cure for cancer?". No, I'm NOT trying to find a cure for cancer, or Down Syndrome, or Alzheimers or any other disease you might have heard of. I don't want to find a cure to any disease because lately I've had a lot of questions about the soundness of finding cures for diseases. I'm battling my own demons, and no I don't want to be the Deliverer of Mankind, thank you very much. I'm working on an obscure stretch of DNA, trying to find answers to even more obscure questions cos I find it fulfilling and intellectually stimulating and FUN. End of Story.

Friday, November 03, 2006

The Age of Vanished Normalcy

That's what Martin Amis calls the epoch in which we find ourselves. I plagarised from him in the most barefaced manner, cos this, I think is a term well worth plagarising. But at the same time, we have to admit that it isn't unique to our decade, or even our century. I'm sure when the Mongols invaded the Arab world, mullahs passed each other on the street and muttered, "Never did we think this situation would come to pass, brother. Never will life return to normal". And when Nehru declared our freedom, I'm sure joyful Indians, hugged their neighbours and said, "Never will we be oppressed again in the fashion of the Brits. The old ways of living are gone". And I'm even more certain that when the Brits finally realised that Imperialism was definitely passe, old men tottering around with walking canes and puffing pipes harkened to the Good Old Days and told each other, "Never again will be see days like those. Our days of Glory are over".

I think the beauty of it all is that Never is Such A Long Time, isn't it? We humans use it casually and think of it in human terms, but really its quite an inhuman word. Life always returns to normal, its just that normal keeps changing (and not vanishing, really). Acceptance of God was once the norm. It was a given. We didn't question it. And then along came Men who Asked Questions. And sometimes those men can be so tiresome, can't they? But they made us think, and now a lot of us accept that there might be a remote possibility that there really isn't a god.

Dawkins has written a new book, The God Delusion. He makes Atheism sound as rabid and totalitarian as Medevial Christianity. The point of atheism is that there is always room for doubt, always room for questions. Therein lies its charm. In that and its acceptance of most points of view.

What Dawkins forgets (in all his animated rhetoric) is that belief and faith will always be necessary. It is all fine for me to sit here, with my college education, and my comfortable life, and pontificate on the presence or absence of God. But when you hardly make enough to feed your family, when you struggle to get through every day, and some mornings the only thing that keeps you going is the thought of a better world which will one day be yours, who am I or indeed, who is Dawkins to take that away?

I love the way Larkin says it,

"It pleases me to stand in silence here;
A serious house on serious earth it is,
In whose blent air all our compulsions meet,
Are recognised, and robed as destinies.
And that much never can be obsolete,
Since someone will forever be surprising
A hunger in himself to be more serious,
And gravitating with it to this ground,
Which, he once heard, was proper to grow wise in,
If only that so many dead lie round".

He was talking about churches, and the reason why they will never be obsolete. But it might just as well be applied to religion and belief, no?


I woke up this morning on the right side of the bed. The sun was shining, birds were chirping, I felt like I was in a Disney movie. I got to work with a song on my lips (literally! I have an embarrassing habit of humming when I'm happy), and I made *drum rolls* "The Discovery". A cure for cancer no less. My boss couldn't believe her ears or her eyes when I showed her my data. She was so thrilled she hugged me!! This was a bit awkward since I was taken by surprise and didnt have the time to free my arms from her death hold on me to hug her back. We bought a bottle of champagne (using the lab's grant money, it has to be used for SOMETHING!) and a happy time was had by all. A Bacchalanian feast for the soul. My boss was even talking in terms of the Nobel Prize (which I thought was a little over the top but I didn't want to dampen any spirits so I went along with it). This is probably the happiest day of my life and as soon as I woke up this morning I just KNEW it would be The Day.

OK seriously, I DID wake up on the right side of the bed. The sun WAS shining though I'm not sure about the birds chirping. I DID hum all day (prompting this guy who works with me to ask me why I was so happy, which I frankly found insulting, do we need a REASON to be happy nowadays?). I wonder what it is about some days that you just feel like there's magic in the air. When you feel like nothing bad can happen, and miraculously even when something bad DOES happen it just melts into nothingness and doesn't stress you out in the least bit. Wonder what it is. I bet if I found out, bottled it and sold it, I'd be a multi millionaire before you could say Jack Spratt!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

To The Man Wearing A Red Tie

Sir, I hesitate to put myself forward and address you in this way. On the other hand, my psychotic Other Self insists that I make a point regarding your behaviour this morning. I understand that at 7 in the morning it is hard for a lot of people to "Rise and Shine". I understand that this world has become one that hustles and bustles, and that we, since we live on it, also have to hustle and bustle. I understand that you probably have a bitchy wife at home who sends you out without a cup of coffee in the morning and a boss who sits on his ass all day but refuses to let you rest your feet for one second. I understand that you haven't taken a decent vacation in months, no, make that years. I understand that you have seven kids and at the rate at which college fees increase every year you fear that you might never be able to educate them. I understand that stress levels are high, everyone is either sick, wasting away or wishing they were sick or wasting away. I understand all this, but still I ask you, sir, was it polite on your part to not only honk at me but also to flip me the finger (and we all know which finger we're talking about here) simply because I happened to be driving in your vicinity this morning? I admit I stopped though there was no red light or Stop sign. But sir, you must agree that even to make your life smoother and easier I cannot be expected to run over little old ladies walking their dogs at 7 in the morning and crossing the road as if it belonged to them. There is a line that we each must draw for ourselves, and there Mr. Red-Tie Man, is mine. I will not do it!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Things To Do

1. Get car regd
2. Pay nrg
3. Cook dinner (try the n grn pnr recipe that J told me?)
4. Call STR (Imp: Re: the gazoo)
5. Check TdL paper for Ku k/o ptype

I love lists. I love making them. There's something about making a list that is so empowering. The basic functionality of the list consists of the fact that

1. It can be done anywhere, it doesn't need a specific place or time. If inspiration strikes me while I'm watching a movie in the theatre, I simply whip out my pen torch (or just squint in the light reflected from the screen) and my much used itty bitty pencil stub (or lip gloss or eye liner) and I can dash down my points (like remember to wash clothes tomorrow) on the back of the ticket stub.
2. Everything seems more professional when it has a number in front of it. Like try telling somone "You Suck". Not so impressive, right? But if you said "1. You Suck", people would stand up and take notice. Besides they'd want to know what 2 is.
3. It fools everyone into thinking I'm extremely organised. So when my boss tells me to make sure I do something the next day, I simply say, "Yup, let me add that to my list", and this sets her little heart at rest (besides making her think that I (a) have a list (b) have so many things to do that I need a list (c) write down every word she says).
4. You need just 2 points to make a "respectable" list.

Besides all of that, they make me feel like things are under control. I finish writing my list, and then I think NOW, now!! the world is OK. I might be in the midst of a tornado, the roof of my house might be flying away at this very moment, lightning and thunder might be crashing over my head, but Everything is Fine, because I Have Made My List.

Of course I'll lose the scrap of paper on which I've made the list (I have no illusions about that!), and even if I did manage to keep it safe I would not understand a WORD of it, if I read it an hour later (no illusions there either). But the intrinsic value of the list making is the essential here. If the military would listen to me, they'd issue standard 3x7 Scraps of Paper and Little Stubs of HB Pencils to all their troops. Never mind the guns and grenades. A man armed with the ability to make a list is a man armed to the teeth.

The cover of the Listmaker's Guide to the Galaxy would most definitely have on it in big bold letters, DON'T PANIC, MAKE A LIST.