Monday, July 31, 2006

The boy who always smiles

Today was good-bye lunch with a good pal of mine, D. My first few encounters with D had been on the bus, (Seems like my social life revolves around the bus ;) ) and the first thing that struck to me about him was how he was always smiling. Later on, we often crossed paths in the building, and I found out that our labs were in the same building. I assumed he was an undergrad kid doing part-time research in one of the labs. We always chatted up when we met on the bus or in the building, and he was always upbeat, always making me laugh. One fine day, I was having a conversation with Dr. L, a professor, who mentioned in passing "Oh, a graduate student in my lab D is working on that". D? While picking up my dropped jaw from the floor, I asked her again, gasping. D is a graduate student?? Yeah, she said. Why was I so surprised?

Graduate students are not supposed to be happy and smiling all the time! Graduate students have to look worried about experiments, papers, and other shit every now and then. They have to have dark circles under their eyes from all those night outs in the lab. They cannot go about being all cheerful all the time! In the umpteen encounters I had with D, I never, ever, saw him down. Bumping into him or talking to him used to uplift me, his positivety was contagious. When I discovered that D was applying some similar techniques that I used, we began meeting often, to discuss ideas and science. Over time we became quite good friends. Like me, D was a foreign student in the U.S. His visa restrictions were even worse, he could never go home to visit his folks in the past 5 years after he got here, nor were his parents able to visit him. He had to have been through similar woes and downs that most grad students go through, especially the foreign ones. Nevertheless, D had a smile, and a very genuine, warm one at that, plastered to his face. He was always friendly, discussed science and life with the same gusto and always had a kind word for you. He was not excessively loud either. Just a simple, smiling guy. :) D recently turned Dr. D. In his defense seminar, his advisor gave him a glowing introduction- she said she wished she could be like him and smile through all her worries. His seminar showed that he had done a massive amount of work. He evidently had his share of night-outs, disappointments, and lows. But as L described him, he never let anything bring him down, constantly maintained high spirits through everything, and produced some wonderful work in his stint here.

How he can be like that remains a huge mystery to me. He is going on to an awesome position and I'm very happy for him. Over the past year or so, we exchanged several ideas and approaches and he was very generous in acknowledging my help during his defense seminar. I may have taught him a thing or two about proteins, but he taught me way much more- about science, and about life. Hats off to D!


PSV said...

Long way to go Mr D!
Keep that smile intact :-)

forward my good wishes to Mr D

satish said...

It's I!

satish said...


what dya think about my smile.. and teeth??

The_Girl_From_Ipanema said...

will have to say thanks on his behalf. am not telling him about my blog! ;)

ah. well- please accept psv's wishes right here then. :) i wrote a whole post on your smile. now what do you want? ;)

oye, bas kar. you're scaring me now. ;)

satish said...

:D)) (its like :)) + :D)

i had never wished this desperately for more teeth!!


Bindu said...

Very nice to know, contrary to my paranoia, it is possible to meet nice people in the bus :)

Born a Libran said...

Nicely written and well felt... Dr. D has a long way to go...

qsg said...

Oh, I could do with a smile right now! :(

The Smiling Girl said...

Now that was a cool guy u spoke about. Must've been through a lot to have that non-stop smile on him!

All the best to him!

Nirwa said...

Everyone has his/her share of ups and down, you may choose to be depressed about them and in turn depress everyone around you, or you see and spread positivity!!

Even I have so many troubles - I've not seen a Drunk Dharamendra hamming in movies since long.. It's been 9 years since last naag/naagin movie was released!

But look at me! I am happy! :D

Perspective Inc. said...

Good luck Dr D and smile never know wht it might inspire next..

sunshine said...

need to meet D... have forgotten what my teeth look like..

greensatya said...

Good Luck to Dr D aka Satish. It is a great quality to always wear a smile on the face. Good for colleagues as well to keep getting positive vibes.

M (tread softly upon) said...

I know what you mean about smiling through Grad school. It is hard. Esp when you hit the low on the rollercoaster ride. But the reward is worth every bit of the pain. I just loved it when my advisor stood up and gave a glowing introduction when I gave my dissertation seminar. It makes your entire grad life so worth it. So keep smiling and hang in there.
And thanks for stopping by my blog!

confused said...


Can't you talk about anything except PhD's and science and research and such stuff? Yaar, kuch mere level ka bhi the pleasure of passing high school...

and btw, did you pick up your jaw? :P

Rebellion said...

That was a great post Lajjo jee :P

Hats off to such people :)
Positive attitude is all you need to be like them and currently am into a 'Practice & Preach' mode of positive attitude towards life :D

Glad you learnt quite much from him :)

Take care,

Sayesha said...

Pple like D are an inspiration to all of us! :D (<-- that was a D!)

The_Girl_From_Ipanema said...

if you didn't get your wisdom teeth yet, i suggest not to wish like that.

hi bindu!
yeah, it's not only nosy parkers that you run into on the bus.

thanks..:) guys like D are a rare species.

aww girl! here you go! a smile and a BEEG HUG! rather belated. and you chose to come here at 3 am after all that hard work? we are eternally indebted.
now you will have to answer kushtans on the post. :)

yes indeed he is something.

you look very happy indeed, in that pic.

:-) damn now i feel bad that i can't tell D how many people are wishing him well like this. :)

but you ARE sunshine! :-) hope you refresh your memory soon, dentally speaking.

yes, it is a great quality. and it makes everyone around upbeat too. thanks for your wishes for him :)

thanks. :) so far, am hanging, in. even if by a very thin thread, sometimes. :)

kuch mere level ka bhi likho..
yaar mushkil hoga woh. waise my advisor always says that one must be able to explain their work to a high school student. may be i can try it on you. kya?

and btw, did you pick up your jaw?
arre! i knew i was forgetting something.......

NEW PIC! yes, i picked up some of his high-spiritedness, but i'm really nowhere close to achieving the attitude he had.

inspiration, indeed. :D

phatichar said...

Great post! Like the relaxed style of writing..keep 'em coming girl. And...thanx for droppin' by. Well, I don't blog as much these days, owing to the 'cliched' workpressure, but after reading about Dr. D here, looks like I might have to tear a few pages outta his book :)

Take care now...

Rishit Jain said...

Heart-warming :)

qsg said...

aaying...where did the meebo thingy go???

The_Girl_From_Ipanema said...

arre it is stupid only. i didn't like. i removed.

The_Girl_From_Ipanema said...

hi phatichar!
you should write more. or come here more. your name makes me laugh always. :)

yes. you are definitely man-of-few-words types. ;)

Prashanth said...

Wish I could be like that!