Friday, December 29, 2006


This was then.

Now, seven long months later..we found the space for apologies. Unlikely to be ever forgotten, but definitely forgiven. Along with that came warm hugs and the ability to laugh it off. Just like the old times. Good intent can never go that wrong, I guess. :-)

Happy New Year to everyone here!

Sunday, December 24, 2006

My New Year Resolutions

1. Practise Yoga 4 times a week

2. Eat healthy

3. Set attainable goals for each day. And complete them before I go to bed.

[If I follow 1 through 3, I will magically have a complete thesis by March. Yay!]

4. Pick up the phone and call all those people I should call

5. Start decluttering in preparation for the big move

6. Don't waste money

7. Don't waste time

8. Don't look back, except to help me in moving forth.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Annoying question of the season

So it's the end of the semester, and no more the right time to ask the "when are you going to graduate" question. Instead, get this.

Anybody&Everybody: So, are you going somewhere for the break?
Me: No, I'm going to graduate.

Then lots of outpouring of sympathy comes. The awws and the ooohs and the "you poor thing you work too hard!". Anyone working hard does it out of choice or necessity. Neither warrants any sympathy. Yes I'm going to be working over the break. Yeah, the town is going to be deserted and depressing. It's cold. Everyone else is with family and friends. But really, I made this choice. And I have no issues with it. Nothing will make me more depressed than not graduating in May. So seriously, this, is nothing. Don't go feeling sorry for me. I am cool with it. And I am sure you did it when you were in this place once, or will do it soon when you come to your final year. So save it. Happy Holidays.

P.S: I wish I could have this on a T-shirt. :)

Friday, December 22, 2006

On abrupt goodbyes

I hate goodbyes. And abrupt goodbyes even more. It's like you take something for granted, haven't even thought about how you're going to deal with it's impending disappearance, and suddenly, it's snatched away! D was not supposed to leave until early next year. Some last minute glitch, and she came in telling us yesterday how today would be her last working day. D is one of the most livliest characters in the lab. I will miss our walks home together, the jokes, the gossip, the ranting. The portuguese lessons, her affection and her general infectious enthusiasm in life. A computer scientist with a curiosity for biology, it was always refreshing to talk science with her. You would think , with all the friends that I've had leave over the past year or so, I'd be a pro at the whole goodbye thing. Looks like I learnt nothing. I still do draama. Everyone else feels uneasy. Then I laugh it off. Now people are uneasy and confused. What fun. :-) We had a hurriedly arranged farewell gift organised for her and took her to lunch today. We parted ways with her trademark warm hug and a kiss. Thankfully, she's not leaving town yet, so we will just have to catch up over beer and coffee. But of course it won't be the same as her walking into lab everyday, screaming "Tee Gee Eff Eye, how are your gorgeous parasites doing?". :-)
I'll miss ya D! :(

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Cool / Uncool

It is so cool when a student from four years back remembers you, remembers your name, and tells his friend "This is Tee gee eff eye.. my Biology T.A. and thanks to her, I changed from being a business major to a biology major".


It is so not cool if you've bumped into him at a bar, and just moments earlier, you were telling your friend that you thought he was cute and were wondering why he looked familiar.

It is even worse when he then proceeds to introduce his friend to you his "boyfriend". And sees you visibly shocked and says "surprised?? hahahahha".

Bleddy gaydar. Two drinks and it stops functioning!!!

This blog is boring!

Mujhe change chahiye!


one of the many escape mechanisms to avoid the 6-letter word: thesis.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Some things just should not be mixed

cuban and alt. rock are two of them. Independently, two of my favourite kinds of music, and some of my favourite bands are on that cover. But together? Terrible! I would give money to charity, but not to that kind of really bad fusion.

Ah! Love!

A in A (Apologies in advance) for those readers who cannot stomach "lovely" posts.

So R, the undergrad in our lab is in luuuuurve. And oh, so hopelessly so! She met V at a party and the rest is all history. And it's been rather cute to see her all giddy and crazy in love. She smiles to herself, she checks email every few minutes, she calls us to read "isn't that cuuuuute" parts of V's emails and regales us with stories about how nice he is. I am very happy for her, V seems like decent guy too. We all enjoy indulging her, teasing her till she blushes beetroot red, all that fun stuff. But then, as they say, history repeats itself and then it gets painful. There is only so much "ooh-ing" and "Aah-ing" I can do. My friends from my school and college years will vouch for that- I was never the best confidante for those who fell head-over-heels in love. So after the initial humdrum, I want to get back to work, and not have to to run to her computer for every "Aww so cute" email. I also don't want to have to sit and listen through a long prelude to an even longer story who's punch line is also "Aww so cute". Now we all know how annoying the sound of "Aww" is and I won't go into details there. So much so that now when she comes in every morning, beaming with the look of an "update" written on her face, I am terrorized. Afraid of being roped into sitting through a long story where I will have to feign wonderment, awe, and aww. Did I mention that R also happens to be one of those people that talks in a real low voice, and really really slowly? It's ultimate torture: Through pauses and giggles and bashful smiles, R explains every detail, every nuance of how boy impressed girl with his latest antic. Which was complimenting her on her hair. There are words for that, in English language. They go "he complimented me on my hair". Now how hard is that? Apparently, very. So while I politely indulge, my mind is going through escape strategies I should use next time.

But R is such a kid and I wouldn't want to be mean to her. Not to mention the fear of coming across as that bitter, single bitch who cannot even share another's happiness! How heartless of me, indeed! {sigh} I am finally beginning to see the downside of being single- you have no cover in situations like these. What sad irony that is!

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Bumper sticker of the week

Nice Hummer. Sorry about your penis.


I hate

effing rules. Crappy non-negotiable bullshit that sprouts out of nowhere and ruins your happiness. I don't even care any more.

(< /rant>)

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Pure coincidence?

They went from falling in love to falling out of it. What remained was a mess of broken hearts, longing, remorse and sadness. She took it harder than him. Then came hate, anger, bitterness. She worked really hard at the "getting over" bit, and eventually got there. He was less devastated, he saw it coming. Then came indifference. All of this culminated into casual and polite concern, and nothing more. From love to plain civility, the range of emotions successfully traversed half-way around the earth as they lived their respective lives on the opposite sides of the globe. By way of polite enquiry, they find out that they might end up meeting again, to live in that same city they once met in. Pure coincidence? The romantic in her wants to ascribe more to it.
The cynic in her is going to make sure it never happens.

post-doc search update

I didn't get the job I wanted. I might get the job I don't want, but I don't want it. The search goes on.
If anyone has any bad news for me, now is a good time. Bring it on! :-)

I shouldn't be overly surprised though, the prof had hinted that he would prefer someone who could start earlier, so I missed that bus. There will be more, so I'm not overly concerned. Just miffed.

Monday, December 11, 2006

R.I.P Hobbes, continued

No, this is not a rant against @#@ windoze.

The first signs that Hobbes was sick came after a broken hinge which caused problems with the display. One fine day, just 2 days after I got back from Boston, the display stopped working entirely. I figured it was the hinge that I didn't fix, I was warned that this would happen. So my plan in mind was to get an external monitor and use Hobbes as a desktop. Later, I heard this funny "krr krr" noise from his heart. That just didn't sound good. I took him to my good pal V who is also a very good doctor of Macs, and he finally broke the bad news to me. The krr krr is the sound of a crashed hard drive. And I have NO back ups of my stuff on Hobbes. Hobbes was primarily my personal machine, any work I did I connected remotely to my work computer. So it never occured to me to back up my stuff on Hobbes. In "retrospect", I realise that if I had saved work stuff on it, I would be more conscious about backing it up. Now I am just coming to terms with the loss of 5 years of memories in the form of .jpegs. Photos of my friends, my life here, my travels, all those good times, EVERYTHING. That I will never get back. That is the first thing that strikes to me. As days go by, I'm going to realise other things on there that I miss terribly. I am kicking myself for constantly procrastinating uploading my pics online. Atleast I would have them there.

Of course, I am lucky this didn't happen during my interviews. Thats the only sliver of brightness I can see right now.

Attempting to restore this data is going to be very expensive, and even then doesn't guarantee anything. So it's really a closed case. The only way I can deal with this is to stop thinking about it.


In other news, remember this? I got my statement for that period and a $20 charge for roaming since I used my phone a good bit even though I was abroad (And this is after discounted rates). So I called Cingular and reminded them about the whole story, and asked if they would take that charge off as a courtesy. They did it, no questions asked! I think this compensates for some of the angst and emotional trauma I was subject to, with my voicemail being thrown open to all and sundry. ;)

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

A tale of three cities

III: Boston

I went to interview for post-doc positions at two labs in Boston after thanksgiving weekend. Right from the night I reached there, taking the train to the lodge I was put up at, I was beginning to like it. After my first interview, I decided to spend the evening exploring the city a bit. I was lucky to have some wonderful weather that evening, and took the train to Copeley Square. Christmas lights were up in the streets, and just walking around was so invigorating. I enjoyed taking in the busy road scene- the trains that snaked through the main road, buses, and cyclists and cars, in addition to the ocassional pedestrian. I could see myself live here- it had all the elements of a place I'd enjoy living in- all the universities around made it a vibrant academic atmosphere, coupled with a nice big-city feel that I have been yearning for. Of course, during the course of my interviews I had figured out how expensive the place is, and that I would be spending more than half of my paycheck on rent if I came to live there. Not a happy thought at all. (But pretty much the scene anywhere unless I want to live in another small town).

The next day, as I made my way back from the second lab I was visiting, I began considering it all. I still don't know if I am getting any of the jobs. Lab #1 was a great project, I was completely sold on the science, and would have a hell lot to learn in my first year. This was definitely going to be one of those "long" post-docs. Lab #2 had a great P.I and a very active group. But the project was too close to what I have been doing, and while it's a very interesting question, I didn't see myself pursuing the same thing again for my post-doc. So it's most probably a no no.

The weather sucked that evening, and I was told that that was more representative of Boston that time of the year. Ah well. I walked about town some more, exploring the nice array of restaurants, the charged atmosphere..all of which made me want to live there. There were ample opportunities to pursue outside work- anything that might catch my fancy. But would I have the money / time for any of it? I don't know.

I didn't sleep too well that night. Scientifically, it had been an invigorating two days- It's always nice to present your work to an outside audience- they help you fall back in love with it all over again. I was also trying to assimilate all that I'd heard about in the past two days, and weigh my options. The days leading to these interviews had been crazy- I was desperately trying to get something to work so that I'd have that nice piece of data to show off. That didn't happen, even until 1 am the night before i left. ;) Then there was all that outside reading to catch up with their work, and all those last minute revisions to my talk. Those efforts had paid off, though. Both interviewers were impressed with the fact that not only was I on top of my work, but quite familiar with theirs too. And finally, I had to catch a 6 AM flight the next morning. My adventure a few days ago had just made me too scared to sleep! :-) Thankfully, I made this flight without any hassles, and as I picked up my luggage and walked out of the airport, I started peeling off the layers that I had to put on to brave the rain and cold while boarding the flight in Boston. The warmth in the air here hit me with another question- do I really want to go live in a place where half my paycheck goes to rent, and half the year the weather is nasty cold, rain and snow? If it helps any, I already have one friend in the city, unless of course, she has to move out as I move in. You know, of course, without meaning too. Just work and all that..;)

I figure I'll hold off the decision making angst until I'm atleast offered the job! :-)

p.s: II & I to follow ;)

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

How bad would it be...

if I replied to "when are you graduating" with  "When are you planning to have a baby? Haven't you been married a while?".

Just wondering.

It is very tempting.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Maintaining queen status is hard work

Wednesday 10 pm: Still in lab, doing last minute stuff
Wednesday 12 midnight: Still in lab....{don't ask}
Thursday 3 am: I finally go to bed
Thursday 11:30 am: Scheduled time of departure of flight

That Thursday morning was pretty action-packed. The plan was that I'd drive to my friend A's place, park my car there and take the train to the airport. I was to reach A's place by 9 AM.

Thursday 9 AM: phone rings:

Me: hello?
A: So where you at?
Me: (after a minute) @#$#!!!! I overslept!!!!!
A: You're kidding, right?
Me: Talk to you later bye.

(Poor A, had no clue for the next 2.5 hours if I was really joking or not)

From that minute on, I started running and didn't stop till I got on my flight. Thankfully I had packed, so after taking a few minutes to assess the situation, I took a record 10 min shower to wake me up, got ready and jumped into the car with my bags. The airport is 1.5 hours away from my home, even after breaking all speed limits. Poor Basanti. She can barely do 70 mph without coughing and wheezing and spluttering. And here I was, driving like a maniac. Having bought one of those cheap discounted fares, I was well aware that changing would be a pain, and the next flight was much later that day, throwing all plans out of whack. Speeding all the way, I was breaking my own rules (we all have those rules about speeding, don't we? Like no speeding in a work zone, no going 20 over the limit, etc??). The gods must've taken mercy on me, I made it to the airport without getting caught and then came the interesting problem of finding a spot to park. As I drove through the last lane in the lot, I could see the fuel indicator dip below the "E" on the scale. Of course, the plan was to fill gas before leaving in the morning, which did not happen. It was 10 minutes to 11 now. I was thinking of the long run ahead- I had checked in online, but had to make my way through all those crowds, go through security and then take the stupid train that moved at snail's pace and took you to your gate. Thirty thousand spots to park at the airport, all of them could not have been taken up, could they? Then again, it was one of the biggest holidays in the country. I was beginning to give up, when, like that oasis in a desert, an empty spot appeared out of nowhere. I almost couldn't believe my eyes, but then didn't waste any more time and parked, only to quickly notice this was one of the most expensive lots. WTF. Like I had a choice, I berated myself. Run run run. Strolly, backpack, hand-bag. 3 pieces, and no time to check in my bag as planned earlier. Atleast I'd checked in online and had a boarding pass. I ran to the airport, all the freaking bulky winter clothes just making life that much more exciting. Found out my gate was D 1, and the flight was on time. Of course. - atleast it was the first terminal in the concourse, I thought. Got to security, had to do the whole "Take your laptop out of your bag" routine, and of course, stand in long lines. After pleading my way through some people in the line, I made it on the other side, and had already a mental plan of how I was going to pick up my things and keep running. Stuff all the contents in my pocket, belt in hand, just enough time to wear shoes and keep running. Got to the train, and had 4 stops until my concourse. Enough time to put on my belt and avert any embarrasing situations. Got off at my concourse, and of course, it started with gate #16, meaning gate #1 would be at the very end. Run run run. Made it to the gate at 11:25, just as the flight was boarding. Stood at the end of the line, stuffed the contents of my handbag into my backpack and strolly, and made it, with two bags exactly, all set to board the flight.


Settled down in my seat and called A, who was relieved to hear from me. I owe him big time, if not for his call, I would've definitely missed my flight, and added to my wonderful record here.

R.I.P Hobbes

I got back a few days ago..and had a very fun and exciting trip. However, Hobbes (my beloved laptop) is very sick- and I cannot afford expensive treatment (that macs are notorious for) now. I think I will have to let him go. Which is heart-breaking in itself. To make it worse, this is of course the WRONG time for a computer to die- what with thesis writing and all that fun stuff that I have lined up for me. So I got me a cheap stop-gap arrangement- a second hand Windows P.C!!! oooohhh the horror!!!! I cannot stop crying now. I never, ever, thought I would have to see this day. It's unsettling enough to have to use a different machine, but a windows computer? Aargh. I HATE this keyboard, this stupid button for a mouse, this stupid interface, this horrible O/S that took me half-an-hour to set up my internet at home. Yuck yuck yuck. I hate it all. I miss Hobbes. :'(

And I know most of the visitors to this site are users of microsoft windows, but please, save it. :p