Sunday, December 30, 2007

A Fresh Start

The more things change, the more they remain the same.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

What's annoying me

I had to cancel new year trip. :( Health doesn't permit. (Jeez- what am I, 79?) I am quite pissed off. The only saving grace is that Amtrak gives full refund on canceled reservations up to one hour before journey! Who knew? Now let me see what I can buy for that money and feel better about the sorry ass situation.

I refuse to subscribe to any blogs that have this in yo face plug that says

If you're new here, you may want to subscribe to my RSS feed. Thanks for visiting!

And some have it in every post. It's just a blog for god's sake. Don't get all clingy and desperate like that!

Anyone who takes themselves too seriously needs a regular dose of vun tite slap. Learn to laugh at yourself. Learn to laugh at jokes others poke at you. Don't get all defensive or even worse, withdraw and sulk just because I made fun of the way your voice mail sounds. G-R-O-W U-P!

Why are you so aggressive about everything? Even when you say Happy New Year it sounds like you are looking to pick up a fight. Calm down buster. Save the aggression for when it's really required. Like rants like these. Other times, try calm.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas!!!

4 easy steps to make me happy

1) Visit me when I'm sick, be brave enough to stay over.

2) Bring food

3) Praise my cooking

4) Do the dishes

Merry Christmas all of you! I had a lovely x'mas with wonderful friends visiting, good food, and an almost brand new me thanks to Alexander Fleming. :)

Monday, December 24, 2007

Heart attack: the aftermath

My cousin who lives down the street from us in hydie has two cute little daughters, aged 3 and 9. These two kids were witness to all the going-ons, phone calls, tension, etc. when my dad had his heart attack. Their latest game is as follows (I simply have to narrate it in telugu to best convey the comic image, translations in brackets).

3 y.o: (clutching her tummy and writhing on the floor, panic stricken voice) ayyo naaku heart attack vacchindi. heart attack! heart attack!!! doctor ni pilavandi!!

(Oh no, i have had a heart attack! heart attack!!! call the doctor!!)

9.y.o: (in equally harried tone) ni talakai. heart akkada kaade, ikkada!. (points to chest area)

(your head! the heart is not there, it is here!)

3.y.o: quickly changes position, clutches chest now, and repeats "ayyo naaku heart attack vachindi. heart attack! ambulance ni pilavandi!!"

oh no i've had a heart attack, call the ambulance!!!

and the 9 y.o dashes about in pretend panic, and it goes on. :)

And did I mention that our apartment got broken in a day after my dad was taken to the hospital? Now, we weren't exactly in a big hurry to tell my dad about that incident. Of course, others had other plans.

My uncle who was asked to wait in our apt the night we returned home from the hospital was waiting at the gate as we arrived.

My dad (Seeing that he had the keys to our apt) : arre, you should've waited upstairs no, why wait outside?

My uncle: he he he considering what happened, I thought its better not to panic anyone and decided to wait outside.

My dad: huh? what panic?

I give my uncle one glare

My uncle: he he he.. i mean the incident when i went to the wrong apartment instead of yours yesterday, and tried to open it with your keys, he he he..

Me: (in my mind, good save, uncle, good save)

The next day visitors start coming to see my dad. First is M uncle from downstairs

M uncle: How are you sir! blah blah and other well-wishing things.

My dad: yes yes and other affirmative things

M uncle: more conversation about this and that

My dad: more nodding

M uncle: these days anything can happen. Who would've thought someone would break into an apartment in our building!

My dad: oh? i didn't hear. which apartment got broken into?

M uncle: looks confused. probably just realised his goof up. I dash into the room from the kitchen with the tea I was making. hand it to uncle and give my well practised glare.

M uncle: oh..that only.. the watchman's house got broken into..

My dad: oh how sad. why would someone break into the poor watchman's house..

M uncle: changes topic..

Now few hours later, M uncle's very well-wishing son R shows up. R is a clueless 28 year old fellow totally absorbed in his work and is rarely ever seen around in the building. Quite absent-minded and forgetful. You get the picture.. My dad answers the door.

R: (As soon as he enters, in a booming, shocked voice)
How are you uncle? My god I was so shocked to hear ! I didn't even know you had a heart attack, uncle, I didn't even know your apartment got broken into!

My dad starts saying: not ours, the watchman's house....

R: now even more confused...aa? the watchman's house aa? in his same shocked voice..

Me: (yelling from the bedroom): R! We haven't yet told our dad about it!!!! (In my mind: what is the matter with you? is this an inherited disorder of sorts?)

Then I enter the room to do damage control. my voice has traveled before me. R looks totally crestfallen, confused, and as clueless as ever. My mom, who has no clue what has been transpiring, makes an entry and asks R if he'd like some tea.

R looks at me, scared. Perhaps not sure if he should drink tea in our house now.

My dad. oh my poor dad! He has supreme confusion written all over his face. I tell him in a few lines, yes dad, some one broke in. nothing of value got lost. don't worry. And try to dissolve the tension by laughing,

R: finally finds his tongue. starts apologising. (to me!).

My mom: brings the tea. we all have tea and crack jokes. Later after R leaves my mom and I decide its best to tell dad ourselves. So we tell him brief details. We all laugh it off and try to keep it light. R and his dad's goof ups have actually added some mirth to the whole episode.

In the evening, the 9.y.o kid comes to see my dad. as soon as she sees him, the first thing she asks him, in a conspiratorial, low voice

"mi intilo dongavadu vacchadu ta????" (It seems there was a thief in your house???")

Sunday, December 23, 2007

I want


From this blog

Oh, not all those books, just one book shelf like that. I will supply books.

So damn good lookin!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

I've come a long way.

Four and a half months into my post-doc and I've very little to show for it. First there was settling in , acquainting, learning to be patient with oneself, then came the india trip, so there was more lag, re-acquainting that's yet to happen because I brought back with me this nasty bug and have been under house arrest for the past few days. The tgfi of a few years back would be guilt-tripping herself and stressing herself out at this loss of time, fact that nothing is getting done, and worrying herself into further sickness. The only thing that prevents me from going into lab is the fact that its not really looked upon well if you show up at work hacking the daylights out of yourself. But here I am, all cool and calm about this. I am not going to lose whatever little drug-induced, coughing-fit-free sleep I am getting over how much time I have lost and how I'm really behind. I'm just going to get my rest, get well, and get back to work at a normal pace. I have even gone ahead and made my plans for new years, so what if I lost all these days? Again, the tgfi of yesterday would deny herself of all fun activities for the next several months just because she was worried about the time she lost. I have never gotten too far with that kind of thinking, and I think I've finally learned to keep things separate and desist from self-flogging because no good ever came out of it.

Yesterday things took a turn for the worse as I developed a nasty ear infection on top of everything else. I have never had one before and my heart goes out to little kids who suffer from this so often. It's the most ex-cru-tia-ting pain EVAR. So after trying all the home remedies that did not work, I took some ibuprofen and made it through the night. Last morning, I got online to find a doctor in my area, to find the number for a cab-service, etc. That's me. I could be dying but I will insist on getting on by myself. It's not something I am proud of, I promise you. So I snapped out of my thick-headed self and decided to call for help. Most people in my lab who own a car were away on holiday, so I looked through my phone book and found L - yes, my Amway friend! I called her at 7 AM. She gave me a doctor's name, came picked me up for my appointment, brought me some food to nibble on, took me to get my prescriptions filled, got me to do some groceries, and dropped me back home. The whole thing took 4 hours out of her work-day, since there was some trouble with my insurance at the pharmacy (turns out my prescription insurance is different from my medical insurance- if L wasn't there, I'd have no clue, and I'd end up paying $100 from my pocket just because I really wanted those antibiotics).

I still remember my whole wisdom tooth saga over a year ago in Lutom. When after surgery I had developed a dry socket and the pain was just effin overwhelming. Then, in lutom I had several friends I could call on, but I chose to go by myself, tears streaming down my face and jaw in one hand, driving with the other, to the dental clinic and get it checked out. The memory is very vivid.

Just one dose of antibiotics and some real serious cough syrup and I feel a lot better. I am so glad I have grown up and learned to ask for help when needed.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

W.o.m.m #6

I bought one of these during my stopover in Amsterdam. I have a soft corner for such tea-related fancy stuff. I got stopped at the baggage-screening for it. Sigh. I gave the guy one of my looks and said "I bought it right here at duty free!". Perhaps I shouldn't have gone for aggression right then. But I was tired. Luckily, after some discussion, he let me take it.

I am sick. Cold, cough, sore throat that hurts like hell. Headache. Fever. This all I brought from India. The eye allergies began acting up as soon as I set foot in Philly. So I am a walking dispenser of mucous right now. Eww. Sorry.

The tea-tube works nicely. But there's got to be a way of keeping the tea from getting cold while the tube does its thing. May be they should sell an attached cover with just a hole for the tube.

I think this is meds-induced delirium blogging.

See you around

No no, I am not closing blog or doing any such draama for now. :)

When you say "See you around" to someone what do you mean?

I have always used "see you around" for what those words mean: as in, see you around here, in my gtalk window or so. I have been recently enlightened that there is an implication of not wanting to talk to the person too often or trying to "blow one off" by using that phrase.


Wednesday, December 19, 2007


Am back in cold, cold Philly. My dad is recovering very well and should resume all his normal activities in a couple weeks, for now he just needs lots of rest. It was really hard to leave this time, but I tried to convince myself, by way of explaining to my parents, how important my work is and what kind of cool science I am doing here. The truth is, I have yet to form any kind of bonding with my work. Heck, I was still working on specific aim #3 of my proposal when the call came and I had to pack up and leave. So things are very much in their conception stage, and I feel very little attachment. Perhaps, after a small amount of re-acquainting, I will be more enthu. Right now, I only feel a bit overwhelmed at all the catching up I need to do in order to get things back up and running. So overwhelmed that I'd rather crawl into bed and go to sleep, instead of getting out in the cold and going to the lab. A very familiar feeling, the repercussions of which I am all too aware of. So I hope to keep that feeling at bay and get my ass to the lab soon.

Until now, things have been pretty frenzied. When I got the phone call and decided to rush home, I first called my international advisor here to see if I could travel easily. If there's one good thing I did, it was getting my F1 visa renewed in Canada while in year 5 of grad school. (or was it year six? god knows! ). The valid visa helped me travel to India after graduating and take that long vacation few months ago, and allowed me to travel this time on my O.P.T with minimum hassle. All I needed was a new travel signature from my old school in Lutom: when I called them that morning, they decided to print me out a new I-20, sign it and fedex it overnight. Next I found a really nice travel agent at mahabazaar travels who found me a seat on a flight to hyd for the next day; and it didn't cost me any limbs. Then I had to stop my experiments at a stopping point, freeze down stuff and wrap up tiny things in the lab. Thanks to my dilly-dallying over buying a laptop, I spent some time organising my data onto usb sticks to take with me to India: I wanted to be able to work if I found the time, and I actually did get a small bit done. Then I had to pay off bills: I'd yet to set up my utilities on auto-pay. Of course, the bills had been lying around for several days, but if i didn't pay them off before leaving, I'd come back to a cold and dark apartment. I had to empty the fridge, clean up the apartment, do laundry, go to the bank (because I misplaced my atm card and didn't bother getting a new one for days: but then I'd need the cash in india) and other such tasks. I am thinking back to see how many things I could've avoided in the last minute frenzy if only... Sigh. Some things never change, I guess. But it kept me busy and kept the worrying at bay for most part. I called up a few of my friends and told them what was going on. M and her hubby both took off the next day so they could take me to the airport. I was ready to fly out the very next day with all things in place.

I am now tracing those very motions back. I decided to use a shuttle service to get back from EWR to Philly. Dave's Limo. They suck. I had to wait for two hours at the airport when I could've actually made the earlier shuttle if only they had told me. Sick with a bad cough, cold and all that good stuff, the waiting was not fun at all. I got home, went and bought myself some milk and bread. I emptied my mailbox and more bills are already here! I set up auto-pay for them this time. I just re-updated all my folders so that it reflects the work I got done in India before I forget. I will go the lab, thaw out those very vials I froze down over two weeks ago, and get started. Sigh.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Home again

When my phone rang at the "unearthly" hour of 6 am wednesday before last, I buried it under a few pillows and went back to sleep: I had just gone to bed a couple hours back and was too exhausted to even pick it up and cuss, which is what i'd have typically done. But when the ringing persisted, and I saw that it was my sister, I eventually answered. Her news woke me up. Our father had had a heart attack: my mom assured us that he was doing okay, but we decided that I should fly out asap to be with them. I am in hyderabad as i write this post, my dad is doing well and all is under control.

My dad was alone at home when he had the heart attack. After a few hours of mild chest pain that didn't subside by midnight, he called my cousins who live down the street, and they rushed him to a hospital near by. At the cost of sounding dramatic, these cousins and the emergency doctor there saved my dad's life. He was administered the right first aid almost immediately and things were brought under control. My mom, who was in our hometown 6 hrs away took the next bus and came to hyd. Two other cousins also came as soon as they heard the news, without even being asked to come. My mother and my cousin's wife calmly and efficiently managed the entire situation. My various cousins and uncles pooled together the money that it was going to cost us. The day after my dad's hospitalisation, our apartment was broken into. A few small things were stolen, but more than that it just added to the hassles my mother had to deal with.

When I landed in hydie at 3 am, this blog friend and her hubby came and picked me up and took me to the hospital later that morning. By then, my dad had had his angioplasty and was recovering. The storm had passed, things were calming down, and my job was just to keep my parents in good cheer. I thought I was doing a pretty good job of it, until one look at my dad's face at some point that evening told me that joking about an american boyfriend was not the best idea for a dad recovering from a heart attack. How was I to know? At least we had established that his reflexes were as sharp as ever. Heh. :)

Dad got discharged a few days later and we came back home. There is a lot of running around to be done, finances to be organized, and little things to take care of. I am glad I can be here to help out and be with my parents. Truth be told, no one ever saw this coming. At 62, my dad has been quite fit and my parents follow strict and healthy eating habits. Besides a history of hypertension, there were no overt signs in my dad. The only thing he neglected after moving to hydie was his regular morning walk. I cannot overstate the importance and the huge help our relatives have been throughout all of this. All my misgivings about my parents move from bombay to hydie seem so trivial now. We were lucky to get the right medical aid and my dad was in good hands throughout. I am thankful that my dad was wise enough to call for help that night, that my cousins were just down the street and for our relatives who provided rock solid support in all forms to see my parents through this. It has also served as an awakening of sorts for us: to be more mindful about health, financial matters and such. Most of all, I am thankful my dad is doing okay.