Monday, February 28, 2011


Been corresponding with my Ph.D.Advisor regarding my job search in India....feels good just to be able to discuss stuff with her and enjoy her vote of confidence in me. She encourages me to take risks, saying that I am smart and if it tanks I can always get a job elsewhere. :)

Getting very irritated with my current boss, on the other hand. He walks up to my desk Monday noon asking "So, anything interesting over the weekend?". I wish I could have said, yeah, the interesting thing is that I didn't come to lab. Gah. Then I remember those periods PhDAdv. did similar stuff and how much i hated her for it then. :) My current boss will never come close to the place PhDAdv. has had in my life though, I am just drawing parallels between the annoying behaviours of bosses. :)

I don't fit into the R2I clubs that I am seeing online. These are people who have had full-fledged family lives here in the US, and are discussing taking back their sofas and matching lampshades back to India and have their companies paying for big ass containers so they can transplant their entire lives, mini-walmarts and costcos back to India. I have none of that kind of stuff to worry about. No 401Ks, no US-born kids for whom I have to worry about diapers and cartoon-character-bedsheets, no leather sofas, no artificial flowers to decorate my house (Because what you get in Michaels you can never find back in India) or tubes of toothpaste (because the toothpaste is too foamy in India) or any of that. Heck, I brought back Dabur Meswak with me when I came from my holiday to India last time. I plan to go back with 3 suitcases. (Will pay for that one extra), and hopefully have the remainder ferried back by a friend or two. Thats it. I do want to hold on to some of the stuff I already own- esp. camping gear and books and dvds, and those, as of now are the bulkiest things and are going to be the biggest pain to take back. :/ . But here is something cool I found on these R2I forums and wanted to share: A shipping company is organizing a donation drive, so that you can ship a box or two of gently used clothes/kids stuff- anything you'd want to donate towards charity and they will ship it to India for free. I found this great because I own tons of desi clothes that I didn't want to give to goodwill here because they seemed more suitable to Indian use. During my past trips I have taken and dumped some but they still keep piling up. I have to incur the cost of shipping my box to the collection center for this drive but that is a small price to pay. I am excited about getting a box ready to ship out to them!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

On integrity

I recently got to witness, first-hand, how someone's ego is so all-consuming, that they would be unwilling to admit a mistake they made to the extent that they'd let it go into records and eventual publication unaltered, just because they do not want to admit they were wrong. And that is how scientific malpractice can take form. If someone like a post-doc can be so full of themselves, one can only imagine how wide-spread and worse this kind of mentality is as one goes higher up, and leads to a lot of false and irreproducible results that get published. It may not make a difference to the bigger picture, but having come upon a mistake, don't you just fix it and move on? I am plain disgusted and put off.

Friday, February 25, 2011

I'm back and I'm not loving it

B left a couple days ago, and I have been resistant to resuming all the things I did before he came, because it only reminded me of the fact that I was back to my life-sans-B. I have been dragging my feet at work, resisting even calling him during our regular phone hours as I don't want to face our routine phone-call schedule when just few days ago we were enjoying time with each other in the same room without worrying about distances and time zones. Going to bed alone sucks, waking up alone and having to make my own chai myself sucks. Its amazing how two weeks can spoil you so easily. In short, it sucks to be back.

We had a splendid two weeks. Traveled, met up with friends, crossed a few things off our list. Almost like our married life has gone from one honeymoon to the next with 8 months of separation in between. To add that touch of reality to it I also managed to get sick, get slammed with an urgent submission deadline when I should have been on holiday, and B had to take care of a sick wife glued to her laptop. A close friend asked me how things were between us having met after so long. I have to say, in a very self-congratulatory tone, that I am quite proud of the way we have made it through this 18-month-long-and-still-counting LDR. I tend to give a bit more credit to B, because left to me, I'd have done things a bit differently. He has, in his own little ways, made sure we're very much in tune with each others lives even though we are apart, still managing to retain a healthy balance in our respective individual lives. While I would've probably taken a bit more distant, self-preserving approach to it. This is not my first LDR, and ghosts of the past have off and on played on my mind through this one. That said, we've figured out a way that has worked great for us and meeting after 8 months and picking up has been seamless and effortless. We definitely noticed and had to deal with subtle changes in each other, that crept in from living in different places and evolving differently over the past many months. More so in B thanks to his readjustment to R2I. But that cannot be is pretty much par for the course.

Dropping him off at the airport was a tad easier this time than it was the last time I had to do it- but I still managed to put little crying snotty kids at the airport to shame with my unabashed water works. :D Coming home to the cold lonely apartment sucked. We are now slipping back into our routine LDR, whether we like it or not, and I imagine I will be consumed by work over the next 4 months by which time we can pack this up for good :).

Friday, February 04, 2011


In preparation of my husband's arrival from India, I have.....the dirty dishes and laundry waiting. Because compared to me, he lives like a king in Bombay, what with Kantabai to do his cooking and Meenabai to do his cleaning. Therefore....

The weather sucks. From beautiful snow we have gone to slick icy surfaces and all the snow piled up and frozen into ice mountains on every block and corner. Today I slipped and fell on my butt. Falling in snow doesn't hurt as much, but falling on ice/concrete is no fun. But my biggest worry was if my nice expensive jacket was ok. It was. :)

The cabbies in my area continue to surprise me. Every now and then I'll get a grumpy cabbie always trying to fleece me, and then every then and now i'll get an honest, chatty, helpful, sincere cabbie. Today was a nice cabbie day. :)

How social media has messed up our real-world relationships. We are now capable of causing hurt to people in that many more ways, thanks to blogging/facebooking/tweeting. You can be hyperactive on facebook and not return your friend's calls and they will feel bad. You can reciprocate to facebook wishes before phone calls and offend someone. You can bitch about someone on twitter in as vague a way as possible and that person will get to know of it. You can discuss life on your blog and not even be thinking about your best friend who happens to read your blog, and the best friend will take it personally. The written word has a stronger impact sometimes than the things you say, do, or don't. And, funnily enough, as we intentionally or unintentionally alienate and hurt these real-world friends, we find ourselves cultivating stronger bonds with virtual acquaintances. For the virtual ones are that much more convenient. There's no baggage. They are more in touch with you because they have read your latest rant/outburst. They "get" you. And, you can shut them up by simply clicking on a tiny x.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011


Things have been one stress after the other. As soon as I was done with my talk I was slammed with the deadline to submit the review article I was working on. In the meantime, I had promised my niece that I would visit her on the weekend, having not seen her in almost 2 months now, and I was having a tough time seeing how I could live up to my words as I sat at home working through Sunday. But what can you do when a 5 yo calls you and leaves a message on your cellphone that says "TGFI pinni, this is me Kavita speaking. You said you would be here Sunday morning and its afternoon now and I don't know where you are so please call back". ?? Of course I had to go. Her face broke into a huge grin when I showed up, even if at 4 pm giving us precious little time. I spent a few hours playing with her, and as I began packing my things up to leave early next morning, she pleaded with me "Why can't you stay here and work from home? You can do some experiments on my weather station". Her latest science-gift she got for christmas. :) If only.

The review out of the way, I finally breathed easy and unwound last evening. The first thing that came to my mind, when I finally had a moment to relax and not feel the stress of some urgent to-do task, was how much I am missing B and how hard this LDR is. We have come up with our own definition of LDRs, and as per that, people have to be separated by at least a coast to claim LDR status. Weekend couples who live in Pune/Bombay or NY/Boston are just couples in SDRs. They have it too easy. :p

The sense of urgency is back at work, and will probably remain so until June. BUT, the most awesome-est news ever is that B is visiting me this weekend for a whole two weeks! Yeah! I'm taking a week off work and we're going to do some traveling, meeting up friends, and such. His trip calendar has already filled up- and we're trying to walk the tightrope between fitting in too many "things to do", "Friends to meet" and just spending some good quality time with each other. I have finally begun getting excited about getting to see him after six months. As we're telling friends and making plans its nice to see the excitement spread and his friends changing plans and making night-long bus rides to come see him. Part of our plans when B is here is to go and surprise a very good friend of his. It is becoming harder to keep this surprise what with the way everybody is everybody's (facebook) friend and B finding it very hard to curtail his excitement. :D This is going to be fun. My boss granted me a week off very willingly, saying that I have been working hard and I should spend time with my husband, what with us having been apart for so long. This is the same boss that didn't okay 1.5 days off when I wanted to go to California for my birthday. Oh well. I am definitely not complaining right now.

Of course, needless to say, the blog will be quiet for the next two weeks :).