Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Email draft

Dear all,
please see attached near-final draft of poster (on which you are all co-authors). Thanks a lot for all the help or lack thereof.


i guess this draft will never make it out to sent.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Don't say yes when you want to say no

A rant about people who cannot say no. I wish people just learned to say "Sorry, I cannot do it" (Followed by a reason if they feel like it). Period. I don't understand why, instead of saying no, they go about giving me hazaar alternatives, that I've already thought through, considered, and then come to them asking for a favour. I ask for favours easily- mostly because I believe that if it truly inconveniences a person they will say no, else they will help me out. I know people who balk at the idea of taking any obligation from other people- I don't take my friends for granted but don't see anything wrong in asking them- "hey- can you ask around for me if ..blah blah". And I am prepared to be refused, no hard feelings. But I'm beginning to see why people, including my husband, would rather have it not done than ask for a favour- its because some people make it out to be so damn uncomfortable. They cannot refuse directly, they offer further unsolicited advice that can be tiresome, or worse still, they say yes but back out in the last minute or ignore your phone calls or do it almost begrudgingly, making you feel like you are putting them through an inconvenience. Why the fuck does everything have to be a charade? I have reached a point where I'd rather ask random people off a forum or mailing list for help- at least they can refuse without qualms and self-imposed obligations and truly just do it out of simple kindness and not because they feel obliged to say yes.

Friday, March 25, 2011


All the nasty stuff with my coworker gave way to a cheap thrill for me yesterday. It is essentially a cheap thrill, but I am going to bask in it for all its worth and enjoy it till it lasts. She got what she deserved and I hope it helps in taking her horribly arrogant attitude down a notch or two. But I doubt that.


While I am aware of there being two or three sides to every story, sometimes I can't help judge based on one side alone. Even if you give the other side all the benefit of doubt, what presents itself is still unacceptable. Makes you wonder what the hell happens and why people do what they do. Or if you ever really knew them well enough to be surprised by the happenings? I will never know.


Every so often, I crave being in a hotel room. Not necessarily a fancy shmancy hotel room - I guess its got to do with craving being in a new place. I'll get my travel-bug-fix soon. Very excited. I also got business cards printed for the conference I'm going to. I remember going last year, and not having the opportunity to give them to anyone. I hope this year will be different. I'm going to try harder (and stuff these newly printed cards into peoples hands whether they want it or not :p)


Nothing like a guy leaving you a voicemail early AM asking you not to stress about losing weight and telling you that you are adorable. (:D Right out of a cheesy song) Especially when the guy is not your husband.
I have been stressing about losing weight- I know it doesn't help. I am trying to correct eating, but its not going that great. The 3-days a week exercise routine went right out the window. I have relapsed into long working hours, coming home late, eating whatever I can manage to and fretting. And waking up late. With fatty nightmares. Not nice. This weekend, I'm going to give the cook-a-week's worth of food a shot.

We all "know" what's good for us and what's not. It's being aware of it- of what we eat, what we think, how we conduct ourselves- in the moment, all the time- is what is needed. That kind of constant self-awareness takes practice and discipline and a non-escapist attitude. (Gyan that i got from the don't lose your mind book).



Tuesday, March 22, 2011


My niece (5 yo) is growing up faster than I can keep up with. Her vocabulary includes words like "embarrassing", "Recommendation" and what not. Gosh.

The other day, my mom was busy yelling at my sis over the phone, saying that she yelled too much at my niece and that was making her thin. LOL. I told my mom that there was no bigger irony than her objecting to my sister scolding her daughter- our entire building, and the ones around ours will vouch for the amount of yelling from my mom we had to deal with while growing up, especially my sister. To which the smitten grandmother responds "You girls were terrible kids. My grand-daughter is an angel, and doesn't need to be yelled at". HAH!

I had another informational interview today with a Co. in India. It went well as in I got some information, and I definitely would like to explore opportunities with them further. Everyone's standard response is come here and visit us and then we'll take it from there. I guess its pretty reasonable, I would also want to visit a place before deciding to work with them. These days I am telling everyone that I leaving and I wish I had a more solid answer to "Where are you going next" instead of the "I have some possibilities..". Ah well. Both my Ph.D. mentor and my post-doc mentor are overtly supportive of my decision to go into the industry, but not without leaving subtle hints like "Why aren't you considering teaching- you're a natural" and other such attempts at brain-washing. :)

B is currently house hunting for a place for us to rent and move into together. I don't have a big list of things for him. All I want is a spacious kitchen and an Indian-style toilet. Those are my only demands. And he tells me that the latter is becoming more and more rare. How sad.

Experiments, data, packing, job-hunting, life. Its all coming together. That much is for sure.

Monday, March 21, 2011


All kinds of stuff on my mind. Am distracted and irritable at work. I know its because I was here past midnight yesterday.

A lot of my work these days is dependent on other people and it irritates me to have to wait for them to get to my stuff. Some waiting I understand, after all everybody has their plates full all the time, but after a point it gets frustrating. I cannot do anything but twiddle my thumbs and hope that they bring my work to the top of their list soon.

Then, I suffer from a horrible case of inertia. It takes me FOREVER to revisit projects that are lagging behind, kept on hold in the freezer. I really need to work on this and get over it, because all this down-time that I spend waiting for others can be used in pushing ahead these forgotten projects, which are equally necessary and at this point, equally urgent. I have to stop compartmentalizing so much.

In a few months I will be moving to India- my husband and I are going to live together with his father, who has a neurodegenerative disorder and currently lives alone with no one to care for him. Time and again, I have people coming up and telling me- "its going to be really hard for you". I am a bit tired of these comments, even though I realise they come from concerned well-wishers. Other people ask us if we considered alternatives- like old-age homes or living separately down the street from my father-in-law instead of moving in with him. You know what- if I had it my way- my father-in-law would never have had this problem, my husband and I would never have had to make the compromises we're making and we'd carry on our jolly life in the U.S. or in India, wherever we ended up.

But it is not so. The whole idea of moving back is to care for my father-in-law. I have no illusions about moving back, and living with someone whose brain function is compromised and is going to get progressively worse. I have no experience either- just like most of the people that warn me about how tough it will be. But I also know that a person suffering from such a disorder needs the company, care and support of his children, and not the loneliness of living alone and fending for himself, or amongst other old people. And I know that if I were in my husband's place, I'd want to do the same for my parent and would expect complete support from my husband. And I don't have the time or effort to tell all my concerned well-wishers this. Sometimes I wish people thought a bit before spouting these statements. May be put themselves in my shoes before making these comments that don't achieve anything. I am not touched by their concern for me. I am just reminded of the complications that lie ahead and that does not really help. I'd rather focus on what colour curtains I plan to get in our new place.

Our plan is to be able to provide the best care we can for my FIL. We are also aware that we cannot always be the ones making sacrifices, so we are hoping to balance it out with some support (hopefully from the same concerned well-wishers :)) , and with the understanding that in some instances my FIL, despite his condition, may have to be the one to make a few compromises, go through some hardship, on account of us. And we're hoping to strike a happy balance. This is life.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


Consumerism in science is at an all time high now. I'm getting a bit tired of all these zillion kits in the market for doing an experiment. So many different kinds of kits/reagents with fancy names and wrapping. So much redundancy. Like entering an aisle with 200 kinds of cereal to choose from, I just want to do a simple experiment..I shouldn't be so overwhelmed with choices, have to read through the fine print, pay heed to the disclaimers and caveats, and feel so boggled. So much gloss. Long tutorials, webinars, "Field Application Scientists" come in and give long seminars and ply you with food and drink. But will not give straightforward answers. Big claims. I'd rather do things the good old home-made way, sometimes. Its harder to keep track of the goal when you get lost in these experimental details, sometimes limiting our experiment by what a kit can or can't do, or needs. We need to simplify doing experiments, not complicate.


Monday, March 14, 2011

While trying to stop myself from dozing off

at my desk, I resort to blogging to wake me up. I cannot believe I am so sleepy after a cup of coffee. Yet another reminder that I refuse to look in the eye ..that I need some serious exercise. :( My current goal is to work out thrice a week and so, I let today pass. Sigh. :(.

Listening to good music takes some effort. You need to seek good music, make a note of good bands/songs when you see hear them, and try to listen to more like them. Or have friends with good taste who point you to the good stuff. Or easy access to good live music. I miss those few good music influences I had in my life. So now I have settled for bollywood dhinchaak and a pop radio FM station. Both have become addictive just by nature of their repetitiveness. The bollywood stuff is peppy and upbeat, at least. The radio channel I listen to plays the crappiest music. But I find myself humming some of those songs, and even searching for them on youtube when I feel like listening to them. Gosh.

I read this really terribly written book "Don't lose your mind lose your weight". Don't ask me what I am doing reading books like that in the first place. :D. Someone praised it to the skies and curiosity got better of me. The message of the book, and all the principles it recommends are all spot on. I hope to adopt some of them and live by them. Its the style in which the book was written that totally put me off. It was coarse, over-familiar, all kinds of really bad jokes scattered all over, the author (a nutritionist) constantly deriding the reader, mocking her clients - apparently that kind of style actually appeals to a lot of people. Not me, for sure.

She has paraphrased my thoughts on the horrible NYT story reporting the gang rape of a 11 year old in Cleveland, Texas. We have a long long way to go in social conditioning and response to crime and abuse against women. For starters, I wish media (in all forms- TV ads, bollywood movies, music videos) would stop the blatant objectification of women.

* Currently Listening To: Lady Gaga - complete with humming and head-bopping. Somebody, kill me.*

I am doing a lot better in the get to work early department. And am less allergic to the hostile work atmosphere that has taken form over the past several months. I am finally learning to pretend that the nasty people don't exist and stop feeling bad about the negativity, just focus on what I need to get done. Stop comparing and belittling myself. It helps that I am now finally getting some neat data, that is keeping me excited and motivated.

My sister always told me this :), but recently I was made to feel really conscious about how much I whine (not just on the blog, but in real life :)). I need to consciously curb it. I guess I have never worked on what I project outward- I say what's on my mind, my face always betrays my emotions even if I make an attempt to hide something. My fake nod and smile really doesn't go too far, except in keeping things non-confrontational. But I will have to learn some amount of modulation. Learn to desist when I'm tempted to confront and lash out, learn to sugar coat somethings, learn to not come across as whiny, even if I am indulging in what I think is just telling it as it is. All in the name of being professional. Hmm.

* Currently Listening to : "Dynamite". (some Taio Cruz) Sigh. :(

I have a lot of travel coming up, and I am excited about that. I go to a big meeting next month, get to show off a prestigious travel award that I won to go there, and my shiny new laptop bag that was a gift from a friend. :). And yes, some cool data also that will morph into a pretty poster soon. Later, I make the trip to Lutom that has been on the cards for a while now. I get to visit PhDAdv. and other profs, as well as hang out at a few of the places I frequented way back then in grad school. I am so excited about going back to visit!

I really, badly want a friend like Elaine. :D May be I should watch less TV and go out more. :)

My latest pet peeve is all the buggers that talk loudly on their cellphones in small restricted spaces like trains and buses. What the eff is up with them? It smacks of complete disregard, inconsideration and absolute self-absorption. These people in their loud shrill voices discussing their lives as if everyone else's lives would be enriched by listening to them, whether they want it or not. I have done the staring, glaring, asking people to tone it down and getting up and changing my seat. But it annoys the hell out of me. The latest addition to this is people who play their ipods loud enough for the entire compartment to hear their crappy music. Selfish bastards all.

Mountain of dishes beckons. Ta.

want you to make me feel....like I'm the only girl in the world......Rihanna- .yeah..that's how bad it is.

Monday, March 07, 2011

It's been a while

Life has been busy. I am reaching the point where I am getting overwhelmed and then paralyzed into inaction just because I am worried about all that I have to get done. It's not trivial. And I have 3.5 months left! Thats 14 weeks, of which 2-3 are going to be gone in traveling. So that leaves me 11-12 weeks. 11-12 weeks is really. not. much. time. :-o

Lab life has gotten quite unbearable. While earlier I used to complain about not having social lab mates, now it is downright hostile with one coworker- its an icky feeling to share my bay with this person now, and I hate being in the lab these days and keep looking forward to leaving as soon as I get in each day. What is worse is that I am letting this behaviour affect me and my productivity so much. There is nothing I can do to pander to another's insecurities or egos. It is out of my control and its not my problem. So I need to learn how to ignore this obnoxious behaviour and just get my work done. Hope I get the hang of it soon. All the unpleasantness apart, I am really glad I got to experience this - I have been lucky thus far in having awesome relationships with all my colleagues and having mostly wonderful people around me. I have faced little nastiness, come to think of it, especially on such a regular basis as this. This is a good taste of real world for me here.

I am preparing for an upcoming meeting I am going to in a month. This is probably my exit conference from the US, and I want to put to use all the stuff I learned about networking, planning my time at the conference etc. Lets see how it goes. I'm excited.p

I'm tired now. So much more to write but no patience to string together meaningful sentences.