Thursday, November 20, 2008

Lab: A senior to me inbetween a general related conversation about our boss, "of course she gives you a lot of freedom, freedom which you would like, and freedom which you wouldn't like... you would hope she spends some time on you atleast in the beginning."
Another post doc:" I have been here long enough, and I am here because I have nowhere else to go, all these huge number of people in the lab, everybody has there own niche, you cannot really go and say ' hey I would like to do dome experiments with FCS', you would need other skills for it. and some poeple take out there earphones only when they want, other wise there song goes on.."

During the practical course in a lab, two italians and me. 
First Italian: listen Senthil, I have already talked to him about this, but do you mind if I talk with the incharge so that we can come late tomorrow?"
Me: yes, of course, I dont mind starting late by an hour or two if its something really important to you...
First Itlalian: ya, thanks a lot.
then the incharge comes in, he starts," We wanted to ask you if we can come at 12 noon from tomorrow onwards as I have a personal problem...
the incharge," Can I ask what is the problem? Its not just not my time, it means adjusting the times of all the people who have planned experiments with the instrument.."
First Italian: " I have joined the gym and since I get a discount if I go between 9 and 13 hours, I would like to go to gym, I have not been going the last week because of the lectures..."
The second italian looks at him and then me with a surprised look. I am also suprised at the seriousness of the issue. 
the incharge: I see that you are thinning down, but no. its not possible. Its  shitty (reason).
First Italian: ya i know, its a shitty, I have not gone since a week, i really wanted to go. But this practical and lectures....
All the three of us were astounded but of course we just tacitly smiled.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


I remember using a cycle since I was in school. I had a BSASLR cycle ironically called the Photon. I was then may be learning how fast a photon could travvel. I remember when I had gone with my parents to buy a cycle. I had always had an attraction to mechanical machines. As I went on looking at a costly, geared cycle shock absorbers, my Dad was convincing me to buy a cheaper old fashioned one, like the ones newspaper wallahs and milkmen used to have. Ultimately I settled down for a cheaper but little modern looking one, but the name much more than modern - the photon. I remember participating in a township cycle race, only to realise that others so called racing cycle were much faster. All my consistent pedalling and mental reassurances of overtaking went waste. Those cycles had much smaller flywheels in the rear, corresponding to a high gear in modern cycles. I later replaced the flywheel in my cycle too. What more, I also had a dynamo and a head light on it. A cycle ride in those days was almost a daily routine. In the early mornings of winters, I used to mince through the misty air, braving the chilly wind and cold to the river side, only to sit there for a few minutes and come back. I used the cycle for four years and managed to keep it looking like it was bought yesterday. and yes it had a five rupees BMW logo on its mudguard. 

Later I joined college and went to a different city and my cycle was sold for 500 rs. by my dad without my approval. I now bought a new bicycle, a racing one, less ironically, this one was called 'Mach 3'. I used to ride this bicycle all the way upto a theatre called SK Cinema, on Anand-Nadiad highway, approximately 10 kms from my hostel, so that I could buy movie tickets in advance and save money, only to go back with my future wife in an autorickshaw in the evening. When I left the city, I did not sell it, nor did I take it with me, I dont know what happened to it.

I was in Mumbai now. I found no pleasure and use in riding a bicycle in the crowded streets of Mumbai. I had forgotten the impetuous feel which I had when I rode bicycles, when I and the cycle used to be one, when each stroke of my feet powered it and my hands steered it with perfection. Speed used to be thrilling, a bicycle speed is different from a motor bike speed. Its the engine in bike, and here its you. 

This long forgotten experience was brought back in Germany. Here they call the bicycles 'bike'. A bike would usually mean a motorbike in India. But it cost me the same amount as a second hand motor bike would cost in  India. This one is a mountain bike, 21 gears, twin shock absorbers, lights and it was brought by my own money. Gears have changed now. 

Dresden offers one of the most beautiful and longest cycling routes. It goes from Dresden through the Sachsen Schweizz all the way along the river Elbe to Prague in Czech Republic,  a distance of 227 kms. I hope to ride all the way in the next summers sometime over a week. Of many other good things about a bicycle is that it connects you more to the surroundings, I often enjoy a long lonely ride along the Elbe on weekends. Of course, the weather in Dresden is not so condusive everyday, but, when its cold, ride faster to warm up, when its hot, ride faster to create a breeze..

                                   Road to Prague