Friday, March 30

Seen on Apron: Kiss Ze Artist*****

"Did you put the AAA at 4 degrees?"

I don't look up from my plates, "Dunno."

"It has to be kept dry. Did you remember to put it in the lyophilizer?"

I'm trying to keep the sequence* straight in my head, dammit! "Dunno."

"Revealed**!!!! Would you look up for *one* second?? This is important. Where did you store it? You used it last!"

I throw my hands up in the air dramatically. "I am an artist! I extract DNA out of single cells. I identify gel shifts where other people can see nothing***! I take cells that are so sick that they're almost dead and keep them alive long enough to get the data we need from them. I come up with complicated experiments**** that will help save the world. How am I supposed to remember where the fuck I put the AAA!! I don't, ok?! I'm an artist for Chrissake!!"

"Right. So you forgot."

*Until you've added minute levels of colorless liquids at varying volumes to 50 microtubes you haven't encountered a need for concentration and focus. Sigh.

**OK, so he didn't call me that. But assumptions of anonymity and all that.

***This was when I was accused of seeing Madonna in my blots. Hah! Look who had the last laugh (me, btw, I had the last laugh)

****This is true. I do. So complicated in fact that D.L (my boss) almost always vetoes it on grounds of impracticality. People just don't appreciate my genius.

*****Ok I made that one up. But they should make some like that. Though I have no clue who'd buy them. But still.

Thursday, March 29

Perspectives VII

She listened to her oldest friend rant about home. And her mum. And how hard it was to go out with her boyfriend without her mum knowing. She listened to her talk about curfews. About wearing dupattas when she went out to avoid the cat-calling lunatics that are called men in Madras. She empathized with her. Sympathizing in memory of not-so-long-ago. They ranted together for a while. It was an old rhythm and they settled into it comfortably enough. Like worn-in denim. But for one startled second she felt out of sync. We're in the 21st century!! You can tell your mum about your boyfriend!! Girls are allowed to talk to boys these days. Heck, girls do a helluva lot more. She wanted to yell it down the telephone line. Just for one second. She caught herself up guiltily. And continued empathizing.


They discussed Tapas bars in the city over dinner. They dissected the best place for martinis. And the worst places. They laughed at how she'd had three martinis at one of the godawfullest bars simply cos they were there and someone else was buying. And how it had made her sick. So sick she couldn't even eat the olives (which everyone knows are the best bits of a martini). They talked about how Olive Garden had the worst sangrias (too much juice), and how Mi Luna had the best (lots of wine). They both knew where the best mimosas could be had for a late brunch. And suddenly she had a disconnect. Since when had she become the person who knew which bar was the best to buy a bottle of tequila from if people wanted to take the party home. Then, he brought up mojitos and she was kneedeep in conversation again.


That night just before she fell asleep she had a thought. A wandering, bewildered, stray one. Maybe somewhere in all of this, this hectic recent life, this moving from one country to another to another, somewhere inside of all these sometimes contradictory selves, she'd lost temporarily misplaced herself. Just maybe.

Update: I just found R.W's Love Supreme on my iPod. Who *am* I?? No, really.

Tuesday, March 27


I have a theory. No, no, don't roll your eyes at me. This is *not* about philosophy or religion. Promise.

I was going to give this long intro with like this amazing analogy and some remarkably subtle word play. Y'know a clever paragraph which would just open your eyes to my amazing intelligence as well as my incredible scope of general knowledge. But I (as usual) underestimated the power of laziness (and also how exhausting moving house can be; there! I have a legit excuse). So: songs are people. That's it. That's my theory. And what's more, I have an exemplary line of defense. (This btw is the new style of this blog. Cut and dried, which is a phrase I always wanted to use but never ever managed to fit into a sentence properly. Also cos it's really hard to get a context where you can say cut and dried and I'm kinda unsure as to whether it's cut and dried or cut and dry or cut and right, and one doesn't want to say one of it and have everyone else stare in incomprehension and so forth. Something tells me I'm losing my c. and d. style already. *sigh*)

Take it Easy : Obviously he's like the chilled out guy whom every girl in high school had a crush on. The one who had at least 3 girlfriends at any point in time. The one with the fast, noisy bike, which every girl wanted a ride on. Without the black leather jacket, the smoking and the sleazy hagged face (that comes later, no?). Ok, maybe with the leather jacket after all.

Wild World : The nice ex. The one who was perfect. The one whom all your gfs envied. The one who thought you were perfect. Who always said the right thing. Who always adjusted his mood to yours. The one whom you dumped, cos let's face it, perfect is boring (besides being awfully intimidating)! But everytime you hear about him from someone else, or when you hear a song that reminds you of him, or turn the TV on and see the re-run of a movie you saw with him, you have to smile.

Sleep : The hot desi guy. Very hard to find. So that when you *do* meet him, you almost can't believe your eyes. No way! you're thinking. The delicious guy who knows how to shake a martini just so, and uses phrases like "social constipation", with that slightest of desi accents. The guy whom you can imagine slipping into.. ummm.. anything with.

Two Steps Behind : The psycho ex. We all know this one. The one who seemed so caring. Who thought about you all the time. Sent you those cute texts the minute you left him saying he missed you. The one who'd let you go out with your gfs on a girl's night out, but would call you every now and then to check on you (that gets old really fast). The one who was so sensitive it was actually sinister. The one it's almost impossible to get outta your head. The one who's always *sigh* two steps behind.

The Great Beyond: Me, 2005.

Wonderwall: The guy with the charming laidback attitude to life. With those irresistible dimples when he smiles. The curly hair that looks like it's never combed. The guy you want to take charge of. Straighten out his life. The one with all the talent that can't be just left to rot. The one with the little boy good looks. The one who gives clueless a good name.

Something about the Way You Look Tonight (I wanted to get the Ella version for it but Youtube seems to draw up a blank :( ) : The Goodbye Again Ingrid Bergman. Seemingly happy and sophisticated but hurt and vulnerable inside. The woman of the world type person. I'm secretly awed by such people. Make me breathless.
(sorry about the shocking typo-it can't even be called a typo- but blame it on the shocking effect of pop culture :)..still couldn't get Ella, but managed a PC, which isn't bad; also realized that I'd written this wrong this morning and came online just to change it-I think I might be addicted to this blog cos I'm *not* obsessive compulsive!!!)

Photographs : The guy who used to smoke in school, just for a gag (I know, I thought about the gag-fag wordplay thing and then decided against it, you'll be happy to know). There were rumors that he did drugs. The immensely popular guy. When his uncle died, some kids in school said *meaningful* things about it. But you never believed any of 'em. Cos he *seemed* like such a nice guy. Always a smile for you. And a word. That made you feel so special. And happy. And made you smile yourself. The one whose now five times bigger, jobless and broke but when you see him at high school reunions and he smiles at you you can still see a little of that charm somewhere wayyyyyyyyy back in his eyes.

Iris : Six words. Your mother warned you about him.

Why Does it Always Rain on Me : Me, now.

See? See, what I mean? They're all people!!! Gimme any song and I'll give you a person (that's a promise, not a threat; even though it remarkably resembles one).

As a bonus, a fun exercise (to see how many of the stellar principles I used in these examples you've actually imbibed). Guess the personality of this one.

(I also have a killer corollary that albums are families - y'know complete with mum-dad-sis-bro-annoying aunt-balding uncle analogies. But that requires more examplification and zere is no time, peoples *looks under the bed frantically for time, that little idiot*.)

Gosh, I'm so glad that I've finally got a theory that I *know* noone will argue with me about (*gulp* Something tells me I shouldn't have said that. Fine, fine! Bring it on *faces the firing squad with grim anticipation*).

Note: To someone who's been asking me for more songs, click on the links :). They're all beauts and I have 'em only on iTunes. Even The Way You Look Tonight (even if you roll your eyes and say "That old song").

Update: Over at the 55s, we've started some Song-55s. Check them out.

Monday, March 26

The Perils of Penelope Pink-shiny-stuff

She sets the timer for 15 minutes. The gel has to be ready to pour in 5. She quickly, efficiently weighs out the agarose and adds it to the TBE. She swirls the solution around in the glass bottle twice and places it in the microwave. She sets the microwave energy level and timer and presses the Start button. The light flickers on glumly behind the dark glass, and the bottle begins revolving. She keeps a watchful eye on the hazy silhouette of the liquid in the bottle. Once it starts bubbling, she has to stop the microwave, remove the bottle and give it another shake before resuming the heating. Otherwise it will spill over and the insides of the microwave will be a gloppy mess of fast-solidifying gelatin. She has done this so many times that it's easier than breathing. As she stares through the grimy glass of the microwave door she notices a Bling. And another. Something sparkly. Silver. Faintly pink. The reflection of her freshly painted nails. She smiles, enchanted by the twinkle of the little glittery scintilla. The quicksilver change in the planes of shimmer as she moves her hand just that fraction of an inch. Her eyes move from the reflection to the reality. She normally doesn't paint her nails but yesterday boredom and the presence of a bottle of Blush on the living room rug had conspired. A background bubbling noise tries, but fails dismally to register through the glitter-haze. But even through her rapt contemplation of her nails she does hear the fatal thump. Without looking up she knows the plastic lid of the glass bottle has just hit the roof of the microwave. She confronts with firm resignation the sticky agarose coat that the microwave-inside is now gaily wearing .

Damn all sparkly things to hell!

Sunday, March 25

Perspectives VI: Dreams for an Insomniac Part 2

Sudden clouds cut off the silent scream of moonlight. She woke with a start, pulse racing, sweat beading her upper lip. Breathe, she whispered to the night. Darkness rattled around the room, conjuring people from the shadows with a feathery touch. She heard her daughter's soft chuckle from the next room. What is she still doing awake at 2, she wondered. A difficult thirteen she was turning out to be. Things hadn't been easy after the accident. The familiar emptiness inside her flared up for an instant. She sighed. She turned over onto her side. Away from her husband's sleeping body. She tuned her breathing to his, the familiar rhythm providing comfort. Militant thirteen year olds could be dealt with in the morning. Sleep swiftly deluged her in welcome oblivion.

Moonlight emerging from the cloudy ambush swept back through the silent window, menacing her sleeping form. Alone on the otherwise empty bed in a marooned corner of the otherwise almost-empty house, peopled only with shrouded furniture and might-have-beens.

Note: We are nothing if not accommodating. What MT wants MT gets:)

Friday, March 23

Perspectives V: Dreams for an Insomniac

The clock showed 2:01 in urgent red. Panic snatching at her breath. Nightmare-replays. The lonely girl, unwanted, unheeded, curled in the corner of that evil house. She could still taste the bitter-almond smell of neglect in the air. She called him. "I had a nightmare. There's a girl in a house where she isn't wanted. No one loves her." "Babe, it's just a dream." She found her lips curving into a smile at the sleepily calm conviction; reality gingerly tested the waters with a shrinking toe. Anxiety, momentarily vanquished, grimly clawed back over the edge of memory. "But do you think there's a girl somewhere in the world who really feels like that right now? She seemed so sad. And alone." She felt the girl's terror reaching out for her again while he swam through the pause. "But that's not possible. Everyone has someone." That's not true, her brain protested in the instant before reality returned with a splash. Bathed in its warm wave, comfort snuggled back into her bed, waiting for the covers to be pulled up around them. She closed her eyes, a soft "Sleep tight" lingering at the edges of sleep, leaving something silently solid resolutely unexamined in a corner.

Thursday, March 22

Feeling Groovy

There comes a time in all our lives when the world suddenly becomes perfect. For two minutes exactly (I timed it). I just got some fantabulously splendiferously marvelliciously happy-making news. I actually (for 120 seconds) forgot all the other itty-bitty knicky-knacky problems that plague and pestilent (if anyone asks me if this is a real word when used in this sense I shall lie without a blush) me. I was wrapt in blissful contemplation of ummm pretty much nothing. But it was definitely blissful contemplation. I identified it as such immediately (not for nothing am I a molecular geneticist, we are quite sherlocky in our identification of conditions of the spirit if we say so ourselves). At the end of afore-mentioned time frame I realised that

1. It was a pretty stupid thing to have been worried about in the first place.
2. The news I heard while good was not really thatgood.
3. It brought with it its own share of troublesome decisions.
4. None of my other problems had vanised (most surprisingly).

And zat, peepul, is ze vairy essence of ze human naycher.

(Yes, yes, we mggs also have an alarming tendency to address stray thoughts to trees. What to do? We are like this only :)

Wednesday, March 21

Perspectives IV:This One I couldn't Resist :D

She: Atheism's a farce. Obviously, it's just a substitute of one kind of belief for another.

He: But that doesn't even make sense. Consider the meaning of atheism. According to the Oxford dictionary blah blah blah.....
Besides, if you think about it logically, atheists just state that they don't believe in theology or religion yada yada yada........
Also, if you think about it there is no reason for belief. We'd be perfectly fine without believing in anything blah yada blah.......
Finally, you know what Camus says about yada blah yada......

She (blinking): Wow. He's taking me seriously. Hmmm. How unsettling. One minute I'm making a flippant remark about I-don't-even-remember-what and the next he's babbling on about some dude called Camus. (aloud): Ahaan. Yeah, talking about Camus, dya wanna go get some New York Strawberry Cheesecake from Ben and Jerry's?

Update: A masterpiece created by just one (among many) jeering reader. :)

She : When you come right down to it ,in the manner of speaking,what is the meaning of life?

He : ( dont take the bait..dont take the bait.. ) Well I mean it depends on which perspectiv...blah blah b;ah blah....

She : ( ok that's food for fodder for another blog of these days might as well listen..he might have a point....Anyway with my external guise for being flippant and not taking things seriously I can gently let it pass...all I have to do is make a caricature of him..) Interesting..did you know I "think" parallel while saying something else? Did Camus have anything to say about that perhaps?

He : Not sure about Camus..but some other sentient d00d did say appositely "Sigh! Women!"

(@anony: I would link to you since I suspect you are in fact TMWWT but since I'm not sure I desist :)

Tuesday, March 20

So you don't believe, huh?

Warning: Brilliant argument ahead. Pliss to watch out for sudden curves, road-blocks, cul-de-sacs and terrifying leaps of faith.

Atheists! Gah!! What do they know? They're like color-blind insomniacs attempting to appreciate Dreamland. Missing the essence for the smell, the texture for the taste, the tone for the color. I would like to propose, hereby, that atheists cannot exist. Not that they do not exist, or that they will not exist or they did not exist but that they simply can't. It's impossible. Wait, wait, do not jump down my throat just yet. There shall be plenty of time for that in a bit.

My argument is simplicity in itself. Let us consider the believers. The devout-when-in-trouble ones, the not-so-pious priests and the sometimes-pious common man. And yes, yes also the truly hypnotised believers (I fear I'm allowing some bias to creep in here, but let us pass along merrily pretending to not see it). The ones who see God and his mum in subway puddles (interesting anecdote: I was once accused by a grad student in my lab of seeing the Virgin in my southern blot! I would like to restate my total innocence in the face of that accusation, just for the record). These multitudinous hordes of believers, the religious Muslims, the lacklustre Hindus, the righteous Christians, the martyred Jews, the we're-not-asking-for-trouble Buddhists, all of them believe strongly in a God. A supreme Saviour. A Man for Every Crisis. Yes? Is everyone with me so far? Right. Now, we realise that some beleagured believers are born with a miracle, some achieve miracles and some have miracles thrust on them. But, by and large, most of us never catch sight or sound of a miracle. Still the believers believe. They genuflect. They rejoice in the knowledge that they are Taken Care Of. And this, this is the seduction of God, isn't it? A receptacle for all that needy belief.

What about atheists you ask me. After all you began with a bitter diatribe on atheists, you point out smugly. Please do not interrupt sir, I say coldly and with merciless dispatch. I was coming to atheists. Now, these great atheists, these supposed non-believers, these heretics. Can they attest that they have no belief? Can they vouch for this and say we don't believe, with one voice? Can they swear on the Bible in a court of law? Of course not (cept maybe for the last, cos that's a little umm..suspect)! They can't. Because they do believe. Just that they believe in themselves, or they believe in their family, or their country, or money. Or Science. Or something. They still believe, don't they? And no, this is not mere semantics. This is Truth! The thing we guard most jealously, protect from all those other heretics, nurture among our children, foster within our communities and argue about most passionately is Belief. It is immaterial whether God exists or not. For people who tell me they can't decide whether there is a God or not, I have only one word : Pshaw! It is not about whether he exists or not, it's not about which one is the true god. It's not about how many times you pray or in which direction or how long your beard is. It's about this: Do you believe or not?

I might not know whether God exists or not, I might not know whether God can work miracles or even if God cares about each and everyone of us. All of that is open to doubt. But what I do know is that the world would be a million times worse off if we didn't have Belief. I do know that God cannot exist without Belief, but Belief can exist without God. So, in the eyes of Belief, putting all my trust in It, I summarily reject all my claims to being an atheist. Cos I Believe. I do.

PS: Click on all the links. They're good ones. I promise. None of that annoying wiki stuff. Also I'm sharing all my glory with Picoult (because I was inspired to write this because of her, even though the thoughts were mine before I read hers, or so I'm claiming, as Belief is my witness! :P).

Update: A guide that facilitates understanding of the post. Like an easyreader.

KG: You're not saying that faith is a good thing
or a bad thing
you're saying that we have an all-pervasive need for faith
so if there wasnt god
there would have been something else
there'd b smthng else
so we re all asking the wrong q
it dsnt matter whether there's god or not
tats jst totally beside the point
atheism mks no sense
cos they're protesting the wrong thing
god is jst a name
at the end of the day
its jst a means to the end
we need to question our need for faith
whoooooo hooooooooo

Update 2: And I give you someone who said it much better than either of these two pathetic attempts.

Monday, March 19

Misery, Love Thyself

She looked at him and smiled.

"Whatcha smiling for this time?", he asked idly.

"You make me smile", she said. "Just thinking of you makes me smile."

"Yeah, right!" in amused disbelief. He knew this game. "But you know what they say about people who smile too often", he continued, half grinning.

"That they're mad?" she asked.

A vigorous shake of his head.

"They're happy?"

Another negative shake.

"Maybe only mad people are happy anyway." She knew he'd find that as amusing as she did.

He smiled back.

"They're amused too easily?", the third guess always had to be a good one.


"So, tell me already."

"They say people who smile the most are often the saddest. That the smile hides their sorrow and lets them pretend they're happy for just a while."

She smiled wryly. Close enough to home to make her wince.

"But what about the people who're really truly sad and don't smile?" she objected.

"I suppose unabashed wallowing in sorrow comes with it's own special joy, no?".

Sunday, March 18


He sat marvelling at the precise beauty of the sunrise. The cold winter morning air wheezed out of his lungs condensing into little smoke clouds as he stared at the horizon. The colors bled into the sky. Shades of orange and pink that he didn't even know names for, maybe they had none. He heard the birds pipe up one after the other. The trees swayed gently in the early morning breeze. The dark of the sky was penetrated and swept out with dainty brush strokes. The air became colder as the sun came into view. Not with the blazing warmth of summer but the more distant, offended brightness of winter. She seemed to disdainfully pick up the sweep of her multicolored skirts and hunch her shoulder at the world. "I want nothing to do with you", she seemed to say with a sniff. He felt a sudden burst of happiness in his heart. Promises of adventure. Stirrings of hope. Today, anything was possible. If the sun could step over the earth's horizon with such effortless ease how could anything be too difficult? He would conquer the earth today. He would make himself a better man. He would be worthy of the chirping birds, the chattering squirrels. He would show the world who he was. He stood up, bursting with purpose. Stooping to pick up his ragbag and holding the fluttering tatters of his shirt together against the cold wind, he shuffled off down the street.

Friday, March 16

All Said and Done

In continuation of the How To series, I present How to Make an Ass of Yourself in One Easy Sentence. It's really extremely simple. It sounds all impressive and stuff. You're probably round-eyed with anticipation. How, but how will she manage to pull this rabbit out of the hat, you think. I'm not a magician for nothing, dear sirs (and you, ladies of course. Looking very fetching today, we are, huh? *winks charmingly, chattering-magician ishtyle*). So here it is. There is no 5-step technique that I can teach you, no flowchart or easy-to-understand manual. But what I can (and will, never fear) do is provide tried and trusted examples from my life and hard-won examples from the lives of my friends and family (as in I won them by dint of much effort and diligent bullying and blackmailing). The top 10 for your edification (I didn't dare do the top 50 list I'd originally planned, lack of space and your patience and all that). So ta-da. Behold and Wonder.

1. The technician in your lab comes up to you, looking wildeyed and breathing irregularly, and asks you, "Have you seen Buffer P3?". You look him in the eye calmly and collectedly and say, "No. Are you looking for it?"

2. The fire alarm goes off at 3 in the morning and everyone's huddled in their jammies in the fire escape. You walk towards them, rubbing the sleep out of your eyes and say, "Did the alarm wake you guys up too?"

3. Your best friend is crying in your arms about the boy who dumped her. You rub her back comfortingly and say, "There, there. I totally understand. He was so hot, wasn't he?"

4. That great aunt of yours who always terrifies you with her beady stare calls you to her chair and quavers "Happy B'day" at you. You reply with great aplomb (engendered by panic and petrification of the heart) "Umm. Thank you. You too." And then proceed to yell the same response verbatim 5 times (because she's completely deaf in both ears but will *not* wear a hearing aid) so that everyone in the room can know just what scales of idiocy they're dealing with.*

5. You want to get off the elevator at the 4th floor. You trip out of it lightly at the 5th floor itself (where it stops for some frazzled business man type guy to get on) and then smartly turn around, get back in and announce in the general direction of the upper atmosphere of the lift, "Wrong floor."

6. The guy at Subway has the weirdest Jamaican accent (or something!) and asks you "Chips and a drink?". You smile, nod knowingly and say "Debit."

7. You go to a Snow Patrol concert, sing along randomly with the opening act (cos you don't know the words and are just making them up as you go along) and then comment loudly to the guy standing next to you, "Wow! I did *not* know Snow Patrol was this good. They have so much energy."

8. Have a long winded conversation about Harry Potter, his hypothesized fate and that of Dumbledore while constantly referring to Snape as Snipe. With such conviction that the person you're talking to also refers to him as Snipe. Then realize half way through the conversation and descend into helpless giggling that is *not* relieved by the total bafflement on the face of the person you're talking to. (so I know this isn't a sentence but this ranks in my top 10 idiotic conversations-I've-had).

9. Try to break up with your bf and on the third attempt (cos you muffed the first two) end the phone call with "Love you" (Force of habit is a powerful thing *sigh*).

10. Your boss is walking towards you looking hassled and harried. She stubs her foot on the corner of your bench. Look at her sympathetically and say, "Awwww. That must have hurt."

Honorary Mention: You walk into Starbucks, stride purposefully towards the counter girl, look her in the eyes and say, "I want some coffee."

I tried to cover all commonly foreseeable situations in this comprehensive summary, ladies and gentlemen. For a more exhaustive survey (including the i-spilt-my-drink-all-over-my-date situation and the i-nearly-ran-over-you-because-of-my-horrendous-driving-but-if-i-keep-smiling-maniacally-maybe-we-can-pretend-it-never-happened-,-yes-? scenario) pliss to subscribe to my mailing list. And if you don't have natural idiotic-statement-making skills please don't subscribe. Cos it's a god-given gift and cannot be taught to all and sundry!

*This one makes sense only when I add that your great aunt and you do not share a birthday (or anything much else) in common

Wednesday, March 14


She likes to leave the lights off. That way the greyness of the day seeps into the living room. Conquering surfaces. Till the red of the rug is only a remembered red. She likes looking outside, rain-gazing. Feeling it diffuse into the air around her. Soon the room will be a ghost room. Her hand holding the cup of tea a shadow. The tea a deeper ring of darkness. With every sip, it's darkness pooling inside her. She wonders why light is associated with warmth when darkness is so much more blanketing. She imagines the sun setting behind the clouds. Unheeded. Unheralded. Quietly into the sunset? All the clouds huddle together. Rumbling in bass. Flashing in tenor. She doesn't even light the candles. Suppose the flickering chases the grey into corners. She looks up at the ceiling, it's ghostly paleness hovers over her comfortingly. The constant drumming of the rain on the garage roof reigns, with panicky chatter, over the stillness. A desperate tattoo. She listens for the refrain. Three dots three dashes three dots. God patiently waiting for help, Art and Paul humming about pocketfuls of mumbles that are promises. It rains all night. Until faltering hope is finally washed away with the first rays of the sun. Maybe next time.

Tuesday, March 13

Think String Theory

Gather around, children. It's Theory Time again. This is one of our pet ones. So if anyone, and we mean anyone (cept you, of course *smiles disarmingly*) dares pooh-pooh it, they have another think coming (Get it? Think. And the theory is called Think Theory. See? :D). So, in the grand tradition of Einstein, Newton and this upstart Stephen dude, we have decided that it's time for a Unified Theory of Thoughts. It's also called What Happens to Thought Thoughts (yeah, I have tons of those pun type things happening. Do not groan. It's impolite!).
To start at the beginning (the best place to start, we hear), it's most politic to examine the Origins of Thoughts. So basically, in lay terms, a thought comes into being the instant a brain thinks it, right? It's created, it has an existence. What's more, it has a reason. A purpose for being. It was brought into this world to accomplish something unique. Something only it can achieve. There is no existential angst in the thought community because for the most part they know where they come from, where they're going, and being more sophisticated than mere humans, they know who created them. Now though they're all created equal, in the fine fashion of our world some are more equal than others. So the more equal ones are given proper houses and admiration. They're given credit. They're feted and idolized. They're set down in pages and other brains and some remain immortal.
But (and it's a big but) what happens to the fraction of thoughts that are thought and then abandoned by their creator? The ones that are brushed aside. The destitute ones that stand at traffic signals begging for sustenance. The refugees, the unwanted ones. Do they have a Home for Orphan Thoughts? That takes in the strays. Puts them all together in a Thought Lounge? With a little dart board and a TV? No. We must be practical. Such things don't happen in the real world (and we're nothing if not realistic). So, we postulate that as per our findings, the stray thoughts evaporate. Right. You heard me. They just slip out of the numbskull who stuck them in a dusty unused corner and they flit around. Because they have to fulfill their destinies. See? It's like a survival instinct. They are born along with the notion of a niche to fill. It's like a MPD type thing. Two thoughts in one. The thought itself and the corollary notion (their relationship we have reason to believe is a lot like a person and his doppelganger). So these flitting thoughts earth themselves in new places. Hoping eternally to find the bliss of transforming into an epiphany. This is a lot like the caterpillar-butterfly transformation. Now, some brains are more receptive to these Stray Thoughts than others. They work as lightning poles. The s.t enters, earths itself and after five minutes of incubation explodes as an epiphany. Now, an epiphany, we all know, is paid attention to simply because it comes out of the blue. Elementary psychology. You see a thing for the first time, suddenly, and it seems splendiferous. So, basically it's all strung together, see? A think string. New thought born, evaporates, earths itself, explodes and is immortalised. In other words, every thought exists as a string, encompassing it's past, present and future avatars. And the whole sentient world is made of these Think Strings. Floating around. This in a nutshell, is the Think String Theory.

It has not escaped our notice that our theory not only explains what happens to unused thoughts, but also with perfect economy explains the occurence of epiphanies. In a previous paper we had spoken about epiphanies (we wanted to link to the paper, but couldn't find it! Which makes us wonder whether we just thought it or if we really wrote it. Or if we are yet to write it but having given the think string existence, we have a memory of the thought in it's future epiphanized form) and their likelihood of occurence in passing. We feel that this work is only a continuation of that one, a small cog that helps turns the huge wheel (of umm..Whatever). We expect great things from this discovery, in its own small way. We're very proud of it. Sort of like our protege. Huh? What was that? Oh right. We've exceeded the word limit. Just one more thing. We'd like to thank the editors of Science for considering our little theory worthy of publication in their journal. Initiative like this will bump up their readership numbers, we believe. So goodferya, old chaps. Two thumbs up.

Sunday, March 11

Interview Blues

The caffeine made her perky and she knew she was at her best when she was perky. They had said make sure you don't have coffee breath. She popped some gum into her mouth while walking from breakfast to her first interview. Last minute panic-induced attempt to rid herself of the gum had left a potted plant a little richer by one chewed up wad of Wrigley's. Keep your handshake firm and dry, they'd said. She made sure that her hand wasn't limp in theirs. You don't want them to feel like someone's handed them a dead slab of fish. Keep your back straight, you don't want to look like a slouch, they'd said. She sat so erect that she thought her spinal cord would snap. Look relaxed and happy they'd said. Her jaws were aching from smiling already. Don't talk too fast. The goras won't understand, they'd said. She enunciated clearly and didn't use any slang. Look interested in what they say and ask intelligent questions if you have any, they'd said. She'd concentrated like she'd never concentrated before. Her head was aching, her hands were trembling from nervousness, her back was aching but she asked intelligent questions. It was almost over. The home stretch. Everyone seemed happy. The boss-man stood up, shook her hand, saying "We think you'd be a productive addition to our department. We look forward to seeing you again. If you have any questions, just ask Gus." It was over. Her knees went weak. She smiled like she meant it for the first time that morning. "Hop on the bus, Gus.", she quipped, witty with relief. The boss-man looked bewildered. "Excuse me?" he smiled in anticipation of elucidation. "Fifty ways to leave your lover", she clarified, chuckling a little, residually.

The door closed behind her softly. The last ten minutes will always get you, they'd said.

Thursday, March 8


Last night, we are happy to report, there was an outbreak of Nomad Wars. Pliss to go check it out. It was much fun. But I think towards the end the only people it made sense to was me and Wiseling :).


And it's a Work in Progress.

Note: It just occurred to me, that however much you try to stop yourself from thinking of some things, they tend to pop out at you like nasty jack-in-the-boxes when you least expect them to. It's quite tiresome, really.

Tuesday, March 6


It nestled in the subtle hollow of creamy pale skin, winking at him. A dark green that was surprisingly translucent when sunlight touched it. The globular gibbousness of it entranced him. He imagined containing it in his palm. Cold to the touch at first, but warming up quickly. The smoothness of the surface interrupted by the little lines of engraving. Rays of the sun on one hemisphere hallowing a fiercely smiling face; and the intertwined moon and star on the other. She bent down to pick up a fallen piece of paper and it swung free of the bare restraint of her plunging neckline. Its weight perfectly balancing its upswing with the downswing. Was it soapstone? He'd never had much of a head for geology. He wondered if it was a symbol of something. Young people these days adopted new cults with the noble air of giving stray dogs a home. He liked the subtle mysterious green of it. He almost put his hand out to touch it. Just once to roll it between his fingers. He felt her eyes boring into him. He looked up, realisation dawning with a horrified whimper. "No, no, I wasn't.." he protested faintly, hurriedly. She collected her bags and stalked off the bus. Her haughtily stiffening spine luxuriated in the freedom of expected abuse. Please, he wanted to say. Just please.

Saturday, March 3

A Study of the Behavioral Patterns of Homo sapiens scientificus in Captivity

Aim: To identify and characterize the behavioral patterns observed in Homo sapiens scientificus (common name: Human Scientist) when enclosed in a specific habitat (a Conference Room) over extended periods of time (8 hours).

Materials and Methods: A set of 35 human scientists (give or take a few) were enticed into a 'Conference Room' with no little difficulty. The observer (also the author of this paper) remained in the said 'Conference Room' with experimental group and made notes at varied time points detailing the behavioral patterns of specific specimens as well as any general patterns observed. Materials used included Notebook:1 and Pencil: 1.

Observations: Time course over a time frame of eight hours:

0800 hours: A group of the experimental species is herded into annexe by enticements in the form of a breakfast buffet. The near stampede that succeeds the announcement of free bagels proves completely non-fatal since all members of the group appear extremely skilled in the art of extracting bagels from a table whilst fighting off other equally skilled individuals. Some members are almost strangled by their ties (an unfortunate sartorial decision indicating what is believed to be lack of experience and a sign of extreme immaturity within the group) but these specimens are untangled from general crowd and settled safely in a corner by expert organisers of the event.

0815 hours: Attempts are made to move the group of said species to adjoining conference room (the site of the experiment). This task proves more difficult than foreseen due to (one can only assume) the excellence of the stale 2-day-old bagels still surviving the initial breakfast rush.

0830 hours: Expert organisers of event with keen foresight bring jugs of hot coffee and cold orange juice into the conference room. On announcement of this new nutrtional addition to the morning repast, the group of human scientists is successfully manouvered into the conference room. On the heels of last entrant the doors are smartly closed.

0845 hours: Whilst the participants in the experiment are intently occupied with coffee and juice, the inaugral speaker quickly mumbles an introduction and ushers the first speaker in. The expert organisers are observed sporting hunted looks at this critical juncture and a cordon is formed by them at the various entry points to prevent sudden breaks from the coffee/juice table. Fortunately before the experimental group is aware of the conference beginning, it begins. The group seems bewildered by this but quickly settles into the comfortable chairs provided to work off the unaccustomed activity undergone to procure breakfast and coffee.

0945 hours: The second speaker ascends the dias and makes the customary jokes. The experimental group beguiled by the orange juice sniggers at appropriate pauses. Two pertinent questions are even asked at the end, causing speaker to adopt the hunted look from the organisers.

1015 hours: Said observer after 4 cups of coffee is enthusiastically engaged in a quest for the rest room after successfully dodging cordoning organisers. Therefore, the data for next ten minutes is lost although the observer thinks several significant thoughts involving great empathy for both Schrodinger and his cat.

1025 hours: Observer re-occupies observation post and intelligently notices that nothing significant has changed. A few erstwhile members of experimental group have decided to catch 40 winks (no doubt, in order to refresh themselves for the next speaker) but for the most part there is much interest in the current presentation on crypreservation of samples.

1045 hours: While waiting for next speaker to begin his endless presentation, observer has brief but illuminating conversation with neighbour about the efficacy of freezing human subjects and reviving them after 20 years. No conculsion is reached but there is general agreement that it would make an admirable dissertation topic.

1050 hours: New speaker of Asian origin. Observer understands only every second word, and attempts to recreate the rest of the sentence from these words. While this is an amusing game for 5 minutes, it's appeal soon palls and said observer seeks new methods of amusement.

1145 hours: Observer wakes up with a start recommences observation. Topic of next presentation is a so-called 'hot topic' and rival researchers are present in the experimental group. Much gripping entertainment is expected. At end of presentation there is a five minute free-for-all. The expert organisers step in at the first signs of a fist fight and firmly declare this the 'last question'. Much disappointment is swallowed by rest of bloodthirsty audience.

1250 hours: Lunch is announced. There is a repeat of breakfast buffet scene (expounded on in further detail in Appendix 1). In the pell mell, said observer loses her notebook and pencil but is not much perturbed by it. Weightier matters occupy her mind.

1315 hours: Posters are arranged in adjoining room for active perusal by experimental group. Other than the occasional (metaphorical) bared teeth, the passage of time is uneventful. Since observer is engaged at her post next to her poster she is unable to make a detailed firsthand analysis of proceedings. Her primary source for this time interval is the gossip auditory evidence she collects from independent external sources.

1345 hours: Observer realises that she does not have a control group for the experiment. She contemplates ditching it. Then she realises that she can always fudge control group data for the paper. So she sensibly decides in the last minute to continue.

1400 hours: Experimental group herded back into conference room. The expert organisers are prepared with tea this time around and the progress is smooth. However some of the experimental group having wisened up, nip into the room for tea and then leave with muttered comments about vital ongoing experiments in their labs. The expert and by-now-exhausted organisers don't care anymore and are busy sucking up most of the tea themselves.

1415 hours: Man with sticking out ears sitting in front of observer keeps bobbing his head into her line of vision. Observer is appalled by her overwhelming urge to grab his ears and yank his head out of her line of vision. Observer masters the impulse by sitting on hands. Hers, not his.

1445 hours: Presentation on the evils of aspirin. A much awaited issue that is presented by a competent speaker. Most of the experimental group appears pacifist, satisfied by their whiled away day. Much hilarity ensues during a discussion of how one subject treated with various doses of aspirin died not from aspirin overdose but from a cancer that was picked up unawares by the subject.

1515 hours: Keynote speaker makes speech. A specific group call, 'the boot-licking hyena laugh' makes an appearance at regular intervals. Hysterical applause at the end. A couple of overenthusiastic members of group attempt to extend a standing ovation but are embarrassed into sitting back down by the glares of would-be-aspirants to the position of Keynote speaker. The observer observes that it's a dog-eat-dog world and decides to jot that down, only to remember that her notebook was lost during lunch. She then observes that such is life and rues that she cannot note this profundity down either.

1545 hours: End of conference for the day. The observer is unable to make further observations as she is carried away in the current of jostling experimental specimens headed for the elevators.

Conclusion: The experimental group, Homo sapiens scientificus appears to be completely at home in captivity. No stereotypical behaviors e.g pacing or (literal) teeth baring were observed. There was no self mutilation, or periodic scratching and sneezing. The group did appear to perform a crucial ritual when in the vicinity of any nourishment. It is our belief that this ritual allows establishment of hierarchy within the group. Some amount of appeasement of higher order members by lower order members was manifested, primarily in the form of enthusiastic applause and inappropriate laughter. Verbal communication was used effectively by experimental specimens analogously to 'antler locking' manifested by males of other species. We conclude from the experiment that these individuals can be kept locked in a room indefinitely as long as they are equipped with an overhead projector and provided with food at regular intervals.

Acknowledgments: We thank all the participants in the experiment. We are also eternally indebted to our parents without whom we could not have achieved this landmark publication. We particularly thank our mentors who were never rude or dismissive or unencouraging or unreasonable.

Thursday, March 1

Public Advisory

We suggest the general public (i.e. people we work with, people who are on the same elevator as us, people who are sitting next to us on the bus, people who, in short, come within speaking distance of us) please not talk to us or expect us to make/understand sparkling repartee at any point in time before noon, on any day of the week. We believe this will prevent, abolish and exterminate painful conversations like this one:

Gora boy in lab (Gbil): So, are you going to get dressed up in traditional Indian dress for the presentation?
Me: Huh? Wha-?
Gbil: Y'know, the wossit. That all you Indian chicks wear. Are you gonna wear it tomorrow?
Me: Huh? What's a traditional Indian dress?
Gbil: It's called a sari. Maybe you've heard of it.
Me: Oh! Right. No. I don't know how to wear one.
Gbil: (in between bouts of mocking laughter) You don't know how to wear one?? All the other Indian chicks I've met know how to wear one.
Me: Well, I don't.
Gbil: What about the round dot? The bindi? Do you know how to wear that? Those arm bracelet things? An anklet maybe?
Me: Oh just *&$@ off (and then because of rigorous training inflicted by my mum while I was still at a tender age), please.

Since, we as always endeavour to give satisfaction to the multitudes who clamour around us for our fascinating discourse, we entreat the public to help us help them. Thank you for your attention. And please remember, fore nooned is fore doomed. Have a nice day.