Time 4 a quick post
10 mins is all I have to write this blog. Samples waiting to be removed from the sonicator. Well things that's been going good since the last post are -
1. Went crazy when I saw Denzel - Russel's movie online 2 nights ago and was happy to spend $1.16 on coffee (pure milk and sugar with lil caffeine) b4 the movie started. After the movie ended at 5 30 in the morning - I cursed for wasting my time, sleep and of course $1.16. Ridley Scott - never take a true story with Academy Awar winners. I tried to be positive during the movie and when he showed the patented coffee cup lids (not found in 1968) I freaked out. U suck Scott.
2. 3 new data and 3 new discussions and finally 3 different conclusions. Good news? Nayyy! Conclusions were very contradictory. 3 days of serious expt remaining to get what I am supposed to show for the meeting.
3. 3 days of 'no clue what I'm eating' Been busy to the oxygen I inhale and all I eat is - anything I eye upon while running around.
4. Lost some pounds in the name of hair cut. Finally found the right barber who likes talking while doing his job. PS he uses scissors without any request. Played a wonderful lie game with him and learnt a lot about 'what not to do if you have a girlfriend.'
5. 'U look smart and tired' - the comment I got today from a friend when she saw me pruned in my suit with a sparkling face. No sleep, and attended a lecture series with at most drooping eyes. Thanks to the shot I had from Starbucks - I was 200% active for the talk I wanted to listen to and understood some new concepts. No thanks to the University coffee - slept for the first time for an hr in the hall (never happened before and I was pretty happy that I slept over a whole lecture). Decided never to go for shots just like the red bull effect I experienced back during my semifinal game last season.
6. Under heavy coffee hangover. Seriously I am a sugar kid. 1 cup coffee and 12 packs of sugar. But today the shot regular coffee - Shit too much caffeine, in my friends words 'Kadva Kafee' 'Kafee ho gaya coffee'. Sugar was over shadowed by the decoction. Fell real sick now with loads of work on my list.
7. Right hand punch power has improved real good - dent in the 'School of law' board and the colds doing a good job numbing my bones. Left hand - just air punchs.
8. Morro UK plays Misissippi - one more Saturday game I'm missing of work. One way or the other I miss ol' friends.
9. Finally brought myself up and said thanks to my good friend AL for wishing me on every occassion which everyone had in the last 2 months. Felt good after I thanked him.
10. Lastly - 'What am I gonna do for thanksgiving?' is whats pondering me for quite some time.
Shit! 12 mins... Wish my samples were maagi.....
Just the right tip
Yesterday morning I was looking through all my results and was feeling happy to see what I had accomplished in less than two months. Casually I browsed through my abstract for my AICHE conference and I felt a little apprehensive as I saw the word AFM imaging in it. The equipment had been down for the past 2 months and I had been getting JUST words that the equipment is going to be up and running soon for the past two weeks. With everything else going better than as planned, I decided to finalise all my data which eventually consumed my whole day. As I had said earlier in one of my blogs, I had been sleeping lately a lot (a minimum of 6 hrs a day) and am a last minute busy bee.
But this time since all my work had been completed 95% a week ago, I decided to take another step in my research (a big risk) and eventually it worked good for the preliminary studies. Without any doubt I presented the data to my advisor (sent the report at 4 in the morning today) in the individual meeting (another big risk) with all the discussions and conclusions. Went home with a little confusion of what is wrong with me - meaning 'I am sleeping too much and am working ahead of my time line.' With doubt I went to sleep at around 4:30ish.... Was scared that I might not make up for the 9 30 meeting with me over sleeping every day for the past 2 weeks.
But when I woke up today and watched my clock I had the broadest morning smile ever. I woke up at 8 15 sharp (15 mins before the alarm) and thanks to that time, had a great breakfast - Cereals and milk (Hey come on this had been my first morning meal since two weeks). As I walked out of my house, I noticed that it hadn't stopped raining. My mind hit the question - Y doesn't it rain in California and quench (what's the word I'm forgetting here?) the fire? Well all thought its still awesome to walk early in the morning (ahem 9:15 was early for me). It had been slightly raining, and so I decided to walk with my umbrella closed. Today my theme was to count how many were like me walking in the rain with an umbrella unused. After the heavy rapid eye movements (trying to catch everyone in the mindframe) for 10 minutes I eventually found 3 people (including me) to walk just like me. I said crazy guys (didn't count me in), and made it to my department. As I was about to enter the faculty corridor - 'Main Jahan Rahoon' song from Namaste London mellowed in my earphones. Damn! It had been long I listened to this piece of magic and stopped on the corridor. Listened to half the song and then made it to my advisors room.
With the new data on the table, and the funny tag lines I used during the conversations we had during his conference through mail threw him off guard. Today he was much more interactive, and happy to see me (not work) but feel good. We had a healthy discussion (just like the healthy breakfast, hehehe) and at the end he gave me the words - 'Hey Hahri (thats the accent he uses), Nice job. U know when to walk the line and when to cross it. Keep it up.' Hell I had a question mark on my face, but I had my 32 white soldiers aiming at him. His artillery also came into action and presto I walked out of his room with head high and immediately in the faculty corridor I was dancing (really) and one other faculty saw me and smiled. Scratched my head and came back to my lab. New experiments ahead and bigger analyses to be done in the 10 days I have before my big conference. The past weeks goodness has pushed me from just giving the script, to direction to the lead role in the Mime for the LTCA function gonna be held this weeked. I opted out of the Diwali Dhoom for any major event but if things go as planned, who knows I might chip in as a nightwatchman. This might be the last post before I finish my conference. Got the right tip for the three weeks ahead of me. Time to be the last minute bee. Time to lock and load. Hastha La Vista baby!!!!!!
Carton of the Year
'A pen is mightier than a sword'. But 'Paper is mightier than Metal'. Thinking 'Huh?' Recently I discovered how powerful card board boxes can be. Ever saw the program 'How It Is Made?' in Discovery? Well it's an awesome program showcasing every damn detail of how a particular material is made at the industrial level right from safety pins, bulbs, fried chicken nuggets to cars and cranes. But I'd been observing that at the end of any material production it goes into the packaging area where one observes sheer dexterity and experience amalgamating for efficiency of filling up things. Damn these guys are good.
Later as days passed as I got in contact with cartons (Card board boxes which they use for packing) I was astonished by the intricacies involved in the box. The design of these boxes is extremely complex equivalent to the product they pack in with. In less than 2 weeks, I had come across at least a hundred different types of carton boxes. The complex folds, end cuts, paste materials, groves for hold up, striations for stacking, sine wave insulation for better life time, handling accesories, etc is amazing.
So far I thought Origami was the only art which involves paper foldings. But listen to me - defenitely making card board boxes is an art better than origami. I learnt in my biology class that the more folds a brain has the better memory and skills the person inherits. Well whoever designs these folds had better folds under his skull. Hats off to these guys. Guess these were the guys who played in card board boxes as shown in 'For everything else there's master card' commercial. As for the dexterous people who manage to squeeze in a dozen 20 oz coke cans in approximately 130 oz cartons - You must be paid more than the financial guys who try to fit in all the money within the clause limit. As I mentioned the mastercard commercial, the other work I admire the most is the advertising field. Man the new Heinz ad is beautifully masterminded. Here's the link: http://youtube.com/watch?v=2BImty7f5Ng
Q&A’s in disguise.
The past one month had been a good one not in terms of my work or fun, but in terms of looking at my character on a whole. In the past 30 days I had discussions with a hell lot of people and at least a couple of dozen people ended up on one advice for me – ‘Prioritize your life’. I had been shot with questions like – ‘Why do you care about the waiter?’ ‘Why don’t you just sleep and not go attend some friends call?’ ‘Why don’t you finish your work and then play?’ ‘Why should you go with him/her for their work?’ etc. I even was asked questions from my parent’s side. I was confused for sure, but never cared much about it. I was called as Mr. Suicide, baby sitter, 911, moneyac, etc in less than a couple of weeks. Recently after having some conversations with half a dozen friends, I realized that everyone end up stating that I don’t have a life of my own. I didn’t argue with anyone over this issue, but kept pondering over how true their analysis was. These were really questions that kept me off my usual mind. But there were incidence that happened over the past few days which answered all my questions.
First of all after being confused, I decided to be to myself for quite some time and see what happens. Well I got answers for being silent. At least 10 people over the weekend called me for some kind of help. The 10th guy gave me the answer for one of my questions. In order to cut short the details – in short he ended up saying that, people come to me for help only for those situations where they don’t know anyone else who had such a situation other than me. Further he said that I never help them directly but advice them on what to do. I was happy when I realized what ways I’ve been helping people.
I spoke with my dad on his birthday and after years I asked him a question relating to my life and he was happy about it. I asked him ‘Do I care about myself and do I do my duties good?’ for which his response in short was like this – You do give your preference to your duties first all the time. You are a last minute performer and you always been like this. You do all the other stuff first and you exactly know when to start your work. But never have you worried about whether you would finish it on time coz you always knew how to finish the work. And that my son is what your way of victory is. After this talk with my dad I did put some thought into it and realized that I do analyze a lot (over the instant I think when someone approaches me) and only when I feel nothing clashes with my goals I accept helping them. I exactly know what my limitations are. I accept that I go to the physical extremes tiring myself before I go to bed, but I balance my health a lot. In 2 years I gone from a lazy oaf to an active person leading a healthy life.
The most intriguing question that pondered me was, ‘Y should I care too much about friends whom I never expect to call me when I’m down?’ For this question I was searching every corner of my life for an answer. But I couldn’t find one. But I found my answers in the best ways. There was an incident when I just gave a friendly comment of calling one of my funny friends for a strip club. There was a third person who listened to this and immediately showed a worried face. I told him it was a joke and he was fine. Later that night when it was 4 in the morning, he called me and asked what and where I was? He instead of advising me, ordered me not to even think of such things. I had a great laugh that night over my walk and was feeling happy. Later the same day, a distant friend of mine (my senior whom I emulated for his great character and communication skills) came online and said that he felt good reading my blogs. Though all I did was boost his morale with some friendly advices, I personally felt the same boost coming in me coz now I need to live up to their expectations. Later I realized that, my way of a successful life has always been coz of me standing as an example to my friends. Its not only the grass that’s greener on the other side, the weed too is.
My lab senior member was extremely down coz of his recent failures in work and coz of all the work on his shoulders. There was a time when we danced to lab music and had fun, but this time he was extremely pissed. Though we had 3 more graduates and a bunch of undergrads he preferred talking to me about his troubles, and all I did was give him examples of my situations and in a day his mood changed and his work flourished. To keep him on the drive I too was working great in the lab. Though my mind didn’t think of keeping him happy when I worked, there was this inner mind which kept me work hard just to get me good results so that I won’t go to his state. My good friend and colleague whom I considered to be the coolest guy among a group of friends was in fact going through lot of stress coz his social life. In spite of being in a group of awesome friends, and laughing every day and enjoying great time going out, he was extremely stressed up. One nights discussion with him gave me insight into my own ways of life. I was pleased not just because I made him happy but coz of the ways I understand life. My roomies have always been there to support me whenever I’m down and it had been mutual among us. Yesterday night I got call from a great friend whom I used to go for
With all this happiness of answers filling my mind, there was still something bothering me, and I didn’t know what it was. But today when I was walking to Chipotle for lunch I met this old friend of mine. We are talking and when she told me am crazy to walk roughly 2 miles for lunch I responded her, ‘The weathers good to sit outside Chipotle for lunch and I kept walking with her’. After she departed, I kept on walking and near Chipotle I met another person whom I never even remembered of meeting before crossed the road and came to me and spoke with me. Eventually after knowing her and laughing about my network of friends, I invited her for lunch and ended up having a sponsored lunch (shameless me). She left early whereas I remained basking in the afternoon clouds outside Chipotle. Then I realized that I do have my very own life. I do have time for myself every now and then. Whenever I feel I want to be alone, I remain in solitude. I realized that I had done a great job so far taking care of issues that faced my life a lot. I had stood strong so far and never had quit on things I liked the most. I’ve never done any harm to others and especially to myself. Finally the best answer I had for all my questions were my questions itself. It started raining and I decided I need to walk in the rain and I did walk in the rain with a broad smile. I do live a life that I like the most.
As I was about to post this blog, a friend came online and spoke to me about her experiences she had over the weekend. Though I had been rude to her some weeks ago, I was happy to see her come again and talk to me. Along with the long blog above this para I would like to add the fact that I do have some characteristics which does make people hate the way I am, and I am looking into those issues too. Eventually there would be a day, when instead of me being happy, I would keep everyone happy. I am happy I got answers to most of my questions… I thank everyone who directly or indirectly helped me on this (though it is not necessary to give a public thank you note, that’s how my character is). I like it that way…..
A slim piece of some trees trunk with holes drilled at random points is what I thought of a flute when I was a kid. But if Lord Krishna can mesmerize people with it, then obviously I can fall for the same overtone. My attempts to learn the instrument never proved musical when I was a kid. But there never was a moment that I walked out of that instrument. It had been lying on the top of my dreams.
A year back when I went to India I had bought a flute (on the beach bargaining with a roadside dealer coz I was out of money that day) and brought it with me to the US. As I lived with a group of music freaks (just like me), I never tried to blare their ears with my piece of work. I kept my flute along with a learners book in my lab draw for nearly year and in time forgot about it (thanks to all the crap) and unfortunately to my dreams I burried it with a pile of journals (fortunately that had been good for my research).
The past one week had been a real work out for my ears and mind. I'd been listening to new songs all the time and the top 5 songs I listened the most in this week had flute bits in it. As I listened to 'em today, I noticed the reason I chose the songs to be my favorites. Every song had the start music with a flute. The ghost of the 'RIP' flute haunted my mind and thanks to my guilt feelings, the learners manual was also found.
Minutes of blowing, to short breaths, to exhaustion, to spits, and finally to sound.... Woo hooooo... 10 minutes of web search and there I was making sounds with the wood. With a natural interest in music and a few old lessons on keyboard music, my fingers were moving good. Childhood memories hit me and wallah music to the dead..... I've now mastered 3 seconds of music (musical bit of the flute u'll find in the song Dum Laga from the movie Dil, Dosti etc)....
Looking forward to try more of it and especially with the time I get at nights sitting in the lab waiting for printing zillions of papers and readin 'em or waiting for samples to time out - this is gonna b fun.... With the basement rented entirely for myself at nights, none's gonna shed blood from their ears....
Further since the topic was on music, in a year I'd changed a lot from listening to pure musical bits to observing musical pieces in songs to specific lyrics and then to songs where I like both the music and lyrics and now to pure masterpieces. Of course there were days on the interim when the music which went through my ears never made it to my brain... Before my PhD gets over I expect to have another talent under my belt and this one's right from the box....
Have you ever wondered how much money the government gets in 'one cent taxers'? 'One cent taxers' - define it. In our (Indian) terms the best way to explain is by using the term 'Bata 95ers'. All Bata branded shoes end at a 95 paise rate. Similary most US products end at 99 cents. Whats the big difference? Well we don't pay sales tax for the 95 paise we spend on our shoes for (till I was in India, but now it is charged only when use plastic money). But here tax eats out even the 99ers. For a normal working citizen that doesn't make much difference (with the Lincolns being thrown on streets whose cost of production is 14% higher than the usual price - Well Lincoln can't be forgotten and thats another sad story). But on the whole the tax revenue from 99ers is humungus on the whole with a whooping $34000 roughly (from my estimates, the true fact is available in the US revenue website in a secondary format) in one day. It is equivalent of pilfering one cent from all the citibank card holders from a small city (just a guess). One thing I can say other than me also donating a pint of my sweat to the government is - Bata guys still earn more money by not giving back the 5 paise back to their customers. Now that's Indian strategic marketing. The customer always feel happy paying the full 100 and calls it a 99.95 shoe....
Brownies buddy, Brownies.....
Have you ever tried something you really hate doing just because everything else turned out to be hell till that moment? Well I did it today. Had the worst week of my life so far. I bought a slice of chocolate cake just like that, and ate the whole cake in 2 minutes. Did not mind the taste, or anything. Just hogged in. Then again called my roomie to the cafetaria and asked him to buy brownies for me and he did put a strange look. Eventually I had the brownie too.
On the contrary the good news of the week were - Finally I had training on ellipsometry, my 9th equipment under my PhD career (thanks to my post doc interests, my guide is torturing me to learn all the equipments the whole lab and even his co lab uses. Now I am senior incharge in the whole university to most of these instruments). AFM might start working in 2 weeks - meaning I get to spend nights in the lab looking at monitors with crappy images. Finally found a way to take care of financial debts without asking for help from my brother (have zero idea of how I am going to manage research with this on the side). Slept on an average 5:30 hrs daily (never woke up to the alarm). Let go of being the 'protective shield' and gave permission for my roomies to go at their will (either things will go good or I might become the bad guy). Finally my good funny roomie approached me and spoke about his issues (indirectly it helped me a lot in spite of wasting 6 hrs of lab work). Managed to bear my back pain by keeping myself occupied on different things (defenitely not a remedy for back pain coz it comes with the tag 'do not try this at home'). The cold weather has really made my twisted and swollen ankle comfortable to walk with . Saw some old pictures taken a year back and was happy of how much I had done in this period (but am also scared of what I am becoming now and what I shall lose soon)... All said, being a ghost really hurts a lot especially physically tiring....
Curled in doubt
Slam the Heart, Dance Forever and Kentucky Man - names of three horses which changed my perspective of life. Am never gonna forget these three names, especially Slam the Heart -which came from 7th position to second and fell back to third by quarter of an inch to Dance Forever. The reason for loving these three horses was actually blogged early which later I decided to keep hidden for personal reasons. Though it happened just a day before, I am very much positive that this is the turning point my life had been waiting for.
Well coming back to the current post, after the Keenland horse racing trip, I was coming back home with my friend and a chinese colleague of ours. He had brought his wife and kid along with him (he did win some good money) and we were discussing something about the hot weather in the car. All of a sudden, there were these words with high tone hurling into my ears in a sequence in a short span. My worn out medulla oblogata reasoned out that the words were chinese and the couple were discussing something. Curiousity brought the cat in me and I watched them, in the mirror and to my suprise they were watching me and the lady was pointing her finger at me. Doubt set me into confusion. But me being in a happy mood coz of the three horses, I din't let my doubts take over my reasoning skills. I just went blank for a couple of minutes and then the chinese friend called me.
He asked how I curled my hair and that his wife likes my hair. As daffy says, 'Well Blow me Down!!!' Completely dumbstruck, this was the first compliment on my hair in well I would say 23 years leaving apart my mom cuddling me and saying how beautiful her son is. (Seesh! All Mums are the same. For them their children are always the prettiest and handsome of all). After explaining them the concept of hair oil, hot bath, curly gels, etc I was satisfied in satisfying them with a hope of curling her hair. Now they are calling me and asking me hair tips which I inform them clearly that I am not the right guy to approach.
With me trying to find a guy who can machine cut my long hair free of cost or a coupon that would help me reduce the 'hair straightening' rate to the red ticket value, and obviously as usual avoiding all hazzles related to my hair care skills, a married chinese woman's remark really set doubts in my self grooming standards. To add to the doubts, a freind of mine, minutes ago commented on my hair length since I put an old pic of mine in orkut (in which I looked good with short hair).
'To straighten or not to straighten' is the question this shakesphere is trying to ponder out....
Never had been an instant in the past couple of years I thought I would fall back blinded on my knees. This time the fall is hard and the pain is deep. I need a recovery not hard but cold enough, that I can withstand all the discomforts I am going to face soon. With lots of emotion and lost heart I decided to rejuvenate myself. Short term occupied goals is the only artillery under my belt. This might be the craziest moment for I to name a recovery with code names. But I guess, this is a good step for me coz now I am thinking funnier and positive rather than be on my knees and crib.
Code name 'Filling Tranquility': Dead line - January 31st 08
Code name 'New Year': Dead line - December 31st 07
Code name 'Ghost': Dead line - November 5th 07
Code name 'Worm Hole': Dead line - October 31st 07
The description of the projects shall be explained as time sets in. I had grown frustrated and tired as days passed. Before I lose all my energy waiting for good, I guess it is time for me to enter the battlefield. If you give me war, then I'll give you one hell of a war.
Was it all worth doing?
‘Come on in.’ Waving a pile of papers in his hand he said, ‘these are some pretty good results. IT IS TIME.’ Words direct from the mouth of your advisor. Sweet ain’t it? With an air of caution I said, ‘Yup! It is time.’ The meeting went for about 45 minutes and after delineating him with all the current results, he was happy. A smile curved deep into his heart. As he checked the proposed work for this month, his eyes set on the term, ‘Consolidating results for a paper’. With lightning flash he took his red ink Bic pen and scribbled in handwriting similar to any doctorate the word ‘Papers’. Though my heart was jumping over the fact that finally he wants to go for it, my head was throwing out questions – ‘Is this really the time? Are these results enough? Have I achieved what I’d been trying for quite some time? Is it worth?’
My fixed eyes were shaken by my advisors clap (which he often does to show that he is trying to avoid sleep), and then he said, ‘Let’s not go for Langmuir this time. Let’s go a few steps higher… HIGHER…. HIGHer… Higher….’ The next 2 minutes we discussed about the effectiveness of the new results and that this is really good. Finally he asked me the strangest question, ‘All these results were of this month?’ Looking at my affirmative response he sat back in his desk chair, started knuckling his fingers and then checked his cell phone (An act he does often before the big serious speech) and said, ‘I know we went through a bad start with your research. But somehow you rose to the occasion and produced these results in a span of one month. I know you had been skilled in various equipments though we have R, D and N (names kept anonymous) having expertise in their equipments. I need you to undergo training in QCM soon.’ …pause… ‘Hope you know why I am asking you to train in all the equipments the lab use.’
Though I had a hunch of why I am being pushed, I kept a blank stare. He gave me the answer I needed and I was happy that I was right.’
After achieving so much, I am still sad over the things I missed and avoided in this one month. I am turning into a devil….. I need a break from my new life. I want to go anonymous……….