Thursday, November 27, 2008

Carnegie Mellon Says

"We are very saddened by the news reports coming from Mumbai and hope that all is well with your family and friends. We are writing today to offer any assistance that Student Affairs may be able to provide.

Given the Thanksgiving break and limited resources on campus please feel free to contact ... (people and phone numbers)

I trust the support of friends here on campus or at home is a source of comfort and I encourage you to rely on others as needed. Again, our sympathies are with you and we welcome the opportunity to assist."

Its Thanksgiving, and still someone cared to arrange people to call, and mail people. :)

One More

Shooting on VT station. Running away from the sound of "firecrackers". Getting shot. The media making you stop so that they can get a shot of your bleeding hand, before letting you get to a hospital. Grenades on the road, grenades at the Taj. Being stuck in a hotel, knowing that there is firing going on on the other floor. Police dying. Smoke, fire. Mumbai burns again :(
1993, 2003, 2006, 2008.
Bangalore, Delhi, Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Mumbai.
Whats happening to our country ? How do we fix this ?

Friday, November 14, 2008

A Fine Balance

I read A Fine Balance almost two months ago. But the book still haunts me. In the middle of a cup of coffee, I stop and wonder about Dina, and whether things could have been different with her. About whether, if she had pleaded to keep the tailor's machines, she would have been in her own house, she would have been happier.

When I am lying in bed, just about to fall asleep, I wonder about Om and Ishwar - how much they saw, how much they hoped. I wonder what they felt all that struggle was worth.

I think about the book, and feel miserable even now. Hurt for the characters, for their families, for the rest of our country, and I wish, like a small child, that things got better. The last time I connected so much with a book was Shantaram, but at least Shantaram was a happy book. It gave me things to think about, and also to hope for.

A fine balance, on the other hand, left me wanting. Wanting a parent to come and fix this world now. Wanting to not take responsibility for what I see in our world, yet left me knowing that I must - who will, if not us?

Highly highly recommended.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Microbe Hunters

Microbe Hunters is an awesome book ! It tells you about passion in research, about excitement, about success and failure. But more importantly, it talks about scientists - the methodical ones, doing their slow experiments, verifying each step 10 times to remove all doubts, and never jumping to the wrong conclusions, and the other type - the passionate type, who jumps to conclusions, believes in intuition, and putting an idea in the scientific community, waiting for others to build on it, and actually prove the result.

Microbe Hunters gave me hope. Hope that different kinds of people can succeed at the same thing. Hope that if you keep pushing at the rock, it will move - one inch at a time. And it showed me a completely new way to think and write about research. After all, isn't it about the people as much as about the scientific method?

It is an old old book - it was written way back in 1926, and its supposed to have the racist undertones of its times. But its such a beautiful book, so passionate, and exciting, that how does it matter, that 80 years ago, the author thought the white man was supreme ?