But it's no use going back to yesterday, because I was a different person then.
- Alice in Wonderland

It hit me last night while we were tumbling out of college, degrees in hand. It's been a year since we'd walked out together, and we probably never will again. I chose to stick within those walls for a year longer than you, but far from comfort me with their familiarity, what lay within them morphed over last summer into completely new terrain.

People forever reminisce and gripe about going back to school, reliving their whims and breathing at a different pace. What we don't account for is a million little factors perfectly tuned to creating our perceptions of what used to be a flawless reality, if only for a moment.

The roads we walked and sprawled on aren't the same. My classrooms are 500% more animated, but all our 'spots' now teem with strangers and I scarcely know them anymore. Every memory I have of three years ago are of a different place, a place I thought I would re-identify with you all treading the same ground once again, for a night.

I couldn't have been more wrong.

I'm coming to terms with the fact that a greater part of my life will be spent validating and refuting my daily epiphanies. When I stop and think about life, I realise that, overall, it's pretty darn perfect. It's a whack in the face that I should probably be paying it more attention, because the greater details won't feature in real-time reruns.


comma chameleon


For every time that their became there and who's became whose.

For when it became acceptable to begin a sentence with 'because'.

Because now, beside and besides are the same thing.

For when colour turned into color.

For when we all gave in.


Yes, this is pent-up post-GMAT and mid-application frustration.

while the rest of my country is trying to escape agriculture


... most of my generation's getting it on with Farmville.

Amidst the hordes of lost black sheep, baby elephants and scars on the face of rumanity that are pink cows are some of the people I had previously referred to as my social life. With 63 million people having been sucked into the vortex since it debuted on facebook, I'd be surprised if your minifeed too wasn't flooded with panicscreechwhine status messages pleading for cats and trees. Have you found some premium white mystery eggs on your friend's farm lately? (Oh no!) Definitely not, twenty people just beat you to claiming them frantically. It only took a minute.

Rare green cows are definitely against my religious beliefs. I vote to boycott.

Thank you, abstruse goose.
My facebook presence hopes to curl up and die before Fishville hits my screen.

you live, you learn


Summer '09 began quite, quite ordinarily.

Ze Train
-My train journey on the 15th of May was spent next to a creature who resembled a ruminant at best, and seemed to have minimal control over his rear end. Though I'm in training to become one of those saffron-clad beings capable of tolerating most evils of life, this left me at quite a loss.
I therefore alternated between running from compartment to compartment in search of a friend of mine, smiling at unhappy-looking people and slumbering with the greatest agitation plaguing my soul, dreaming of the day when I shall possess spiky golf shoes, capable of deflating the most troublesome bums.

Ze Drive to the Insti
-We got lost.
[Insert frantic waving and dying in front of Kannada-speaking uncles here]

Room 156
-Home to retard(s) for 47 days and ADORED. We're even willing to forgive the little bloodsucking beings and bugs that encroached upon our space and time.

The Blue Loo
-This was almost the highlight of my summer. Home to my green bucket and several clothes that were soaked and left unwashed for weeks, resulting in their untimely demise. Also home to Mal's & Nik's vibrant yellow bucket, which was grossly underappreciated and therefore spat flames at them and made forth to my blue haven.
Weep, idiots, weep.

The Lab
-My eyes widened when I realised that I was -once again- planted in a lab full of Bengalis. However, these nutcases were awesome. Fantabulously fabulously awesome. They're also disturbingly inclined towards all edible items containing sugar and made jaw-dropping transformations into sweetness-seeking Smeagols every now and then. From my lab, I learnt not only about SPIONs, Raman Spectroscopy and plasmons, but also about how to chat up FESEM operators in Malayalam, find bars of Toblerone in refrigerators next to cyanide and peroxide, mess with gold on a daily basis and get a whole load of entertaining scoops on a place which I otherwise considered pretty darn dead. My guide was not only a good teacher and fun company, but also deadly patient. Hats off.


The Project
-4.5 stars and two thumbs up. :)

My project involved creating SPIONs coated with gold and functionalising them. The fact that every second thing I was to touch was carcinogenic made me realise that the prospect of cancer and death scared the crap out of me. There are some things that I came to terms with. For example, when your solutions turn brown instead of pink after 13 hours of toil, experiment fail. When the brown goop seeps into your skin coz you butchered the purple latex gloves and forgot to change them, G fail. When you pour acetone into the goop instead of distilled water coz they're in similar bottles and look the same (thus signalling a definite 13 hour repeat performance the next day), epic life fail.

It is also to be noted that the ice machine is a creation reflecting pure genius. I could have taken over the planet a decade ago with such a marvel in my possession.

The Schizophrenic Skies
-Rain, sunshine, thunderstorms, wind and wait - more rain. My love for cloudy skies has been reinforced :)

The Slimy & Serpentine
-This summer, our favourite insti decided cough up about 40,000 snakes - big ones, small ones, green ones, brown ones, toothy ones, poisonous ones, ones that crept into my lab and others that I imagined going for my toes while I did my experiments. It was particularly fun to watch Joey run screeching at the mere mention of our slithery friends. I even persevered in my search for a pet mongoose. Thank you, Yahoo.


Gunshot? Like, a Quick Gun Murugan Gunshot?
On a bright Sunday morning in June, I decided to get my nose pierced. This is to Hams (who held my hand and laughed her ass off at me) the piercing uncle (who patiently put up with me in a state of high panic and even answered my questions. These included "but what if you shoot my eyeball instead? I mean, by accident?") and to the gun which should, by right, be called a stapler and embarrassed me considerably. A special mention of my nose, which has kindly consented to stay with me during this rather trying period in my life.

and You.
One couldn't do justice to our summer in a couple of sentences. :)

Movie marathons. Gopal's mokkai. Trips to the stone quarry. Trips to urban quarries. Grinchoo's dirty dancing. Barbarian basketball. Our favourite orange-clad player :D Joey's parties. The absence of breakfast time. Air hockey. Lunchtime panic attacks on GTalk. Bowling. Midnight cheese sandwiches. The Sprite Dog. C.V. Raman's building - our lavatory. Bohemian Rhapsodying the mess. Vendettas against pineapples. Birthday parties and emergency cake. The pujari. The wonder that is Vishraam. Sneaking to washing machines. Van Wilder II. Molecular vibrations and taking over the grass at 4 am. Working on no sleep for days. Waking up the campus to 'She Will Be Loved'. Contemplating the future. All the drama. The 10:30 bus. Farewells and bars of Temptations that we never saw. Bluff. Fruit salad. A lot of shopping. Gym Cafe. Crow droppings and scientific publications. The awful music and all the dancing.

This is to, in effect, one of the best summers ever. I still love you guys. Better late than never :)


Goodbye, scientific inclinations.

I can't wait 'til the morning, wouldn't wanna change a thing


It's 'the goodbye to summer vacations that never began, hello laboratory' time of year again. Almost. To save you the trouble of wading through a post the length of an epic on May 19th, here's a prelude. A summary of Summer 2008.

I shall now elaborate on each monumental aspect of my so-called summer vacation individually, and explain the roles that they play in the general betterment of life, the universe and everything. Some of you have already been subjected to my rants of 2008, but that's okay. These things will go down in history one day.

--- Written on the 11th of June, 2008

Internships i.e. the reason I'm stuck where I am.

"This year, we work in PhD labs under professors, in addition to sitting through lectures + presenting a project report + a term paper + a seminar in front of several profs & PhD students who, rather annoyingly, have and exercise the liberty to ask fundoo questions.

Its role in the bigger brighter picture? Nothing, really. It serves as good timepass. :)"

My Stipend

"It's now 10k! :) Minus much for accomodation and food, sigh. We'll stow that away as an afterthought though.

Its role in the bigger brighter picture? The pouring riches always begin somewhere. Here's my somewhere. WAHAHAHAHAHHHAHAHAHA."

The Lectures

"They're periodically fascinatingly wonderful and at other times you want to throw your detty socks at the prof's mug. QMech classes - our moods went from YIPPEEEEEWHEEEEOMG on Day1 to snoregruntglare on Day 5. The rest began snortsnoredrool and continue in the same general fashion.

Its role in the bigger brighter picture? There is nothing big or bright about it. GET ME OUTTA HERE. If people could OD on the phrases 'over here' and 'over there', our lecturer's one guy who'd have kicked the bucket several decades ago. He's very nice. He is also extremely excitable. Optical Spec really makes him tick, and he leaps about happily all thru class, completely oblivious of his audience. Today he waggled his finger at us several times after he made what he called 'sweeping statements' and leapt about telling us not to argue.
Who's arguing? 4 out of 9 of us were this close to passing out on the floor in a pool of sleep-drool. 3 others were clearly brain-dead. One was drinking coffee. A lot of coffee. And I entertained myself by drawing goats and cows on my coffee cup."

My Prof

"My boss is a really nice and pretty darn awesome. Unfortunately, he knows a little too much about life and hence made classes a bit of an overload. But that's okay. He reminds me of a mouse. Not a little mouse, but a mouse. He scarpers around, and is ALWAYS terribly busy. He also has a shiny nose. It had me in a trance, right from Day 1."

My Lab

"This is what I sent Shalin on Day 2."This place is prolly just what I need to get all the drama out of my life. They'd assigned me stuff to read and learn before the program had even begun, deffo a downside. The first set of 25 sheets were on photosynthetic mechanisms and the second set were on advanced quantum mech. I stared blankly at the photosynth sheets for about 25 minutes in the earth-shattering silence of the totallly screwed up Unit until diverting my attention to a long-legged spider proved to be a more a) interactive b) comprehensible c) entertaining d) ALIVE option than the 5 other people in the lab."

I'm glad to say some of that has changed, but not all. They're really nice people, just terribly quiet when they work. And when they're not quiet, they're talking in Bendlish (Bengali + Hindi + leeeeetil English) Yes, they are all north Indian. No, I am not understanding a goddamn thing."

The Food

"Sucks at hostel, rocks at work. I drink black coffee and tea like there is no tomorrow.

Role in bigger brighter picture? I have put on weight. I am now a round 40kg. Gah."


"I have taken to running around their hockey field whenever I wake up early enough. In addition to the several kilometres they make us walk, dreaming of food.

Role in the bigger brighter picture? Wait and watch for the muskills. HAAHAHAHHAHA."

And the people? They're retards. All wonderful, lovely retards. We get our geek on together. ;)

May 15th, here I come. One last time!