Friday, December 23, 2005


Wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas, and a truly Happy New Year!

2005 has been a year of new found friends, new found comfort in old friends and a deeper understanding of my family. The year has been much like a chromatogram. Lots of ups and downs in red, black, green, and blue with errors at the start and the end - but when you look at the whole, it is still a beautiful, meaningful result...

I hope that you all enjoy the last few days of 2005 and I hope that 2006 brings with it all that is jolly and nice!

Be merry, party hard, "stop, revive, survive", don't drink and drive, (because "it's not bad luck...its a crime!"), wear your seatbelt, swim between the flags, "slip, slop, slap", "Reduce, Reuse, Recycle", look before you cross, keep to the speed limit, don't send me petition forwards, keep smiling and BE GOOD!

PS: HAPPY BIRTHDAY TASH!!!!! :D:D:D (28/12/05)

Sunday, December 18, 2005


My brother scored 99.35 in his HSC!!!! He also managed to come second in the state for Information, Process and Technology!!!


Thursday, December 15, 2005

" white as Swedes..."

As I was writing an email ysterday, I thought some of the things I was saying was sounding vaguely familiar. I then remembered an article I wrote for a student magazine in Sweden. I was plagiarising my own work! :P

I don't think I have posted this up before... This was written over three years ago now - Oct 2002 I think. I was still a teenager then - I feel sooo old!

"Why Sweden?"

Why Sweden? A question I am sure all exchange students can relate to and one which was probably answered with something along the lines of, "I am not sure really...", followed by a lot of mumbling about Sweden, Uppsala, the weather, blah blah blah. Perhaps I should start by answering, "I was fascinated by your colour coded milk, and well, I wanted to meet Abba...". Actually, the meeting Abba part does have a degree of truth to it.

To be honest, I have no idea why I chose Sweden or Uppsala, but I am glad I did. I came here expecting it to be snowing in the middle of summer with people living in igloos, and ofcourse, blonde hair and blue eyes. I happened to arrive on a day measuring 27 degrees C - it had been colder in Australia when I had left. Being my first time travelling so far - alone, I did have doubts as to whether I was in the right country...

Everything was different - and "different" to me at first was synonymous to "wrong". The cars were on the wrong side, the water spins the wrong way, the stars were making all the wrong constellations and "oranges" were called "apelsin". I saw no logic - except of course in the colour coded milk!

I also had a very grave image of Swedes. I remember reading my "International Student Guide" and was particularly scared when I read the following, "During the first time in Sweden you may experience loneliness" (pg 33- last paragraph). That sentence somehow set the image of Swedes for me. I was convinced that Swedes would be the quietest lot and wasn't even expecting to make eye-contact. Perhaps I was just preparing for the worst, so that when I was here, even a grunt or burp would satisfy me.

It would be a complete lie if I was to say that I experienced no "loneliness", however, that was attributed to being so far away from home, more so than anything.

I am glad to say that my expectations were all proven wrong (and this time truly WRONG!), and am almost ashamed of having had such preconcieved ideas in the first place.

My image of Sweden aside, I was more than a little surprised at what the Swedes had to say for Australia! "All I know is you have dangerous animals!"????? I am probably not your average "Aussie Crocodile-hunter" but I think I speak for the majority of Australians when I say that no, we do not share our homes with deadly snakes and yes, Arachnophobia exists in Australia too. Also, NO! We do not ride on kangaroos to uni and we deffinetly don't cook wombats for Christmas!

If there is one thing to be learnt from all this, it is that we can not help such stereotypes. Forming such images is probably beyond our control, however, if we were to avoid certain places or events because of such notions, then we are probably missing out on more than we truly realise.

Vidya Vasudevan.

(This was followed by a quarter page picture of me with a cheesy grin :D )

Wednesday, December 07, 2005


I am an idiot! I told a colleague that I would turn off his water bath and I only just remembered that I completely forgot!!! Its 10:20pm now - I was supposed to turn it off at like 4pm!! I hope someone else from the lab saw that the water bath was left on and so turned it off before leaving! AIYOO!!! I feel terrible now! I hope I haven't ruined his experiment for him!


Friday, December 02, 2005

Mumbai - Part 1

I know I am updating "much too quickly" and that my posts are getting extremely long!! However, I feel bad if I leave out anything. Like I said earlier, these posts are more for my own benefit than anyone else's. This next post is also going to be long - so I warn you before hand!


Between my time in Mysore and Mumbai, very little happened. My brother arrived on the Monday, our driver stopped turning up from Tuesday, my brother and I bravely ventured out to Vasantha Nagar on an autorickshaw (got ripped off), and spent the rest of the time within the confounds of our apartments.

My dad and I left for Mumbai on Monday night, and got back on Thursday night. We were booked into the "Grand Hyatt" at Santa Cruz - a 5 star hotel experience which I enjoyed very much! On Monday night, my dad showed me around the hotel - the people at the hotel seem to know him better than our neighbours at Banglore! That night, I saw Manisha Koirala at the hotel and she was the only big "star" I saw. the only other person I saw was Anil Kumble at Banglore airport on my return flight...

I spoke to Shobha on Monday night and we planned to meet on Tuesday at 7pm outside the Barrista Cafe - according to Shobhs, this is where she meets everyone! If anyone is interested in meeting Shobhs, then please head to the Barrista Cafe and give Shobha a call!

After planning things with my dad, we walked around the Grand Hyatt Plaza and met shop keepers with fake American accents. I don't know why they do that!!!


On Tuesday morning, I had breakfast with my dad, dropped him off at his work, and came back to the hotel to get my phone problems sorted out. Apparently they needed my passport to issue a simcard! I honestly don't think that I look like a terrorist - a little wierd and at times a tad suicidal, but deffinetly don't look like a terrorist!!! Anyways, I also practiced my hindi with the driver and the owner of a photo studio...

Banglore vs Bombay

I was totally blown away by the contrast between Banglore and Mumbai. In India, it seems that when you move from one state to another, EVERYTHING CHANGES! The language, the roads, the billboards, the people - just everything. Its more like changing countries than cities!

I then asked the driver to take me around, and so he showed me around Juhu. He showed me various houses that were apparently owned by film stars - my hindi got a real workout!! It was heaps of fun though, cuz the driver spoke a wierd kind of hindi and used words like "apun" and let little English words enter the conversation without me realising it because I couldn't tell whether he was speaking Hindi or English! When I didn't understand, I just smiled and nodded...
After picking up my dad from his work place (and spending some time with his colleagues), I headed for Bandra to meet with Shobha. While waiting for Shobha outside the cafe, a girl who was probably no more than 7 or 8, came up to me.

A girl named Anita

She asked me for money (or I think that's what she asked me), and after I gave her a few rupees, she started talking to me. About the only thing I could make out was "Mein jhoot nahi bolti" ("I don't lie"). She then told me all the English words and phrases she knew - obviously assuming that I would speak English... I taught her a few more phrases and in return she told me a few jokes in Hindi. I can't say that I understood much, but I smiled and nodded. I have discovered that I am a real sucker for people who call me "didi" ("sister")!

Her name was Anita. She was a really lovely child - extremely bright, energetic and full of smiles. In other words, she had all the right ingredients to con me! As Shobha was still nowhere to be seen, I let Anita entertain me. Anita then taught me a few rhymes in Hindi and Marathi and then proceeded to tell me about herself. As I couldn't really contribute to the conversation too much, I was more than happy to listen to her speak.

She told me that she was an orphan and that she lived on that very street. She had been wearing the same set of clothes for over 19days (obviously keeping count) and that people would often give her clothes but they would never fit! She also told me that she would love to go to school and recounted the time she lost lots of money because someone had stolen it from her when she was asleep.

After all this, she asked me if I could buy her a new set of clothes. She had entertained me for quite sometime and I felt like I owed it to her. I told her that I was waiting for a friend, and that once I was done talking to her, I planned to go shopping. I promised her a new set of clothes. To this she said, "Didi, yeh bina maa baap ke ladki ka ashirwaad aap ke saath rahega" ("the blessings of an orphaned child shall always remain be with you!"). A part of me wanted to cry, another part of me wanted to laugh and there was this part of me that thought, "How scripted does all this sound??". I would be lying if I said that I wasn't moved. Whether she was telling me the truth or not, it was still a horrible situation for a young girl to be in.

My driver saw me with the Anita and asked her to leave me alone. I told him that it was ok. He then pulled me aside and said, "Is jaise log se aap nahi baath karna, yeh tho Mumbai hai!" ("Don't talk to such people. This is Mumbai!").

Finally Shobha arrived!!!

The infamous Shobha!

First impression: Shobha was taller than I thought she would be! I had called her earlier and given her my car registration and said, "I am wearing blue jeans and a navy blue top!". To this she said, "Loose-u aatam pesharai! I will be able to find you!". I told my dad what she had said and he said to me, "She is right! You have a "I am not from Mumbai" look on your face!". Whatever that was supposed to mean!

It was really good seeing Shobha! I had spoken to her a few times since I had arrived in India but we both spoke like we had known each other for years! There were no awkward pauses or "What do I say next?" moments. Shobha has a great talent for not only speaking non-stop, but also for allowing others to speak. Now when I think back, I don't think we ever stopped talking. We decided not to buy anything at Barrista. Shobha's logic being, " You can get coffee anywhere! I will take you to a better place."

We stepped out of the cafe (without buying anything), and crossed the road. Anita found us, and I told Shobha that I had promised to buy Anita a dress. Shobha suggested that I buy her food instead. However, as Anita said that she would prefer clothes to food, we decided to buy her a new set of clothes. We took her to a shop and Shobha said to me, "Nee onnum peshaade. Naan paarthukiraen" (You don't say anything. I'll do the talking!"). I was more than happy to leave the bargaining to the expert! We ended up buying Anita a top, which she happily took from us and ran saying, "Thankyou. Bye didi!!".

Shobh's then walked around and crossed the roads like a pro! With me walking behind her screaming "Auto!" and "Ayy! Car!", she lead me to a restaurant (ofcourse getting lost on the way), where we ordered "pao bhaji". After more talking about how fast this year was proceeding and how all the other bloggers we knew were doing, I noticed that at one point almost all the eyes in the restaurant were turned towards us. I looked at Shobha and said, "Am I speaking too loudly?". Shobhs replied with, "Yes-just a touch... but I am glad there is someone else like me with a loud voice!!". Very diplomatic indeed!

After our pao bhaji, we ordered malai kulfi slices. I think I broke Shobha's heart by not finishing my share... "I can't beleive all that ice-cream is going to be wasted!". I made a feeble attempt to comfort her by saying, "Don't worry, it will melt and then it will only be milk that we would have wasted!" . Somehow, I don't think that it worked!

We headed back and found our driver "Sanjay". In the car, I spoke to Shobha's mum as I was feeling really bad about keeping Shobha out till soo late! It was past 9:30pm by then and it would have taken her another hour and a bit to get home!!

Our short and sweet meet came to an end with me getting out of the car to give Shobhs a hug and my driver starting to drive away without me!

Thanks Shobhs!!

Thursday, December 01, 2005


After a week in Banglore, my dad, his aunty and I went to Mysore for a weekend.

I met some truly great people in Mysore. A rather old man - he must have been atleast 70 served as our tour guide. He was extremely learned, and took us to a land he had bought by the Kaveri river - a fair distance away from the city. In that piece of land, he was getting a small house built.

The house consisted of a single room - a study, a bathroom with an olden day style heater (you needed to feed it firewood) and a kitchen with a stove that also used firewood. There was a small toilet and an extra room for visitors. The surrounds were gorgeous! There was a river out the back with peacocks, and other exotic birds. There was all sorts of wildlife around. He had plans to build a small landing by the river, where people could bathe. Talk about living the life!

I asked him if snakes were likely to inhabit the environs. To this he said, "Of course - we are invading their space so it wouldn't be right for us to complain about that." Somehow, that stuck to me!

We visited Sri Rangapatnam on the way. Sri Rangapatnam is home to two major things. An ancient temple that is supposed to be very much like the one at Sri Rangam, and remains a fort built during the reigns of Tippu Sultan.

We got to Mysore in time for lunch and after a short break, I went to Chamundi Hills with my new found friends. On the way back from Chamundi Hills, we made a short visit to the Lalitha Mahal. The Lalitha Mahal was apparently the King's summer house - which was later occupied by the Princess. When the Monarch fell from power, this building was handed over to the government and is currently a 5 Star hotel.

The next day, my dad, a few friends and I went to the Mysore Palace. Mysore Palace was simply magnificent! I would like to add that I went on an elephant ride - so YAAYYYY!!! It was rocky...

Outside the palace, there were lots of shops. One of the shopkeepers asked me where I was from. Before I continue, I dont know how they can tell that I am from elsewhere! I look Indian, I was dressed Indian, and I wasn't even trying to look like a tourist! Yet, people seem to be able to tell! If anyone can enlighten me on this, then please do! Anyways, when asked where I was from, me being the Harichandran that I am, I blurted out , "Sydney". This was recived by a "Ohhh" and the Pen which the seller was trying to sell to me for Rs 15, shot up to Rs 30!

I seriously wanted to try the sundal, vellerikai, and other such food being sold on the street. My dad wouldn't allow it, telling me that I would catch some deadly disease and so I had to be content with "Ellaneer" (tender coconut water). We got ripped of for it and my aunty said that it was probably because news had travelled that I was from Sydney:P

The next day, we visited Mellkottai. The elderly person I mentioned earlier lived there. We visited his house, tasted various herbs that grew in his backyard and we pestered him to tell us stories about the place. He explained to us the significance of the temples at Mellkottai and why the idols were depicted the way they were.

Mellkottai is home to Lord Chellapillai. Chellapillai literally translates to "darling son". I had heard the story of Chellapillai when I was much younger and had always wanted to visit this particular temple. We also climbed some 300 steps to another temple on top of a hill. Apparently this is the place where "Prahaladha" meditated on Lord Vishnu. The temple was ancient - and I was totally amazed by the architecture. It was sooo cold and windy inside the temple while it was relatively warm outside! The idols in this temple were apparently not chipped by hand but are beleived to have formed on thier own - they were "salingramams"... (A type of naturally occurring polished stones)

After visiting the temples, I even got to see a temple procession - with a band and all. It was all literally like stepping back in time. All the pujaris spoke a wierd kind of tamil and I felt like I was spoiling the temple sanctity by wearing something that was sleeveless. I was probably the only woman there who wasn't dressed in a saree!

India truly suprises me. You have all sorts! Mellkottai was a step back in time. The houses were old fashioned with a "thinnai". There were little shelters all around the town that had apparently been built hundreds of years ago for travellers from far away lands who would come to visit the temple. It was all beautiful!

I enjoyed picking henna leaves from the backyard, pulling water out of a well, eating off a leaf and walking down to the "kolam" and seeing women in 9-yard sarees and the Iyengar marks on their forehead! My ancestors probably looked like that...

The other thing I saw there was a "modern" restaurant - with a picture of Lord Ganesha with a full stomach! I found it quite amusing...ONLY IN INDIA!

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Idea Mani: How to Cross the Road in India

My dad's apartment in Bangalore is opposite a restaurant. Both my dad and I being not such great cooks, we would often trek across the main road and down the some 50meters to eat fantastic food at a groovy vegetarian restaurant. When my dad wasn't around, my brother and I were totally lost as to how to cross the road! We both came up with several ideas on how it could be done. Some are listed below.

Idea Mani-yin idea No: 5
Look left. Look Right. Continue to look left and right. Once you have looked both ways, go back inside, pick up the phone and order takeaway.

Idea No: 4
Approach the security guard at the gate and ask him to accompany you across.

Idea No: 3
Look totally lost (not hard to do!). An auto-rickshaw will find you. Ask the driver to drive you to the otherside.

Idea No: 2

Wait for someone else to cross the road. Slowly inch towards them and as soon as they start crossing, cross the road with them - using them as your safety shield.

Idea No: 1 (apparently this is how it's done)
give yourself the honorary title of "traffic police". Stick your hand out so as to order all traffic to stop for you and nod your head authoritatively. Close your eyes and walk across.

Pat yourself on the back for making it alive once you have reached the otherside!

First Impression

NOTE: I typed this up on my first day - after which I didn't have as much time. I did however, take notes on most days and so will write up a complete summary of my holiday. As I took absolutely NO photos, I am going to have to make up for it with words. The next few posts will be more for my benefit than anyone else's! Shobha: Your post will be appearing soon!

Day 1:

Well I am alive and well in India!! First impression: India is full of Indians! As silly as that sounds, it is completely true!

I arrived in Bangalore at around 11:00pm but didn’t actually step out of the airport till 12:30 am! Something about how they were scanning the bags before sending them out – don’t ask me why they had to scan it all again once we stepped out though :P It was hilarious watching all the men yelling in English in their strong Indian accents about how this wouldn’t happen anywhere else in the world! I can amuse myself for hours here – just listening to people talk!

I was picked up from the airport by my dad and his friend and I drove home thinking, “This isn’t so bad!”. The roads are obviously more empty at night than they are during the day!

On my first day here, I went and met a few of our family friends here and two of my cousins from Chennai came over to see me. The train my cousins took (Brindavan Express), had apparently run over some guy who had tried to cross the rails, and so it was delayed by some 1½ hours. I also visited my grandparent’s bookshop – the guy who looks after it now was telling me how late trains are the only way his bookshop survives and he said, “Accident case-na engalukku unnum jolly!”

The Drive…

I also had a lot of “fun” watching my dad drive – we only had two “small” accidents. One with an auto rickshaw and another with some other small car. For both, my dad stopped and yelled at the drivers in Kannada – they did the same back to my dad. There was no exchange of licence details and still more, they didn’t even pull over for their verbal outburst! They each rolled down the windows and yelled things that I can’t say I actually understood! I’ll just say that it was all very interesting! People – including my dad, honk for no reason! The other thing I noticed is that almost 50% of cars seem to have no side mirrors!!! The other 50%, just turn it inwards and prefer to not use it.

Apparently the way the roads work is that “You check your front, the person behind you will check your back for you!”

My friend Roopa was telling me, “If you are alive on Bangalore roads, its not because you are good driver. It is simply because everyone else has been driving well on that particular day” Good to know!

I know I am rattling on about the driving, but it is only because I spent much of my first day in the car. The only other thing I need to mention is the look of absolutely no alarm, distress, worry, sympathy or anything apart from perfect calm when two vehicles (this includes {herds of} cows) come face to face on a REALLY narrow stretch. I will leave the rest to your imagination.

The Pyormaniac

The evening was spent playing with fire crackers. I initially spent some half an hour watching little kids (about 5/6), playing with explosives, fire and other flammable goods without any supervision. I then decided to join them :P What really worried me was when kids would light a cracker, than go back to check whether they had lit it properly. If only I had a rupee for everytime I yelled out “WATCH OUT”!

However, as soon as I lit my first “Atom Bomb” all fear vanished and I unleashed the pyromaniac in me:P The evening was only slightly spoilt by two kids saying “Aunty can he have your stick [meaning the sparkler]”, but I am over it now – sort of! I should have burnt a whole in their new clothes and said “You will call me Akka dammit!”

“Saaka? Baeka?”

Also, I cooked yesterday! I made pavakai kari, dosai and polangai kozhambhu. So we ended up eating out…

For dinner, my two cousins, my dad and I went to “Adighas” for dinner. I was totally blown away by the food – and the service! I ordered a “naan” and some “malai kofta” (Tash – yes the cheese stuff:P), and “masala papadam”. I couldn’t believe the number of waiters they had. I found it really funny how they didn’t supply you with any cutlery – just the plates and the food. Once we were done, they place a bowl of warm water by your side so that you can wash your hands! Our food was ready in less than 5minutes and we had people constantly filling up our glasses with water and actually serving things onto our PLATE rather than just leaving them in bowls in front of us! What really threw me in the end was how much it cost. All four of us had a full meal (including dessert), and it came to $8! I said to my dad, “I hope you are going to tip the three waiters who have been serving us – I feel bad eating for so little!”

I then asked him “So is this the average price of food? Or have you just bought me to a cheap restaurant??” My dad looked at me and said, “Its slightly on the more expensive side.”

We are getting a driver today. Appa has bought lots of sweets, so we are going to play Santa and visit families with Diwali sweets. It should be fun! I am also hoping to do some shopping – with glass bangles right at the top of the list!

Bangalore is surely a land of contrasts. Only here can I feel like I am in Sydney – or any other developed city when I am within the confounds of these apartments, and then feel truly guilty for what I have as soon as I step out.

After a very eventful first day, I am looking forward to a more exciting second!

In summary – I am enjoying every bit of Karnataka!

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Travel bug!

I am soooooo excited! Yesterday I met this lady in the tea room and she asked me how I was. A friend of mine took the liberty of replying with "She is going to India!". The lady goes to me, "I thought something was up! Just look at how big her smile is!".

I have like a permanent smile on my face - that's how excited I am! 4 more sleeps and I will be on my way to India! I can't beleive it! I had pretty much given up on the idea of me ever going back - I was just so busy last year thatI didn't think I would have the time. Now I am just brimming!

In other news, I think my trip to Perth was most valuable to my research. I have made some great progress and not only that, I think I am onto something! Everyone is really excited and I was sooo excited about it that I even considered postponing my trip to India - Goodluck with research comes only once and I think I am a tad worried that just as luck seems to be comming my way, I am saying "No thanks, I prefer to do it the hard way!". I don't know if I am more excited about India or my results...

To add to all this, will be meeting up with Khush, Tash and Rids this Friday! REALLY looking forward to that too!!!!

Also, Perth was fantastic! It's such a beautiful, quiet place. While in Perth, I went out to Freemantle and also up north to see the Pinnacles and went Sandboarding at the sanddunes near Lancelin :D Had plenty of fun - and my experiments actually working was a real bonus!

My Trip to India:
I leave this Saturday (29th)
Arrive in Singapore around 4:00pm and will be at Singapore airport for a bit.
Arrive in Bangalore at 11:30pm India time.

I think I am going to Madurai in the first week because my dad wants me to see all the special Tamil culture they have in that city - should be exciting! I think I might spend a week in Madras and a week maybe in Hyderabad. After that I should be back in Bangalore for a few days before I fly back here. I will try to get a sim card once I get to India and will send my contact number then :D I hope I get to meet or atleast talk to a few of you while I am there...

Hope everyone is smiling!!!

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Travel Plans

I have been like super-duper good with my updating lately!

I am not too sure if I will be able to update as much over the next few weeks as I wont be home. However, I thought I would update you all on my whereabouts over the next few weeks.

On Sunday the 9th of October, I am getting on a flight to Perth and will be there till the 23rd. I arrive in Sydney at 10:30pm on Sunday the 23rd! I have just had the worst day trying to organise a way of getting some of my reagents to the other side of the continent - with very little luck! It is sooo difficult to explain to Airport staff that "antibodies" are not really blood-related eventhough they are! I seriously don't look like a terrorist - OR DO I???? :P

Anyways, I have also just discovered that I am not allowed to take any food into Perth - this means that I am going to DIE! One of my supervisors in Perth is Indian - I am hoping she will invite me over for dinner or maybe even give me enough food for a week...(I will be happy with a dinner though!)

I return from Perth on Sunday the 23rd of October. I am leaving for India on the 29th and will be arriving in India on the night of the 29th. I have a 3 hour stopover in Singapore during which time I can just tour the airport!

Once I get a number in India, I will let you guys know. If anyone needs to get in touch with me, please use my gmail address:D

The last time I remember feeling like this was when I was preparing for my trip around Europe with my family...

I am actually really excited about all this! I can't wait to get to India!!! SOOO EXCITED!!!

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

The world of TimTams

I was at Woolies over the weekend and the guy in line behind me was buying close to 6/7 packs of TimTams...

Me: You like TimTams?
Him: You see I am going to Japan in a few days. I asked them what they wanted and they didn't say anything. So I thought I might as well get them TimTams. I came here and there were so many different sorts! I thought I would get one of each! When you can't speak the language - just give them chocolate!
Me: Makes sense.
Him: All I can say is "Hello" and can count to 5 in Japanese. I have been taught that it is "Itchy, Knee, Sun, She, Go!" (The numbers read: ichi, ni, san, shi, go)
Me: I learnt Japanese for 7 years - and that is probably how much I can speak too!
Him: When you don't use the language its hard to learn it!
Me: That is soo true! As long as you can say "Thankyou" and "Where is the Toilet" I think you are safe!
Him: That's a good one to know!
(By this time I was nearly done with my stuff getting scanned)
Him: So many people learn French. We never use it here. I just say "Bonjour" and "Cava" and learn to say "I can't speak French!". That's enough for any arrogant French person! (That was tad random...)
Me: Well, I hope you have a good trip!
Him: I hope you have a great day!

I really like it when random people wish me a good day! It really makes a difference I think.


"Someone should make a sitcom about you... it would be like a cross between 'Seinfeld' and 'Scrubs'..."

Sunday, October 02, 2005



Wishing my baby brother a very happy 18th!!!!!!!

Love you heaps!

To add to it... HAPPY BIRTHDAY RIDHU!!!!!

Friday, September 30, 2005

Signing off

I am sure lots of people will sympathise with me over this!

I have been finding that over the last few weeks I have had to write a lot of emails to various people. I have been trying to get a few things organised and have had to submit various applications. I am finiding it very hard to find proper signing off signals!!! I find "Yours Sincerely" too formal and quite superficial. I don't like using "Cheers" because I never actually say "Cheers".

I end up using "Regards" or "Thanks" and after a while it really starts to get to me! I sometimes find that my emails read something like:

"Thanks for your immediate reply. I will look into it. Thankyou!!. Thanks, Vidya"... That is just weird!

Anyone have any proper signing off ideas that I can use???

Also, this problem is not restricted to the office environment! I find it just as hard to find proper ways to end emails to friends too! I guess that's why with friends, I no longer sign off...

Over and out,
Till later,
Bye now!


PS: FOr future reference, people who sign off with simply the first letter of their names like "-V" really annoy me too!

Monday, September 19, 2005

AIYOO!!! *forehead slap*

Sunday the 18th of September, 2005. Vidya goes to the Hospital. Starts an experiment. Decides to get something to eat. Locks lab door. Goes to tea room. Has breakfast. Comes back. Can't get back into lab as door is locked! I have locked myself out!

I called up security...


Me: Hi. I am calling from the Clinical Sciences building. I have locked myself out od my lab... Could someone please let me in??
Sec: Sure *chuckle*. I will send someone over.

A few minutes pass.

A tall English man walks in.

EM: So you have locked yourself out have you?
Me: *nod*
EM: Ahh. It happens to the best of us. Everyone except me - cuz I am perfect.
Me: Yeaaahh...
EM: COuld I ahve your name?
Me: Vidya - V I D Y A.
EM: It's just so that I can say that I have opened the door for you...
Me: You mean so that you can add me to the "REALLY STUPID" list???
EM: Hey! That's a good one. We might start one of those! Nah. You aren't on the list yet - only if you do it a second time...
Me: Ummm I may have done this allready....

Thank god we got to my lab door by then! Otherwise I may have embarassed myself even more!

Anywys, my pellet should be dry by now! Going to book my tickets to India today. Will update you guys on the dates tonight! :D

Thursday, September 15, 2005


  • My last post was written very badly...
  • My PCR decided to work yesterday - but it wouldn't work today :S
  • I have to hand in stuff for my annual review in about two weeks time *biting nails*
  • I have been procrastinating with my Lit Review!
  • I wish the people in Perth would hurry up and give me a date!
  • I am leaving for India in about 5/6 weeks:D:D:D:D
  • I am hoping to see a friend of mine from Sweden in India - go figure!
  • Uni is getting "mildly" stressful
  • I can lift my own body weight on the leg press now:D:D:D:D
  • Thinking of joining some kind of a hobby course - preferably sketching or painting - any suggestions?
  • Have to start buying pressies to take to India...
  • Christmas in 12 weeks - where has this year gone???????
  • This post is worse than my last one!

Hope you all have terrific day. KEEP SMILING! :D

Friday, September 09, 2005

Do you cry when you are hungry?

Honestly, DO YOU??? I do!

When I get hungry I get quite snappy and emotional. When I was younger (less than 10...), I used to cry because I didn't know how else to express myself. Even now, when I get hungry I find that I get quite down and I am really on the edge...

Is that normal?????

Is it seriously very wierd?? If it is, what is your wierd behaviour??? I dont want to be the only one!!! :P

I am thinking about the other wierd things I do...

- I don't like drinking softdrinks that are green in colour (usuallylime flacoured stuff)...
- I write with my book held at 90 degrees to my hand...
- My glasses sit about half-way down my nose so they only ever cover half my eyes...
- I always eat crust first...

Hmm... I am sure there are lots of other wierd things I do. I am sure everyone has little wierd things they do... please tell me I am right and that I am not just generally wierd!!!

Dumb moment of the week
At morning tea on Tuesday morning:

Heading of magazine article: "I used to have $2000 a week coke habit"

Me: How much coke would you have to have?? (Calculating in my head) About 270 cans a day! How can you do that?? That has got to be wrong...
(Everyone looks at me strangely...)
Me: Doesn't that sound wierd??
(Everyone still looking at me strangely. I do calculations in my head again to make sure I haven't done anything wrong...)
Me: They must be giving some away or something else...Imagine the caffeine! The sugar!
SW: Ummm... Vidya... its a different kind of coke...
Me: Ohh... (thinking) OHHH!!!! (finally clicks!)

Apparently "coke" is short for coccaine!

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Seeing the Big Picture...

Went to a symposium last night that I had been looking forward to for a long time now. I got to listen to Sydney Brenner talk - again! I heard his Nobel Laureatte speech at Uppsala in 2002 and yesterday I heard him present a talk entitled "Humanity's Genes", in which he spoke of the new genome project.

Sydney Brenner is a great public speaker - he is not only extremely intelligent, but also VERY funny! I loved his Nobel speech and I had to skip a Microbial Genetics prac to listen to it... I told my Microbial Genetics Lecturer (another great but crazy scientist!), that I thought Prof. Brenner was soo humble. My lecturer laughed at me and he said "He is SYDNEY BRENNER!! HE IS NOT HUMBLE!!".

When I heard him talk yesterday, I kept picturing the Swedish Scientist saying "He isn't humble!!". Brenner isn't humble - but he has no reason to be. He has done amazing things for Science and has a lovely way of presenting his ideas and is critical about things most scientists take for granted and gets his views across in a truly charming fashion.

There were a series of talks yesterday - presented by various people I truly look upto in the field. I saw Robin Holliday present for the first time yesterday and while everyone else used flashy powerpoint slides, he used the good old over-head projector! He was like a teddybear and I just wanted to go down and give him a hug! (I didn't offcourse - It would have been a tad odd :P).

It was a great day though - sometimes it is necessary to see the big picture. I am only working on one verrrryyy small protein and as excited as I can get about it, I can't and I don't expect the same amount of excitement from everyone else. When you get bogged down on all the little details of your project like primer design and Mg concentration in a PCR reaction, it is lovely to hear from people who have gone through all that and are now able to look back and see and tell you that that one PCR truly revolutionised the way they saw everything else.

Hearing a few people yesterday, reminded me of why I am doing all this in the first place. Why am I subjecting myself to low pay, long hours, dark labs, tedious experimentation and repeated failures?? As much as I can joke about it being the easiest way to avoid "real life" (although there is a degree of truth to it), there is another reason which I need to be reminded of once in a while.

The reason is simply that I actually do believe in what I am doing and I DO enjoy it!

Monday, August 29, 2005

Sound of Music!

Even the title looks out of place on my site! For a Tamil Brahmin it is very odd (and quite unacceptable) that I can't sing, dance or play a musical instrument!

I left India when I was 5/6 and so I didn't think it odd that I couldn't sing - until maamis started pointing it out to me. However, I am no longer finding questions like "Nee paaaduviyoo?" (Do you sing?) or "Dance kathinduirukiya?" (Have you learnt to dance?) neither odd nor rude.

I did learn Carnatic music for a few months - I got upto "Vara Veena" then stopped cuz the people I used to go with left the country (If they hadn't I may have become a second Sudha Ragunathan:P). TO be honest, I don't exactly have a great voice and I sing very badly - I guess its actually a good thing that I dont sing! I am also too uncoordinated to dance so its just at well that I didn't learn that either. :P

Despite all that, I do enjoy carnatic music. Especially in the last couple of years because I find myself going to recitals by various musicians. When I go to a kacheri, I love watching the crowds as much as listening to the music! It also makes me realise just how big music is for the Brahmin community because 99% of the audience are Brahmins and the other 1% are Sydney Uni Arts students...

I am helping organise a music festival for next weekend. Its for little kids and some of you might remember that I did the same last year. I guess all the discussion about the music festival that I had today got me thinking about how "unmusical" I am and has evolved into this rather pointless post!

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Getting Healthy...

I work with some extremely health conscious people. By extremely, I mean people who ride their bikes to work and those that go for power walks during the lunch break. Most of them also play sport, go bushwalking and do cross-country skiing! In comparison, I am pretty much a bludger - but you all knew that allready :P.

I have never played much sport outside of school and while I used to go for walks, I did very little other exercise.

Today, one of the girls I work with decided to go bike riding instead of power walking. I just causally mentioned the fact that I cant ride a bike and of course now I have everyone in the lab volunteering to teach me! When am I going to learn??

So next week, I am going to learn how to ride a bike! I don't know why that is going to help me though - its not like I own a bike! :P

What was the point of the above?? Well, I guess that even if I don't learn anything or discover anything scientific over the next few years, I will at least have a healthier lifestyle!

PS: I can push almost 90% of my body weight on the Leg-press at the gym!!! Very proud of myself :D

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Incompetant Scientist?

I gave my presentation today and I cant say that it went too badly. I was second up (I was supposed to be third, but the girl who was supposed to go second didn't turn up) and so everyone was still awake.

I had all the big-guns from the uni present at my talk.When I say "big-guns" I mean REALLY BIG!!! All the heads of the Department were there and the mode of titles was "Professor". Apparently my talk was VERY clear, and so I got asked HEAPS of questions! Most of the questions were "Why" questions! I despise "Why" questions! That's because my answer is usually "Cuz that's what my supervisor thinks I should do!".

I dont think I handled them too badly though. However, I was listening to other talks and I must say, I was starting to feel really bad. I think I am quite competitive by nature and I don't know if it shows but I was feeling very stupid by the end of the day!

I know I will get over it soon enough. Perhaps I am not being serious enough about my work...

Time for me to change my atitude perhaps?? I shall ponder my handling of this whole PhD thing late into the night...

Thursday, August 18, 2005

One crash or two?

On my way home from the hospital I stopped over at a florist. After buying a bunch of flowers, I got back in my car and was about to drive off. It was around sunset and as a result it was very hard to see because of the reflection. I checked and rechecked and when I was ABSOLUTELY sure there were no cars, I swerved to the right to take a 3 point turn.

Anyways, this grey Commodore comes from out of nowhere and I hit it! I moved back to where I was parked, put on my yellow sneakers (note to self: dont wear yellow sneakers with lime green socks!), and walked over to the P-plater and apologized. I asked him to make sure his car was ok. He said it was fine and that I shouldn't worry about it. I yelled "SORRRYY" from across the road and he drove away.

Then! This old man came upto me...

Old Man: That wasn't your fault was it?
Me: Yes it was...
OM: I think you hit the car in front though...

There happened to be a dent in the car that was parked in front of me. It was a Nissan Skyline and a pretty old car... (Khush - I hope it wasn't your car!). I didn't think that I hit that car. I told the guy that I had hit the Commodore, but if he thought that I had also hit the car in front then I was happy to leave my number - in case it was my fault!

I was looking for a pen and not finding one, I decided to go back to the florist and ask for a pen. In the mean time, the old man was explaining what had happened to the florist. The florist then asked me what happened. I told him how I had hit the Commodore and perhaps it was my fault that the Nissan had also been injured...

By this time I was starting to feel really guilty!

He came out...looked at the damage and said, "Nah! It couldn't have been your car. Your car is too low. Its not your fault. Dont bother leaving your number!"

I asked him if it was his car. He said, "No. But I don't want you to pay for something you didn't do."

I didn't know what to do. The florist then said,"Just keep the pen..."

I thought he was giving me a subtle hint to have his pen back and so I said, "I am SORRYY!!! Please take your pen back..."

He goes to me, "Nah! Keep it! You might need it - just dont use it to write your details. That old man is a big mouth - don't worry about him."

I thanked him and apologized (I don't know why!) and drove off!

How wierd and confusing is that???

Did I do the right thing???

After possibly hitting TWO cars...I got a pen to keep!

Saturday, August 13, 2005

*No Appropriate Title*

Before I say anything else, I would like you all to know that nothing even remotely exciting happened today! (Incase you were waiting for some nail-biting or heart racing goss:P)

I did however give a practice talk today. I have to present at the student conferance next week and thought I should practice in front of my supervisor - it seemed like a great idea at the time! My supervisor is sooo lovely! He has been all booked out for most of the week, and still he made time for us - despite having a really bad cold!

I thought my pictures were fantastic - I then did this silly thing of showing it to a post-doc who works in a different lab to me. He looked at my pictures and said, "Hmm... you seem to be getting some unspecific staining!". I said, "Ummm... I am?". Oh well - hopefully the pretty colours and funky powerpoint tricks will keep everyone distracted from the actual content of the slides!

I am noticing all these little things I say and do now that I never used to do before. Its just little things like the way I narrate things or the way I say little words like "maaaayybee" in a different way to how I would normally say it. Its a sure sign that I have been spending a lot of time talking to the people I work with and so I have picked up little things they do and it seems to have found its way into my own manner of speech and actions!

I am upto Page 130 with War and Peace! Its the furthest I have ever read and I do like it! Its just that I read it before going to sleep so I am often reading it lying down. The book is quite heavy and as a result, my arms and wrists start aching! Maybe I should invent something that will hold the book in place as I read it lying down...*brain thinking up several theoretically possible but practically impossible, simply stupid or majorly flawed ideas!* (Sounds rather like my experiments actually!)

PS: URL to Ridhish's blog for those of you who have not yet discovered it :

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Early signs of Alzhiemers....

Let me now narrate a few incidents that have occurred to me in the last two days...

1) I completely FORGOT that I had taken my car to work and at the end of the day started walking towards the station to catch the train back home! (I realised after I was about half way to the station...)

2) I FORGOT completely to add a control tube containing my "vector only" for my ligations!

3) I FORGOT to put on my glasses in the morning!

4) I FORGOT that it was Jeans for Genes day! (Quite ashamed of that actually...)

5) I walked all the way to the station this morning, because I didn't want to wake my brother, then I had to ring him, wake him up and ask him to bring me my wallet because I FORGOT to take it with me before I left home!

Ok - is it crazy for me to worry about myself after all that??? That is seriously not normal - even for me!!! It has me quite paranoid actually and I was convinced this morning that maybe I am going slightly cuckoo!

Anyways, with that aside, I met my first ever Rett child today. We had some funding people come and they came for a tour of our lab. The girl was only 9 and she had a very mild mutation and so had a fairly mild phenotype. I wouldn't have been able to pick her out had it not been for her mum telling us...

Its amazing how distanced the lab environment is from the clinical setting - so much so that I sometimes FORGET (:P) that what I am doing is ultimately going to significantly change someone else's life. I guess I can only hope that this change will be for the better!

A few little things today helped put life in perspective for me - even if it was only for a short while!

PS: Rett Syndrome is the disease I work on for those who were wondering what I meant by "Rett child"...

Saturday, July 30, 2005

My stance...

I did say that I would express my opinions about the two things I mentioned in my last post - so here it is!

The first instance involving the policeman annoyed me greatly. It annoyed me because to me it looked like the man was simply stopped because the policeman assumed he was a terrorist because he was a muslim. If that was true then to me it was wrong. Ofcourse there is every chance that I am looking at the situation totally out of context and that I am the one who is actually showing racial tendencies by assuming such a thing - it is just as likely that he was an old man who had just lost something on the train and was simply appealing to the policeman for help. I am quite ashamed to admit that I would assume such a thing. A point to work on...

On the second incident...

"Freedom of speech" and "racial villification" seem to be on either side of a blurry line. I haven't heard the whole story properly and so I don't truely have a stance. If Andrew Fraser says "I have proof that black populations increase crime rates", I want to see that proof. Statistically, his argument seems flawed to me. Sure, you might find a correlation between crime and race, but I am sure the correlation between poverty vs crime and poverty vs race are just as statistically significant. I just want to know if his research took all of that into account. As a former student from Macquarie, what embarasses me more than Andrew Fraser expressing his opinions, is the fact that he would base those opinions on very poorly conducted research!

Andrew Fraser is entitled to his opinion - he is 61 and I can excuse him for having opinions that are different from what most of us beleive in. My opinions differ from my parents! To me it looks like he is using statistics (and a poorly designed experiment) to reinforce his beleifs - this unnecessarily draws the university into the picture because now it looks as if the university is supporting such experimentation when in reality it may not be...

I guess my stance on the issue is still not set simply because I don't think that I know enough about it to say "I believe strongly that...".

Friday, July 29, 2005


I have been noticing subtle things that are starting to worry me just slightly...

This morning as I got out of the train to get to the hospital, I saw two policeman at the station. They had with them a man who was dressed in an Afghani traditional dress - cap and all. To me he looked like a perfectly harmless citizen, however, he was stopped by the policeman and the policemen were on the phone.

The man looked extremely embarassed by all this and it made me feel extremely sad and not to mention annoyed to see this.

On a related but different note, I was listening to the talk about Andrew Fraser yesterday. Andrew Fraser (I think I remember his name correctly...), is a professor from Macquaire University who apparently expressed a few opinions that were quite different to those held by the general public. He claimed that the growing "black" population in Australia was not healthy and research shows that places with higher black populations tend to have higher crime rates. The University first allowed for him to express his opinions on the basis of "freedom of speech" and later asked him to tone it down a bit or retire as the university seems to feel that it's reputation is at stake.

Just two random things that have got me slightly worried... I am yet to express my stance on both these incidents and will do it later today once I get home!!

Finished reading "Brave New World" by Aldous Huxley and "Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince" (by J.K. Rowling). Reading "Angels and Demons" by DAn Brown and attempting to read "War and Peace" by Leo Tolstoy (again!)!!!

Better get back to my cells!

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Bye Bye

My parents are both in India now... and I miss them very much :'(

Update: 11:00am on Saturday morning... and I am at the hospital! This experiment had better work!

Monday, June 27, 2005

Caught Texting!

I chucked a Shane Warne last week! I have been having some problems with texting! :P

One of my students - Alan, is 50. I am teaching him how to read. The thing with my new phone is that if I lock it its a real hassle to unlock and so I don't lock my phone. The other thing with my phone is that once I send a message, it retains the last sent message in the display...


I got a call from my students coordinatior today and he said, "Hi... you have been messaging Alan. I am sure it was an accident. I justhought I should let you know..."

So basically I have been accidently sending all sorts of wierd messages like, "I need to buy Srini's pressie", "you should sleep on the photoframe" and "I'll take care of the lymph tom" to a person ho probably thinks I am testing his reading!

I felt like a complete moron! I called up Alan, and spoke to his wife and said, "I AM SOOO SORRY!! I have been accidently messaging Alan and I really didn't mean to!! I am really really sorry."

She was so nice about it! "Its ok Lydia... accidents happen. We are not worried about it."

How much of an idiot am I??? DONT ANSWER THAT QUESTION!

And this is for Shobhsie!

- Vidhu
- Gayu
- Veg
And there is many more! :P

- Veg_v
- "When you breathe you inspire, when you don't, you expire"
- "Banga Banga BAnga. OI OI OI!

- this a trick question??? :P
- I have been told that I have a "straight" nose - that cant be taken too badly!
- My teeth are white!!! (I brush them :D)

- Not so much "don't like"... but my eyebrows annoy me!
- My arms are weak :(
- I have frizzy hair

- I don't get what this qu means... I guess it means "Things that are one with me..."
- My uneven eyebrows, my glasses and my "pottu" / "bindi".

- I get scared by just about anything and everything!!! At the top of the list... Snakes, Babies and live animals...

- Sneakers

This is a hard one!
- Want it to be lasting
- Ability to be myself
- and just be comfy...

TWO TRUTHS AND A LIE (in no particular order):
- I sleep with a teddy
- I was in this terrible accident that caused me to acquire selective amnesia, a high IQ and loose the ability to count...It also lead to several issues with with uneven eyebrows...
- I nearly drowned as a kid.

- Tall is good
- a smile that wont make me feel like the only colgate advertiser!!
- a straight nose! (Sounds like I am just waiting for a taller version of me doesn't it???:P)

- Go home!
- Have chocolate!!!
- Gather motivation to go to the gym!

- If this whole PhD thing fails, I reckon I wud just become a science teacher.
- If I get stunning results and my research is simply awe-inspiring and nobel prize winning then I might just become an academic. :P
- If the above two don't happen, then I'll just be a student for as long as the uni will let me.

- India - now that my daddy will be there!
- NewZealand
- Sweden - and actually travel around Sweden!

- I used to have a huuge list! I don't anymore.

- Learn to cook - properly!
- Construct a detailed Family Tree

The people I would pass this on to...

I would like everyone who reads this blog (all 4 or 5 of you:P) to do the above questionaire!

Thursday, June 23, 2005

A moment in time...

I have been wanting to have a proffesional photo of the family taken for a very long time now. It finally happened yesterday!

We had a family photo taken with everyone, plus one with just my grandparents, one with just my parents and one of my two brothers and myself. My family is impossible in situations like this! They have to make every little thing difficult! I don't think that I am asking for much when I ask them to wear decent clothes! *Breathe in breathe out* - I have whinged enough about that... I will put that aside and move on now.

It was quite funny when the photographer asked my grandma to place her hand on my grandpa's shoulder and bring her face REAL close to his. My grandma simply wouldn't do it because it made her very consious. She was sooo embarassed! It was sooo cute to watch though! After finally getting her to stand as close as we could dare ask, we told the photographer that that would have to do!

After the photos were all taken my grandpa told the photographer, "After Forrty Eight years of marriage, this is our first photograph." I think she was quite shocked - as was I!

Overall, I was quite satisfied with myself for organising it :D - even if everyone else seemed to consider it a painful chore!

Monday, June 20, 2005

In news this week...

  • I cooked stuff and noone died!
  • My cheesecake was a hit!!!
  • The stuff I did at the hospital last year is FINALLY going into a publication (eventhough I am like the 9th author in a 12 author paper!:P)
  • Three out of four of my students cancelled on me this week - am I really that mean?? (The fourth didn't have a choice:P)
  • I was intimately involved in the thesis binding process of a friend
  • I know where to get my thesis "bound" (thanks Ashwin!)!!
  • I am addicted to "hexic"
  • Have a meeting with my supervisor tomorrow about my progress
  • Both my parents are leaving for Bangalore in two weeks - my mum is going for two weeks and my dad for three years :(
  • I am planning a trip to NZ and India at the end of this year
  • Going to uni today
  • Going out to lunch and dinner with family
  • Started Cross-stitching again


BANGLADESH BEAT AUSTRALIA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, June 15, 2005


One of my friends at the hospital is leaving for Boston on Sunday and we are having a little farewell morning tea for her. I said to some of my lab members "One of these days... I am going to cook and suprise you!" - never say something like that! I have been asked to cook "from scratch" (i.e. - no packet food) and also been told not to ask for assistance from my grandma or mum.

I cooked today:D I have made TWO cheesecakes and a potato cheese pastry thing :D How good am I??? I tried the pastry - it is quite bearable! I haven't tried the cheesecake yet - but with that much fat in it I can't go wrong on the taste (the texture and shape is a whole other thing though!)

Anyways, I'll let you guys know if I get asked to cook ever again or if my colleagues just say "Ask your mum to make something!"

I also have to get some digital photos printed tomorrow morning and then make sure everyone has signed the farewell card then I am taking my colleague who is leaving for Boston to get her thesis binded!

Tomorrow should be a fun day!

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Lab Wars

I have told you all before that I absolutely love where I work. I honeslty do love the people I am working with. I did however have a bit of an issue with one of my colleagues last week. I guess I am quite sensitive and so the issue probably seemed larger to me than anyone else.

However, things are fine now - I still get along with everyone in the lab and I have learnt that if you know you are going to have to spend the next couple of years with someone, then you might as well learn to accept them for what they are.

Its interesting how knowing how long you are going to be around certain people really affects the way in which you act towards them.

Monday, May 30, 2005

End of May allready???

WHAT IS THIS??? I can't believe that May is almost over! 2005 is half gone! Is the Earth spinning faster?? I sometimes think that I am part of some wierd experiment in which *they* are trying to work out just how fast they can make me go before I start to work backwards! I don't think I could cope with things going much faster than they are.

I think Mondays and Tuesdays are the only days of the week that I am actually conscious off. After Tuesday, I seem to skip right on to Monday again!

I should just calm down now...

It was Srini's Birthday yesterday:D HAPPY BIRTHDAY HARI-LU!!! I can't beleive that he is 20! Both my brothers stopped growing for me from when they were about 12. They will always be 12 for me. I woke up a few minutes before him, avoided looking at him and dashed off to the shops to buy him a pressie!! PHEW!

Yesterday was a busy day - but busy in a nice way. Lots to do this week...

Wednesday, May 25, 2005


Have had a really busy week at the hospital. Apart form being busy, I have also been showing people how to do stuff.

I have been showing people how do certain things in the lab. Where things are kept, how to use the different equipment and so on. It feels really wierd because I don't by any means feel like I know enough to be telling anyone else what to do. My pet phrase this week has been, "I don't know why I do it like this... but this is the way I was taught...".

I remember a few years ago, I wanted to do a PhD - but not do any lab work. I just didn't think that it was my kind of thing. Lately I think I have completely switched!!! I prefer hands-on lab work to reading papers and writing Lit Reviews!

Also, I am no longer the "new kid" in my lab and I am starting to feel more comfortable with the people who work in the same building as me. It takes me a while to truly mingle...but I am slowly getting there...

Monday, May 23, 2005

Star Wars - Episode 3

Yesterday I watched my first ever Star Wars movie. My dad wanted to watch it so he made the three of us plus two of our family friends watch it with him! He took us on a guilt trip, "I always watch movies for you guys [which I would like to add is absolutely not true!], you guys cant even watch one movie for me." It worked!

Srini, Rama, Vidya (another Vidya), Nitya and myself have never seen a Star Wars movie before. We were told that this was the one in which "Annikin Skywalker" finally moves to "The Dark Side" - which basically meant nothing to any of us, but my dad assures me that the connection was needed and that it was "well-handled".

Apart from not understanding a word for the fist half of the movie (we had keep asking my dad who were the good guys and who were the bad guys), and seeing tubelights (or a "saber") swinging for the majority of the second half, the movie was actually enjoyable towards the middle. We got there at 7:15 for an 8:45 show (I didn't even wait that long for Harry Potter!!!) and had to sit right at the front! I now have a stiff neck!

Now I have to watch the rest of the Star Wars episodes to know where this one fits in!

The girl from "Felicity" plays Annikin's wife "Padme", and she really annoyed me! For someone who was so crucial for the plot, I thought her character was handled awfully! She was made to look like a stupid woman and there was not even a speck of nobility or strength in her character. the fact that she couldn't act probably didn't do that much good for the movie either!

I would have enjoyed it more if there was slightly better acting and less tubelight fights - especially when you know that most of them are not going to die (because they feature in later episodes). I just did not see why you needed all that action!

I am going to buy the complete Star Wars episodes and watch it. I am going to understand it even if it means having to sit through hours of inter-galactic wars and wierd hair styles! I will not let terrible acting and hard to pronounce names get in the way of me understanding what the fuss is all about!

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Random words of wisdom...

The following things are random things people have told me over the years. I don't think that the people who said these things actually realise how much it has influenced what I am as a person today...

"Death was hard to deal with - until my dad died. After that, it stopped bothering me..." - Technical Drawing Teacher at High school. I don't even know how that topic came about!

"If your eyes hurt... squeeze some lemon juice into it..." Science teacher in Fiji - I must have been 6 or 7 when I heard that! It was the most ridiculous thing I have heard - but I came home and shared this new found knowledge with my mum. Se called my teacher an idiot... I think her exact words were, "Seriyaana loose-u teacher!"

"I am only asking you act this out because I have never seen you angry." My General Studies teacher, asking me to act out "anger" using symbols and facial expressions. It made me realise how other people saw me.

"You have to finish studying before you get married - once you get married you won't be able to study anymore." My friend's mum while driving me to school. I think about this almost everyday.

"The older you get, the faster it goes." The lab technician at my last lab on how fast the year was progressing. It is sooo true!

"You are a truly beautiful person - outside and inside" A girl I went to school with. It really suprised me, because I hardly knew her! It was just a sweet thing to say.

"Your talk was great! You should consider becomming a lecturer." My professor at Uppsala Unversity, Sweden. I think I decided that I wanted to be a lecturer after that.

"You should become a teacher!" when I was 7, I taught an 8 year old the Hindi script. I remember wanting to become a teacher after that! I still do!

"I think everyone is beautiful in their own way." My 14 year old friend on our way home from school one afternoon. It taught me to look at the good in people.

"She should be encouraged to read lots of literature." My Year 7 English teacher on my report card. I think that single comment is responsible for why I am still reading today!

"Her only fault is that she lacks self-confidence." My Year 7 Art teacher to my dad at Parent-Teacher night. I hated her for saying it, but now I realise that she was probably right.

"I am glad we haven't lost you to medicine!" My supervisor last semester. He was glad that I was going into research rather than medicine - and was slightly dissapointed that I had chosen Medical research over Evolutionary biology...

"Oh! I thought you were in high school!" A 11 year old a few weeks ago - it truly made my day!!!

All I can think of at the moment... Its amazing how much influence most of the above comments have had on me.

I wonder how many times I have said things that have truly changed a person's perception of life and themselves...

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

My great-grandmother passed away this morning... my grandpa left for India today evening. She has allready been cremated and my grandpa will be dispersing her ashes once he gets to India.

It feels odd being told that we can't do certain things for the next few days - I seem to have escaped much of the stringent rules of mourning that the rest of my family are required to follow.

It is all very strange...

I do not understand why we are not allowed to visit a temple, light a lamp or enter our pooja room. While this may not apply to me, is this not the time when people need GOD in their lives the most? To take that away from people somehow seems wrong to me.

Perhaps 10 days of mourning without prayer or solace is the way in which to pay respect to those who have left us...

Sunday, May 15, 2005


Appa came back on Friday night. Wish he wouldn't talk about leaving for India again though!

Yesterday we heard that my great-grandmother (my grandpa's mum) is apparently really sick and my grandpa is thinking about going to see her.

I don't know many of my relatives back in India. As a result I don't have a true attachment to any of them. Its not to say that I dont like them - I just dont know them well enough. As a result I always feel very odd when I hear about close relatives being ill and even wierder when there is death in the family. I don't know what is the right way to react...

It is a wierd feeling when you hear that your grandma is sick or that your cousin is getting married. You know you should feel sorrow or happiness but its hard to when you don't know them. I know my family back in India mainly thrugh what they cook and how they cook and in some cases, what kind of matresses they have - because all we have time for when we go to India is to visit EVERYONE, eat and leave.

I don't think I am emotional about it - just something I realise and I wonder if this is something that most people living away from relatives feel or is particular to my family. It could very well be particular to us because we have never had relatives outside of India and at the same time we haven't formed any "new" relationships (either through marriage or immigration) to anyone overseas.

At times I crave relatives - then I just think that in place of family we have extremely close family friends who are probably just as good or perhaps better than "family"...

In fact, my whole family is just about to go to dinner with really close family friends...

Compliment of the day:

My mum: Gayu...Coffee super-a potuirrukae!
(Vasishtar vaayaala Brahmarishi!)

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Its rather sad...

I got a mail from "George Frances Photography" today. However it said that it was from ""... and I thought it had something to do with a gfp-tagged protein... and was very confused for a few minutes! It was a mail containing my graduation photos... will post those up soon too!

Also, today I microscoped the picture that I am going to use on the coverpage of my thesis. When I said this to a fellow PhD student, he said, "Theses don't have coverpages...". I told him that mine was going to have a coverpage and that the picture I got today would be on the cover of it. When I showed him the picture, he said that I should put it on the front of my thesis.

I'll post the picture and you will all agree with me!

Another PhD student who is writing up now was doing her "fake acknowledgements" today (height of procrastination??)... in it she wrote "I would like to thank Vidya for limiting the places we can go for social gatherings". This was in reference to taking me to "Yum Cha" last year and all I could eat was bean curd and sticky rice! Some of you might remember that episode.

Interesting fact for the day:

If you google "Vidya Vasudevan"... you can look at the number of times I have booked the microscope...

N.B. I have just gone through this post and substituted most of the "!" for "." !(.) I am banning myself from the use of "!"! :P

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Q & A

I encounter the following questions on almost a daily basis!! I am providing you with the answers... so don't ask me:P (I am just feeling colourful!)

5) How come you speak such good Tamil?
4) Why don't you have an Indian accent and why do you have an American accent?
3) When is you grandma/grandpa/dad/mum comming back from India?
2) "Medical Science"... does that mean you are a doctor?
1) How did you turn out so "normal"???

My answers to them...

5) My parents and grandparents speak Tamil at home - so I guess I do too...
4) I left India when I was 5... I don't have an American accent!
3) My dad is comming back on Thursday and my grandma in a few weeks!!
2) Ummm... its more of a research degree...I am "Geneticist / Molecular Biologist"...
1) Who said I was "normal"???

An aside...
At the lab meeting
Supervisor: I was given 15minutes to summarise the work of my 6 PhD students that have submitted in the last 5 years!
PhD Student: So what did you do with the rest of the time?

Saturday, April 30, 2005

Only to my dad...

I was greatly amused when my dad recited the following story to me...

My dad was travelling from Delhi to Chennai a few weeks ago and was seated next to some guy who was looking through some type-written sheets. One of the air attendants came upto this guy and asked him if he would like to see the cockpit. The guy said "yes" and went inside and returned some 5/10 minutes later.

My dad who had been watching this little scenario did not understand it so he ventured to ask...

Appa: I am sorry... do you happen to own this plane or something? Is that why the special treatment.

Guy (with a confused look): Don't you know me?

Appa: No... should I know you?

Guy: Umm... where are you from?

Appa: Australia...

Guy: You don't watch hindi movies?

Appa: I am some 30 years behind with them. I can't say that I do.

Guy: Oh ok. Hi, I am Salman Khan.

Appa: Hello. (Appa still has no idea how big Salman Khan is :P)

Guy: I am travelling down to Chennai for a shooting and am just revising my lines...

Appa: You guys seem a bit behind with your technology don't you?

Guy: I am sorry? I think Bollywood is quite advanced...

Appa: No...I still think you are a little behind

Guy: Why do you say that?

Appa: I see that you have type-written sheets... you know you can type them up on a computer these days right?

Appa went on to tell me that he was a very nice bloke and made a good flight companion! Appa said to me, "You know... he thought I was very funny!". I told him, "He probably thought you were an idiot!" :P

My dad is staying in some posh hotel in Delhi at the moment and told me that he keeps bumping into people who are obviously famous, but he doesn't know who they are or why they are famous...

Things like this will only happen to my dad!

I thought it was a pretty good story!!! :D

Tuesday, April 26, 2005


AAAAAAAARRRRRRGGHHH!!!!!!!!!!! I hope I don't stackit! I can hardly walk on a level floor with my shoes - let alone up stairs... and then back down again! Pray for me!!

Sunday, April 24, 2005


I get along with kids. I was tutoring Cassie today. She is 7 and I basically help her with her reading. She had two frineds over. I have seen these two girls before and they basically go and play by themselves when Cassie is being tutored.

Today I was teaching some Roald Dahl poems to Cassie and she was sooo proud of herself that she wanted everyone to hear it too. Her two frineds came and stood around her. One of the little girls asked me if she could read too. I couldn't say no! She read it really well and Cassie got jealous. Cassie was getting defensive, "Vidiiiya is my tutor!". Soon the other children's mum arrived and asked the two girls to pack up. The little girl came upto me and said "I like you Viidiya!" and then left. It was soo sweet!

I love watching kids. The way they think... the way they feel. People always say that being a kid is blissful - I think the reason for that is because kids are so forgiving. It doesn't matter what a kid does to you, or what you do to a kid - they always forget it and move on...

Saturday, April 23, 2005


I am waiting for my media to warm-up so I have about ten minutes. Thought I might update this!

We had "donars" (people who fund our research) come and pay us a visit. Our supervisor sent us all a note asking us to look "pretty" and "busy"...Do you think that he implies that we are all neither pretty nor busy??? Perhaps he is saying that we should try atleast look "pretty busy"! :P

I just got out some ice and some reagents and started making fresh batches - it was really nothing requiring much scientific planning but it "looked" like I was doing ground-breaking research.

I have my graduation ceremony on Tuesday:D I am actually really excited about it!!! Can't wait to get home today! I think I might even go shopping today and buy some much needed pants!

Life is treating me well... hope you are all being good to yourselves!

Next week is going to be a short week. Monday is a public holiday... then Tuesday I graduate. I have Wednesday, Thursday and Friday allready planned! Lets home things go according to that plan!

Sunday, April 17, 2005


In the last 36hours...

1) I took yesterday off to stay home and clean the house
2) I went shopping for presents for people I don't even know
3) Our neighbours from Fiji got our address from our other neighbours who are now living in auckland and dropped by to say "hello". We haven't seen them since 1992 - so we were just a little taken aback!
4) Had two of my brothers friends come over - I bought them Pizza.
5) Went to my brother's friends house cuz their mum invited my mum and I over for "vethalai paaku"...
6) It was clean-up at the local ashram this morning.
7) I have been reading Deception Point
8) There was a "meeting" at my house about the next charity function.
9) I chatted to a very old family friend of ours who is currently living in Chicago.
10) I went tutoring
11) Drove all the way to Fairfield and back - with four ladies who spoke in telugu all the way there and back... (my mum was one of them)
12) Went and watched "Chandramukhi" at the theatres!!!!

The Chandramukhi experience...

My brother's frineds who came over yesterday are actually Telugu, but they told my mum that we HAD to watch this movie! I was originally going to skip it, but it the end managed to reschedule to make it possible!

I got sooo scared during the movie that I shifted seats and sat next to my mum! I had to hold her hand and stopped her from eating her "mixture" because I would let her move her hand...As we were sitting very close to the front, the sound was really LOUD and I freaked out totally! I actually screamed in one scene - even though it wasn't supposed to be scary!

My mum and my friend's mum forgot where they were for a moment... My mum argued her way into the theatres while many people were struggling to even get a ticket... I said, "Enna MAnni panara nee??" (What are you doing???). My mum replied, "Unnaku onnum theriyaadhu! Chumma iru. Naan pathukiraen!" (YOu don't know anything! You just stay quite!" She argued with the guy at the door - saying something about all of us being ladies and that the old lady who was with us couldn't stand for too long and all kinds of other stuff which weren't even true! I am never going to the movies with her again!

I liked the movie - I haven't seen Baba, but all the Telugu ladies were telling me that this is deffinetly better than Baba! Its funny and there is an actual plot. Vadivelu's comedy was pretty good!

The weekend isn't over yet!

Friday, April 15, 2005

Quick Update

  1. Got a hair cut - I have never had my hair this short!
  2. Joined a "health club"
  3. Got a wisdom tooth infection
  4. Feeling really "eecky" :-S

Happy Tamil New Year... Puthaandu nal vaazhthukkal! :D

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Scientific Thinking

I remember when I first started at the hospital last year, I understood nothing. There are just way too many acronyms in Science! Even now, I understand my work and bits of what other people are doing, but most of the time I find it very hard to keep up with everyone.

However, I am finiding that I am slowly starting to understand what other people are on about. We have lab meetings every Monday and today our supervisor talked about this new technology and wanted us to think of ways in which we could utilise it.

While the question was not regarding my work, I was extremely happy in being able to make a positive contribution. I had two ideas... both of which were "clever"...

If only I could be smart all of the time! Then again, being stupid most of the time is also good - for the planet won't be able to cope with my brilliance! :P

Sunday, April 10, 2005

The show and the lab

For those of you who I have spoken to in the last few weeks, I have probably been talking non-stop about this "show". If you are free, would like to come, and are living in Sydney (:P), send me a message and I'll send ya the details!

Apart from that, I bought expensive coverslips to grow my cells on. Turns out the expensive coverslips are crappy under the light microscope so I have to use the cheap ones anyway! Kind of frustrating! Never listen to others - always try it out yourself first!

Oh well! My dad left for India yesterday :( and he won't be back in time for my graduation :(:(... but oh well there will be other ones I suppose! (Yes, I am trying to convince myself!)

Went to a "How to write a literature review" course yesterday. While most of the stuff they see is commen sense, I find going to these courses accomplishes two things. 1) Gives you a VALID reason to take time off work! 2) Motivates you to get organised! (Doesn't really do much in making you want to write though!)

I am going to be playing "teacher" in the lab soon - am going to be in charge of an Honours/Masters student. I reckon I'll enjoy that. Wierd how quickly you move from being a "student" to "teacher"...

Also been thinking of writing a review paper for my gene - will be talking to my supervisor about that on Monday!

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

A total bum!

I didn't get my phone yesterday :(

Salesperson: Hi!
Me: Hi! I am looking for a new phone...
SP: Ok. How much are you looking at?
Me: Roughly $30 a month...

Shopkeeper shows me different models...

Me: Ok.. can I have that one? (It looked pretty and had a colour screen! Don't rem the model...)
SP: Sure. Before we sell a phone, we like to check our customers credit ratings.
Me: Sure (took out all the neccesary ID cards)
SP: Sp what do you do?
Me: I am student
SP: Ok. Do you work?
Me: No
SP: Hmm... part-time?
Me: Nope
SP: do you support yourself?
Me: I get a scholarship...
SP: Oh... ok... I am not sure if I can give you a phone... I'll try anyway
Me: Ok... If you think its going to be too much of a hassle, I can think about pre-paid or something
SP: Nah... we will first try it and see how we go...

Then while he was waiting on the phone he asked me a whole bunch of questions...

SP: So what do you plan to do after you finish your studies?
Me: Umm... I haven't thought that far... been putting it off actually.

SP: What are your living arrangemetns like?
Me: I live with my parents...

SP: So what do you study?
Me: I major in genetics... (I wasn't sure how much detail was necessary!)

SP: How do you spell "University"???

After all that he told me I couldn't get a phone cuz I wasn't "employed". I said to him, "That's cool... I'll come back with my dad tomorrow and get him to buy it for me!" :P

Monday, April 04, 2005

Errr...why is it hot??

It's supposed to be winter! NOT SUMMER! Why is it sooo hot then??? I'll have to get bring my fan out of the garage again! ARRRRGGHHH!!

I left my mobile phone at the hospital on Friday. To top it off, I also left my swipe card in my room... so I cant get my phone till tomorrow morning. I need a new phone - my current phone doesn't even work half the time and it cuts me off half-way through conversations! Very wierd.

Such a busy weekend! I went shopping yesterday morning, played monopoly with fam yesterday afternoon (and I won - eventhough appa thinks he won!), completely forgot to go tutoring, and I couldn't even call them and apologize because I dont have their number - its in my mobile, which I left at work!

Today, I was out till 3 pm, came home, played monopoly with a 7 year old (and yes, I reckon I could have beaten him:P), cooked, made coffee, watched TV and did some editing for a souvenir.

Now I am going to fix my fan and get some sleep - hopefully...

Weekend come... weekend go!

Today's achievement: I made Srini fall at my feet THREE TIMES! :P Srini - if you are reading this... I am never letting you forget it :P

Saturday, April 02, 2005



Got a mail sometime yesterday morning saying that I will be getting paid later in the day. I think I have every right to feel like it was just an April Fool's joke:P

Anyways, me going shopping today! Does anyone wanna come? Message me if you will be in Parra around 9 / 10 today!

Friday, April 01, 2005


HAPPY BIRTHDAY ALMAS! :D Hope you ahve agreat day and year!

  • Looking forward to catching up with Yumna today!
  • Going to be a busy day in the lab!
  • I bought my dress for my graduation yesterday! :D:D:D:D

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Cells in Aether...

Hope everyone had a lovely Easter, Holi and long-weekend! I can't beleive its almost APRIL! We are a quarter of the way through! In just another 3 more quarters, we will be in 2006! FREAKY!

Having repeated many of my experiments (I keep telling myself that I "can't make-up results"... but really it is probably more likely now that less people will know if I do....), I am quite satisfied! I got told today that I had enough results for the first chapter of my thesis. I don't beleive I do - but its a nice thought.

I just hope I dont use up all my luck in the first few months and then end up having to pray, beg and eventually go insane in trying to get something to work!

I think more importantly, in the last two months - I HAVE MADE NO ENEMIES! Touch wood!

Discovery of the day...
"If you look down the microscope long enough... it feels like you are travelling into space. Especially looking at cells with the DAPI staining."

Monday, March 28, 2005

HAPPY BIRTHDAY ANIIIIKKKAAAA (from Darwin) !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Revelation Number 1

People do PhDs for various reasons. Amongst them are such things as "avoiding real life", "avoiding the corporate world", "avoiding 'getting settled'"... and I guess just generally its to avoid stuff...

Apart from the above mentioned obvious reasons, a PhD is also (apparently) supposed to make you learn more about yourself and if possible, contribute to greater scientific knowledge... Today I made a "personal discovery". By that I mean that I found out something about myself. Infact I found out two things!

Revelation number 1: I am a work-o-holic. WA meetings anyone???

Revelation number 2: Wearing high-heeled boots to work is not only impractical - but also completely foolish.

Experiment of the day: Placing all your weight on the "heel" part of the boot CONSTANTLY will result in the heel snapping - and thus cause further discomfort and "wisdom teeth - like" pains in your feet...

Saturday, March 19, 2005

A New Central Dogma?

I got my first lot of results yesterday! My cell staining actually worked! I got very excited and so am going to uni today to repeat it! :D:D:D:D:D:D

When my experiment worked I sent my dad a message that said, "Guess whose experiment worked?? Guess who got results??? MEE!! I GOT RESULTSS! :D:::D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D"

I came home and my dad said "What was your message about? What's 'colon dee (:D)'??"
I told him that they were smileys...

"Ohhh! I thought it was some kind of a genetic code you had discovered and that was the result..."


Thursday, March 17, 2005

In the life of a long-term student...

My dad got a letter from Medibank (The medical insurance company) that started with (in bold and underlined mind you!)... "Is Vidya still a student?".

My dad gave it to me and said, "Gayu, when are you going to finish?? I have insurance companies starting to doubt me now!". Apparently I can still be listed under my dad's cover till I am 25!

A few weeks back, a 15 year-old asked me, "Have you finished uni yet? Haven't you been studying like... FOREVER???"

Come on! I ts not that bad!

Monday, March 14, 2005

The eternal optimist?

Started my first experiment last week, and once some of my reagents arrive I should be right for my second experiment! I am still extremely excited about it all. I have been told that I am simply going through "1st-year optimism" and that I shouldn't worry because pretty soon I'll find myself in the bottom of a deep dark abyss, wondering how I got there and spending much of the next 2 and half year trying to crawl out of it...

I work with interesting people...

Have to go into uni today to show someone how to carry out cell staining - it should be interesting seeing as I have never reallly done it myself :-S.

I have also taken up the role of the "official complain lady" for all office needs and deeds. IT and security must hate me!

Hopefully I'll be getting paid this week!

Saturday, March 05, 2005


"Princess visits hospital - millions dead"

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Vector Difficulties!

After thinking about a particular Vector problem for DAYS, I finally sat down and designed a few primers yesterday.

I am trying to make a few mutants of my protein. After Thinking till 7 pm yesterday with a fellow student for HOURS - drawing and redrawing... planning and re-planning and finally deciding to leave it for another day I came home feeling really frustrated. Caused me to miss a dear friend's birthday too :(

This morning, I thought about it some more from a different angle - then FINALLY we (or rather the other student) figured it out! I then sat down and wrote out the feels good when you solve a problem that originally looks impossible to solve...