Monday, September 19, 2016

daycare

The high quality daycare that IISER Pune has started will reap huge dividends for them, maybe even in the short term. This I hope will encourage others to follow suit. There are still a large number of women capable of becoming phenomenally good scientists who do not achieve their potential simply because they have children. IISER may see brilliant women scientists coming to join there as faculty. As of now, women enter the work force if they have mothers/mothers-in-law willing to care for the children. This means the older women do not get to live their dreams. This generation of young women may have mothers who agree to give up their dreams for the sake of their grandchildren, but the next generation of grandmothers may still be at the peak of their  own careers when their daughters give birth. Unless we have high quality childcare at work places and a liberal leave policy for new parents, we will lose a lot of brilliant women. We see from the class XII results that girls very often  outdo boys in academics but fall behind along the way. I hope this generation of girls grow up to be great, fulfilled women and the establishment sees that they have a lot to gain by this.
 

Friday, September 9, 2016

When I began teaching, I had no idea if I was doing a good job or not. The first few classes were not very good. In fact, my first year, I floundered. Later I got the hang of it and felt comfortable, but did not know if I was good. This was before the age of student feedback for NAAC.
Once I got this heartwarming email from an old student on how he hoped to teach the way I did and  suddenly I felt maybe I was good. At least for a few students thought so. It also made me realise that I had lost touch with my PhD guide who had been a real mentor. So I dug out an old letter from him and renewed our correspondence, only now through phone calls. I could hear in his voice that it made him happy to hear from me. Luckily, in the last one year, he moved to Bangalore which I visit often, and I was able to meet him and his wife. I am happy I visited him a couple of times before he passed away. 
Over the years, specially on teacher's day, I get a few emails or phone calls from old students and it makes me happy. It is good to be a teacher.


Thursday, September 1, 2016

I believe oil "migrated" from ONGC wells to Reliance wells in the KG basin.
Maybe Reliance should have built a Wall.....
Maybe some money will migrate into my bank account from someone else's.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Burkini ban

What is the world coming to? Here we object to scantily clad women and the French object to or are threatened by clothed women!

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Sajeevani again.. I have just been made aware of the obvious..... there was this one mountain in the Himalayas that had Sajeevani. But Hanuman took it to Sri Lanka. So why are they looking for it in Uttarakhand?
Like the govt of Uttarakhand, I too did not think of the obvious.
So if you believe implicitly in the Ramayana look in Sri Lanka. Give 25crores to them.
Or do we selectively believe in our mythology, sorry history?


Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Sanjeevani

Twenty five crores to find Sanjeevani. Wow!
What I am curious about is that after finding it, how can you prove a man would be dead, but has come back to life because of this herb? Can we also find Amrit and Som ras? There is a lot of debate about what exactly Soma was with ephedra being the top contender.
But seriously, I think it makes sense to systematise ancient knowledge specially in medicine. The money could be better spent in conducting scientific studies on many of the  Ayurvedic medicines and either prove or disprove their efficacy. It could also be used for better training of Ayurvedic practitioners since many start practicing after a 6 month postal course.
In the old system, a boy starts learning with his father or guru from when he is maybe 7 years old, progressing finally to preparation of medicines and to diagnosis, maybe 20 years later. His training would therefore be rigorous.
Now we get students who failed their MBBS and so decided to do a 6 month course in Ayurvedic medicine. That's dangerous since many Ayurvedic medicines are deadly if misused. 

Monday, August 1, 2016

Prof J

My PhD guide was an exception to the usual profs at IIXs. He cared for the welfare of his students, definitely his research  students. He was understanding when personal problems overwhelmed me and did not question my lack of progress.
Instead he helped me change track that led me to a new area of research. He allowed me to pursue theoretical work when his interests lay elsewhere, even getting his friend to help me learn the basics. He showed me how to live without letting ego get in the way of good judgement. His equanimity was exemplary. I learned much more than Chemistry from him.
He passed away few weeks back.
He was a true teacher.