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Showing posts from 2015

The accident

December 14, 2015 8.00 pm
(I haven't mentioned any names. Please don't ask me to)
I had just finished dinner at PD outside campus and was walking back inside. A gray Maruti Swift suddenly lost control, spun 360 degrees twice and rammed into the barricade. A SASTRA watchman standing at the platform was thrown back and across the service road and hit his head on a sharp rock near the platform where the stalls were, right next to me. I was in shock. Like, I've seen a few road accidents. Truck ramming car, car tyre bursting and skidding to a halt, etc. None of these, however, involved any human lives at stake. I thought right there that he was gone. He remained sprawled on the road, motionless. I hadn't lost my cool. I approached him and tried calling out to him. No response. I tried patting him awake, hoping he was still conscious. Still no response. People started crowding around us and some people did the first thing anyone ought to do when such an accident happens – get t…

That's because you're a guy!

This is one sentence all of us guys have heard. Your girlfriends say it, your sisters, your colleagues - pretty much any woman/girl you might've had the fortune of meeting. It is one sentence that ends conversations of road trips together, night outs, plans to chill at the beach past 7pm, and many many more such things. It conveys one emotion that is so omnipresent in society - fear. I wouldn't term it paranoia since that would add the term “irrational” before the word “fear”. It is a rational fear, I agree. We all know where this fear stems from. Everybody reads the news. Nobody is nestled, cushioned in the ignorance of what happens outside their walls. Some of us may even know people who've had not-so-pleasant experiences. We might have been victims of such antisocial behavior. This is India - a place where the cops needn't impose curfew past 9pm because our parents do it for us, a place where society decides what morals we must stick to, a place where the paths our l…

My week at home

My parents, brother and grandmother departed for Kashmir on Saturday, May 23, 2015. I dropped them off at the airport and brought back a very thirsty Outlander. The petrol meter showed that the car would stop at any moment and I kept constantly throwing glances at the fuel indicator. Not that that would've helped, I was just anxious. After all, who can push a car as big as that to the nearest petrol station? :P I managed to get the car home and also park it, albeit a little skewed! (Parking that behemoth was a task in itself!) But who cares? I had the house to myself for the next 9 days. Nobody to tell me to take it out and park it straight again! Anyway, day 1 was boring. Visited a friend and got back home after a while. I had never been home alone for so long. I'd always have mom or grandma calling me up an hour or two after I had gone out, asking me when I'd be back home. Dusk enveloped the house and after a game or two of DoTA (I played a LOT of DoTA these 9 days), I wen…

An Open Letter to the Indian Politician

Hello there! I'm Vishvak but in your eyes I'm probably just a statistic, a caste or another vote. I don't have a name. I don't have a life outside the booth the put at the end of my street every 5 years as far as you are concerned. To you, I am the indelible mark they put on my finger.
Someone introduced you to politics. It had to be a family member, a friend. Maybe another politician friend. But when you stepped foot into the very epicenter of democracy and found out that it's a whole load of pandemonium out there, what did you do? You became another chaotic fanatic of electoral politics. The run-of-the-mill cliché. Your average politician.
The founding fathers of our nation saw fit to declare India a democratic nation. They gave us freedom of speech and now they're putting us in jail for "sedition". They gave us freedom to practice any religion or none at all and now we have hooligans like Shiv Sena and the RSS. They gave us freedom of expression and …

India. LOL!

My dad decided that he had had enough of the Gulf and one fine day told us that he wanted to come back home. So we did. We, dad, mom, brother and I, returned to India back in September 2007. That's when I started yearning for knowing more. I developed the habit of reading the news every morning and have stuck to it, albeit not religiously, till date. And if there was one thing, rather one entity, that amused both my brother and I, it was Shiv Sena - the political party in Mumbai. We'd literally laugh out loud upon reading news of their antics in the city everyday. We got so used to it that if one of us was reading the newspaper and burst out laughing, the other would come running and ask, "Shiv Sena right?" We found a lot of what they did funny - torching buses, vandalizing public property, running around the city assaulting couples making out during Valentine's Day and so on. As I grew up, I realized how this wasn't so funny anymore. On the onset, it was a lit…

My Tryst with the Cockroach

Roaches. I have been disgusted by them ever since my eyes could process those creepy crawlers. Just now I ran out of my hostel room's bathroom because one such specimen decided to set up camp there. All was well till then. I had just finished playing a good game of Dota and was readying myself for a night full of cell signaling when I felt like I had to have some Boost (really helps with the morale). So I grabbed my mug and headed in to wash it and suddenly I spot some scampering out of the corner of my eye. There he was. Resplendent in his brown exoskeleton, twitching his feelers a few feet from my left foot. I tiptoed towards my basin and proceeded to wash my mug, all the while watching out for an impending attack. Just as I was about to shut off the water supply, the animal decided that my foot needed some creeping over and charged. So did I - out of the bathroom. I quickly latched the door and then realized that my assailant could comfortably walk through the gateway under my …

Can cancer even be cured?

You’ve all heard the common refrain, “Refrain from smoking lest you develop cancer”. These days, everything we do can be a cause for cancer – eating spicy food, using air conditioners, eating fried food, consuming liquor, passive smoking, being exposed to UV rays and a host of other things as well. And the worst part is, even if you remained a teetotaller, stayed indoors, ate only fruits and generally kept away from popularly categorized carcinogens, you still could develop cancer.
I recently read an article on endogenous retroviruses – something that we, as a race, have been carrying for a few million years now (even before the dawn of “mankind” as we know it). Basically these are sequences of DNA in our somatic and germ cells (read body cells and sperms/ova) which were once infectious retroviruses that plagued our primeval counterparts. For all those unaware of the mechanisms of infection of retroviruses – they are viruses that are able to integrate their genetic material into the ge…

You Are What You Eat

When I was a kid, my mother used to say, "You are what you eat!" I'm sure all of us have been told that at some point or the other. The most common response to this statement, not just from kids, is to laugh imagining someone turn into a chicken or a plant or whatever. Only recently did this statement gain more importance (in my opinion) for me. I remember a while back +Krithika mentioning that she read a paper or some review about how our gut microbial community is able to manipulate our thought processes by secreting some chemicals. That put things into perspective. We're nothing but hosts for populations of parasites. In a way, all of us ARE puppets in the bigger order of things. But who's order? That is a very interesting question!
After watching a video by Ed Yong, called "Suicidal Wasps, Zombie Roaches and other tales of parasites", reading a little about the effects of the gut microbial community on us and also a little about how the number of bac…