Consciousness-raisers

Work is taking a toll on me. I find myself spending more time than ever going for work, thinking about work, doing extra reading for work, and even dreaming about work. But i’ve learnt something from this week’s work. I am really getting the hang of this researcher job and i’m starting to like it. I think i’m really suited to it. Ok, i think i’ve reached to a conclusion very quickly. Let’s wait and see until the attachment period ends.

In the same time, it seems my friends are having a good time teaching. Especially Kasturi. Kalpana, well, i think the teacher job is not suitable for you if you do not feel the commitment to your job naturally. Even after facing a lot of troublesome students, Kasturi still wants to go on and become a teacher. If one is not strong-hearted like that, then that job is not for you. It’s the same for every career. There is always some aspect of that career that one does not like at all. In my lab, none of my colleagues ever talk to me. Fine, they say ‘good morning’, or ‘hi’, or atleast smile. But they don’t socialise much. Mainly because they are so engrossed in their research work. Actually, i myself notice that i too am fully engrossed in my work, as mundane as PCR and gel electrophoresis. Moreover, the repeating of failed experiments and getting back bad results again is frustrating. If i want to become a researcher, i have to tolerate the inadequacies of such a career.

I’ve been reading a lot on the subject of whether there exists a god. All along in my life, i have been told to believe in the gods that i worship (the hindu gods). And i have always done so. Especially at night before i go to sleep. This is because praying gives me an invisible protection from bad dreams and so on. I used to get nightmares quite often last time. But reading Richard Dawkins’s books like The Selfish Gene and The Blind Watchmaker and getting to know more about evolution and natural selection, has made me feel sceptical about the existence of god. Now the very notion of the hindu gods sounds quite ridiculous to me. I have stopped praying for quite some time at night. And i don’t get the nightmares that much as i used to. I sleep peacefully. My disbelief in god has also made me sceptical about the existence of spirits and ghosts.

My parents are strong believers of the hindu gods and i think any other gods. I don’t think they will ever understand the arguments put forward by Richard Dawkins. Even my dad who is well-educated. I think belief in a god comes about easily, rather than not believing. It’s like a pillar to lean on in times of trouble/suffering/pain. And i feel surprised that a lot of students who study evolution and natural selection are believers in christianity. I wonder how. Are they scared to tell their opinion on the existence of god out loud? Like what Richard Dawkins says, it might be true. I myself have not told my parents that i do not believe in god at all. I have told it to my close friends. And sometimes, it’s easier to talk about it to a friend who agrees with you in this matter. Kasturi is one such person. But she still believes in a god who created this world. Then who created god?:)

Another thing that is running on my mind now is about this childfree issue. i’ve been to India and have visited my cousins. One of them got married last year and is 8 months pregnant now, going to give birth later this month. And another cousin of mine, 24 years old, has finished her MBA. I asked her if she is going to go for a job? She said no and that she is not interested. Then i wonder why she has ever studied at all? Well, she doesn’t have to go for a job, being rich and all. The thing is, she is of a marriagable age and her mind isn’t in career planning at all.

Lots of girls are quite ambitious when they are teenagers. But once they finish their degrees, i don’t know why they lose interest in their ambitions. They just want to get married and ‘settled’. And i don’t know what they mean by ‘settled’. If ‘settled’ means giving birth to a child and bringing it up, man that’s not the end of life. All these girls ever think about is when they want to have children and not if. Why don’t they ever question about such things and why do they just accept it? There was a book in the library i was browsing through. It was about the other unpleasant side of motherhood. The third trimester of pergnancy, the labour, lactose intolerance and so on. The book also has another section in which it gives advice to girls in their late teens and 20’s on preparing for motherhood. What crap! We have to prepare for motherhood knowing that such unpleasantness exists in it? Stop romanticising the idea of motherhood and let’s just face the hard truth, shall we?

All these thoughts have been a kind of consciousness-raisers for me in this part of my life. I think i’ll post more on them when i have time. I have spilled out quite a lot that was lingering in my mind. I feel quite peaceful now:)

My new job as an intern

I’ve been quite busy with my new job as an intern in the Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology (IMCB) for the past few days this week. I joined on the 3rd of January. My friends have also embarked on a journey into adulthood. Alas, bye bye for the thought “this is the end of school/education.” It’s taken me a while to realise that this is just the end of the beginning.

My job seems pretty easy at the first glance. I have to extract mouse DNA, purify it, run PCR and then run gel electrophoresis to determine the genotype of the mouse. But one single mistake anywhere in the process, i have to repeat some of the experiments again. Furthermore, there will usually be 5 to 20 replicates. So it takes some time to complete the process step-by-step for each replicate. That is the only tedious part. And there is also the waiting time for the PCR to complete. It takes around 2 hours and 30 minutes.

I really hope that this experience pays me off. I would like to embark on a career in research. There are 2 Indian women in he lab that i work. They seem to be doing their PhD. I’m not exactly sure about this. But they really encourage me to be like them. No matter what degree i take, i want to do a PhD. That will be my ambition.