Subtle changes leading the way

“I believe the children are our future. Teach them well and let them lead the way. Show them all the beauty they possess inside”-
Whitney Houston

“I don’t want to go to a school that has no air-conditioners and where people don’t speak English”, daughter of one of my family acquaintances was incessantly reiterating in the front seat of the car while her parents discussed competent schools of Gorakhpur. Her sentences did amaze me a little, however, I did not find them echoing in my head till I was standing in front of Savitri Devi School. Located near a residential construction site, it is run in a rental building with no “air-conditioners”. It is the outcome of an initiative taken by a group of young people of my village who feel education is a key step in bringing social change.

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I was talking to one of my colleagues about NoteBook Drive (NBD) initiative of Indian Institute of Science, who mentioned about NBD groups going to rural parts of Banglore and meeting students and parents. The main objective of this practice is to bring academic and social awareness. My colleague mentioned that these sessions bring them a great sense of happiness as they find rural folks open to educating their children irrespective of their gender or any financial restraints. I believe, my experience while meeting the school children of my village infers the same feeling. I remember when I was at that age, the only perspective of people around me had; to bring-up girl child into a well-trained/cultured “बहुॅ” (daughter-in-law) ready to be given away to a protector and caretaker (पति-देव!!! the husband). Whereas a boy had to be brought-up “masculine” i.e. fight, earn and protect (Phew…too much pressure). But to my delight, during my interaction with these kids, I didn’t come across any such ludicrous beliefs being told to them. They are being raised as individuals, to take-up anything coming their way. It gives me a great sense of satisfaction to put these subtle changes paving their way through my village into words. Continue reading “Subtle changes leading the way”

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Hostel-Life

Preparing for the unforgettable phase of life with Dr. Surbhi Goyal

Lost in a reverie while going through old pictures of my undergraduate studies I realised a lurking fact that a big part of those memories belongs to “hostel-life” unlike the life in IISc where its “Lab-life”. Standing in arduous early morning long bathroom queues, 3 a.m. maggi cooking, crowding a friend’s room for watching horror movies, mid-night birthday celebrations and my personal favourite; full packed TV hall watching India vs “any team” and cheering the team in blue, filled with sweet-sour memories hostel-life is an unforgettable phase which every student goes through once in his/her life. Home is sweet but hostel is independence and amusement, a place to watch, observe, learn and evolve. Dr. Surbhi Goyal writes in her book Hostel-Life – A to Z of Life@Hostel, “When one enters hostel, one is just like the pearl coming out of the oyster. This is almost like a new birth because now one is independent  and must decide for himself/herself.” Continue reading “Hostel-Life”

Fight against Salmonella Typhi

A conversation with Prof Dipshikha Chakravortty about typhoid vaccine, women in STEM, social issues and youth of India

Looking for a place in Prakruthi ( IISc Canteen) on a Sunday morning I came across a couple who politely offered me the empty seat next to them. As the conversation began I came to know that I was sitting with Prof Dipshikha Chakravortty and her husband who themselves were enjoying their morning coffee in the canteen. Asking about my department and area of research, Prof Chakravortty explained the pressing need of interdisciplinary research in  21st century and how she herself was trying for nano-drug delivery systems (her collaborative work on nano-capsules) for her research work. Dr. Dipshikha Chakravortty is an Associate Professor at Centre for Infectious Diseases Research (CIDR),Dept of Micro Biology and Cell Biology (MCB),Indian Institute of Science (IISc). Her research work focuses on infectious disease and host pathogen interaction using bacteria as a model system, understanding the mechanism of bacterial infections, and developing antidote and vaccine strains with excellent memory.  Continue reading “Fight against Salmonella Typhi”

Soldiers Die When We Forget Them

Its been more than three weeks since Lt Gen Ranbir Singh, Director General of Military Operations (DGMO), Indian Army  addressed the press conference about surgical strikes of Indian Army in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK) targeting terror launch pads. From civilians to political leaders, everyone stood by our fierce army supporting their act of valour. But like every issue being handled in this country politics again seeped in conjoined with noise and cacophony on news channels. Fight of Nation vs Terrorism took a turn in political lanes becoming Government vs Opposition, adding to the melee came in the artistic groups turning the ‘ugly’ scenario into so-called Peace vs Ultra-Patriotism questioning Prime Minister about his flight itineraries and tax money spent on it (well they have every right to do so). The live action of valour with bullets flying over our soldiers turned into virtual twitter fight with tweets volleying from several twitter handles. Some stood by defence forces and their decisions, few common (aam) leaders wanted proof, some took stand on cultural exchanges and a lot was scratched on the statement of a person who has been in and out of multiple legal troubles be it harassment or hit and run.  Continue reading “Soldiers Die When We Forget Them”

Look Again , They all are Scientists !!

“You will not get emotional support here, I am telling you this because you are a girl.” A senior told me when I joined for PhD (Phew,by that standard guys don’t need emotional support!!). “How come you are a mechanical engineer ?”another stereotyped clichéd query which every woman who is a mechanical engineer goes through, I also underwent and still do. Being a mechanical engineer for a woman is incomprehensible to a great lot of our society.But if looked around, it is not just with women who are mechanical engineers but in general with women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). In March 2015 UNESCO published an article which shows despite significant worldwide increase in number of researchers between 2000 and 2012 from 1.9 million to 6.9 million,  under-representation of women researchers is a great issue. Continue reading “Look Again , They all are Scientists !!”

At the end it’s the SOLDIERS’ FOOT required for “KABZA”

A week back when I saw a broadcast mail flashing – Talk on “Technology Requirements for the Army” by Brig Subhash Chandra Sharma (Retd), President & Director, AXISCADES Aerospace & Technologies Pvt Ltd on 29th September, a figure of Army man with all his enthusiasm and dignity silhouetted  my  imagination.Today I attended that talk and felt, in all the pessimism surrounding us, people are there who care for our country “NO MATTER WHAT”.

 Brig Sharma has profusely  worked in electronic warfare, tactical communications, electromagnetic battlespace operations, wargaming, and optimization of counter-insurgency operations. He is an M Tech from IIT, Mumbai, MBA from Punjabi University, Patiala, B Tech (Electronics & Telecom) from MCTE, Mhow and AIMA Advance Course in Strategic Management from CDM, Secunderabad. He has held senior designations in Army procurements, field trials and inductions; He has in-depth knowledge of Defence Technologies, future requirements, projects, procurement procedures, and offsets. Continue reading “At the end it’s the SOLDIERS’ FOOT required for “KABZA””