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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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”