Monday, August 29, 2005

Being 20 something

I received this forward today. Unlike most forwarded emails, this one struck a chord with me. This is so close to heart and I couldn't have expressed it any better. I wonder if everyone goes through this "Quaterly-life Crisis".

To all u 20-somethings........

Maybe we all r going through this "Being Twenty-Something". They call it the "Quarter-life Crisis." It is when you stop going along with the crowd and start realizing that there are any things about yourself that you didn't know and may not like. You start feeling Insecure and wonder where you will be in a year or two, but then get scared because you barely know where you are now.

You start realizing that people are selfish and that, maybe, those friends that you thought you were so close to aren't exactly the greatest people you have ever met, and the people you have lost touch with are some of the most important ones. What you don't recognize is that they are realizing that too, and aren't really cold, catty, mean or insincere, but that they are as confused as you.

You look at your job... and it is not even close to what you thought you would be doing, or maybe you are looking for a job and realizing that you are going to have to start at the bottom and that scares you.

Your Opinions have gotten stronger. You see what others are doing and find yourself judging more than usual because suddenly you realize that you have certain boundaries in your life and are constantly adding things to your list of what is acceptable and what isn't.

One minute, you are insecure and then the next, secure. You laugh and Cry with the greatest force of your life. You feel alone and scared and Confused. Suddenly, change is the enemy and you try and cling on to The Past with dear life, but soon realize that the past is drifting further and further away, and there is nothing to do but stay where you are or move forward. You get your heart broken and wonder how someone you loved could do such damage to you. Or you lie in bed and wonder why you can't meet anyone decent enough that you want to get to know better. Or maybe you love someone but love someone else too and cannot figure out why you are doing this because you know that you aren't a bad person. One night stands and random hook ups start to look cheap. Getting wasted and acting like an idiot starts to look pathetic.

You go through the same emotions and questions over and over, and talk with your friends about the same topics because you cannot seem to
Make a decision. You worry about loans, money, the future and making a life for yourself... and while winning the race would be great, right now you'd just like to be a contender!

What you may not realize is that everyone reading this relates to it. We are in our best of times and our worst of times, trying as hard as we can to figure this whole thing out. Send this to your twenty something friends.... maybe it will help someone feel like they aren't alone in their state of confusion..... GOOD LUCK TO ALL OF US

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

The contrasts in our beliefs!

Hinduism is not only my religion but a foundation of who I am. It’s a set of guidelines that I along with many Indians follow. I have always been proud of the fact and I still am. There are, however a few contrasts stemming from the same that bothered me this time when I visited India.

Hinduism promotes cleanliness. Staunch Hindus don’t even drink water without taking a shower. Entering the kitchen is strongly forbidden till you have cleaned yourself and said your prayers. Houses, especially kitchen and temple (in the house) are cleaned daily, sometimes even twice in a day. Quite a clean community one might think.

Yet, the moment we step out of our houses we forget all about the same cleanliness. Let's forget about the dirty streets, public places and water bodies, for which we conveniently blame the inefficient government. Even our holy temples are far from being clean.

This has been a consistent observation and I feel sad that no one takes responsibility for it. People go there with strong faith and overlook the deterioration of the temples and even contribute to the same. I ask these educated and well to do people to stop relying on the government to clean our country for us. Let’s take action by installing dustbins and being among the first few to promote civic sense.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Indian flag

I have come to India for a week on vacation. During my journey, I wondered what the significance of the Indian tricolor flag is. I vaguely remembered that we were taught in school that the saffron colour represents patriotism, white represents purity of heart and green represents agriculture. This explanation however didn't quite seem right.

According to me the most accurate explanation among many existent ones goes something like this - The tricolor came into existence as an indian symbol during the pre-indepence era. The most disturbing issue at that time apart from the manipulative british rule was the Hindu-Muslim riots. The flag thus represented peace between two major religions of India. Saffron represents Hinduism, green represents Islam and white represents peace between the two. The blue wheel was put after indepence to replace spinning wheel, which represented the beliefs of Mahatma Gandhi.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

New blog


I have started a new blog where I will share the recipes I try. I felt it was better to segregate my cooking blog for simplicity purposes. So, for more recipes checkout Nidhi cooks

Happy cooking guys

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Momos (Nepalese dumplings)

The dish "Nepalese dumplings" or "momos" is my childhood favorite. Actually, I cherish the memories associated with it more than the dish itself. Today, I tried to prepare the dish and it was awesome. So, I decided to share the recipe with whoever is interested.

Momos is kind of a fusion between chinese and Indian cuisines. The procedure is inspired by "chinese dumplings" but the filling is very much indian. The recipe is as follows-


1 and a half cup plain flour
1/2 cup water

250gms minced chicken
1/4 tomato (diced)
1 medium sized onion (diced)
1/2 shallots (diced)
1/4 cup coriander (chopped)
1/4 tsp coriander powder
1/4 tsp cumin powder
Make paste - 2 green chillies, 1/2 inch piece ginger, 3-4 cloves garlic
salt to taste
2 tbsp butter or ghee

1. Knead the flour after adding the water till it becomes like a pizza dough
2. Keep aside while you prepare the filling
3. Mix all the filling ingredients
4. Make one inch dough balls and flatten it using rolling pin. Use some dry flour to dust the rolling board.
5. Put one spoonfull of filling in the center od the wrapper. Bring the edges together and make pleats to ensure that the filling doen't come out.
6. Oil the steamer rack or alternatively put cabbage leaves so that the dumplings doen't stick.
7. Steam the dumplings for 20-25 minutes.

And it's ready to eat!

This will make 13-16 dumplings, enough to fill up two adults. Or you could serve it as a snack in a gathering.

In Singapore, you could also try the deep fried version of this at a restaurant called "Gorkha grill". The address is as follows-
Shenton Way
21 Smith Street
Tel: (65) 227 0806.
Chinatown Singapore 058935

Friday, August 05, 2005

Scuba diving

Scuba stands for "self-contained underwater breathing apparatus". And as most of us know, it requires going underwater with oxygen cylinder to appreciate the underwater life. I had been wanting to enroll for the beginner scuba diving lesson for a long time. After procrastinating for almost three years my husband and I decided to finally enroll for one at a local dive centre.

The theory lessons were wonderful and the anticipation of exploring a world, completely different from ours, was growing on both of us. The practical lessons were not as straightforward as they had seemed during theory lessons. But after a couple of hours we were quite comfortable underwater in the swimming pool. A few things that were repeatedly told to us were to always keep breathing and not to ascend or descend too quickly.

The training has been a wonderful experience but I am sure that our diving trip to one of the Malaysian islands is going to be one of the greatest experiences of our lives. I am eagerly awaiting the trip that we are planning to take 3 weeks from now.

For those of you who aren't sure about what scuba diving or snorkelling is, I would suggest you try snorkelling first to discover a beautiful world that is otherwise hidden from us.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

A home away from home!

I finished high school in 1998 with excellent grades. Subsequently, I was offered SIA-NOL scholarship by the government of Singapore to study in the National University of Singapore. It seemed like a perfect opportunity to gain international exposure and study in a leading university. I was thrilled and grabbed the offer.

The initial trauma of cultural shock and homesickness was inevitable. After overcoming that I started enjoying my newly found freedom, financially and otherwise. The years at the University flew past in what seemed like a jiffy. They did leave behind a treasure of experiences, memories and friends. For that reason, Singapore will always hold a special place in my heart.

Singapore is, in many ways, a perfect city. It boasts of almost zero crime rate, excellent public services/systems, and cleanliness among many other attractive traits. But to me it’s a lot more than what a tourist sees and appreciates. During my stay of seven years in Singapore I have had the chance to learn and experience many things that might not have been possible had I stayed in India.

Despite the seemingly perfect life I have led here in Singapore, I long to bid goodbye to it and go back home. When I do go back, after finishing my job responsibilities, I will remember this place as the perfect home away from home.

Monday, August 01, 2005

What is bioinformatics?

I have encountered this question numerous times since I started working in this field. I got into this field because of my tremendous interest in biology. In this article I will give a brief and simple introduction to the field.

The word Bioinformatics is a fusion of Biology and Informatics. As the name implies, the field involves application of computer software/algorithms/tools to biology. The genome sequence of human along with many other organisms is now available. This astronomical data demands a provision for storage and data-mining; and that is where bioinformatics fits in.

Bioinformatics is useful in many biological activities, mainly Genomics, Proteomics and Systems Biology.

Genomics - Genome is the sequence of DNA, which is the hereditary material and is passed from parents to offspring. The sequencing and analysis of the genome is called genomics. Bioinformatics plays a major role in various aspects of the field as are listed below -
 It facilitates the automation of genes/gene structures prediction for the newly sequenced organism.
 Using this information about the genes coupled with phylogenetic analysis one can trace the evolutionary history of genes and even organisms.
 It also facilitates the identification of various intra-species and inter-species mutations in genes that lead to various diseases like cancer.

Another important aspect of genomics is comparative genomics. The genome sequence of human alone can give limited information. Bioinformatics makes it possible to compare one genome with other genomes for studying the implications of various similarities and differences among them.

Proteomics – Proteomics is a study of the whole protein set of an organism. Having identified the genes in a genome, bioinformatics can also predict the proteins coded by those genes. The protein sequence can be used to further predict the protein structure and the enzyme binding sites. This kind of analysis is especially beneficial for drug design.

Systems Biology – Systems biology involves using genomics, proteomics and bioinformatics to model a real life biological activity. For example, it could be used to model a signaling pathway in a cell. The model would comprise of genes involved in the pathway, their interaction and their affect on the pathway. Studies like these can greatly increase our understanding of various complicated biological pathways.

To summarize, the word bioinformatics has become very popular in the scientific world. Bioinformatics is the technology used to solve various biological problems. Bioinformaticians often develop computational tools and algorithms to answer some biological questions, which will otherwise be too time-consuming to answer. The field is developing at a very fast pace with the advances in technology as well as the rapidly increasing rate of data generated by biological laboratories. It is widely accepted that bioinformatics is on its way to become an indispensable tool for various biological studies.