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Friday, January 20, 2017


The perfect occasion to write a blog, the day when US will be having a new President and the bold voice of Bengal, bolder pre independence; thought of New Age India for Literature, Philosophy and Science dresses up to enter a new century. Presidency University, Kolkata erstwhile Presidency College, Calcutta completes 200 years of existence.

Come to term, the democracy of India enters only 70 years of existence. But the seed of the nation have always been broiling within the still standing pillars of Presidency.

Many books and articles will blunt out the fact of Presi's 200 years, which I wont rant over here. I would like to share how, 14 years ago, it was a matter of immense self reconciliation and win over self confidence after I walked through the alters of this place of excellence. A state owned education system competed with the Delhi based board education. In Kolkata, it was always tough to get through good colleges, due to the abject cut offs set by the authorities that made the competition really difficult at the percentile pace. After finishing my school (K-12, ISC) from Calcutta Boys' School, my mom and myself went frantically searching for colleges and picking forms. My numbers were good, but my certificate board was not. Picking for various combinations of life science (Zoology, Microbiology and Physiology), I was placed somewhere at the waiting list. Later on, this waiting list came to be an eternal friend as in such competition, I waited to get ultimate gateway. Anyways, out of 10 colleges that I applied with the likes of Maulana Azad College (Zoology), Scottish Church (Zoology and MicroBiology), Jadavpur University (Geology and Physics), Asutosh College (Biochemistry and Microbiology), etc; all except Maulana Azad College admitted me.

Still, I had a beautiful wait. Only Presidency College had exam in all subjects and I took the Zoology and Physiology. The day Saint Xavier's pulled out the results, which was solely rejection; I accompanied with my school friend Arunima Sen, went to Presidency College. I had sent my good luck, my mom earlier to check the results. I didnot want to go to Maulana Azad College. And thank God, I kept my hopes alive.

The three years on Presidency (2003-06) sharpened me in all aspects. My skill, social acumen and knowledge. That's why, we all loop into one thing : "Presidencians Never Die. They Come Back to College".

2017 marks the 200th birthday. I miss it, thanks for my other work for which my Alma Mater made me. I wish the coming Century to be more glorious than ever before.

P.C: Somnath Paul, 2006

Sunday, January 01, 2017

Throwback 2016

2016 can be tagged as one of the most transition infested year in my life. A transition from a well established graduate (read PhD) student to a post doctoral fellow; in an institute that captured my imagination a bit. The road from CSIR-Indian Institute of Chemical Biology to UT M.D. Anderson Cancer Center had not been smooth, with the long wait for the Visa processing (J1) and then getting past the official paper works in India. This though was not so tough compared to the thousands of labs that I screened, mostly in US for the next step of my career.

I always had the set up in my mind that every stage of the career I bear a new subject under my belt. A rainbow spectrum, to me always seems lucrative for the inherent thirst of knowledge and never be into my comfort zone. Rather making uncomfortable zone homely is always been my motto. That reflects with my several transitions from B.Sc in Physiology to M.Sc in Genetics and then shift towards Molecular Biology with Epigenetics and Epidemiology been my area of expertise. Never the less, a lot is still needed to learnt over there, but I can well say I am well accustomed with what I know and wouldn't feel a Martian in those realms.

But of all these phases, to transit again was a big step in 2016. Now in a more refined arena of Chromatin biology, where I was outside my comfort zone for atleast 4-5 months since arrival; 2016 made this test a very hard one. The previous ones were always in my home ground. In my place of of birth, where learning was only new while other aspects weren't. Already in my early thirties, when the flexibility becomes stiff a bit, I had to find my ways to flex my backbone and learn not only the knowledge and techniques, but also the culture.

At first it was little tricky. Always converse in English and keep track of your actions. Paper works, insurance, SSN, Rent and what not. But, today when I look back and also discussing such with my wife, I can say with confidence that I have overcome the initial hurdles. It feels good in a sense that nothing is impossible if you believe in yourself.

With 2017 coming up, I would like to build on this and I wish all the fellows who are facing the same, time will make it. Only the making process will squeeze out more from you. If you desired for the changes, I think that is the only price time will ask from you, in return to the opportunity.

Happy New Year.

Sunday, December 04, 2016


Biologically the term gives the power to feel and be alive. It gives us the power to realize our environment, the world that we belong and the people that we live with. But in the modern context the term is also utilized to define the excitement that brews in us upon knowing a news.

"Its a sensation" or "Sensational...!"

Good or bad, the modern times witnesses news reports that by definition becomes mostly over exaggerated and creates a random chaos within various pockets of the society. The situation is being created to an eruption in the daily lifestyle of humans and deviate them from the humane thoughts. I happened to watch a movie called "Rush", which executed the basic thoughts to move ahead by presenting sensational news! In this case, create the sensational news!

It seems that the news; which should only be unadulterated truth comes in brands. "XXX Exclusive" or "Exclusive Footage" being water marked across the screen. Seems like we are buying the underpants of soft or coarse cotton or printed with the heart or strawberries. Although it will cover your vitals, it still comes in various colours and styles; because it will excite your partner. A similar policy comes with these exclusives and TRPs; to excite the viewers.

The movie ends on a nice note. Yes, we public have deviated from the truth. We do not want to see news that may be mundane and without blood shed or slangs! We prefer to dance with the tunes of bullets from the arms and not hinder the cracks going on in the icy poles of glaciers shortening their arms. Sad, but it feels so and that is being capitalized by many people. Filling their pockets!

The sensation is now not pinging properly within your neurons. It needs to be reset soon or else, soon the aliens will broadcast a sensation that would involve our own species' great asset: humanity.

Saturday, December 03, 2016


Today, on a rainy week end, I happened to watch "Cinemawala". A film by Kausik Ganguly and aptly realized by the brilliant acting of Paran Bandyopadhyay and company. A fact being portrayed through the eyes of a theatre hall owner, who weathered away eventually through the tides of time and modernization. In this regards, Chaplin's great "Modern Times" come in the forefront where the humans start working like machines and also a time would soon come when they would be competing with the machines for Jobs.

Almost everywhere, the scarcity of jobs eats away the daily dreams of the human mind. For few, who choose being an entrepreneur, tries to regain some more from the ever losing trend. With reports of Academia getting stagnant, time will soon come when everywhere only a few people, exclusively following the Darwinian principle of Survival, shall thrive in the face of the earth. On this note, a recent notion coined by Stephen Hawkins about Mankind's 1000 years more, from now, soon be a reality where the scarcity of jobs, leads to scarcity of earning potential. This may eventually lead to lesser matrimonial conjunction and lesser offspring, because the parents would fear the future to feed the young ones. The erosion would start leading to Mankind's 1000 years only.

This idea though would seem to be very much extrapolated and means no sense with the Cinemawala, but the erosion of old in the hands of new seemed quite analogous to the formation of rust when iron gets exposed to water and air. In modern times, the water and air are more viscous, leading to rust and crack in the age old iron pillars of livelihood.

There was once grasslands,
Then came the mud roads for the carriages,
Then came the asphalt for the motor cars,
Soon there will be more advancements.

But today, when you stand on the road outside your house, have you ever given it a thought how it was may be 50 years ago, if not 100. Those have been in the oblivion, but we still stand on the age old concept, in a new way. The concept of road has not changed. All it did was reform. I think, to preserve your past and move into the future makes you perfectly ok; if only you can subdue the ego in you.

Dreams are not always celluloid. Dreams are in the eyes of the beholder.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

আরেক বার

বই মেলায় চেনা মুখ গুলো,
ময়দান এর ধুলো;
পূর্ণিমার চাঁদ ,
ইডেন এর পিছনে;
পশ্চিমে সূর্য্য,
সব দেখতে ইচ্ছে করছে-

শীতকালের আমেজ আসছে  আমার চেনা শহরের আকাশ এ, অলিতে গলিতে। সেই লর্ড পাড়ায়  দাঁড়িয়ে থাকা ফুচকাওয়ালা, জেক বার বার মনে করতো হতো যে আমি ঝাল খাইনা। সে ঝাল টা আজ খুব খেতে ইচ্ছে করছে। আনাচে কানাচে ক্যাপ বন্দুকের আওয়াজ অনেক দিন চলে গাছে; কিন্তু আজও যেন মাঝে মধ্যে কোথাও সেই শিবকাশী-র ক্যাপ তা পটাশ ফটাস করে ফাটতে থাকে।
কালী পুজো, ভাই ফোটা, জগদ্ধাত্রী পুজো।.. র তারপর মন্জিনিস এর কেক. ও, মনজিনিস তো দেখুন mio amore এ হয়ে গাছে। মনের জিনিস মন্জিনিস টা  অনেক ভালো ছিল। হুম.. সব ছিল।  কিছু জায়গায় আছেও হয়তো! কিন্তু আজ Smithville  এর আকাশ এ আমি একটু গন্ধ পেয়েছি কালী পুজোর। লাল জবা না দেখলেও, কেন জানিনা মনে হচ্ছে ভূত চতুর্দশী র ভাই Halloween তাই আমি দিওয়ালি বানিয়ে দেব!
শুভ বিজয়া।

Somnath Paul Photography


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