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Friday, January 20, 2017

#Presi200

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.


Somnath Paul Photography

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The author holds all the rights to publish the contents and the specially earmarked materials. Any breach of this can lead to Indian Penal Charge, under the Act of Intellectual Property Rights, 2007.

The articles are not to be considered promotional neither detrimental of their credits. Its just opinion of a Free-lancer at Free time.

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