Archive for February, 2009


Indian Wedding in Madurai and trip to Bangalore

Feb 25, 2009 in Uncategorized

With bride and groomThis week I have been at work with preparing for the Kolkata (Calcutta) Fulbright conference which is coming up next week. It turns out I will give two presentations, one on a panel discussing “Promotion of Mutual Understanding,” a topic which I think I can add some value, comedic or otherwise! Haha. The other presentation will be individual covering my work at Aravind, with the title “A Vision from Madurai.” I’m looking forward to the conference, but it will be hard to get away from work just when things are beginning to get going again… after waiting more than a week for a reagent I needed for my next experiment!

Last weekend I went to Bangalore and Mysore. It was great to spend some time in cities that have some western flavour, by that I mean that at least I could get a decent slice of pizza. I guess that doesn’t exactly fit with my total immersion in Madurai, but I seriously can not get western food here! I also made it to my second Indian wedding last week when my senior’s (Gowri) sister got married. See below for pictures.

After the conference I will travel with some other Fulbrighters to Varanasi, the most holy city in India, which is located on the Ganges river. I plan to go on to Kathmandu and take a flight to see Mt. Everest. It should be an awesome couple of weeks.

Indian Pilgrimage – Thekkady, Munnar, Mahabalipuram

Feb 15, 2009 in Uncategorized

Meenakshi Temple, MaduraiIn the past couple of weeks I have split my time between medical research experiments in the lab and visiting various areas of Tamil Nadu and Kerala with a friend. Dave Pilgrim was one of my flat mates when I studied at Lancaster University in the UK. He expressed interest in coming out to visit when I stopped by his place about six months ago on my way to India.

As far as research goes, I have completed a few immunofluorescence experiments on my own now, and its good that I can do this without help as two of the four people in our stem cell group are leaving to get married in the next two weeks!!! I have also made p63 riboprobes, an important step as I’ll need these for my final In Situ Hybridization experiments.

Dave and I traveled to Thekkady, Munnar, and Mahabalipuram during his visit. The first two are in Kerala, west of Madurai. Thekkady is actually in a large tiger resereve, where there are reportedly about 46 tigers roaming around but unfortunately we didn’t see one, not unusually though, as one of our autodrivers said that although he had lived there for over 20 years he had only seen one tiger. Haha. Anyway, it was nice to go on a little lake safari and see some of the wildlife in the jungle area of kerala. We also checked out a Kalari show, which was some martial arts special to the Kerala area.

Munnar was much higher in the mountains, and we took what must have been one of the the most windy mountain roads on the planet to get there! It was certainly worth it though, as the views were amazing and there were tea plantations as far as one could see, it never seemed to end as around every hill was another large field filled with green tea leaves.

Finally, we visited Mahabalipuram. It was amazing to see these rock temples, which were carved out of single rocks between the 6th and 9th centuries. We had a great time discovering all the sites in the area and climbing on the giant rocks!