Sunday, October 7, 2012

Letter to Mr. Niels Bohr

Dear Mr. Niels Bohr,
On this tewlfty-seventh (read 127) anniversary of your birth, I want to wish you a very Happy Birthday wherever you may be. I feel obligated to write this as my thanks for your contributions to helping the world understand quantum mechanics. You see, without those contributions, quantum information and computing would not be concepts to contemplate about thereby making my current area of work for my doctorate non existent!

Of course, as I always wanted to be a Computer Scientist, I would be hacking away for my part in the forest of Classical Theoretical Computer Science problems. However, as you well know, the 'quantum' aspect adds so much spice, mystery and wonder  to those same problems, that I am thrilled to be working in the non-classical 'quantum' setting.

Reading your reply to EPR's 1935 paper on the completeness of the quantum view of reality, was an excellent exercise both to grow my depth of knowledge  and also ponder about it philosophically while trying to understand that 'intrinsic randomness' is here to stay and in fact has always been there waiting for us to discover it.

This may be an insignificant  drop of recognition amongst the sea of your prestigious awards and decorations but please do accept the heartfelt thanks of a wide-eyed-just-starting-on-her-PhD-journey student of science and let me conclude with: So long and thanks for all... your work, insight and fight to discover/prove the existence of quantum mechanics

Yours truly,

PS: Mr Bohr, Mr Einstein and any other readers of this letter are very welcome to correct/point out any errors in the scientific points/facts in this letter (Hopefully there are non).

Wednesday, August 29, 2012


By Rudyard Kipling. My all-time favourite poem, secret to success and my current desktop wallpaper :). But this if, is inspired by the novel One, by Richard Bach. A novel about him and his wife meeting their selves in alternate universes. Seeing the right and wrong turns they took and how in each of them their meeting is very different.

A post written a long time ago that triggers some more thoughts to add but I'll leave that for a little into the future because right now… I am still looking forward and not back while embarking on the first step in my career :D

The calendar says June 3, 2010. The clock, 11:19pm. Location in a fellow Indian's house, a friend of a friend, in a country that is not my own - West Lafayette, USA - home to Purdue University, my place of internship for Summer 2010. The friend is actually my mentor's family. The friend of the friend is their neighbour - the people who have put me up for the night before my mentor's son's thread ceremony for which I have been invited (Yaay!).

Conversations here trigger a 'What If…' set of scenarios in my mind, maybe because a lot of people here are doing what I once dreamt of, still dream of, and might someday dream of doing. Funnily, most of it has to do with academic aspirations (just says how limited my scope has become I guess… but then if not now, then when would I think of this!). They gnaw at my mind enough to want to put these thoughts in writing. I don't think this would be posted immediately. I don’t think the people concerned should be made to face the scenarios put up. I am not holding anything against them. Of course, this is not done in a sense of regret but more in a sense of curiosity (at least that is how I want it to be viewed)...

The me that never left Bangalore because we didn't move. I would have continued in the same school, continued to do Bharatnatyam at the same place, stayed in the kresche for a few more years till I could be left alone at home. Watched some TV, had a few friends, been very very innocent, remembered and learnt Kannada very well (not the same with Hindi though). Then what? Probably continued to study hard but any other extra curriculars might not have had time.

The me that in Bombay did exceedingly well right from the beginning in school, jumped into all the extra-curriculars, got recognized in school - not passed over - that possibly became captain of the school house or even head girl!! Probably, basketball became a speciality, not a novice activity. Maybe dance went all the way into Arengatram. Maybe tennis became more than just a passion to watch or dream of to play. Maybe friends became too many to count. Maybe the nights were longer just because I stayed out with them.

The me that did not screw up the engineering exams. Maybe gotten into IIT after 2 years of hard work. Maybe gotten the course I wanted, been exposed to something very different from what I know today. Maybe preparing for GRE this year instead of next or would it have been CAT then? Maybe I didn't do well in IIT, maybe I did. Maybe got into IIST or IISER - the people who then gave me false hope - and done well there. Maybe got into Pilani, into a single degree course.

The me that got to write SAT. Maybe I be able to stay I came to Purdue or CMU or Harvard or MIT or Stanford or Berkley. Maybe I would have lived in the US here for 3 years, become very much a localite, not turned back to India only because home was there. Maybe I would have a scholarship, with extra curriculars not being affected. Maybe being a girl into sports would have actually turned out to be a good thing.

The me that didn't move out of Mumbai at all. Still called it home and went there for summer and winter, bonded more with everyone else from campus and everyone I left back there and stayed in touch with them. Still had no curfew and probably got a driving license too.  Got to hang out with all my friends there, occasionally got to see the club scene and check out many more of the cool places there.

The me who moved to US coz we all shifted there. Maybe became school valedictorian, maybe got a chance to pursue so many more things and become good at them. Maybe SAT would have worked out then too. Maybe developed an accent :P. Been a typical American teenager.

The me who said bye to science! Took up Law maybe. Moved into litigation, graduated to join a top notch firm in India and started putting in the hours for a run at being a partner there. The competitiveness still remains or does it worsen in that cutthroat world? Or decided to become a CA :)… Or would it be medical?  Maybe English or History where I can bury myself in dingy libraries poring over musty books to gather the secrets they hold and the stories they told...

The me who didn't take up studies very much at all! Learnt ballroom dancing and Indian dances and studied dance. Took off for a few months to back pack around in obscure places. Learnt too sing as well. Performed on stages and with troupes. Learnt to live the high life (as in Nicleback's 'Rockstar' :P)…

But then, none of these scenarios bring me here where I am today… With the people I know, doing what I am doing now…  Not one of them at all!! Life can always much better. But life could also be much much worse. One moves onto the next day sometimes with only that as the strength!!  One sleeps peacefully at night, thankful for what has happened so far with this in mind...