I have been taken aback when I was told by one of my mentees that a CSIR qualified student need to write an examination again in order to qualify for registering PhD in participating organizations. I fail to understand what and how such competency is assessed.  Why double participation and assessment?  I think it is waste of man hours and unnecessarily creating extraneous competence in assessing genuine candidates.  Furthermore, I feel lots of time can be saved if this can be avoided.  Let the student be asked to write a project proposal and present on the topic instead.   Shouldn’t this work better?


Is someone listening please?

I hail from a small order named Passeriformes, with genus Passer domesticus. I was well-known and commonly regarded as House Sparrow and I’m not sure how many of my genre do put up their living in your households. At least in a city life, my kith and kin alike are not found. Kindly spare a thought on our bird family. We are in the greatest threat of being endangered. And sorry, I mean to say that You are the culprit. May I ask you to put the following iota of thoughts as a new year resolution, should you spare time?

*Please avoid mobiles that cause radiation. Kindly ensure to ask the shopkeeper the radiation index of the instrument you purchase.

*These days, there are walkies which work on landlines rather mobile signals. Would you mind purchasing the one? They are less costly and would prove to be a classy gadget than the pocket-size instrument.

*I recently heard that Skype is doing an amazing thing wherein you could use it for Androids and other lappy/notebooks. Could you please use it for your long talks?

*Could someone study the reason of genetic differentiability in our sedentary birds?

*Use hand-held walky instruments which can be connected to mobiles whence at home.

Kindly spare a thought on the aforementioned as I fly back to put a word to my friends, saying: “yes, there are still good listeners in India.”

Yours, once passionate bird,

Passer domesticus

I have a great respect for authors who publish very nice articles which allows me to get inspired. But sometimes I wonder how good is the girth of the manuscript with respect to the number of authors? I mean, would the content of the manuscript fit into precisely the “number of authors” have worked for the manuscript? Is it worth to have “those number of authors” for a manuscript? With due respect to my fellow scientists, I feel sometimes it is overwhelming to mention this. I suggest the journals to incorporate the following measures for this:

1. Before the manuscript is to be written or the work is to be carried, let the authors realize what and the how of contribution for the work. If someone feels that an iota of work is being done/reviewed by so many authors, perhaps a possible explanation be given in the covering letter to the editor.

2. Let there be a three-way test before one sums up the contribution:

Am I involved?
Is my contribution worthwhile?
Am I concerned in lieu of the girth of the manuscript?

I get reminded of the following quotes by Samuel Johnson:

Your manuscript is both good and original; but the part that is good is not original, and the part that is original is not good.

Just my two cents

Indian research especially in Biology has gained momentum in recent years. Young researchers and graduate students have acquired interest in science through extra mural funding they receive. While there are well-to-do laboratories that have substantial funding, often the funding leads them to get published in reputed journals. In contrast, there are not so well furnished laboratories who may or may not be deprived of publications. Let’s consider these two parlance as the haves and the havenots respectively. Oftentimes, it is observed that the laboratories with good funding tend to publish good research articles in contrast to mediocre publications by the ones who have limited or no funding. I have an intuition that publishing through open access would bridge these two things. In developing nations like India where open access is a leeway for scientists to publish research, it is rather difficult for the havenots to get their research published in open access and reputed journals. There are quite good number of so-called havenots – young scientists and graduate students, not-for-profit organizations who have been doing noble research but often do not have the capital necessary to take forward the research to a next level or get their research published in open access journals. Although many journals provide access to scholarly literature, and waivers for little or no cost, there is no backing from government agencies for havenots.

So is it like the one who publish in reputed and high impact factor journals oft hail from well-to-do laboratories? Whilst the havenots end up publishing the spiffing research through waivereds or remain as just havenots if their research is not acceptable. The food for thought here is to raise the standards of havenots in research especially in developing countries like India. This can certainly be done if the funding organizations start a seed funding initiative like Nature Innocentive for innovative ideas keeping in mind the graduate students and researchers. This will carve out a niche for those laboratories to cover the cost for General Laboratory Practices besides seeking waivers for publishing in open access journals.

In doing so, we could produce two things in science and academia:
1. A creative output to financially compensate the research thus innovating ideas.
2. Creating science writers with passion for research and open access.
This I believe will hold relevance to Indian science especially when an estimated 50% of Indian graduates think to settle abroad. Otherwise, I’m afraid that the research investigations would just be amusing leaving the knowledge behind. Let there be no debate again on Publish or Perish.

“Creative thinking ability facilitates the ability to realize innovations.” ~ Emem Ite

I have been often asked by my European friends, what makes me feel an Indian and how would many a Indian live together with moribund poverty around? I patiently reply them about the rich culture and unity in diversity that India abores. We have had several problems compounding Indian ethos, but the one I would like to stress today is the noesis to compete especially in a region.

Having been born, raised and brought-up in Telangana, I find it amusing when people discuss the need for Telangana, simply the T-factor. At a time when Indian think-tank are settling abroad, and when intelligentsia of the Indian elite discuss development in and for India, the contrasting picture Indian mendicant-thoughts arise make me sick. Recently, one of my graduate classmate-turned-friends and I had a short debate on this. Whilst I raised an eyebrow on the discussion, I urged him not to bring disparities. He also came to an inertial extent that just because the state is NOT separated, he has been deprived of a good job. To my friends who are good listeners, I end my year 2010 note on a high with following questions in mind, it’s you who need to think wherewithal of truth, tryst and tyrrany. BTW, Start 2011, I would keep these discussions at http://www.abctales.com/user/prashbio while keeping my wordpress speak Biology. Happy New Year.

How much money would go on a waste if we are to construct the legislatures, courts and many a government office in the region?
Wouldn’t Telanganga, if formed be the whipping boy without water?
What would be the fate of Hyderabad, the city of pearls-turned-the second capital of modern India?
What best the governments has done so far in the interest of Telangana region?
Is just Telangana alone a backward? What about other regions? What guarantees the T -factor?
Would there be a promise that there wouldn’t be another sub regional mass movements?
Even should the need arise of a so-called T-factor,
Aren’t we the H-U-M-A-N-S first sitting in a cloud of the most intelligent animals on the earth? (What would the Chimp have done, if this were the case?)
Should we express disparity among the neighborhood?
How many a career have been lost by students who involved in the protests?
Importantly, shouldn’t we strive for development, while staying united?
Finally, have we forgotten the quotes of Mahatma Gandhi, the father of our nation?

“Unity to be real must stand the severest strain without breaking”

Jai Hind

Miles to go before we sleep…!
There were lots of things happening in India and abroad the last few weeks. While it was the commonwealth games that ushered a new era in Indian sports, it was also the Nobel week. I have had no time to opine on many a thing that happened the last few days. But few thoughts, here I’m again…

India has done it..! True, we have successfully organized commonwealth games (CWG). Thanks to the volunteers, organizers and the participants who witnessed the spectacular event. It was a huge success. But at what cost? Whopping 16000 crores ..! One of my ex-neighbors skewed … “Damn it! my tax money is otiose with the corruption charges… shame India!” A politician lambasted: “I’m never going to watch the games, I’m out of country and will be back only after the games are over..” The media furor before the games that started was a bad sign for Indian games. But everything happened as it has to happen and it was a success story that India could finally make it. I have two points to discuss, one on the role of the participants and the media and the other completely contrasting side on the what India should do at the helm.
There’s an intuition that India cannot organize the games. Doubts were raised about how of organization when some photographs depicting filthy games village were shown by the media. Comments of a few athletes popped up showcasing their absence and their ‘inability” to attend games on the grounds that they might fall “sick” while some raised concerns about security. Everyone had their say… Millions spent on the games… The media over reacted. It seems they had no other news than to tinker-bell CWG Delhi. Some might argue that just because the media reacted, the games went on well with the organizers making up 100 % . I wouldn’t think so. Every organizer would work for pride, for their country and for their appraisal and so are the organizers of CWG Delhi. We need to accept the fact that the organizers did splendid job. Let someone complain that the games were bad and then there could be an inkling of thought. But the games haven’t then started, the complaints rolled, I would call it shrewd non sense. Media must learn to stop over reacting. I could give you another example on how of media-hyping : “Intelligence warns terrorists attack might be in Europe.” so what would one come out of this statement? What’s the take home message? By now the terrorists might have gone through this news and for sure might go for Plan B. Completely non sense! Isn’t the media and sometimes the Government undoing secrecy?
My another point is can we take up this story to eradicate poverty in India? Yes we could and let’s not make it lackadaisical. To me 16000 crore INR would for sure make India a developed country. Do you think how? I would say why not? It is in our hands to elect leaders who work for the country. Let’s discuss the development. Shall we?

The last week, I had been a witness to some interesting stories.. some directly percipient to and to some things, I was just an informant through media. I wish to share a few nostalgic moments.

Cricket and noise pollution

A society in a suburb; fast developing metropolitan, a society with over 120 families living in the premises where construction is at fast pace ( Read 600 decibels every second, 11 hours a day). A small cricket enthusiasts trying to relax with few games of cricket during weekends start 1615 hours. The pity is that complaints roll in at the handful of cricket loving enthusiasts (Read 50-60 decibel shouts – “out,” “Not out,” “Catch it” etc. approximating every 10 seconds). Then at the helm, I got to think of Benjamin Franklin’s quotes – “Constant complaint is the poorest sort of pay for all the comforts we enjoy.” The thingy is that these cricket-lovers are dumb ducks and respect the privacy. I don’t understand how do we define a noise pollution here!

Peepli [Live]

Amir Khan’s productions – I’m a big fan of it. Aren’t you? First, I thought the entire society would join us but unfortunately we ended up in four numbers. The morning show with a quite good strength. Saddling fast filling up. Lights shut and enter the village scenes. It reminded me of AKP’s Lagaan in the back drop – extreme poverty, thoughtfulness in persons, agony and everything we could see from a person’s doleful face of hunger. The take home message is that over 8 million farmers stopped farming as per 2001 census. How the media turn to the families, politicians turn foes in Indian scenario was depicted very well. Most importantly, “let’s start the music” and roll on the enjoyment was candidly shown amongst politicians. A H-O-P-E wherein the person willing to be a news maker/media person dies at the backdrop of the about-to-suicide “Natha” – the Hero of the movie was well shown. Furthermore the way, the grand old man in the movie who earns Rs 20 ( sorry, I couldn’t figure out, how to use INR symbol in my laptop, yet!) a day dies was the real take home message. He ploughs the land, sells the stack of soil bags for Rs 20 and thinks of the water reserve from the ditch, even as media passes through him. Doesn’t it show that the old man thinks of just time and energy? Kudos! Over all, a very good movie, ought to see. Beware! There are dialogues not to be heard to., so kids out of cinemas please! I think the cinemas should play National anthem before the start of such movies

Pay 10 bucks [READ Parking at owner's risk]

The day I watched the aforementioned movie, I was surprised to see that my two-wheeler parking zone has the above sentence. So , why Rs 10? We will not change! Any thoughts?

C’mon I’m the owner of an apartment

Every owner of a house is proud of his/her flat. Beware and check out if the apartments have fire extinguisher. Don’t ever dream of a house without that. Lest you dream, list the cream of your apartments and To-Dos.

Independence day celebrations and the youth

After our tiresome preparations for Independence day celebrations, I happened to have my brunch in a restaurant. The person next to me was talking over phone and I heard him saying – “Common yaar, 13 sal hua kaun jayega flag hoisting?” Shame that some of the current youth behave in this ill-poignant way!

Indian Tennis players gets a tag ‘monies’

The quadrants of Indian Tennis changed the way they thought. They sent several e mails to the sports council about the dues they had to get, publicized it and all of a sudden started to think of their country. Reason – they were promised the “monies.” Such players should be tagged “for monies” not “for many’”


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