Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The spirit of my lab coat(s)

My office room has been silent for a while now. No rhythmic beats emerging from the most hit gadget in the world. Imagine the number of people hitting it everyday all around the world, wow! Huge! Yeah, it’s the key board! Anyway, this exclamation has nothing to do with the blog that follows. Just my respects to the keyboard!

Before I started on a holiday to India, I hung it in my lab.

July 2007 was when I got it, a fresh, new, stark white, thick cotton full sleeved lab coat. Class XI was the first ever when we were asked to wear lab coats. It was very exciting and believe me, even though I outgrew sizes, I wore the first lab coat I bought then, till the end of my bachelors education. In school, we used to feel proud wearing the coats. The look in the eyes of the junior students when they see us going for the lab sessions gave us a sense of superiority. Well, I had the same look of longing when I used to see my seniors! But then I learnt that most of the students picturise themselves as medical doctors when wearing the coats and still continued to hate Chemistry and lab sessions and the only time they were proud about their lab coats was when they flaunted it before juniors and maintained it stain free!

A stain free lab coat?! This is a blasphemous by my standards. Come on, a lab coat should have stains. Well, that does not mean that you are careless, its just how involved you are and if you lab coat has acid burns, then it’s a wow and thumbs up from me! And wearing a lab coat allows you to have some fun beyond what would be considered safe. I remember us signing our names with potassium permanganate solutions and spraying the coloured solutions on each others lab coats and not to mention the unlimited fundas and art work that used to roam around on each lab coat! The usual was to write ‘Kick me hard ‘on the back of some ones lab coat. Drawing danger sings, designing cloth tattoos, signing names and designed splatter of non harmful chemicals are some.

Each lab coat has been special for me and every stain always brought back memories of experiments and happenings. Here, my coat bore my name, chlorophyll stains, Trifluoroacetic acid burns, protoporphyrin streaks and the pockets contained personalised spatulas, NMR labels, and custom designed crystallisation grease dispensers and markers.

When I came back to the lab from holidays, my lab coat was missing.

I never faced a situation like this. It was suddenly like realising that you had lost your arm or leg. I searched places even where it was least probable to find it and finally complained to my supervisor and put a word to all my co-workers. They were surprised that a lab coat went missing! Guess I have some secret admirer here!!

I ordered new spatulas, new markers, made my custom equipments again and finally loaded them in a new lab coat. To wear this now is like having your memory whitewashed. But now, my new coat bears on its back, in huge fonts, “Ask me if you want a souvenir! Don’t take away this lab coat too!!”

Monday, May 11, 2009

The Volatile Dream

This post has been put on hold again and will be released to public viewing after discussions.