Monthly Archives: March 2008

Our colony

When in the year 1991, I got transferred to Mumbai from Silchar, the ONGC colony at Panvel was brimming with occupants so much so that I was allotted a B-type house that had been used as the storage for cement and other building material when construction was going on. After 6 months I got C-type accommodation but not before a flood entered our home. What logically everyone expects to happen in Assam happened with us here in Panvel. That was in 1991.

I got transferred to Assam second time in 2005. I was on leave in July when the flood attacked the colony and ravaged it. We are in the first floor and within minutes the water completely submerged the ground floor. A river was flowing outside in the street.

The flood of 2005 marked a watershed year in the history of the colony. People suffered big losses both emotional as well as economical. A fear psychosis developed in the minds of occupants and an exodus of residents began.

After this incidence, about 1/3rd of the flats in the ground floor are lying vacant. These flats were not even once thoroughly cleaned, disinfected after that. Slowly, the locks began to be broken. It seems that stray dogs-the whole battalions of which roam the colony, pigeons and mosquitoes have been given allotment in these flats. Mosquitoes are breeding and by the evening are on the rampage making every weapon like mosquito coils, good knights and sprays completely ineffective.

Everywhere on the roads, broken building materials are lying. Choice of trees which have been planted is very poor. On many lanes, the trees which are used for fuel wood have been planted. Then there are trees which when flower have so strong a scent that one can choke at night and many children suffer allergies at the flowering time.  Other trees exude a certain gummy substance which ruins the paint of the cars standing below them.

Many of the trees are under the vicious attack of termite. There are dead trees standing in the lanes giving apocalyptic warning about the colony becoming a ruin. It certainly looks like a ruin. It is certain that hardly any officer connected with maintenance ever visits the interior of colony.

Sitting Forlorn

It was yesterday evening past nine o’clock. I was sitting on a bench which stood near the bus stop opposite the shopping arcade. As it was the time when most of the people reach after a long journey to Mumbai. So at this time, very few people were roaming out. There was no movement in the air. The leaves were not stirring at all. The background looked like a still photo, static not dynamic with only some activity at the bottom of the picture. One fellow was trundling home with a small bag of some eatables, he had preferably had few drinks outside because people at home must be putting resistance to it. Four to five boys were sitting in the park and subject of their gossip was the mobile services and cards and refills. Some people were waiting for the shift bus which arrived timely and took them away leaving the place again bereft of people.  Their were some mutts moving aimlessly here and there and following every persons who happen to pass by.

Nanotechnology and A Chemist

As a chemist, since my college days, I am reading about atoms, molecules, ions and macromolecules. Whatever goodies nature serves us are composed of billions of these atoms arranged in a certain manner .

Nanotechnology, is a field of technology, which aims to restrict the manufacturing of things on few hundred molecules and so on. At this scale things have properties critically different from the bulk form. For example, gold on a nanoscale have very different color from its traditional luster loved by women all over the world and in which matter there is no differentiation between rich and poor, high or low: all boundaries melt under the onslaught of this desire.

Another novel feature of nano materials is that surface area increases dramatically and materials start acting as catalysts to many chemical reactions making it possible to make a reaction happen at ordinary conditions of pressure and temperature instead of their traditional extreme conditions.

One nanometer (nm) is one billionth, or 10-9 of a meter. For comparison, typical carbon-carbon bond lengths or the spacing between these atoms in a molecule, are in the range .12-.15 nm, and a DNA double-helix has a diameter around 2 nm. On the other hand, the smallest cellular lifeforms, the bacteria of the genus Mycoplasma, are around 200 nm in length. To put that scale in to context the comparative size of a nanometer to a meter is the same as that of a marble to the size of the earth. Or another way of putting it: a nanometer is the amount a man’s beard grows in the time it takes him to raise the razor to his face.

size-in-atoms.jpg

Size of a typical atoms is 10 to the power -10 meters. So a nanometer contains about 10 atoms. Want to go more deeper into the wonders of God. An nucleus is about 10 raised to power -14. So a nanometer will contain 10000 nuclei. Still go smaller, proton is about 10 raised to power -15 . So a nanometer will have 100000 protons. Now comes the ultimate pygmies of atomic world: leptons and electrons, which have supplanted along with electrons, the protons and neutrons as fundamental particles. Their size is 10 raised to power -18. A nanometer will have 1000000000 leptons and electrons.

How God manages the things at such unimaginable levels both diminutive and mammoth, no one can fathom and that which we cannot fathom is the God.