Albert Einstein once said, “Science is a wonderful thing if one does not have to earn one’s living at it.” I am into science and I am sort of earning my living from it but I don’t think that bad of science as Mr. Einstein (But, as Antonio says: Einstein is a good man). We guys have a bit different life and that is why many people, not into science, think that we are the weirdest variety of Homo sapiens and might be rechristened Homo sapiens wierdo (Hah, what a relief gives this thought that we are still considered the same species by them). I was just talking to a very old friend of mine who is not into science and considered it funny to imagine me in a white coat. We talked after a long time, perhaps first time after we parted our paths where I chose to be H. sapien wierdo and she opted to be just a normal human being.
I was just thinking why people consider us different and I found out some strange differences that make us a separate group. I am not going to comment upon that entire community to which I belong but here I make an attempt to do a case study upon myself and try to find out what makes people think strange of us.
You take this for instance; eight years back I asked the friend, I was talking to, that why don’t I have a girlfriend and she replied that I am boring and no girl would like to hang out with me for more than few minutes let alone few hours. I remember this thing till date and have been trying not to be boring. Today she herself told me that I have changed a lot and talk interesting things. Huh! at last she thinks that I am not boring anymore but my question to her again, “why don’t I have a girl friend still.” To this she asks back in surprise,”you have been improving on yourself on this just because of a short statement I gave?” I didn’t answer but just thought that I am one of those wierdos who just cling to a problem till we find a solution for it and habit of few of us in this field make a bad impression for the rest of the workers of science who love to hangout.
You all must be having friends? Even I have but what is your reply when your friend asks you, “hey, what’s up this weekend?” If you are not from that weird community you may tell them that you plan to hangout somewhere or are just free. Now, dare you ask this question to me because if you do, I would shoot back a question, “which day is it today bro?” Since the day I have entered this field, I only remember that there are only two types of days in a week or a year; a day when you work and a day when you should have worked but don’t feel like working actually. I may not be engaged in some physical activity but the curdling semi-solid thing at the attic of my body (which is also known as the brain) is always thinking the next move in the laboratory and added to this I am lazy enough to be anywhere in the world except in my labs or under my be sheets, sleeping. I may not be working but I like to think that I am and even pretend before others and this makes people think that I am the busiest person on this earth and as I represent the scientific community they all should be called something else.
Yesterday, a sales representative from a biotechnology firm called me to ask if our institute will be closed on 10th of November. Being into problem solving mode I could understand that there must be some National holiday that day or else why would she ask. I asked her the day that would fall and she told me that it would be Guru Nanak Jayanti that day and usually banks would be closed. Whatever be on that day, for me it would be only one of those two choices I mentioned before. I know that these people from companies that provide us with the raw materials to do our work think that we are nothing but a group of people having no bearing of our surroundings.
We all have friends and wierdos have them too but my friends don’t expect much from me when it comes to plan to hang out somewhere. The simple reason for them being hopeless on me is that they have rarely found me anywhere other than on their computer screens. Now, how can you pin upon somebody who is living on a virtual world and whose existence ceases with the disconnection of the internet or with a small click on that red cross on that browser wondow. I miss my friends but if I miss them then I am sure to remember my computer too. So, when my friend asks me about the next time we will be together I just look at my laptop and check if it has to go for any servicing or not. We are cut off from the world yet want to reach out to that life that we once lived before choosing to wear a white coat. I love to see the result of our experiments giving answers to some of our questions but it gives me more joy to find another question arising out of it. So here is another difference; others love things when they are simple, when they look simple but wierdos love things that look complex but are actually simple. If you remember listening to any great scientist or would have read what they say, you will find out that they try to use simple anomalies from our daily lives to unfurl the cover of complexity around those simple things that nature has created around us. People are just amazed to see how wierdos must be thinking to solve such big problems whereas a wierdo is so dumb that he just does not understand the complexity of the situation.
While I am typing this, can you believe that I had slept twice sitting on my chair? It’s just 7:00 P.M. and I am capable of catching a nap on my chair with my fingers on the keyboard. If, by chance, had some non-wierdo seen me doing this then nobody can blame him to think strange about me.
We are not wierdos but it’s just that we are surrounded by such beautiful problems that we just don’t want to have a look at those ugly problems that common people take priority to solve. For example, a common man would like to comb his hair few times a day but a worker of science would simply be awestruck by the beauty of nature and rarely think how he might be looking like on a mirror. I don’t mean that we don’t get dressed well, we do like to wear good dresses but who cares of it after we get under that white coat?