PE-2 and CEN.PK meeting 8: Spring

Petruska and Seine see each other after a long summer vacation. Spring is in the air and they remember this beautiful song by Nina Simone titled ‘Another Spring‘ the sugarcane cutters were listening to in the North. Our heart melts listening to the mellifluous voice of Nina. Petruska asked Seine to watch this video of the sugarcane cutters who form alphabets in English, by twisting, bending and curling the intractable cane,


And then one morning
Another spring is there outside my door
Things are blooming
Birds are singing
And suddenly yes well I ain’t sad
Ain’t sad no more ain’t sad no more

When it’s warm and the sun is out
It’s like my heart’s restored
I’ve had my love I’ve had my children
And I have so many memories
So don’t mind me complaining
What the years may bring

CEN.PK: It was interesting to notice that we can still grow without ergosterol and oleic acid which are needed for anaerobic (without oxygen) cultivation. We have truly evolved. Humans cannot live without oxygen. Once Vijay was nearly sucked by the tides in Orissa (India) when he was an undergraduate student. He tasted death and it was a frightening experience.

It was really sad to watch Vijay (and J) last week. The base pump which adds potassium hydroxide, to neutralise the protons generated during the metabolic process, stopped working. The pH started to fall rapidly as I was metabolising glucose in an exponential manner, producing copious amounts of organic acids. Because Vijay has been writing about us and also has also anthropomorphised us, his sadness moved me too. You could see the heaviness in his heart.  I then wondered what it means to be sad. Can there be absolute sadness without wanting to be something else ? Gosh, how much these human traits have rubbed off my skin too !


PE-2: Oh, I am sorry to hear that Seine. Machines are still machines. I dread that moment when the electricity stops and everything comes to a standstill. All of our ancestors who are safely stowed away in the minus 80 deep freezers would suffer the most. The cryo-vials will thaw and the cells start to metabolise the nutrient left in their vials and eventually they will all die. If only one of them said to others: ‘hey pals, we need to survive and we cannot afford to eat all the nutrients in one go’.

CEN.PK: You know, so much care and attention is showered on us, to cultivate us in bioreactors under controlled conditions. So much so that,  I am happy to be completely domesticated. I would die if I am exposed to excess heat, sugar or alcohol, in the wild. Just as a domesticated cat or a dog would be unable to fend for itselves in a big jungle where the roar of a giant lion will simply make them squeal and hide.

I begin to wonder if human beings genuinely and truly care for each other too. Jealousy, pride, comparison, hatred and deceit is so rampant that one gets consumed by these emotions and eventually lose the true vitality to live. Recently R (an undergraduate student at Unicamp) was asked by her teacher to describe the essence of life. I began to think if it possible to answer such a question merely with words ? Even if one attempted to answer that question, would the words not limit the explanation ? More and more I feel that the idea is becoming more important than the thing itself. It is a dangerously evolving trait in us and I sincerely hope that I do not become a machine one day.

PE-2: Vijay had a discussion with his colleagues and he was surprised to hear that one feels jealous because his or her partner goes  for a coffee with a good looking person (usually of opposite gender). Vijay said that trust is what matters in a relationship ? But again,

What is trust ?

What is love ?

What is relationship ?

Why did we start the notion of chastity ?

Why does society not permit friendship between a man and a woman ?

One of Vijay’s colleague had lost the scholarship owing to non-deliverance of paper work. The sorrow of that mother joins the stream of sorrow that is out in the world.

What is sorrow ? Is being sorrow same as being sad ?


CEN.PK: There is always fear of what will others say. Fear about gossip. Fear against not conforming. Fear against teachers. The bureaucrats exert their power. People become powerless. Systems cannot change anything. Change should begin from oneself. If one loses the fear of death, perhaps there will be renewed energy as one loses the ability to worry about future. Nothing is permanent. In relationships, it seems that we own each other and we perhaps unconsciously control each other.

PE-2: When we produce our daughter cells, we do not expect anything in return. We are pretty much selfless. But many humans aren’t. It is hilarious to observe the system that humans have devised.The planet has abundant wealth but clever individuals have siphoned the resources through their knowledge so as as to control the resource utilitisation.  When everything was indeed made from resources on our planet, where does the notion of money arise ? What will happen to a planet that does not deal with money ?Would we not be humans any more ? Because we are proud of our race and our lands, does our instincts tell us to own them perennially ? When we own something isn’t there always fear of losing the very thing that we cherish ?


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