Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Meeting an old friend

I met Ramesh after 6 1/2 years! The last I had met him was in Berne in October 1999. I had gone to Zurich for a conference, and afterwards took a train to Berne and spent the weekend with him.

I had seen the poster announcing the symposium in IMBA on si/miRNA, and Ramesh's name as a speaker quite a while ago. Since we haven't really been in touch, I googled for his email address last week and thereby discovered that he was joining EMBL Grenoble as a group leader!!!! Wowowowowow!!! I knew he had been doing very well and I had seen (although I am ashamed to admit, not read) his paper in Science and also that this was judged the best paper of that year by the RNA society (I think). But this was terrific. As far as I know he is the first of my friends and contemporaries to get such a job. Well ok, Uma did join NCBS as a group leader last year, nevertheless this is EMBL (albeit Grenoble, not Heidelberg)! And Ramesh will be the only Indian group leader (and the only other Asian group leader other than Asifa Akhtar who is Pakistani) in EMBL and its outstations. Of course I also found his email address and dashed off an email.

The conference was yesterday and today (well given the time now, it was day-before-yesterday and yesterday :-)), and Ramesh's was the first talk after the Plenary Lecture (Steve Cohen), and was one of the two best ones (not counting Javier's but he was the host and I didn't attend his), the other was Antonio Giraldez whom I used to know at EMBL.

It was great catching up with him. I did know about his French wife (Emilie -sp?) and that they had a daughter (Alina? Elina?) who is now 18 months. They will be moving from Basel to Grenoble in the beginning of July. That's exciting. Yesterday we didn't really get much time to talk, but today we had lunch (with other people and so talking in English) and dinner (I gatecrashed into their conference dinner at our cafeteria) and soon afterwards we came to the pub opposite my building (he's been put up in the Mercure-Biedermeier hotel nearby) and chatted until 12:30am.

Ramesh used to be one of the funniest guys I've known, and he still retains his excellent sense of humour. He's lost more hair, and surprising has a lot of grey hair, but still looks the same. He seems to have lost the mallu touch in his accent when he speaks English, but retains it completely when he speaks Hindi. It was really great to talk about old times, catch up, and speculate about the future.

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