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The IBAB family letter,Jan 2020

Dr. Gayatri Saberwal



In December 2018, I wrote a ‘family letter’ to the IBAB faculty. Family letters are common in the West, where someone in the family (the ‘writer’ in the family) sums up what their life has been like in the past year, including reporting on grand-mother’s fracture and that the pet fish died. This letter is sent to family and friends, as an efficient way of keeping in touch. In my letter I summarized the happenings over the year in a somewhat amusing fashion. At least I was amused by my rendition of events. I ended with the following: “As we look to the new year, I think we should all, individually, take 2019 by the collar, give it a good shake, and make it do our bidding.”  

I look back in alarm at what happens when you take the year by the collar and give it a good shake. Fractures. Several of them. The first two of the wrist and then the hip. So, my belated year-ending letter needs to at least mention these. I am not (yet) a grand-mother, so it is very alarming when one is hit with all these fractures. I received commiserations from all and sundry, from near and far. I have to say, though, that it was not a bad experience. Staying at home for 3 months, so long as one is not feeling ill, liberates a lot of time and energy. Routine work goes on, but there is time to think new thoughts. I remember hearing the story of a scientist in Israel, who was sent to jail (I forget why, but I think it was for political reasons). When he came out, he was asked, ‘So, how was it?’. And he said ‘I had time to think’. Other than going to jail (and Indian jails don’t sound like places where one would have time to think of anything except, perhaps, murder), I think a hip fracture is the second-best option to having time to think. Actually, I think the moral of the story is ‘find time to think’, preferably without these extreme routes. I had time to think of a new project, put in the effort to refine it, work on papers, do some routine office work. Also, since I had to physio every 2 hours, I motivated myself to do so by exploring what YouTube had to offer. I got quite an education, listening to various talks/interviews etc. More on that some other time. So, here’s to a better 2020. Don’t threaten to shake it.

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