Thursday, September 13, 2012

The taste of India

I have been escaping into a parallel research topic, much against the intentions of the sane and organized part of my mind. I recently read a post on Pinterest that said, if you want to find out what you are really passionate about, look where your mind goes when it wanders. :)

Lately, my mind has been wandering away from the lab and away from academia, towards applications and concepts that are more people-centered. And that is why, perhaps, the obituary of  Dr. Verghese Kurien captured my mind. Abi blogged about it and I took off from there. Since I am post-docing at Michigan State now, I found a connection to the story. It is interesting to know that MSU did not have a dairy program back then.Now MSU's dairy and animal science course is regarded as one of the best in the US. By far, the best outcome of their research is the MSU dairy store that sells ice cream made entirely on campus. "Death by chocolate" is my favorite flavor. :)

In the course of my work on economic modeling for biorefineries, I have also realized how important a place India has in the near future when it comes to animal feed markets. And unlike the US, where most of this demand comes from cattle farming intended towards beef production, in India, almost all of the animal feed market is catering to the production of milk. India is the largest producer of milk in the world when you consider milk production by individual countries. I think the Amul story has a lot to do with this place we have today. 

This also led me to a beautiful film (Manthan) by Shyam Benegal. I had watched it before but this time, I had a new perspective. Any team of human beings, working in any area, be it arts or technology, always comes with a potential for negativity, exploitation, ego trips, discrimination, dissatisfaction, unethical conduct, corruption and misguided optimism. But when a team works so well, it is obvious that it is expressing the antonyms of all the above words in significantly larger quantities (in a hypothetical scenario where they could be quantified). And what the team expresses is a reflection of the person who leads it.

I will leave you with this and this. They always get me nostalgic. :)

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