If you had come to our lab in last year or two, I bet one bench you couldn’t have missed. Even though it is in one last corner. She used to sit there. That bench had a big list of expertise this one person could do. No exaggeration at all! This list, was something my lab mates did as a sign of respect for her. Soon she will be gone, throwing our lab in chaos! I am sure we will recover. Life moves on. That’s the law of nature! But…she will be missed for sure!
She was the best Christmas present I ever got. 🙂 It arrived early too! It was the Christmas of 2011…We were hearing the talk that my adviser was hiring a post doctorate fellow for months now. Sometimes we heard her mention during our lab meetings. By October, we gathered that she was from South Africa and her name was Kushla (That’s what we thought at that moment, it’s a common Indian name and I haven’t heard any western name like this!). From this brief info somehow we had a theory that since there are many Indians in South Africa, she might be a South African of Indian origin. I still remember our first visit. It completely blew off all our theories! She was originally from New Zealand and was doing her post doc in South Africa. I liked her the moment I saw her. She had a beautiful smile with dimples on both sides and long golden hair.
At first we were intimidated by her status of being a post doc. She had a vast experience in vibrational spectroscopy technique and instrumentation, multivariate analysis and biochemical assays. In short, she was a walking-talking Wikipedia! If we had any question related to spectroscopy, we would just walk to her bench (in my case roll my chair to the other side of the desk!) and were always greeted with a smile. She had a thick accent with many unheard words in her vocabulary, which were mostly influenced by British English. Some times she used to mix two words together and make a new one or sometimes she would conveniently make a short form of the word! She used to speak to us and my adviser with the same ease. Often times it amazed me how she could exactly pick anyone’s wavelength! I guess that’s what spectroscopists do, don’t they? 🙂
I shared a very special bond with her. The fact that she was from New Zealand raised my hopes that she might be a cricket fan which is a rare thing in America and like any other theory about her…she blew off that theory as well. 🙂 She was not only my colleague but at a times she was my like my elder sister (even though she was a year younger than me), my friend, and my guru! I could talk to her about almost anything. She was a reserved person but once in a while she would talk about her life.
I have often said this to her, though jokingly, that I am so happy that she is not an Australian. Not that I have anything against them personally but they are our arch rivals in cricket! Now when I think about that I wish she were an Aussie, the impact she had on my life would have changed my perception about Australians forever! Thanks Cushla…