Thursday, 13 September 2018

Global Biotech Revolution: GapSummit Leaders Of Tomorrow | Cambridge

As someone who spends good chunk of a day in the lab running gels and looking at tiny things in fancy microscopes, I am one of those biomedical/life science graduate students who justifies spending weekends in the lab by saying that my research will one day help advance human health (Joke! I am struggling to get that damn marker to write on my tubes!). Anyway, one good lesson I learned during that time is what you know matters less than who you know in the professional circle (to some extent).

Most of the graduate students spend a good five to six years doing amazing research and learning cutting-edge techniques. Unfortunately, in this world, it’s not the best ideas but the ideas that have the best reach which wins. Presenting their work, knowing the potential of their respective fields go a long way in helping one advance their career. This is where all those conferences, interdisciplinary meets, and other scientific events come into the picture. I was lucky enough to be selected for one such conference called GapSummit which turned out to be one of the best experiences I have ever had.

GapSummit is the Global Biotech Revolution’s flagship program. One of the biggest biotech conferences in the world conducted annually. It is an intergenerational leadership development conference that brought together biotech leaders from all over the world to engage with students like me. It is aptly named as they discuss the major gaps in the biotech and pharma field. The summit was joined by phenomenal speakers like Paul Stoffels, Chief Scientific officer of Johnsons and Johnsons, Kiran Mazumdar Shaw of Biocon limited, Dr.Yusuf Hamied of Cipla, representatives from WHO and United Nations. Apart from the talks, there were interactive panels conducted on the gaps in the industry ranging from drug affordability, innovation to sustainable energy. I learned a lot about the plateau phase of R&D pipelines, the struggle to get a generic drug in developing countries, the public policy aspect of bringing out a healthcare reform through dinner conversations and casual chats.

GapSummit did indeed provide me a better picture of the biotech and pharma space which I have learned is complicated with multiple players and unpredictable market. However, I learned from the digital healthcare panel experts that AI and other high-end computational tools will be a major game changer in the future.

The part I enjoyed and learned the most was the Voices of tomorrow competition where we all worked for three months in groups on an idea that addressed one of the gaps. Coming from a purely scientific background, getting the first-hand experience in executing an idea in the real world was an exhilarating experience. Although we didn’t make it to the finals, we had fun writing the business proposal which I have never done in my life!!

Since I had such an amazing time at the Summit I thought I could share some of my pre-conference hacks which might be helpful for you for the GapSummit 2019. I will be providing more details about the summit at the end.

Here are my two cents worth!


Spend a good amount of time writing the motivational essay. Remember, this is a fully sponsored conference, they take the application stuff seriously. It really pays off to do some homework about the summit, the speakers and the main agenda.

The second round is a video interview with the core team of the GapSummit where they ask you in-depth questions about the application. Again! It really helps to prepare and succinctly talk about your achievements and future plans.

Like it or not, the world is not a fair place. That’s good and bad news. You might bump into the CEO of a startup who is looking for someone with your profile and might get hired on the spot. That is why it is extremely important to prepare for it. What do I mean by that? You need not read in detail about every single panelist or guest speakers but one you are interested in talking to, know their work in the back of your head. Read about their company, their published papers, know what they are looking for. I can’t emphasize this enough, nobody can just wing it.

GapSummit 2019:
Yay! This time it is in the United States. It is happening at the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT, between June 16th -20th. You can learn more about it here. If you have more questions about the summit, the logistics or if you want your institute to know about the event, you can contact me for an official invite.

Good luck with the application and hoping to see you guys at Gap Summit 2019!

Read another Article written by Anjana on TRAVEL+ACADEMICS: INTERNSHIP IN JAPAN

About The Author:

Anjana Sundarrajan is a true Tamilian who will not shut up about Chennai and curd rice. She is currently pursuing her final year of Masters in Biotechnology at UPenn in the US. She completed her B Pharm from Manipal University. She is passionate about research and innovation.

You can contact her on her Facebook or Linked In

Thank you for sharing your experience and tips with us. We hope you continue to support this blog and write for us in the future. We wish you all the best.

Friday, 8 June 2018

Mind Over Monsoons: How To Be Productive When It's Raining

Some people walk in the rain, others just get wet
-Roger Miller

Its that time of the year again when the sunlight has been tuned down to a minimum and the sky is overcast with clouds, rain, thunder, and lightning. Every time you look out of your window it gets harder to tell what time of the day it is and you can't help but feel sleepy, lazy and oh, did I mention hungry? It doesn't help that it is almost holiday season so you are stuck at home, with nothing to do, or at least that's what you think. 

As the rains have started in many parts of South India and will now be moving up north, I thought this was the best time to write a blog post on Mind Over Monsoons. I had been feeling gloomy and unproductive in this weather but I find myself having a lot of free time and I am here to tell you how to be productive when it's raining outside. Your ultimate guide to monsoon productivity is here, so make yourself a cup of hot tea or coffee and settle down, take notes and spend the rest of your summer and monsoon break at maximum productivity level!

Top Ten Ways To
Planning You Way To Monsoon Productivity 

      1. Organize/Plan/ Make a To-do list
This is a no-brainer and applicable for all year round productivity but the reason why this is the number one point in my guide is that during the holidays we feel entitled to 'do nothing'. I myself have been guilty of this several times. Even if you do not have a day to day list of items that you want to do at least have a general idea of the goals you want to complete in this one or one and half month break. This will help you stay on track and god, oh god, the satisfaction of ticking that thing off after you have finished it is something your inner nerd will thank you for later.

      2. Get Creative
Okay, so you can't go outdoors, big deal. There are hundreds of interesting things to do from the comfort of your home. 

  • Have you always been wanting to decorate your room, put up photos or fairy lights? You can do that now!
  • Paint pictures or glass painting on old used bottles
  • Make that scrapbook which you have eyeing on Pinterest.
  • Start a photo journal
  • Play some music, write blog posts, make your website, make YouTube videos!!!

    3. Hello, Endorphins!
It's raining outside and it's not drizzling. No. It's pouring sideways and the roads are jammed and you cant make it to your gym. You can't go out jogging in the park. So what do you do? Watch F.R.I.E.N.D.S on repeat? Yes, you could do that. But you could do that while exercising from the comfort of your own home!
  • Try yoga at home. You can find many YouTube videos and follow along.
  • Do a quick skipping session with your simple jump rope
  • Put on loud music and dance like no one's watching
  • Pilates! Just you, your body weight and a yoga mat. 
  • Clean your house. It's going to help you stretch and get in a good work out.

     4. Online Courses.
School or college is closed but you can still learn a lot through online courses and this can be in any field of your interest. Websites like Coursera and Udemy offer many online certificate courses for you to choose from and it will not only give you a new skill but also add to your resume.

    5. Online Internships
I am not asking you to fly across the country here. From the comfort of your home, apply for Work From Home internships and do freelance work for companies. If you start looking you will be surprised at how many companies need an intern to help them out. Internshala and Twenty19 can help you there. 

     6. Cooking experiments
All those dishes you said you would cook but never did because you did not have 'enough time' well guess what, now you are free and I am hungry. So cook some delicious food because we tend to get more hungry in this weather. Bake some delicious food too and don't forget to take photos and tag #TimeTravellinShutterbug on Instagram if you want them to be featured on my account.

Photo credit ITC Hotels

   7. Pamper Yourself With At Home Spa Day
You finally have some time for yourself so while you watch that movie for the 15th time, you can simultaneously pamper your skin and hair. Please remember that all the rain and dirt in the monsoon is going to leave your feet dirty and they will need some extra care.
  • Scrub your face, arms and legs do de tan with some potato, tomato or even homemade besan and channa flour scrub.
  • Put on some hair oil after a good hair and head massage or put on a hair mask
  • Put on a face pack/ Multani mitti/ yoghurt-honey-turmeric etc
  • Clean your nails and give yourself a mini meni-pedi, soak your limbs in some hot water with salts
  • Take a long hot shower, shampoo, and condition
  • Moisturize and finish off with fresh nail paint
Viola, you are a whole new person!

Photo from Google Images

   8. Indoor games
Be it board games or other small in-door games, the time to play them is now when it is raining. Try monopoly, snake and ladders, housie, card games, hide and seek, dumb charades etc. Growing up, I used to have my neighbor girls and friends over all the time during holidays and we would play these all day long. It's time to bring back some of that childhood memories to our grown up-adult self- summer/monsoon breaks.

   9. Reading & Writing
I am guilty of buying or borrowing novels and never getting around to finishing them as I get caught up in academic work. Monsoon holidays can be the perfect time to catch up on reading and hey if you are that broody writer type then start writing now! Stay motivated with hot drinks like green tea, coffee, hot chocolate or tea! It will instantly give you a boost.

  10. Time Off
Monsoons many time come with power cuts and this is the perfect excuse to get off technology, internet, and social media. Make some tea and pakodas, play games with your friends and family read a book, make your arts and crafts and just take a social media detox.

Are there any other things that you love to do in monsoons which I have not mentioned in this ultimate guide to monsoons? Leave them down in the comments below. Suggestions, comments, and questions are always welcome.

Share this blog post with your friends who have complained of being bored in the holidays or feeling lazy due to the gloomy weather and you can thank me later!

Like what you see and want more travel blog post, inspiration, travel style and budget travel ideas then go follow my Instagram account @timetravellingshutterbug

Acknowledgement: To my sister, Sonali Khetia for taking my photos for this blog post.

Links To Get You Going:
Online Courses: CourseraUdemy
Internships: InternshalaTwenty 19

Signing off,
Nishma Khetia.

Thursday, 19 April 2018

How To: Kill It At The Beach In Indian Summers

We all love a good beach vacay. Am I right or am I right?! Whether it is a boys day out playing ball and getting dirty and sweaty with no shirts on or a girls gang going out on the beach to enjoy some suntan or a couple’s lazy day out, beach vacations are the best. A lot of people who face long winters many times seek out beach vacations to get away from the cold and I can absolutely see why. Having fresh coconut, building sandcastles by the sea, enjoying seafood and the sun, seems just perfect recipe for a vacation to relax and unwind. 

But, here's the Indian Summer twist to the Vitamin Sea dream. Indian Summers are hot! Very, very hot. I was just reading a thread on a travel group where someone asked if Goa in May was a good idea. Let's rewind to exactly one year ago around 26-27th May. That is exactly where I was! Right out of B Pharm, planned the perfect mandatory Goa trip after graduation. So, yes, sometimes it is inevitable that you find yourself planning a beach vacation in this scorching heat. But that's where I got your back. I have got a few essentials, tips and tricks to help you plan a smooth and hassle-free beach day trip or an entire weekend.

Top Ten Essentials For A Beach Vacation

1. Sun Screen.
This is the most essential item you absolutely must carry with you while you head out to the beach. Ignoring sunscreen on a daily basis is one thing (not good, but okay :/) while not wearing sunscreen on the beach is totally bad for your skin. Find a good waterproof sunscreen of SPF 50 with UVA and UVB protection to ensure maximum protection. Make sure to apply it liberally on all exposed parts and reapply after a few hours if necessary. I have a sunburn that is of a cold shoulder top shape and is going to last about three months so I absolutely know what I am talking about.

2. Beach Wear
Bikini, shorts, speedos, swimsuit whatever is your style do not forget to carry it to your beach trip. You might not want to swim but even the toughest of decisions are changed once seeing beautiful beach waters. So just carry it as a back-up. Try it out at home first in case it has been a while since you last wore it to ensure it is okay and fits right in all places. Another mandatory must is a plastic bag to store your wet clothes after swimming so it does not drench the rest of your bag. Flip flops are recommended instead of other shoes which might get spoiled in the sand.

3. Lounge Mat/Bedsheet/Towel
Depending on the beach you decided to go to you may or may not have beach beds/chairs etc. It is best to carry a bed sheet or a lounge mat to the beach. You can use your towel too if you have an extra one in hand. Anything you can use to lie down/sit on the beach will work. Get something larger if you are meant to share it with your partner for a date.

4. Beach Hat and Sunglasses
Admit it or not, selfies on the beach need sunglasses in them.  Period. To have this in check and also for the more important reason of protecting your eyes, carry your sunglasses with you to the beach. A beach hat is also recommended to protect your hair from the heat and keep your head cool.

5.Music/Speakers/ Earphones.
Soft music or party music, the choice is yours but music is essential while you are chilling on the beach. If you are in a group, carry a speaker or if you are on a private beach carry your earphones and blast in some tunes to match the rhythm of the beach waves. In fact, you could make a beach playlist right now after reading this article and get ready for your next beach vacation! This one down here is on amaizing discount and was voted a bestseller!

 6. Beach Ball
If your beach vacation happens to be with a group, carry a beach ball with you. You could play football, volleyball, cricket or even play with the plastic ball in the ocean. The options are endless and all you need to make that happen is a good beach ball. You can carry other games like a pack of cards. 

7. Food/ Picnic Bag
As this article is written for the masses, we need to address the fact that not everyone will be going to a commercial beach with shacks and restaurants. If your vacation happens to be a secret getaway on a remote beach in the middle of nowhere you definitely need food and drinks with you on the go. Easy options include sandwiches of all kinds, chips, biscuits, fresh fruits, sodas, beers etc

8. Summer Reads
The ride to the beach or any time during your beach vacation you may come across a situation where you just want to hang out on your own and read a book. Easy summer reads or even an audiobook can come in handy. Carry a book with you at all times! 

9. Camera
It can be your mobile camera or something advanced like a DSLR, but you will want to take back memories from your beautiful beach vacation and you absolutely must have some form of camera on you in order to make that happen. If you plan to go on a long vacation carry additional memory cards for your camera with you too so you do not run out of space while you capture the beautiful beach photos.

10. Batteries/Chargers
Carry some extra mobile battery or a backup charger/battery with you while on the go. You will be using your phone a lot, for music, photos, directions and what not. Having a backup battery option while saving you in time of need and give you the peace of mind! Do not rely on someone else having a charger or battery to match your phone. With the technology variety in the market, everyone has a different pin/plug on their phones. It is crazy out there!

You can easily get dehydrated so drink lots of water and coconut water too. That is one thing people forget to do. Remember, having water around you does not mean that you drink less water!

Before you go, be sure to follow my super active self on Instagram where I share all my trips on Insta Stories

So there you have it, the top ten items you need while going for a beach vacation. Which item do you swear by? Is there something I missed on this list? Be sure to let me know in the comments section below. Get that head start on your summer beach body and stick to those new year resolutions. You will be beach ready in no time. And oh, don’t forget to get all your beach essentials on your vacation. 

That's all for this blog post. Be sure to leave your comments and feedback down below. Are you going to any exciting beaches this summer, if so where?

Signing off,
Nishma Khetia.

Tuesday, 16 January 2018

Birthday By The Beach

"One's destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things"

-Henry Miller.

The birthday girl wished for a birthday by the beach and I being the travel-granting fairy took matters into my own hands. As I many times say all I need to make things happen is the name of my next destination. I had two beach resorts near Mangalore which were begging to be explored. I honestly can't even remember where I came across the Turtle Beach Bay in Trasi. Much like the infamous Goa trip, our beach trip was almost over before it begun. After celebrating my friend Fatema's birthday at midnight it was almost impossible for our group of five to be up and ready at seven in the morning. I obviously ironed my clothes in the middle of the night and had my beach wardrobe all set but this day was not about me. And so I went back to sleep when no one woke up at seven in the morning thinking of all the chores I could accomplish that Sunday *Inner Monica rejoicing* The heavens had other plans however and who was I to deny them :p Over breakfast at the mess it was decided to go to the beach anyway. Like they say better late than never! We quickly grabbed our bags and begun our journey to the beach.

It took us around one and a half hour to reach the beach resort. We had the beach to ourselves. Yes, that's right! Just the five of us. There were a few guests staying in the rooms at the resort but they did not swim. After admiring the beautiful beach and taking a few photos we changed into our swimsuits and jumped right into the water. It was the perfect temperature at around one in the afternoon. As it was a rather sunny day, we applied generous amounts of sunscreen. After some swimming where we played piggyback water fight we took a break for some well-deserved lunch. The resort has a restaurant with a decent menu.

Post-lunch we went swimming one more time. Turtle Beach also had beach volleyball and other activities. As we were on a tight schedule due to some pending nursing assignments we had to leave before the sunset. But here's the secret scoop only for my readers. The direction of this beach does offer a sunset at the beach! So in case, you plan to follow my lead and go check out this place for yourself you must stay back for sunset and send me those photos!

The beach has showers and changing facilities so one can easily freshen up after swimming. I luckily carried my shampoo and managed to wash my hair saving me from doing it later at night when I would be exhausted.We made our return journey while listening to tunes and chatting away. At one point we even stopped to buy fruits from the bus stop for the week ahead. Before parting ways we enjoyed some hot ginger tea and then said our goodbyes. This trip was over but the memories we had collected were going to last us a lifetime. Also, I am certain that I will be going back to Turtle Bay Beach Resort.

Seeing Is Believing
Travel Vlog: Birthday By The Beach

If you see what you like please like, comment, share and subscribe!

Everything You Want To Know About Turtle Bay Beach Resort

How to reach?

Take a bus/train to Kundapur in Karnataka. From Manipal a bus to Udupi and a connecting bus to Kundapur. From Kundapur take a bus to Trasi. If you have a private vehicle you are sorted!

How much cash to carry?

I would say about 1000 rupees.
Food: 200-300
Entrance: 250
Transport to and fro by bus: 150
It's always good to have extra cash in hand. Also in case you want to try out any water sports, you may need extra cash.

How long to stay?A day trip would be recommended. The shower facility is sufficient for all your daytime needs.The rooms available are expensive from a budget travel point of view costing around 2500+ per night.

What to carry?

You can carry your own food if you wish!
1) Sunscreen
2) Towel
3) Sunglasses/Hat
4) Swimwear
5) Extra pair of clothes
6) Cards, beach ball or other games.
7) Sunglasses
8) Music and speakers
9) Shampoo and toiletries.
10) A plastic bag for your w
et clothes!

For other Beach Destination ideas you can check my other blog posts:
1. Goa After Graduation

2. St.Mary's Island

3. Beach Therapy: Murudeshwara

4. Gokarna Girls Trip

You can stay up to date with all my travel stories and photos by following me on my very active My Instagram Account
That's all for this blog post. I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I loved experiencing it. But don't stop there go ahead and see it for yourself! Thank you for reading. All comments and feedback is appreciated in the comments section below.

Signing off,
Nishma Khetia.

Tuesday, 2 January 2018

Girls On A Mission: Christmas Travel Diaries

"A nomad I will remain for life, in love with distant and uncharted places"
-Isabelle Eberhardt.

Five girls on a mission to have the most unconventional Christmas ever. A summery Christmas, by the beach, who would have thought of that? Well, me of course. Duh! Some trips are cut short for a reason. It is because their destiny is to be fulfilled later, in a better way. This was one of those trips for me. On my last blog post Lost In The Forest With No Network: Exploring Yana Caves, I explained how my trip was cut short. Luckily just two weeks after that, I was ready for yet another trip to the same village of  Kumta. 

Mirjan fort had been on my bucket list for the longest time. It is at equidistance from both Gokarna Railway Station and Kumta Railway Station (12 kilometers). Travelling as I normally do on a budget-friendly style, we took the 7.30 am train from Udupi station and reached Kumta by 10.30 am. Although the train was jam packed due to the holidays and we had trouble finding seats, our timing was really good. After grabbing a bite from the local bakery near the station, we took a bus to Mirjan fort. The fort is just 0.5 kilometers from the highway and we easily walked up to the fort. 

There are many versions of when and who made the Mirjan fort. One of them talks of Queen Chennabhairadevi of Gersoppa (Vijayanagar Empire). She built the fort in the 16th century and is said to have ruled for 54 years. A lot of items were traded from the fort under her rule the prominent one being pepper and hence she was named as the Pepper Queen by the Portuguese.

It was an extremely sunny day but we were all pumped and sunshine was not going to come in the way of our spirit. We took a ton of photos from every angle possible. This was also the first time I was traveling with my new phone the MIA1 from Xaomi. The photos came out relatively good although the phone does not perform well in low light situation but this is a travel blog post and not a phone review :p

A little dehydrated from walking around the fort we took shelter under what literally seemed like the Tree Of Life. It seemed like the perfect picnic spot as we snacked on food and listened to good music while chatting away. After some rest and refreshment, we headed back to the highway and caught a bus to Gokarna. From the Gokarna bus stop, we took an auto and were on our way to Kudle Beach. Nostalgia hit me right in my guts as I stepped on Kudle Beach. It seemed just like yesterday when I was in my third year and had gone for my first girls trip with my best friends. It was TheTime When The Ticket Checker (TC) Caught Us and it was my first ever blog post on my blog (so many memories). The beach looked perfect. Just the way it did two years ago like nothing had changed but I knew it did because for one thing the shack where I previously stayed was closed down.

The photos in this blog post cannot justify my experience. I must insist that if you are a travel or photography enthusiast go ahead and follow me on my home planet Instagram. My handle is @timetravellingshutterbug. I post my travel updates in my Insta stories and am always writing mini blog posts related to my trips with each photo and leaving extra tips and tricks for all my followers. Here is the nine photos from this trip that I just posted and not including this screenshot would not justify my experience of this trip. So go ahead find me and follow me. I promise my comedic stories and polls shall not disappoint you.

We were starving as it was almost five in the evening and we were surviving on tea, lemonade, and one samosa since morning. We went to the Sunrise Cafe and found ourselves a nice table. I ordered myself a Hawaiian pizza to go with the tropical vibe. The crowd at the beach was perfect and everyone was enjoying the Christmas holidays. A bunch of guys were trying to balance and walk on ropes tied to trees, people were getting hair wraps, others were sunbathing and many swimming. 

After finishing our food my friend Nandini convinced me to join her for a swim and I gave in because the water temperature was just perfect. It was one of the best swims I have ever had. We jumped up and down with the waves like little kids. I was glad to have packed a beach dress just in case of a situation like this. It was not a swimsuit but it was an extra pair of clothing, just what you need for an impromptu swimming session!  

After the swim, I changed in the restroom of the same cafe where we had our meal. After watching the sunset, we got autos and headed for the station to make our return journey back to base. Luckily the train was a few minutes late or else we would have missed it. It also had an empty ladies compartment and we relaxed on our way back, chatting away in loud voices over the sound of the running train and the wind.

I am not going to do the tips for Gokarna because honestly there are no tips. You can go for a single day or stay overnight. It is just a place to let loose, enjoy the ocean and some good food. Travel to and fro from Manipal or by railway is cheap. I spent only 700 rupees on this entire trip and 300 of that was on my pizza and cold coffee. It is a perfect place for a quick getaway with friends. It is also picturesque and you can go off exploring. Gokarna also offers treks from one beach to the other. It is a must visit for all beach lovers. As for the Mirjan fort, my one and crucial tip would be to go somewhere just after the rains so that the fort is much greener and better for photography instead of dry and summer weather.

That's all for this blog post. I hope you enjoyed reading it. Please feel free to share your comments and suggestions. Also if you have any travel destinations around Karnataka that you want to suggest go ahead because I am a self-proclaimed Karnataka Travel Ambassador. The tourism department needs to start paying me now :p Go follow me on my very public Instagram profile. Until next time, have a great January and stick to those resolutions!

Signing off,
Nishma Khetia.

Six Scenic Road Trips You Must Take In India

Road Trips In India credits  Vikas Sawant Road trips are classic adventure travel. Depending on how long the trip is an...