I just finished reading this novel this morning. I decided to read it because it was my type of book.
Formula: Published within the last 10 years + not a classic + not read by a large population + highly acclaimed by reliable sources + significant to my life (varies) = Reshmi’s type of book.
The writing is unlike anything else I have ever read. The intelligence of the book can only be communicated via its extreme simplicity. To do otherwise would cause the reader to be lost in translation - the profundity is just that deep.
Despite the transparency of the English language, the totality of the narrative is anything but effortless - it is a wonderfully crafted use of the English language. Writing, in my opinion, is a craft, and if it does come off as effortless, it probably is not worth reading.
Anyway - that was my short introduction of this book. I am not writing a book review or summary but instead want to discuss a thought presented by the writer that also happens to be a prevalent point of contemplation in the daily happenings of my life and most probably in the lives of others as well.
“But that’s science: it isn’t enough to just think a thing, you must try to verify if it’s true. Otherwise people would say and think what they like… fashionable people… who liked thinking, and especially talking, but who hated verifying.” (137)
I do realize that some of you will argue that “fashionable” is being used as an adjective that can be made synonymous to “popular” and/or “in trend.” Those of you who are arguing this may (or may not) make this distinct from my use of “fashion” in the context of my last blog post. However, “fashion” is only a single word that may be used in a distinct fashion , (yes that was intentional), from time to time, but still means the same thing each and every time one traces the derivation starting from how it is being used…
Otherwise, linguists would have made a new word. Imagine having two streets with the same name in the same town - confusion would persist and society as we know it would be non-existent so that our definition of a modern-day Renaissance Fair would no longer be a staged role-playing diversion that occurs in the abandoned parking lots of suburbia, but instead would be a true rendering of daily life.
And so, this quotation reads such that fashion and science are conflicting entities that cannot coexist.
I’m sure you already know that I disagree with this proclamation.
Fashion is an idea that is closely associated with females. Why? Society recognizes and accepts the blank canvas that is a woman. Women can paint their nails, have they’re ears pierced, wear skirts and dresses, have hairstyles where they can have long hair and bangs framing their face, wear jewelry regularly, carry around different types of purses, etc. (While men could do all that was described, doing so would be going against all that is considered natural, accepted, and in the overwhelming majority.)
Working in a lab since I was sixteen, my first P.I. (Principal Investigator aka Head Scientist), was a female. She was tall, lean, had her hair parted down the middle and nonchalantly covering her shoulders, and made everyone shiver at the slightest news of her arrival in their midst. Her presence, curriculum vitiae, leadership, and frankness to the point of being harsh, was unlike that of any other female I had come across before, (with the exception of Hilary Clinton who I only saw on the news.)
A year ago I decided to practice my laboratory pursuits in a new place - across the street at Weill Cornell. I was the undergraduate intern, there were two medical students, and a technician - all of us females. My new P.I. was the only male.
A couple of months ago I decided to research at yet another lab. Here, me, the technician, and one of the only two post-docs were female. The P.I. was also female. (There was one male.) The P.I. and I seemed to share a love for fashion, silently accepting that we were mutually sizing up one another’s outfit of the day as we greeted each other. I was in awe of her; A brain cancer head scientist at a leading lab, a mother, a globetrotter, and a trendsetter all at once.
Since being a part of the science scene, I have been confused by the male:female ratio that I saw because it conflicted with the ratio that I had heard. Having seen mostly women in the field of science which was long claimed to be the “all boy’s club”, seemed to me like witnessing a modern-day women’s movement.
And yet, all of the women I have come across have not been akin to those nominated on TLC’s sitcom, What Not to Wear. In sharp contrast, these women of science, physicians and scientists alike, were all fashionable and aware of their sense of fashion no less.
I have met the classicists - the women who wear sophisticated dresses with the perfect bolero, pearl studs and necklace, and the most dainty of shoes, (closed toe of course- keeping with lab protocol.)
I have also seen the modernists. Those women, most tend to be on the younger side, keep up with the going-on of the runways and what’s more, can afford to splurge on these fresh off the runway items.
There is also the androgynous power woman look: ideally tailored suits and collared shirts with her choice of loafer or oxford.
Though in the minority, I have also seen the urban-chic/Greenwich village-esque/laid-back Soho look - perfectly professionalized with the naturally tousled hair cascading over exposed arms, or the once exposed arms that are now covered by a white coat.
Last time I checked science-oriented peeps like to think and talk just as much as they like to verify, probably because: