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Now I’ll think twice before going to Greyhouse. Here is why.

I went to the coffee-house today evening for a cup of GreyCap and Cogdell’s book on Automorphic L-functions. Greyhouse is a wonderful place to do some Mathematics and at times, just gaze around and see what other people are doing. My Chess buddies often meet here for some rapid games. Today the place was less crowded since the school is closed for summer.

A lady approaches me and asks me my age. I have seen her earlier around the campus and even in Greyhouse. I remember last summer, she once interrupted our Chess discussion and made an awkward conversation. Kerem pointed out she’s crazy but “not guilty until proven” is my principle.

Not wanting to create a fuss, I told her my approximate age and she left me alone. After a while, she came to me and asked if I could share the table with her. Honouring the etiquette of the coffee-house, I welcomed her. Now she asks if I could be her friend. I say yes. But soon things start getting weird.

“Would you like to be my friend with benefits?”

“No.” (What the fcuk!!)

“Do you know what that means?”

“I think I know.”

“Hugging, kissing, … ”

“Yes I know” (This was getting creepy)

“Do you have a girlfriend?”



“Because I love some things (pointing at my book) more than others.”

She laughed aloud enough for everyone around to hear. I could feel the pain hidden in that laughter. I felt pity toward her.

She tore off a page from her pocket-diary and wrote her phone number on it. When I accepted it, she asked mine. I refused to share my cell number with a creepy lady I just met. She asked her note back and I gladly obliged. With some more awkward comments, she left. I shared a moment with the Indian girl sitting at the adjacent table; I could tell she overheard our conversation.


The conversation had an impact on me I hadn’t imagined. It was not just any other crazy experience but somewhat traumatizing one. I felt shaken, mildly violated although all she did was have an extremely weird conversation. I wonder what it would be to be a girl in India. Eve-teasing, stalking, groping are real problems because of roadside Romeos – jokers who don’t know how to woo a girl but know a lot of other creepy mischief. The askew sex-ratio also doesn’t help. My (female) friend used to tell me the little ways she used to retaliate against these miscreants. They should be brought to book. Hopefully “Ab ki bar Modi sarkar” or AAP improve things.

पूजा: अाईला सांगू नकोस!

  • Your first (half) marathon is the most cherished one. Ironically, it’s also your slowest!
  • I ran a half-marathon at the Indianapolis Marathon today, 19 October, 2013 in 2:18:56.
  • Running a half-marathon = 13.1 miles = 21 kilometers sounds like the craziest idea until you actually run it. After that it seems trivial.
  • It was good to have Jacob and Ryan run the 13.1. Qi ran the full marathon; bow to thee, master! Tianyang’s support in cheering us was invaluable.
  • A 81-year old lady completed the 13.1 in just over two and a half hours. Highly impressive. Humans are crazy!
  • I liked the way the marathon was organized. Fully planned, everything taken care of including parking and restrooms. The concept of time tracking by a tracker attached to the shoe was amazing. I’m impressed with technology.
  • There was so much energy in the atmosphere that you just couldn’t get tired, stop. People cheering, runners discussing their past and future marathons, volunteers offering water and energy drinks, loud music.
  • All this excitement made me forget the bad weather, it was 5 degrees (Celsius of course), windy and raining.
  • A lady had “13.1 on my 30th birthday” printed on her shirt. I wished her a happy birthday! There were some people from Lafayette, we had a “Go Boilers!” exchange.
  • There were volunteers encouraging us to keep going. Randomly, I would tell them they’re doing a great job cheering us 🙂
  • I was hoping Jacob, who was ahead of me would cross me and I’d wave to him saying, “*How* is it going?”!
  • I was in extreme pain after crossing the finish line, but knew I had made history (at a personal level, in the least).
  • There’s only one key to completing the run, don’t think about running, don’t count the miles, don’t calculate your pace — Just RUN!



October 2012 : Biked from Bloomington to Purdue for Habitat for Humanity, 125 miles in 2 days

October 2013 : Ran a half-marathon at the Indianapolis marathon.

October 2014 : (Crazy suggestions?)

Half-marathon! Pu-Ma runners

I wish to pen down (key in?) a singular event I happened to experience, something that I wouldn’t forget soon. This blog post I hope will serve to me as a refresher down the memory lane, years later.

On Alex’s advice, I decided to run hills. (In his words, “You’ll hate yourself running uphill but I know no other method to improve your running speed and stamina.”)  I biked to the top of “Mt. Salisbury” and after running it up and down, was on my way back home. On the bridge on Lindberg Rd, I saw a girl drooping, leaning across the bridge. I gave her a second glance and biked ahead wondering if it she was running and the sun dehydrated her. But who runs in their sandals? I turned back and rode toward her.

“Are you alright? Do you want some water?”

She started sobbing. (Uh oh!) She drank some water and hugged me. My turn to freak out, because it wasn’t a brisk hug but a painfully long one.

“Whatever it is, it’ll be alright.” (I offered my two pennies of  solace).

“Would you help me commit suicide? I want to jump over.”

“This won’t help, it’s too shallow” (Who commits suicide jumping in a bog? She wouldn’t even have fractured herself! But I agree, this isn’t the best reply you can give to a girl contemplating death. In my defence, I handled it good enough, overall.)

She fell on the trail and I sat next to her, wondering what action to take. I asked her which direction her home was and that we should walk that direction. She told she was drunk, a fact I deduced during the aforementioned hug. I compelled her to keep walking to her home and get some rest. On the way, we embarked on a (trivial) discussion about the existence of god and the goodness in people. She told me how other people on the trail ignored her and walked past. She was a Purdue undergrad; her life was in shambles and she had no one. (I believe the last part is false; for you need some parent / guardian who’ll fund your undergrad, especially in this country. I didn’t challenge her.)

She also mentioned she had been contemplating suicide for years and that I should help her. (Now I am of the opinion that if a person truly wants to die in spite of being counseled, the government should give them the opportunity. In India and Indiana, it’s a felony. Nonsense; but I’ll save this discussion for another day.)

Now this girl jumps over the railing and stands on the road, waiting to be hit by a car. The speed limit for that road is 30 mph, so again an ineffective way to kill oneself. Again I sprung into action and made her jump to the other side. At this time, she collapsed in the grass. I felt it the perfect moment to call 911. She rose up and tried to snatch my cellphone but I overpowered her. Sensing trouble, she ran away in the direction of her home. I gave her description to the authorities and no sooner than I traveled some 100m than I saw a Sheriff car (without sirens, interestingly!) turn towards the apartment complex. They caught her as soon as she was about to enter the house and interrogated her. My role ended with me narrating the cops this incident and giving my identity.


Tailpiece: Do you think we have free will? Was it my own free will that made me turn around and help (?) the girl out? Or was I programmed? My life would have been a bit different had I chosen to ignore and bike past her.

Assume for the moment that we do have free will. Was I right in doing what I did? For all I know, this suicide attempt stays on her “file” possibly throughout her life. Perhaps she was suffering with a terminal disease and death was her best option. Even then, I think I acted wisely. I think I can justify my actions. What do you say?

Today was the first day after my prelims that I met Dr. Shahidi. He earlier advised me to take a break after the advanced topics so I could start research afresh. I also recently found his Wikipedia page (albeit a stub) – . A more relevant Wiki-link about his work is – I hope one day I’ll edit these pages to add sources and more relevant material.

Our conversation was quite pleasant. He had some things in mind he wanted me to work on. He told me to go over “L-packets” and “A-packets” and other technical stuff; gave references where I could read about it. We discussed about my general PhD goal. “Your (research) problem should not be too difficult to be unable to solve”, he said. On asking if I’d like my work to be “Algebra or Analysis”, I instantly replied “Algebra!” although I should know that Number Theory uses tools from all branches of mathematics (including PDE 🙂 )

I have known Shahidi for his dry sarcastic wit and today’s conversation ended with a remarkable quip. He told me, “Keep me informed, don’t run away!”

This post is for my friends (especially in India) who read about my accident from an earlier post and have been concerned about my well-being.

I had multiple fractures in my jaw and after a surgery, my mouth was wired shut for nearly six weeks. For six weeks, life was pathetic. I couldn’t eat solid food (hence the post on liquid diet) and lost lots of kilos. A stifled cough, no yawning and a mouth-explosion every time I sneezed — it was a miserable experience and I hope you never have to go through it. Just yesterday, the agony was put an end to, as the doctor removed the rubber-bands.

I can now open my mouth albeit partially (a finger-width) but enough to pass a toothbrush through. Brushing and being able to talk after six weeks was quite relieving. The surgery to remove braces will take place next week. My wrist injury is also slowly healing. The total healing of the mouth will take a couple of months. Hanging in there,


Before going to the doctor to get the rubber-bands removed

(You might have read about my running the first \pi miles. This is a rather different experience).
(Edit: 6 July, ’12 — If you have fractured a jaw and are looking for a liquid diet, see this post I wrote recently).

Today evening I completed running \pi miles on the Wabash river trail. I have done it more than a hundred times in the last few months. But today was special. Completing the track was a liberating moment. For one, I completed it with less-than-usual oxygen; I breathed only through my nose and not once through the mouth.

As I write this, I feel the steel wires and rubber-bands in my mouth. My teeth are fixed, the jaws are immovable and there are six stitches on the chin. I can feel one molar chipped off and one week after the accident, I feel pain in my wrist.

It was on the evening of 26th May that the four of us set out for biking. We were around 10 miles from Purdue where I had this accident. It was a reckless daredevilry, something that I am not proud of & something I wouldn’t like to recollect¹. After the accident, we called a friend and also 911 (the latter came before) and I was taken to the Emergency room of the hospital². I had the X-ray and CT-scan done but already knew my jaw was fractured. The doctor stitched the chin-injury and discharged me with the desperately-needed painkillers. Three days later, I had a surgery with an oral surgeon who (after knocking me unconscious) implanted steel braces and rubber-bands in my mouth thus completely immobilizing any jaw movement. For six weeks, I shall not be able to open my mouth. No coughing or yawning please! And only liquid diet.


I realize that the pain-killers have subdued any painful sensation in my jaws. Most of me is perfectly fine, most importantly my brain. And I am doing Mathematics with acetaminophen. Just like Erdös!³ Hope I am able to come up with some theorem in these six weeks!

¹ In my defence, I blame the reversed role of left/right brakes controlling left/right cycle tyres in the America than India.
² In retrospect, although spilling out blood from my mouth, I was surprisingly relaxed. Rather, one of the friends had a panic attack seeing me spew blood!
³ If you are unaware, the legendary mathematician Paul Erdös took amphetamines and said the drug helped him do mathematics. Read his biography here.

If you have a broken molar or a fractured jaw and are looking for a liquid diet, welcome! This is quite the place for you.

I recently fractured my jaw and can consume only liquids since my jaw is wired. (See this post for details). I was not quite satisfied with the search results for “complete liquid diet”, “what to eat with a fractured jaw”, “nutrients in liquid form” et al so I Google-searched a little and am writing this post for the benefit of someone with a wired jaw.


There are six nutrients that the  human body requires – carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, minerals and water. They are all required for a healthy living. While excessive intake of some of them is okay, for some others it can be dangerous. For example, excessive water is drained in the form of urine whereas excess of fats can lead to complications. Carbohydrates (mainly glucose, starch, sugars, fibres) are used for producing energy. Proteins are mainly used for body-building. Fats are necessary also for producing energy and as energy reserves among other uses. It is a not true that consumption of saturated fats leads to coronary heart diseases. See the “French paradox” as a counterexample.

Liquid foods and nutrients

Below, I list some commonly available liquid foods and the main nutrients they provide. It is likely that one consumes them when chewing is a problem. If you have a fractured jaw or broken teeth or something similar, you might find this list useful. If so, cooked food intake is reduced so consuming fats is recommended.

Ice cream

Its a crime to not love ice cream. It contains sugars, fats and cholesterol. (About cholesterol, its deficiency causes no damage but excess can be dangerous). If you are on a liquid diet then the fat consumption might have decreased so ice cream can be a blessing in disguise.

Muscle shake / protein drink

Also known as bodybuilding supplements, they are usually taken by sportsmen and body-builders. They contain (mainly) proteins (and vitamins and minerals) and are used in muscle-building.

Soups (Added 6 July, ’12)

The crazier things you blend in a mixer, crazier will your stories be when you narrate them later. My friend Kate in Math boasted of blending pizza when she felt the urge to taste it. Using water, milk and chicken-broth, one can almost blend any solid food. One good method is to cook vegetables in a pressure cooker with a lot of water, then crush it in a mixer, filter the juice and consume the soup. Add masala depending on your choice. I used to drink even pulses (legumes) by this method since I realized my protein intake was sub-normal.


Milk contains various essential nutrients and I’d highly recommend it in any and every form. But better than raw milk is milkshake made from different fruits and vegetables. It is described later in details.

Buttermilk & Yogurt

Yogurt has Carb+Fat+Protein+Vitamin+calcuim. Buttermilk has Carb+Protein+calcuim.

Raw egg with milk (Edited on 6 July)

Screw those nutritionists who discourage the practice of eating raw eggs. Desperate times need desperate measures. Eggs are excellent sources of proteins. Three eggs a day keep your hunger away.


If you have a mixer or grinder or blender, then making your own milkshake is the best. Plus, you have the choice of fruit or vegetable. The nutrients depend on what you are adding. Feel free to try your own combinations. The stuff that I usually put in my milkshakes is –

Watermelon (also, cantaloupe (muskmelon) and honeydew)




Strawberry (also blackberry and blueberry but they contain little seeds)

(Readymade) Fruit / vegetable juice

They contain Vitamins (A, C, …), calcium and (a lot of) salt. Calcium is good for bones and particularly useful if you have a fractured bone.

(Readymade) Fruit punch / smoothie

You get such stuff at Walmart. It is a juice of different fruits. Mainly contains carbohydrates (fibres) and vitamins.


If you are on liquid diet only, then perhaps the liquid intake might have taken your thirst away. But its most essential that you drink enough water. Its one food where one can say – more the merrier.

Gatorade + protein water

This is an alternative for the Fat naysayers. I believe fats are as essential as other foodstuffs so don’t recommend surviving only on these.

Baby food

I haven’t really tried this but may test it soon. It seems it would be easy to digest. Let me know your opinion about baby-foods.

Tailpiece / Your help

Once Google has hashed this article, it will be available in its searches. Who knows some random guy/gal might find it useful. So please add your suggestions in making this a comprehensive list. The better suggestions will be added to the post (with the posters’ names!)

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As I described in a post earlier, I started running to gain physical strength and boost my self-confidence. But not any more. I run because I love the activity. It gives me the kick; the kick that Mathematics gave Erdos, the kick an abuser gets from his weed. And that’s why I run, even in extreme conditions. I run without seeing the hour of the day. I ran when it was pitch dark and when other runners wore their reflective safety jackets. (must get one for me too). I ran in extreme weather, in rain and wind, also when it was snowing. Even when there was no crazy gora/gori runner in sight for the whole two-and-a-half kilometer long trail. I have run till I got a blister on my foot. I have swallowed an insect while running and still ran back home. But today was different.

For most of the past week, the temperature hardly went above zero. White layers of snow and ice had accumulated on trees, rooftops and cars. There was only one colour outside – white. So when yesterday night’s thunderstorm brought a downpour melting all snow, it was awesome. The temperature soared to 11 degrees above zero (which is “warm” compared to winters here) and I set out to run.

Lake on the way to the trail (cf. anomalous behaviour of water)

The snow had melted partially overnight  so the trail was marshy. But it was good compared with yesterday’s condition, when the whole trail was covered with snow and ice and you couldn’t distinguish the trail path from the  woods. In fact, that was the reason I skipped the trail yesterday and ran to the ‘Happy Hollow Park’ and was delighted to see little kids sledging in snow; but that is another story. So, here I was on the 1.5 miles trail jogging and enjoying the weather. As I came across the bridge, I could see and listen to the water from the molten snow dripping off the bridge.

It was all good until I came upon this layer of ice which I realized was but snow melted into water and frozen back into ice. One wrong slipped foot could bring my bones cracking down. I carefully trudged the ice layer. As I ran further, there were more such layers of black ice and marshy path. Umpteen times I got that mini-heart attack as I slipped on snow. I realized the trail was too risky and decided to follow a different safer path, the footpath (sidewalk) on my way back.

As I was nearing the end of the trail, the sight ahead froze me dead. I don’t really remember whether my life flashed before me, but you do get the idea, don’t you? I saw a huge layer of black ice covered all along the path. Usually when it rains, this part being shallow gets covered with water, but today the water had frozen back into ice. It was a thick blanket of transparent ice laid over the entire path and beyond. Skidding on the ice meant a sure bone-fracture and the way back was no different. It was the devil-and-deep-sea situation. Slowly and cautiously, I stepped on the ice. The friction was near zero so I soon gave up. I tried crawling also but even that was not so feasible. I waited there for a couple of minutes thinking, some of the longest in my life. Going back was not an option. Finally, after summoning some mental strength, I set out for the woods thus by-passing the ice mass. It was a wet mucky lowland and my shoe would sink in but I soon learnt to step on the fallen twigs. I balanced myself over two fallen (chopped) tree trunks as I passed the layer of ice below. Foot by foot, I crawled ahead and after a long struggle, finally made it to the other side! At last, I lived to tell the tale!

The situation was so terrifying that I forgot to take a picture of the ice-path after conquering it!

Even though this little tale of mine might not be so exciting as that of the crazy people’s in this video , its my adventure story and recollecting it gives me that “kick” which makes it all worth!


PS: Here is another adventure I had while cycling.

About me

Abhishek Parab

I? An Indian. A mathematics student. A former engineer. A rubik's cube addict. A nature photographer. A Pink Floyd fan. An ardent lover of Chess & Counter-Strike.

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“Do not think; let the equation think for you”

”You cannot be perfect, but if you won’t try, you won’t be good enough”

“Don’t worry about your maths problems; I assure you, mine are greater”

"A comathematician is a device for turning cotheorems into ffee"

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