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Literature, music, art and dance make my life more meaningful

Sasikala Perumal, laboratory technician. Main responsibility is to provide lab support for the researchers.

  • Where were you living in childhood and where do you live now?

I was born in Ernakulam, Kerala (India).  When I was ten, I moved with my family to Kuwait and then Lagos, Nigeria until I moved to the U.S. for my studies.  In 2001 my husband and I moved to Slovenia. I live in Izola.

  • What have you studied and what were the motives for your decision?

I studied microbiology.  It started out as a pre-med option because in my family becoming a doctor was an ‘acceptable’ career choice, but I liked microbiology as a field of study and chose to continue in that track.

  • How would you describe your work to someone outside your field?

I work as a lab technician at a research institute.  I assist the researchers in their work, which involves analysing samples and processing data.  I also do some copy editing.

  • What does your typical working day look like?

I don’t have a typical day yet and that’s okay with me.  For now, it is a combination of lab work and some editing work.

  • What makes you excited about your work?

I am excited to be in the lab again.  It is invigorating to be working with scientists who are motivated.

  • And what is the biggest challenge at your work?

I suppose it is ‘catching up’, since I am returning to active science after a long hiatus.

  • Which scientist or scientific achievement are you fascinated by and why?

The discovery of DNA.  The first time I extracted bacterial DNA, it was a bit of a let-down…it looked like snot. But that this snot-like substance could contain all that information is incredible and fascinating.

  • Tell us about the work of art (books, music, movies, theatre, dance, visual arts) that has a special place in your life.

That is difficult to condense into a few sentences.  Literature, music, art and dance make my life more meaningful, interesting and fun. I would be happy to share more over a drink!

  • What have you read, listened to, or watched lately?

I am making my way through ‘The Assassination of Olaf Palme’ a novel by Rick Harsch (my husband), at a snail’s pace.  For daily titbits, my two current favourites are Emil Cioran (The Trouble with Being Born), and Wisława Szymborska (Non-Required Reading).  The most recent artwork I have seen are those of Katja Burlina and Eduard Belsky, both Ukrainian artists living in Izola.

  • Describe your very first impression of Slovenia.

I found it to be charming, and beautiful.

  • What do you like about Slovenia and what do you miss most from your homeland?

It is a country full of natural beauty and a rich history. I particularly like living in Izola, which I find to be a charming, lovely place.  Things I miss from home are the colours, the smell of jasmine flowers, sandalwood, and the food of course (I have olfactory hallucinations sometimes).

  • Which place on the Slovene coast do you like the most?

Anywhere by the sea so long as I don’t have to share the space with too many people.

  • What makes you enthusiastic?

A multitude of things- travelling, music, art, spending time with friends, the solitude of early mornings, …

  • Characterize your life’s guidance or an important realization (or epiphany) you have experienced.

All that I have learnt and experienced, through my family and the other important people who entered my life, are embedded deep within me; these are the guideposts of my life.

  • What does the charm of wood mean to you?

Wood has an inherent warmth that is comforting.