Ladies of the Technion

September 8, 2018

Hanna beams the atoms with
Laser as her code displayed
Hiking to her is to breathe
She wades the stream holding on to her braid
Holds her braid while wading the stream
A dedicated teaching champion
Volunteers in a rescue team
She is a lady of the Technion

Nadya studies microfluidics
Voltage alters liquid motion
Designs experimental chips
With confidence and determination
Determined and confident
But sleep-walks in the morning lazy
Takes me to excursions, and
She is another Technion lady

Nitzan designs algorithms
For modern distributed systems
Teaches artificial intelligence
Lovely solo alto rhythms
Rhythms in lovely alto voice
Lately more touring with Singleton
Loses speech to passerby noise
She is a lady of the Technion

Sheina studies in double E
Plays violin in the orchestra
Showing favorite Tchaikovsky
Draws the bow elegantly extra
In elegance she draws the bow
Lively yet in religious modesty
In the library spacing out
Here is a Moed Bet Technion lady

Sigi owns and runs the TASP
Gives or withholds my scholarship
Yummy cakes for sure don’t ask
She knows I am her willing guinea pig
Guinea pig I am she knows
Her boisterous laughter our companion
Everyone’s seminar she goes
She is a lady of the Technion

Hanna runs the code and treks
Workaholic day and night
Nadya busy in her lab
Self-assured and smiling bright
Smiling bright and self-assured
Nitzan pursues her proof in passion
Also girly sweet talk occurred
Coloring our lives in the Technion

Don’t forget Sheina and Sigalit
They are the ladies of the Technion

A month later…

If it wasn’t for a few more words after a month-long drought, there wouldn’t have been the slight detour around the CS faculty. So I slid down the infinitely differentiable stairs next to the staff’s club, and turned right to the front of CS. Look, who’s that! I had seen Oshri less often than seen her advisor even. But there her tall figure stood, her lips holding a cigarette, before she saw and greeted me silently with a movement of the eyebrows. In a split second I saw a still frame and was captivated by it.

It was early afternoon, out there the brightness was running high on the central grass. Closer by, the sunlight flickered through the olive tree leaves that form one of the pleasant shades of our academic grove. Under the trees, Oshri stood right next to the stone slab that bears the faculty sign board, over which her bag was casually flung, with a can of soft drink beside it. That’s right, what’s the use of “HENRY & MARILYN TAUB FAMILY \\ SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY CENTER \\ FACULTY OF COMPUTER SCIENCE”, if not for the arm of the smoking Oshri to rest upon when she so wishes? Like, why was there even a question about it. And was she just smoking? She came out to the fresh air to reset the overflowing state containers, and to comb over multiple parallel projects that had sprung from an abundance of ideas, all with the aid of a favorite indulgence. In time, the thoughts would freely dive down again as the cigarette turned to ashes and the can went empty – time to continue the threads of research.

What an innocent day. What an ordinary sight. Yet in my eyes, the individuality her uninhibited demeanor exhibited was intense. So instead of going up to talk immediately, I asked to snap a shot to seal this moment in a picture. Naturally it was a bit awkward – why, suddenly somebody wants to take a photo of you when there was absolutely nothing going on. Out of embarrassment, I executed the shot a bit hastily. But luckily, all the important motifs were in place. Oshri the grad school student is out on a break – mind still deeply engaged. Next to her, the faculty sign board that has a complex relation with her, tells of both her field and her unique characters by fulfilling its intended and unintended tasks. The green flames of the central grass is only halted by the faculty building wall made of Jerusalem stones. All these are framed by the dark olive trees in the foreground, which offers a light shadow contrast. Half hidden among the olive leaves I could even find the iconic obelisk that symbolizes the Technion – if I squint my eyes hard enough. Looking at the picture lets me smell the warm air of that early afternoon.

Later that night, I sent the photo titled “Yet Another Day at the Grad School” to Oshri, explaining my wish to capture the feel of the usually uneventful but truly blessed school days. I wasn’t sure if it was just me, who often makes a big deal out of triviality just like now1. But to my delight, she said it touched her heart. And actually it was her favorite spot to relax and think2. When I took the snapshot, the scene resonated with me, and in my mind I could almost see myself transplanted in her place. I’m glad that now it resonated back with her, that no matter how momentary, we were bonded by a certain feeling, which I term a Technion variant of the grad school sensibility.

1 In this sense, Haiku is indeed a higher form.
2 Everyone in an academic institution who appreciates the life of learning and researching must have his favorite spot. Mine are too many perhaps!