Hi, January 2017!

Hope you’re getting back on track with your work or school after the winter break! My January started off at a tango party. The morning of January 1st was calm, cozy and fun. It started off with coffee and favorite movies from childhood and finished off with sitting next to the first live Christmas tree I ever had.


Hi, December!

YEY, December! My favorite month of the year!

This year December started off for me with an allnighter. I was trying to finish up my slides for a talk at Canada Math Society. But other than that the first day of December was slightly foggy and very cozy.

BTW, if you happen to speak Russian, see my video about December and holiday mood at… In he video I accidentally said “January 31st” instead of “December 31st” … sorry!!! lol!


First Impressions of November!

This November started off with the Fields Medal Symposium (read more about how it went over here).


Photo Etude 3: Profile


I’ve been meaning to post this one for a while. It’s my mom reading a concert program at Casa Loma. It was a chilly and rainy evening. Both of us were tired.

Continue reading “Photo Etude 3: Profile”


Hi, October 2016!


The First Impressions of Each Month Photo Series: October edition!

My October started off with a rain, an early rise, and a teaching session.

Afternoon and evening were charged with positive energy and lots of work related to performing and rehearsing for the Little Mermaid Show (refer here: )

The day ended off with pretty flowers, browsing the streets of Toronto filled with Nuit Blanche sights and tasting awesome local food.



Hi, September!

September made a great first impression this year! Sunny weather, beautiful storms, fragrant flowers in every convenience store- lovely!  But have you noticed that September feels very differently from all the summer months? Something changes abruptly on September 1st and you no longer can pretend that you are in July even if it is hot and sunny outside. I guess it’s just the height of the sun and the length of the shadows.

Here are 8 snaps from September 1st, 2016.

Welcome to the Months’ First Impressions photo series! We never get a second chance on making the first impression, but months of the year have a chance to impress us over and over each year and create different first impressions each time.

I will take pictures of anything that I would encounter on the first day of each month. Hopefully this photo series will remind all of us that we don’t have to go too far to look for beauty, or to look for ‘ourselves’ or our ‘calling’. We are surrounded by impressive things. We just need to let ourselves get impressed, like we did when we were kids.


Photo Etude 2: Unexpected guest

2. Butterfly photo etude

Woke up today to a thick fog outside my balcony and this creature on my windowsill.


Photo Etude 1: Still life (over-edited)

1. Still Life photo etude

Sometimes over-editing a pic of a mundane still life is just what you need.


The Nemo Quarry: Mystery Unsolved

Once upon a time Mount Nemo was a home of a small operating quarry.  Then, “the regional Conservation Authority obtained  this land in 1959 to prevent expansion of a quarry operation.*
Over 50 years later, a narrow road leads to that quarry abandoned by humans and invaded by trees.

P1070329Upon turning left at the end of the road, human intruders are faced with a cascade of stones that resembles a fossilized waterfall.


A tall but fragile edge of the escarpment on the other side of the quarry is ready to crumble


The nature is heeling injuries inflicted by humans and maybe in the next 100 years the old quarry will stop being visible at all.


As I was walking through this quarry I was wondering what it was like to work there, what kind of stones were extracted, where were they delivered?

The only clue regarding the origins of this quarry that I was able to find was that one meager sentence from the Bruce Trail website.* If you know/were able to find more information, I would be happy to know that.



Longhouses, caught dreams and adopted trees

Imagine that you are 9 years old Iroquoian child living in a village in the 15th century. The summer is coming to an end but the sky is still this blue.


You live in a longhouse


And your neighbours are building another longhouse of their own.


There are hundreds of beautiful imperfections around you


When you want to have some peace, you sit on a stone by the lake


And when you are tired you can fall asleep under a beautiful dream catcher.


… Sometimes when you walk in the woods that this child has walked in, you almost forget that you are living in 2013., until you see a sign like this.    P1070211


Toronto: exploring the big picture

The Monster of Gratitude


As he sat at the table in front of me, I could see the heavy monster of gratitude sitting on his shoulders, squishing his breath out and leaving him speechless. It is easy to deny the fact that gratitude is all that is left in a relationship.  Gratitude is a ‘big’ feeling. It tricks you into believing that there is still hope to change something.  But there isn’t any hope. There is just a heavy monster of gratitude that needs to be shaken off.  This furry creature, however, should never be forgotten.  Being thankful to the ones that care about us is still essential.  Nevertheless, we cannot be dragging monsters of gratitude around because this way we will never get anywhere past the arms reach of the one who placed that monster on our shoulders.

WHERE pigs fly…

20130812_095624 ed


When was the last time you have seen a piggy with wings? I have seen one this morning! And, as you see, I have a picture to prove it 🙂

I am working at the Math Kangaroo Summer Camp at U of T right now and it is housed right next to a physics lab.  This morning when we came in to set everything up, this is what we found in that lab: a flying pig and an airplane.

So next time when you tell someone that you will do something only when ‘the pigs will fly’, be careful! They might bring you to this physics lab!

If you want to see the live updates from the Math Kangaroo Summer Camp at U oft, go to


Self Portrait


“Can I paint your portrait, Madame?” – shouts a stray artist on a busy street

“No. thank you” – I say

“It is a mistake, Madame. I have been painting for N-years and ladies chase me, begging to draw their portraits”

“Then ask one of those ladies to pose for you.”

“Don’t you want to be remembered forever and live through my paintings?” – he looks surprised

“I don’t want to ‘live through your paintings’. I want to be known for what I have done myself.” –I say

“What if you will not do anything memorable?”

“That will be my problem then. Besides, it is better to be totally forgotten then to live through some paintings by a stray artist.”

“What if I will become rich and famous? Then you will regret your choice” –he is desperate now

“It will not change anything. You don’t know anything about me, and I don’t want a portrait that only depicts my body.  You don’t see me the way I really am.” – I say

“Don’t you want to be able to boast to your friends that I drew your portrait?”

“I don’t like boasting about anything, especially if it is not MY achievement.”

“You will regret it” – he is angry now

“If the thought of me regretting it makes you feel better, I cannot stop you from thinking this way.”


That day when I completed my coursework

20130225_104146 ed


This is my work desk. A usual desk of a grad school student. Do you think that in grad school we get paid to read interesting books? Sometimes we do. We like some books more than others, but the most important part of grad school is to convince yourself that something that you must read (say, it is required for your course work completion) IS really interesting and relevant for you.  It is one of the most difficult tasks to acquire.  At the end of the day, when all the confusing literature is read and set aside in a neat stack, it feels amazing to fill up a travel mug with some good tea and then open up all these files with biographies and memoirs of mysterious mathematicians.


Abandoned tandem bike on a sad pathway

20130320_104936 ed


There is a pathway in my city that has many memories tied to it.  Usually this little road makes me sad, but if taking this road is unavoidable, I try to turn on some music, that is also tied to some memories and try to make the best out of that walk.  It was a sad grey day when I needed to go to an art store located right in the middle of this street.  The tattooed wall was behind me and I was just steps away from my destination when I saw this abandoned tandem bike chained to a pole. It was disfigured and its rotting body looked sick and helpless.  What kind of story is behind this bike? Maybe a hipster couple decided to move to India and abandoned it. Maybe they broke up and do not wish to ride together anymore.  What if one of them died of cancer? drug overdose? got into a car accident? Or maybe the bike was broken and they bought a new one.

In any case, the bike is still there. If you have seen it – let me know.