Other Interests

While physics is what I engage with during most of my waking hours, I have several other hobbies and interests that enrich my life and provide me the much-needed rejuvenation from time to time.

Since my undergraduate years, I have had an avid passion for reading. Some of my favorite authors in the genre of fiction include Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Hermann Hesse, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Franz Kafka, Albert Camus, Aldous Huxley, George Orwell, Haruki Murakami, Milan Kundera, Vladimir Nabokov among others. In non-fiction, authors that immediately come to mind are Amartya Sen, Erich Fromm, Noam Chomsky and Ramachandra Guha. I have also enjoyed reading popular science authors like Siddhartha Mukherjee, V. S. Ramachandran, Max Tegmark and Sean Carroll. More recently, the books and lectures of Stephen Batchelor, Alan Watts, Swami Chinmayananda and Osho among others have introduced me to the core tenets of Buddhism and Hinduism, and have made for inspiring reads.

Yet another activity that brings me tremendous joy is listening to music. Through my college years, I was an avid listener of rock and heavy metal. My favorite metal bands included Megadeth, Metallica, Pantera, Dimmu Borgir, Black Sabbath among others. In rock, I listened to pretty-much everything from classic bands like Iron Maiden and AC/DC to grunge bands like Nirvana and Pearl Jam, and all the way to contemporary bands like Radiohead and Porcupine Tree. I even tried my hand with the guitar for a few years, but I have now been off it for a while. Later, my tastes evolved towards the classic rock, psychedelic rock and blues that prevailed during the counterculture movements of 1960’s and 1970’s. I am a huge fan of Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, The Doors and Jimi Hendrix, and continue to shuffle through their discographies from time to time. Other artists and bands include Stevie Ray Vaughan, Deep Purple, Eric Clapton, the Allman Brothers, Lynyrd Skynyrd, the Paul Butterfield Blues Band and Jefferson Airplane. In recent years, I have diversified my tastes further to include Sufi and Indian classical music. In particular, I have been moved profoundly by Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Amjad Ali Khan and Ravi Shankar.

Another indulgence of mine that almost takes on ritualistic quality is watching movies. In this, my consistent partners-in-crime were my friends Sumeet and Vinay. Some of the directors whose filmographies we almost completely covered are Stanley Kubrick, Terrence Mallick, Ingmar Bergman, and Andrei Tarkovsky. We also watched works by Bela Tarr, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Roman Polanski, Federico Fellini, Satyajit Ray, Jim Jarmusch, Jean Luc Godard among others. In contemporary cinema, my favorite directors are Quentin Tarantino, Richard Linklater, and Jean Pierre-Jeunet. Over the last year, I have developed a maniacal obsession with the TV series “The Wire”, and have watched it several times over.

Besides these, other indulgences include food and travel. In these, I find a great companion in my friend and wife, Mugdha. I have learnt quite a bit of cooking, and like to try out new recipes from time to time. Also, I try to keep fit by engaging activities like running, swimming and cycling on a regular basis. I can swim about a mile in forty-five minutes on a good day, and my longest cycling expedition has been about ninety kilometers on flat land in about six and a half hours. I also try to practise meditation regularly and have benefited from it.

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