This page contains many of my non-academic interests. There are a fair few!
I can play the tabla, an Indian classical percussion instrument.
My favourite genre is Indian classical music, especially instrumentals. I collect recordings whenever I come across them on the Internet, and have quite a sizeable collection by now. I particularly love Pt Kishan Maharaj’s lyrical and rhythmic tabla and Pt Nikhil Banerjee’s unique style of playing the sitar.
I also love fusion music from the Indian subcontinent, especially the creations of Coke Studio India and Pakistan. Among bands, listen to a lot of Strings and Indian Ocean, both of which I discovered recently and fell in love with immediately.
Some other bands I really like include classic rock and old metal bands like the Beatles, The Who, Metallica and Led Zeppelin, and modern ones like Coldplay, Imagine Dragons and Poets of the Fall. Adele is awesome too!
Oriental Traditional Music from LPs & Cassettes is an incredible site for those interested in Indian and other classical music.
I read a lot of books but they are from a specific collection of genres, like science fiction, popular science, historical fiction, thrillers and fantasy. Some of my favourites are the following:
Surely You’re Joking Mr Feynman for being a mind-blowingly awesome read and a rare look into the workings of a genius mind.
The Emperor of All Maladies for putting the reader in the forefront of the battle against cancer, and for painting a very personal portrait of all the great men and women who fought to understand and control the disease.
The Harry Potter series for being a great childhood friend and a beautiful world that still welcomes me back whenever I go back to it. It’s story, even though set in a fantasy world, is still about friendship and growing up, which makes me love it all the more.
Aparajito (অপরাজিত, The Unvanquished), which is on this list even though I never want to look at its face again after reading it once. Without spoiling anything, the main character only gives me hope that there is a way out of the darkest of places. Similar thing goes for the previous book in the series Pather Panchali (পথের পাঁচালী, Song of the Little Road), and the famous film adaptation by Satyajit Ray.
Other than those mentioned above, I also loved reading short stories by Ruskin Bond, O Henry and Saki, Bond for his beatifully simple but thought provoking stories about the common person (one of my favourites is Dust on the Mountain), O Henry for his signature twist endings and Saki for his twist endings and unique story-telling style consisting of long and beautifully constructed sentences.
Since joining college I have become a fan of several web comics. They are mostly popular ones like xkcd, SMBC, Abstruse Goose, Oatmeal, Zen Pencils, Existential Comics and Cyanide and Happiness. My absolute favourite webcomic has to be How to be perfectly unhappy, by Oatmeal.
Blogs and Links
In my random procrastination spells on the Internet, I have often discovered some cool places to hang out, and I will try and provide some non-exhaustive documentation of the same.
John Baez’s Stuff: Another really cool and awesome website maintained by Physicist-Mathematician John Baez. Some of the stuff he has written about on the linked articles is really really cool. I particularly liked Planets in the Fourth Dimension. Also worth checking out are his book recommendations for learning Physics and Mathematics.
Philip J Guo’s Homepage: Assistant Professor of Cognitive Science at UC San Diego, with a wonderful website covering all aspects of academic life like writing statements of purpose, applying for PhD programs and much, much more. I found A Five-Minute Guide to Ph.D. Program Applications and Email Writing Tips to be quite useful.
Matt Might’s Homepage: Similar to the one above, more heavy on articles than the vlogs found on the previous link. How to send and reply to email was useful, so was 10 tips for academic talks. And this was hilarious.
The Chicago Undergraduate Mathematics Bibliography: One stop solution for finding reviews of learning material for undergraduate mathematics students.
The Chicago Undergraduate Physics Bibliography: Same as above, but for Physics instead of Mathematics.
CS Theory Events: Aggregator for CS theory workshops, schools, and so on - nice way to keep in touch with what’s happening in the world of theoretical computer science.
Windows on Theory - Boaz Barak et al: This has introduced me to several wonderful ideas in theoretical computer science. I am particularly a fan of the recent posts about the Physics and Computation Seminar course at Harvard.
Wait But Why: I couldn’t find a better place to start. Long, insightful, extremely well researched posts that make you see the subjects from angles you might not have considered before. All accompanied by cool stick figures. I couldn’t recommend any one particular post because they are all so good, but do check them out.
Radio-Garden: Allows you to listen to radio stations from around the world. The only thing you require is a working Internet connection.