How has the “new-normal” treated you?
Very well, excellent, in fact. My schedule is twice as hectic as before, I am stuck to my chair for the most part of the day. And I do get to accept many more lecture invitations- four times as many as I used to. I see it as an opportunity, that I have been given an excellent push; a push in the right direction.
Post-COVID, all my students are now just-a-click away. Formerly, there were inhibitions and hesitations amongst them to come and meet me or to talk to me; but now I get to talk to a lot of students who just drop me a message and we have a good conversation.
While we know about your journey at a broad level from BITS Pilani to IISc and then to IIT Delhi, tell us about some key turning points for you?
What have been some of the defining/turning moments in your life?
That is a very difficult question actually. The profession I chose is a profession that favours extroverts and I am a private type of person. I am never happier than when I am with my books, or in a library or doing what I like. So, being forced to go out and enjoy teaching has been a turning moment in life for me. Even going to a class and talking and interacting with 300 students and then feeling a sense of connection developing with my students has definitely been a turning moment in life for me.
What are some of your hobbies that you enjoy indulging in?
I have a set of very personal and very intense hobbies. I used to teach sculpture, clay modeling, batik, and wax modeling. I still like doing a lot of these things whenever I find time. I paint, I paint Madhubani, write and read books. Almost all my hobbies in life have been single man hobbies. I play the hawaiian guitar as well. I mostly play Hindustani classical music, because, though I like Mozart, Strauss and Bach, I do not formally understand or read Western music.
On your webpage you thank Prof. S.C.Sahasrabuddhe of IIT Bombay for 15 minutes of his time that changed your life. I am curious to know what happened in those 15 minutes.