As a kid I found that access to information about careers in scientific research for school students in India was extremely limited, even in the largest cities. Thus, most students expressing interest in science are pushed towards engineering or medicine, often without analysing their aptitudes and interests. Further, there is a misguided assumption that once a student commits to several years of "studying" (Bachelor's, Master's and a PhD), they would be limited to jobs in academia only, which we know are highly competitive. To combat these notions, and provide guidance to highschool students, I actively interact with them on various platforms, and also organise and take part in outreach events to motivate interest in astronomy, science, research and the scientific method in general.
I have worked with organisations like the Citizens of Science, a pan-India organisation, which started off as a bid to assist students who had ended up pursuing a Bachelor's in engineering be able to switch to careers in natural sciences. I have also worked with, and also led (2017-18) the Astronomy Club at IISER Mohali which has organised multiple events, science camps, talks and colloquia for a range of students: from middle school to undergraduates in college.
Lastly, I promote and provide one-to-one guidance for pursuing basic science education in India, through various platforms, most notable being Quora.
An invited talk on “Basic Science Research and Why It Matters”, at Science Movement 2017 to a target audience of meritorious high school students, at IIT Kharagpur extension centre, Bhubaneswar, India.
When I am not doing science, you can find me:
Writing: I like to write (poetry, prose, and multiple random articles) on topics I find interesting. I hope to continue writing to express myself better and connect with people.
Music: Having been trained in Indian Hindustani classical music throughout my childhood and taking guitar lessons, later on, I have always been connected to music. I love singing, playing my guitar, and even writing and composing my own songs. I have dabbled in music theory and hope to learn more someday.
Reading: Even on days when I do nothing, I spend at least an hour reading. I read novels, news articles, opinion pieces, and even ingredients of any snack that I may be having! It is one of the ways through which I satisfy my curiosity, and my restless mind definitely needs some new knowledge every day. And this world has a lot to offer!
Football: While I may not be able to play as often as I would like to, I am always down to kick the ball around for a while. And when the World Cup is on, you can count on me to watch almost every match!
Politics: Scientists collaborate and work with people across the world, and thus I believe it is our moral obligation to remain aware of politics not just at the local level but also at the world stage, as it has the ability to affect not just us, but also our collaborators, peers and friends. We also have the unique perspective of knowing a wide range of people. Thus it is pertinent that we use this to broaden our mindsets and ensure that politics is geared with a rational and humanitarian approach at each step. Thus, I always make it a point to stay informed about the politics of not just India but of the world at large as well.
Travel: Doing science has allowed me to travel to multiple cities and countries, and I hope to continue exploring, learning and experiencing many more places over the years. Interacting with people and getting to know the culture of various places can in itself be a deeply moving experience. In particular, I would strongly recommend everyone go not just to the touristy places, but also through the regular streets and markets of the place they visit to appreciate the beauty of a place truly.
Making memes!: Sometimes it can be helpful to convey complex scenarios via brief text and images!