I developed an early interest in philosophy largely because as a youth when I was first exposed to philosophy, my personal circumstances were fraught with uncertainty and a fear of having nothing to hold on to. What philosophy brought to me was a sense of clarity and, paradoxically, concreteness even though it was so abstract. I read the ancients and the moderns and both the occidental and oriental traditions. After my initial exposure, I realised that no matter what I end up doing in life philosophy will always remain with me. In fact, when I quit my job in the printing industry to start my M.Sc. in physics, I seriously toyed with the idea of doing a Masters in Philosophy. But I decided to do physics and pursue a study of philosophy on my own.
By and large, my pursuit of philosophy has been focussed on reading but I have also benefitted from interacting with philosophers and attending lectures and talks. However, many of these ideas that I had acquired over the initial years got challenged, criticised and crystallised when I joined the University of Mumbai to do my Masters' in physics. There I became friends with Gita (who is now my wife), Reshmi, Veena, Himani and Anish -- interestingly enough, all these friends of mine were from the humanities and social sciences and I was the only science student in the group. It was an intense and life-altering experience to meet and interact with these friends. What we shared, through all our confusions, limitations and misunderstandings, was something unique. It was the first time that I realised that philosophy was not just something to be gleaned from books but it had to be part of one's lived experience -- it was not some abstract, rarified logical scheme but part of confronting those very questions that I was dismissing as everyday and mundane. This period of my life (also true for my friends) was as traumatic as it was intense. In the confusions that abounded, I did not quite understand how all this was forming me. I could see this period with clarity and understanding only years later. But I am convinced that all that I am I owe to this period of my life.
Eventually, I did return to philosophy of a more formal kind which materialised in the form of some talks and lectures that I delivered and the details of which are given below.