The concept of the self is a very interesting one.

On the outset, it seems like the easiest thing to define — what is the self but who you are: the sum of all your experiences and assets, including your body and mind? It’s a fair definition of an entity as a collection, or a list of other entities. It’s like defining what a dog is — it’s a collection of organisms with a genetic code that follows certain constraints. Okay, I know that’s not exactly the same because one collection is finite and the other may not be, but…


Some unsolicited advice on writing a compelling statement of purpose (as with any other advice, take it with a pinch of salt):

Depending on your field, an SOP and a resume may not have a big impact on your chances of getting admitted to a particular program. In most of the technical fields for instance, as far as I know, your letters of recommendation and/or your publications, along with your academic record, form the bedrock of the decision making process, at least for Masters admissions. Considering that most students who are spending a serious amount of money for the applications…


“It’s Mo Salah standing over the ball. His eyes glow with the desire to give Liverpool the lead in this tightly contested tie.”

Both the commentators went silent, waiting for the inevitable to happen.

“And he dispatches it home! As confident as ever. Liverpool have the lead…”

Liverpool beat Brighton 1–0 this gameweek thanks to that spot kick from Mo Salah, piling pressure on Manchester City to play catch up. As these sides contest for the title this season, my mind wanders back to a title race as intense as the current one, as unpredictable as the Premier League always…


This is the third and final part of a series on Transitions.

Life is old there, older than the trees
Younger than the mountains, blowing like a breeze
Country roads, take me home
To the place I belong.
— Country Roads, John Denver

Memories are tricky. Most of the time, they are created without the actors being conscious of the fact.

— — —

I stood at the Milbrae station, waiting for a southbound train that was about to arrive in a couple of minutes. …


This is the second part in a series of short texts on Transitions. These texts are not explicitly connected in plot.

In New York,
Concrete jungle where dreams are made of
There’s nothin’ you can’t do
Now you’re in New York
These streets will make you feel brand new
Big lights will inspire you
Let’s hear it for New York, New York, New York
— Empire State of Mind, Jay-Z and Alicia Keys

“No number of pictures can prepare you for the beast that New York City is.”

Every beast has soft spots. The Strand Bookstore on 4th Avenue, Manhattan…


The Hikers’ Guide to the Valley (#1)

“It’s the edge of the world and all of western civilization
The sun may rise in the East at least it’s settled in a final location.”
— Californication, Red Hot Chili Peppers

“If we go ahead from here, we won’t be able to catch the next train back,” I said.

Vinayak took a pause from his brisk walk, “Uhh.. okay, are you sure you want to go back?”

“Screw it. We’ll catch the one after that. Aaj to Golden Gate Bridge dekh ke hi jaenge,” (we’ll visit the Golden gate bridge for sure today) was my firm reply. I had…


It’s hard to keep up with life sometimes. It changes quicker than you can adapt, and takes you on a ride you are not quite sure you wanted to go on. A human is always inertial, but certain choices and circumstances force him to come out of the inertia and adapt. And just like a world dominating species, he does. And survives.

This account though generally only talks of two states — the initial state, where the entity was comfortable, experienced enough to deal with it, and the final state, where the entity has evolved to find comfort in the…


I used to wonder sometimes why the history books in school always stopped at the independence of India, as if that was the ultimate achievement, and nothing remarkable happened after that. This autumn gave me an opportunity to fill that gap in my mental model, and this is a short account of what it was like.

TL;DR: Read India After Gandhi. You won’t regret it.

India After Gandhi, Paperback

— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —

Back in July, as I sat in the backseat of my friend’s car, I noticed a…


One fine Saturday afternoon, I was standing in the doorway of my kitchen. My eyes were fixated on the bowl in my left hand, while my right hand clutched a spoon and was whirling it inside the bowl, trying to grind a brown mixture. A minute of whirling converted the dark crumbs into a thick ochre paste with a few small pieces of sugar cubes still lying around.

This whole exercise meant a big deal to me in those days. I had learnt the art of making coffee at home recently back then, and couldn’t resist practising it daily to…


(originally at asnaninishit.wordpress.com)

You could be a curious soul wanting to know about machine learning (ML) at IIT Kanpur. Or a current IITK student wanting to get into ML. Or a prospective undergraduate / graduate student. Or someone else with a keen interest in this subject. If you want to roam around beings that pride themselves on designing advanced AI that can see through walls and beat you in your favorite board game and sing your favorite songs to you, look no further — IITK is here. Um.. just kidding. No seeing through walls here. …

Nishit Asnani

Graduate Student at Stanford University. Interested in Machine Learning, entrepreneurship and literature.

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