Welcome to figure fifteen! My name is Neel, and this is a blog celebrating books and and book-lovers. At the same time, it’s a personal journey of my own and I’m happy to have you along. I’m a huge fan of poetry, and am constantly amazed at how authors can use their art to transform personal struggles, particularly relating to race, sexuality, and mental health—all issues I continue to deal with in daily life.
I was born in the United States to parents both from India. I’ve spent most of my life in Canada but grew up as a young child in Hong Kong and spent several months in Australia during my undergraduate studies. I currently live in Toronto, Canada.
I’ve been a competitive figure skater since I was a child. I was a member of my university’s figure skating team, and in late 2019 even competed individually at a national championship. Figure skating has influenced every aspect of my life. It has taught me the value of dedication and teamwork, it’s helped me to understand he way people perceive beauty, and it’s given me some lifelong friends. In a roundabout way, it’s also part of the reason that this blog even exists! But I’ll get back to that is a minute…
Some other basic information about me: I love to play the piano (I’m just bad at it), I’m a big fan of musical theater and have acted in a handful of plays, musicals, and operettas, and I received my Bachelor’s degree from McGill University in 2021 with a major in Russian Studies and minors in Japanese Literature and South Asian Studies. And I’m still hoping to get my hands on a PS5 someday.
figure fifteen is the result of a few chapters of my life that I’ve thrown together. I first had the idea of starting a blog back in high school—I’m not entirely sure if it was my idea originally or if it came from my best friend at the time, but for about a year we ran a little wordpress.com blog where we talked about… not a lot really. The only posts of mine I seem to remember from then were about the Valentine’s Day and hockey at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics. Oh and there was some embarrassing poetry from both myself and my co-writer (I say embarrassing because I think she actually showed it to the girl I was writing about, eek!).
During university I made a second Twitter account to talk about figure skating and livetweet competitions and stuff without annoying everybody that followed my personal account. This venture into “stan Twitter” is where the name figure fifteen comes from – figure, well, for figure skating and fifteen because at the time I happened to have a copy of Feynman’s Lectures on Physics vol. III with me and chapter fifteen discussed the motions of spinning particles. This seemed a reasonable enough connection to me because we figure skaters are well-known for spinning really quickly. Unfortunately there is no literal figure 15; the first illustration in the chapter is labeled Fig. 15–1 (for the scientifically inclined, the full text of the chapter including the relevant figure can be viewed here). This should go without saying but that account is no longer active, despite the sizeable number of friends I made through it. I’m just particularly fond of the name because for so many months it became my online identity. If you did know me then though, please do shoot me an email because I’d love to hear what y’all have been up to.