Monday, October 8, 2018

Pursuing dreams

Crossed the 30-age mark. Well settled in my job, been working with same firm for more than 6 years now. Bought a house and cars. Living the life in my own self-created bubble. Too cosy to come out of it. A bit too common, isn't it? This happens to everyone at a stage in your life.

Around last year, this same bubble of getting too comfortable started creating problems. Problems like when you've nothing to do on a weekend, when all you've left on your plate are parties, groceries and vacation trips. Seems good to be true, but after a while you get bored of it too. Then i decided to take a step out of this comfort bubble. Ummmmmmm - MBA or switch jobs or take a new position in same company? Let's go with the first.

Got all the deadlines and school rankings sorted. Gave the GMAT exam after 6 months and applied to couple of schools. Finally gave in-person interviews after visiting campuses and finally started another phase of life this august: MBA from Carnegie Mellon. August went hard. When you're no more in the zone of studying for past 5 years and all of a sudden, you've 4 pending assignments and case studies to do every weekend; you know life is going to get harder. Next two and a half years are going to be busy with an MBA and on-going job. Juggling with all the work travels, studies, spending time at home, parties. 

But just like any other phase of life, this too shall pass..

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Work in vain

Working in the software industry has taught me one thing very clearly: Nothing remains same. The code or the product on which you're working so diligently might be obsolete next month. All your linked software apps would go obsolete with it. All the third party vendors serving your software product would also lose their contract.

In some other part of the world, there'll be celebration events held to celebrate the success of a new deal. Some people will be celebrating the success of promotions or attractive bonuses, while some would be staring hard at the lines of the obsolete code figuring out what went wrong. But this is the cycle of Software product. All your past years of working on this product, your pending fixes, your upcoming meetings and newer release versions; everything would go down one day.

So then why waste your present on a product which has no future? Why waste your nights and weekends on a product, which may not see the light of next day?

When i joined my company almost six years ago, i thought this product would stay here for decades to come. Nothing will change, this business will run as it is running now for years to come. After all i had seen people retiring in my team working on this product for last 35-40 years. My idea wasn't wrong, but my approach was. The product will stay in market for how so ever long you want it to be, only if..

Only if it keeps transforming itself with the demands of new world. Everyday you've to work your way up, a step ahead of your competitors. Everyday you've to unlearn thousand old lines of code and learn a new thousand lines; and again unlearn these newly learned lines by next year. This is the only way the product might survive in this ever-changing market. 

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Nomads

Last friday, when i got bored of working continuously for past three hours, i decided to take a short break to have a walk to the parking lot of library (from where i work most of the time). Two bicycles were parked by the library's entrance. The handles were hinged to the main door of library, and a couple, in their early 30's, were sitting under the shaded area by the entrance to avoid the direct sun. It was an unusually hot day for a typical February day in Florida. While i was looking at the unshaved beard of the guy and the girl, who was eating a bowl of half-cooked rice in a transparent bowl filled partially with water, a small dog came waging his tail around the parked bicycles. The couple had attached a small cabin to tow with their bicycles for their pet.

I approached the guy who was still looking lost staring at his dirt-filled nails under sun. He signaled me to tell that they both were deaf, so couldn't understand a word spoken by me. I, somehow moving my hands randomly, asked them from where were they riding the bikes, He told they'd been riding their bikes from Georgia and South Carolina's border and were planning to go till St Pete's beach (roughly 70 miles south from their current location). Upon asking further, he told that they were basically from New York and drove down in car to Georgia. They sold their car in Georgia and from the money collected, bought a pair of bicycles and other stuff to sleep at night. They had tied a tent and few clothes at the back end of one bicycle and the dog's cabin was tied to another. They had a box full of rice in the tied cabin and i assumed they were munching those uncooked rice from the bowl half filled with water. They were talking to each other using hands. I asked how do you manage to eat and sleep while riding bikes for days. They understood what i was asking after attempting repeatedly to convey. They were eating the rice from the box and were sleeping in tent in parking lots at night. No wonder looking at their faces and clothes, one could assume they hadn't had shower for over a month.

I offered them to pay for their lunch, though not in a forthright manner to make sure not to offend them with my offer. After thanking me couple of time for the offer, they graciously accepted it. I took my car from the parking lot and went to the nearby subway store. It was still around 2 in the noon, so there were few in the queue at the store. I packed two separate subs, asking them to put everything they had in store. When i came back to library after fifteen minutes, they were still sitting on cemented floor outside the entrance. The girl was playing with her dog, while the guy went to the restroom to wash his face. They thanked me a couple more times. They told me they're planning to stay at St Pete's beach for a month and then would head back to NY on the bikes. Since it would be summer by the time they'll start riding up north, the weather wouldn't pose much difficulty for them. While still surprised with their decision to ride all the way up from NY, I came back into the library slowing walking towards my desk. I was happy i could help them (though in smallest possible manner) with one-time's meal for a day on this arduous journey of theirs.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Out of cocoon

Finally out of cocoon after a 7 month long hibernation. Life is still moving at a sweet little pace; at a pace where one can enjoy the journey and can't get bored by the dullness of slow pace. Few months of hard work again ignites your hopes of achieving what you couldn't do so far in life.

And i can see myself standing on the verge of the door of opportunity - raising my hand to knock on its door. Only God knows if it will open or will remain shut just like the door of so many dreams which i wanted to pursue but couldn't. 

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Democracy

My sleep got interrupted around 5:45am today morning Saturday. Usually i get up at 6:30am, so it was little unusual as per my sleeping pattern. With one eye closed, i swiped my phone to unlock it. First thing i see every morning is CNN app to see if anything 'big' happened anywhere in world while i was asleep. Nothing much was happening that time, so i switched to my second app 'USA today' and again everything usual. Then saw the 'breaking news' flashing over my TOI (Times of India) app with the emerging winners of recent polls held in five states in India and among them were the results of Punjab state. 

Congress has won again in Punjab and it was no surprise given the worst reputation of BJP ministers. Some were hoping against hope to see AAP to emerge as winners, but they did pretty well winning over 15% seats in their first ever elections outside Delhi. And surely it's a good sign for the new Government not to feel so complacent after their huge margins of victory. In coming days, the transfer of state powers will be done in a peaceful manner. One of so many things which we take for granted.

How easily the commander of state accepts his defeat and respects people's decision by resigning from the Chief minister's post. What if he had plotted an attack on opposition's leader or had disrupted the elections or had plainly done something to defend his seat by going against the constitution. Few decades ago, it wasn't a very hard task to fantasize the above scenario. I remember very vaguely reading the newspapers or watching news of violence at election booths or disruption on counting of votes at the electoral centers. Army used to be stationed at electoral centers to ensure peace during counting. There used to be a unusual uneasiness in markets or offices during the power transfer. Huge protests were held by people marching on the streets either in favor of ruling government or against it, disrupting day-to-day life of common man. Schools and colleges were closed on the day of counting and sometimes a day before too. 

After waking up, i went through some more information regarding the election results and how the defeated candidate congratulated the winner in elections and winner graciously accepted the wishes from the ex-CM. There was no uneasiness, neither any protests were held by ruling or opposition party. Everyone accepted the decision of people in a graceful manner. 

Silently, Democracy won again. 

Friday, December 30, 2016

Re-inventing myself

The year 2016 is on the verge of its end, and will soon be remembered just like any other year lost somewhere in history books with some good and bad memories. This last week of the year is always a good time to ponder on the past 12 months and make a plan for the next 12 months.

There were things which i wanted to achieve in this year. I achieved some of it, while many got lost in this race of life. I always wanted to be really good at coding and i gave my best this year. Not sure if it'll help me in my work or not, but it does give a warm sense of satisfaction to take a step closer towards one of my goals. Talking about my passion for photography, i pursued it wholeheartedly this year as well by taking some good photos around me. I realized i really enjoy doing it all day. Taking the raw images of beautiful creatures of this planet and setting the tone right on software later on my laptop. I could do this all day long, if i had nothing else to do. But then i have some other hobbies for which photography can take a back seat. One of them would be setup a new phone or laptop with all the applications and settings. I absolutely love to get my hands on a new device and spent a good 2-3 hours to bring it to speed with my old device. Thankfully i'm able to quench this thirst on my work laptop and phones every year.

I understand we all go through a phase when we try to learn whatever we get our hands on. But in long run, do what you're very best at. Consider someone spending a year on typing (solely on typing and nothing else) and i bet one will be faster than me although i've spent a lot of my time doing it but it was never a focussed effort at improving my pace in typing. Similarly i've spent roughly more than ten years now learning and practicing the concepts of electricity and software. It's not any over-confidence, but a realization which comes after repeatedly working on same set of problem time and again. If there is one thing at which i can make this world a better place, it has to be the field at which i work all day all year long. Leaving this field for something better (in terms of money or work culture) will render all these years of hard work meaningless. Some kid will again spend almost three decades to learn what i know now about my field, and leaving it altogether is an insult to what i've learnt so far in my life.

Switching jobs for a better package or other incentives is perfectly fine. But leaving your area of expertise will never do any good. Consider some doctor (no matter how good a learner he/she is) taking up my job at my office. Soon the doctor will catch up with my regular work in a span of 4-5 years. But will he ever be able to have the luxury of feeling the comfort of expertise which i have. Perhaps never. I may be able to do the surgery in five year span, but my concepts of human body can never stand in front of a doctor who has spent almost a decade to learn this human body before operating upon it. If i ever have a chance to make an impact in this world (no matter how insignificant it would be), it has to be in my area of expertise. And we need to nurture our passion by learning something new everyday about it.

Next year will be no different again. Will continue to learn the new techniques and will unlearn some obsolete ones as well. I'll continue to find small pieces of joy in laughter of my loved ones and small bits of success at work. Will try to travel a bit more this year internationally after covering more than 15 states in last two years. May it bring the peace in this world and a spark of light at the end of tunnel for those hoping for it.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

November is here..

Yes, roughly a week is left before November would be here. Somehow since i grew up in India, november sounds more festive to me than december. During this time in my hometown, it starts getting little cool after the scorching summers of june and july. You start looking for new winter clothes or starting unpacking your old sweaters and jackets. I remember when as a kid, i used to jump around the pile of winter clothes laid under sun to get rid off of any existing stink from naphthalene balls. I would jump from one pile to other thinking about what will i wear to school the next day. Then those food delicacies like saag and makki would start arriving in big bags to our home. The cold coffee or mango shakes are replaced by hot bournvita milk. The school uniform shorts are replaced with trousers and suit jackets. All this will stay until April comes again.

Fortunately i could very much relate with this change of weather during my college days as well. It was around 250 kms from my home, so the weather change would roughly be the same. After the graduation i moved to Delhi. It does get cooled down in Delhi, but perhaps not to an extent as in Punjab. But i was always glad to witness it in Delhi too. I used to explore some more coffee shops or any roadside stalls which could serve something hot during next 3-4 months of mild winter (yes, compared to northern states of US it was mild).

Then i moved to Maine, US for pursuing my masters. I still remember vividly the night of January 1st 2011 when i landed in states. The weather outside was -28 degrees celsius. Then came the two years of my life where i couldn't relate with anything at all. It would snow for eight months straight which in itself was alien to me. The summers were short and sweet. The Mainers would go out all guns blazing exploring new parks, driving to southern states, visiting family and friends in those three months. After finishing my masters, i moved to the sunshine state of Florida where it never gets colder than Mumbai. You could go out and surf on the beach on the new years eve. And once again the world became a sweeter place to stay where i would wait for november to wear my winter clothes and the gently cooled air of nature to make me nostalgic of my hometown all over again.

Friday, September 2, 2016

My carry bag

I remember writing a post on my carry bag sometime in year 2008 (yes, six years ago). While sitting in the library today, i again thought my carry bag and realized how much it has changed in last 5 years.

The link to my previous post - Here

Well comparing to my previous bag, now i carry an altogether different bag. It sits comfortably on two wheels at the base and is easy to move around. It is black in color with lots of zipped pockets on each sides as well as in front. It has a handle on the top to drive it around at the airport terminals. Inside the front pocket of bag, there is my blackberry phone charger and car keys if i'm not carrying those in my pocket. In the next pocket, i keep my wallet on one side and my vpn token and a pack of mint in the other pocket. This pocket is easily accessible from the top and sideways, hence keep my wallet in there. Then there is a small zipper before the big compartment, it carries 4-5 pens, my office login card and few broken lead pencils. I always want to keep this pocket tidy, but can't think of any other place where i could keep all this useless pens and pencils.

It carries two big compartments, both well padded to keep the delicate electronic stuff inside it. One big pocket carries my dell 17" workstation and other one carries a portable monitor of same size. There are very few shoulder bags available in market which could fit in a 17" laptop and a monitor, so i went with this bag. Since i work from the library or home on regular basis, it is always easier to carry a portable monitor with me to ensure my work doesn't suffer. Then there is a back pocket almost as big as the laptop pockets. I keep my laptop charger and my food in this pocket. One could find the oat crumbs in it from my oat bars or usual spicy aroma from Indian food. Once in a while, it would also carry extra popcorn packets to cover my appetite during extended work hours. Then there are some silica gel packets in almost all the pockets to soak all the moisture inside the bag.

It has almost all the stuff i would need on a regular working day. And yes, it does get the weekend off by laying off in my study room from friday night till monday morning. And then the race starts again..