Sunday, 26 June 2016

Qualms and the quirks.

Quirk (\ˈkwərk\) noun: An unusual habit or type of behavior, or something that is strange and unexpected; Something strange that happens by chance.

During my time at Zoho, an incident occurred that I remember pretty well. One fine day, I woke up to the news that one of my colleagues' parents had passed away in a road accident. Both her mom and dad were alive and healthy the previous day and the next day, they were gone. I just knew her by her name, and she probably didn't know me at all, but all I know is that this incident surely changed her life completely. No one planned this, but she had to somehow deal with it the very moment it happened.

Wherever we are in our lives, we have all had some important personal experiences big or small that have changed our lives. There are also a few situations which turned out to be beneficial to us because of the way we handled things at that moment. Particularly when it comes to our career, we are more like mad scientists trying to make a device on the fly for an unknown purpose whilst blindfolded. It is those things that we do accidentally and get it right that take us ahead in our lives.

Speaking of mad scientists, I am reminded of this memory that dates back to 2010 from my sophomore year. I found myself in a disarrayed situation, not knowing why I had decided to pursue engineering and what I'd do once I graduate. Just to further exacerbate things, I had a rather low GPA. At this time I had been to two sessions of the student run open source club at my University and found that there was another session scheduled. So I, along with three of my roommates attended it. Out of a hundred people who attended, we were the only ones who showed interest in being a part of the club and we went over to meet those seniors to their hostel.

At the time when students were scared of being bullied by the seniors, we actually found it to be quite the contrary. We met the seniors at their hostel lawn where they, as a mark of respect, asked us to sit on the lawn bench while they stood around us and explained about the various activities of the club. From then on, the number of friends I had among my seniors was more than that of my batch mates. I gained a great deal of knowledge working with them and I would go as far as claiming that I was one of those few students who made the best use of my undergrad college. Making up my mind to visit them one evening completely changed the course of my undergrad life.

Another such turning point in my career was my decision to pursue higher studies in the US. At the time I finished my undergraduate studies, I didn't even know that I had to take the GRE and TOEFL examinations to apply to the Universities in the US. At my workplace, when I found a few of my fellow colleagues applying to Universities, I thought that I too could give it a shot. As the tuition fee for international students is very high here, I didn't have the courage to talk about it to my parents. I thought I would just give up the idea and not talk to them regarding it, as they might feel disappointed that they wouldn't be able to fulfill my aspirations. But I decided to ask my mom and she almost instantly agreed. Had I not acted then, I wouldn't have been here now.

One last such incident worth mentioning here is my very decision of pursuing Computer Science. Or if it was my decision at all! While joining high school (11th grade in India), I had to declare a major beforehand. I had decided that I'll be majoring in one of the two science disciplines we had - Computer Science or Biology. Anyone who had known me prior to that would have put their money on Computer Science for me. In my 10th grade, I was so obsessed with Computer Science that I actually checked out a CS text book prescribed for the 11th grade but couldn't understand a word as it was full of cryptic variables and symbols. I immediately came to a conclusion that CS wasn't the right thing for me and decided on Biology. During the summer holidays which I spent at my cousins' place, my dad was filling out an application for my new school where he had to declare my major on the application form itself. He called me up to ask for my decision and I asked him to declare Biology as the major. My dad wanted me to choose CS and after a long, hard fought battle over phone, my dad gave up. But he put Computer Science instead. Two months into my 11th grade, my CS teacher noted my name as the 'most gifted student in Computer Science' in my batch.

All this said, I do think of all the possibilities that could have gone wrong and completely changed my life for worse. The incidents that I have mentioned above are only few of the many many quirks that have gone into my life. On an everyday basis, we all 'hack' through our lives, trying to make it work. Given all the factors that affect our lives, I really do not think anyone can plan it the way they want. We take our lives one day at a time and try to live it in an ad-hoc manner. Sometimes when I think of all this, I am scared if I'd ever have to do all of this over again, and if things may not turn out to be as good as they are now.

While it is essential for us to learn from the mistakes that we made in the past by recollecting all those bad experiences, I consider it equally important to revisit all the quirks that we have made in our lives that has helped us get this far.


Anjana Jram said...


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