Ten years of one’s life is decent enough long span to think about. Interviewees are often asked the question of where do they see themselves in 5 years or ten years. It certainly pushes me to consider for the long term. But here, in this blog, I am going to write about my last ten years. So, this is not a look ahead, but a dive into the past. Don’t confuse this with ruminating. This is associated to an activity of compiling the hardest and easiest life lessons I got and to share them with the broader group. This is to encourage self-expression. This is lean towards structural thinking. And this is for achieving my goal of writing a blog.
When the last decade started, I had just cleared the senior secondary exam. I wanted to crack IIT-JEE and was willing to dedicate one year of my life to achieve that goal. I was a confident young guy. I had just scored 100% on a CBSE class 12th language exam. My first attempt at JEE with 12th had also gone well. And I was pretty much self-assured that I would be able to crack the exam given I was going to focus on it for a year.
I had a good childhood before this. I had a few dreams. Regarding life goals, I only knew one next thing that was going to happen; I am going to an IIT to study Computer Science.
My childhood dreams were to learn to play Piano so much so that I do a concert in the Royal Albert Hall. I wanted to achieve my dream of self-realization. I wanted to be fit and live a long, happy life. And I wanted to be a famous poet/writer.
The first year of this last decade went pretty much as expected. I went to a meditation ashram in June 2010. I stayed there for 15 days and focused on myself. I meditated every day and washed my dishes after meals. I had no grudges with life. I was focused on the next year.
Just before I appeared for my IIT-JEE exam in 2011, a lot of things happened. My eldest sister got married. Just after two days of her marriage, my grandfather, Bauji, passed away. And India won the Cricket World Cup. I remember watching the finals on 2nd April, eight days before the exam with my father and my sisters and exclaiming and shouting with joy when Team India did the victory lap in Wankhede. I was undoubtedly a passionate person.
During this time, for one of the first times in my life, I experienced immense gratitude for a friend. During the last months, while preparing for IIT-JEE, one friend revised the whole Physics syllabus with me for me in a span for 15 days. That really helped me get right back and answer the multiple-choice questions with confidence for which I had prepared the whole year. I needed the confidence that I had it covered, and my friend Kartik helped me regain that. And I succeeded. I got into IIT-Jodhpur into Computer Science and Engineering.
The next four years of the last decade were the most precious years of my life. I was studying at a premier institute with the best of the folks of the entire country. I had exposure to experience new stuff, try different things, and learn. I joined the music club, later ran it as well. I formed a band, sung in college festivals and organized events in our inter-college festival in my 2nd year of college itself. That is when life shook me. My father passed away on 19th August 2013. That was the deadliest feeling. I felt devastated. But I had to be strong. I wanted to hold hands with my family and walk through these tough times and come across. So I focused on just that. My second sister got married in 2014. I graduated from college in 2015, landed a job in a startup in Noida, determined to make a career in Software Engineering. By this time, I was fascinated with software and web development technologies.
These first five years of the last decade were defining for me. For the next five years, I carried forward the personality that I had built in the last five years. How my personality was shaped at the time, was very much a culmination of many different things I got exposed to by that time in my life. My schooling was amazing. I learned and excelled at a lot of things. My family got me exposure to spirituality early in my childhood, and meditation was part of my life. I was reading and writing poems. And singing on stage had emerged as my passion.
I worked hard and got lucky at the same time when I joined CodeIgnition in May 2015. The startup got acquired, we moved to Bangalore with better-paying jobs. We continued to work hard and excelled. I got to work on many different technologies in many different teams with many great individuals. Three years into my career, I got an opportunity to lead a team of engineers, and I loved working with a team. I drove energy from the fact that we were changing things for people working in our company. We were making products that had an impact. And during all these, I made a lot of mistakes. I traveled to countries outside of India. I made an effort to continue to learn Piano. I bought a keyboard for myself and enrolled in multiple classes to get myself going. I started reading books again to gain insights and build mental models. I started having discussions with individuals. And I realized that the concept of God didn;t make sense logically. So didn’t the concept of religion. And I derailed. And I lost hope. And I went rogue.
First five years of last decade went into IIT preparation and the next five pursuing a career in Software Engineering. During my time at Gojek and CodeIgnition, I worked on many different problem spaces. To cite some out, food delivery, merchant content management, payments, framework and platform development. I got to work on many different technologies as well; ruby, golang, clojure, java being a few of them. I worked on heavy infrastructure projects as well.
Three years into my career, I started leading a team of engineers working on making event-sourcing easy for developers in Gojek. And we made this application development framework in clojure and a heroku like paas to manage it. I had been part of this team before for eight months. I learned a lot during these last three years. One specific example is a project that I picked up in early 2019. This project was mammoth, and I totally underestimated it. It made me realize the gaps in my planning and estimation, as never before. It pointed out huge gaps in my communication skills, which I never thought to focus on. It taught a lot about working with people and building teams.
Things I continue to aspire.
I still want to be a better musician. This childhood dream has stuck with me for more than a decade, and I am going to continue pursuing it over the next decade as well. I eventually want to perform live in Royal Albert Hall (Or insert another place with good recognition). I want to rock with my audience. This is my dream forever.
I continue to aspire to learn the breadth and depth of Software Engineering. At the end of the next decade, I want myself to be updated, involved, and delivered impact.
Things I couldn’t do
I could become financially wise this last decade. I wish my younger self knew a few things. Few things that I could take care of in advance so that my future half faces less pain. Few of them are very personal. For example, my spend increases with my income, and I am never on top of my finances. This is something I seriously want to change in this upcoming decade. I want to earn an income apart from my salary. I want to put my money into a cause than just keep spending it on riches.
I wish I understood the importance of learning to cook earlier in my life. I wish the younger me had focused a little bit into the kitchen along with the books, sports, and TV.
I hardly played any sport in one last decade. I wish I change this to say I play consistently when I write something like this the next time.
I didn’t learn to drive or swim. I want to get comfortable with these two.
I am only an imperfect human being. I just can’t solve all the problems that my eyes see. I should only take responsibility of things after considering the impacts and outcomes. I shouldn’t just accept an argument because it sounds rational. A lot of this world drives on gut feeling, and these might not be rational all the time. It doesn’t matter whether God exists or not. Important is to realize that mental health is something being ignored for centuries, and it kills people. I love to meditate. I am a culmination of all the events that happened to me, all the people I met, and all the choices I made in those moments. I can’t change anything that happened in the past. I am impulsive. I can’t decide what happens in the future. I can stop ruminating and start doing something instead. I have hell lot more things to do.