Sunday, June 12, 2011

Destiny’s Child

Well , If your expecting to read  about pop music then you could stop here. There are always defining moments in your life, which makes you wonder What's the purpose of it ? School life is where you don't know much , also you couldn't care less. College life is where you start to know something, but you’re not sure about what things to care about. Then there is  the perfect age is somewhere between old enough to know better and young enough not to care .  I think its the 2-3 year time period  in your job after college, where you earn enough to make a living on your own , but also could support your parents , you are a force to be reckoned with, as in your opinions matter.  Looking back at those three years after college , I thought I will use this post to look at three interesting stories that helped learn along the course.

One thing that I realized early on is that, its ok to fail , its ok to make mistakes. Its possible to succeed without failing at times, the question is could you excel at new things without failing? When I first moved into development , one of my first code change had caused a build break ( or in more plain terms a compilation error ) bringing the Release engineering and Quality engineering (QE) work grinding to a halt. What made matters worse , that the change that went in wasn’t requested by QE or Product management; It’s  just that I decided to take a few initiatives that would make life of every one easier in debugging problems , by making changes in diagnostics code. For the next few days , I knew how it felt to be famous for all the wrong reasons. A colleague did say to me People who have done build breaks went onto achieve big things like becoming Development Managers ( I didn't miss the irony ) to cheer me up. I did eventually fix the issue ( which turned out to be source code version control issue rather than anything in code ) . Moving along one month into release cycle, everybody could see the benefits of the change in helping RCA issues at QE and Customer environments later on. I couldn’t help feeling more vindicated for pushing in the change. This resulted in more freedom to make changes/features coming along my way. Moral of the story , Don’t wait for things to happen , make them happen .The actual failure really is not taking the risk to move to the next level due to the fear of failing and tolerating mediocrity.

I have gone through many resumes , most of the time objective part in it is usual hyperbole  involving words like challenging environment, innovative, team player and success.  Honestly , I used to wonder what I would put as objective , something that I could realistically associate myself with ?  It struck me , “Being Happy at whatever your doing”. This not only means you are better then what you were in the past, but also you have done your bit to improve the lives of people that are around you. It was one fine Monday morning , being late riser  I am I was still snuggling in my bed , that my friend woke me up to lock the door ,since he was scheduled to take IIM CAT exam. One hour later , a call from my friend my informing me that he had forgotten his ID card, while I was still brushing my teeth . There was hardly an hour left before the exam to start , after which he would not be allowed to take the exam. What followed was a bit of maddening travel involving two bus changes to location which I haven’t even visited before during the morning traffic rush in Bangalore. Add to it midway , my friend’s phone battery went dead ; it made the chance of locating the centre and him to hand over the ID card seem miniscule. Call it human will in wanting to do something , when all the forces of the world will aid you . I eventually reached the place , Only to realize, there were three college buildings with the same name all a kilometer apart . With just 10 mins remaining , there is no way I could visit all the buildings even if I was Usian Bolt . You can call it as luck or lame logic at that point in time , I decided to go to the building that was to my right, hoping it would turn out be the right decision. In the end , it was ; Though there was no phone with my friend, he was in balcony and  saw me when I was talking to Gatekeeper and got to gate just as I was about to leave thinking I was too late. Six months later, when results came in my friend did make it to IIM, Bangalore .Yes, I was happy , it may not have involved coding , testing or anything that might have needed the application of computer science degree . But I had a profound satisfaction of changing a life of another person for the better. I guess that happiness could be  as simple as helping your neighborhood boy with his math problems and see him get an ‘A’ in his test the next day or as complex as being able to solve a critical customer problem at your job that is appreciated by your colleagues, managers. Bottom line, Are you happy at whatever your doing ?


Most people who go to US consulate at Chennai for interview prefer to stay at one of the near by Air conditioned hotels to beat the Chennai heat , unless you have a relative there. I ended up at staying at a place a good 40 kms away from the Consulate. You know its more of an village rather than Metropolitan Chennai , when a guy shows at the only local place with computer wanting to learn computers and instructor tells you about course content which is using Windows XP and MS Office . As things turned out, the day before the interview , all hell broke loose with drainage/septic tank problems at the house. I had start my travel at 6 00 am to make up for the distance, which means I had to wake up at least 4 30 am so that I could travel to farm house ( 1 km way ) to make use of the restroom facilities . Following sleepless night with intermittent power cuts , I woke up early packed up my interview clothes for the journey to farmhouse. The road was more of sparsely populated  bushes compared to either side than an actual road. Then I met my first hindrance , a bunch of village dogs guarding near by farm running loose . City dogs really don't bother chasing, biting or barking at people since they are used to seeing different people all the time, but village dogs are altogether another species they will attack you , chase away unknown people . On a normal day , may be I would have taken a different route , this being big day I had no choice . Attack is the best form of defense , I charged them with a stick ( more of branch near by ) before they tried to attack me . Yes it worked , they ran way.  When you walk , you look everywhere around except for the ground your walking on presuming its flat. However , I didn't a see small canal dug for water irrigation on the way which made me stumble and fall . Nothing much I got up and dusted my hands . Only when I looked around to pick my fallen mobile phone , I noticed a sinusoidal movement in the ground next to me. Bloody hell , it was a King cobra moving along minding its own business. By the time I got over the shock of seeing it , the snake vanished into nearby plantation. Moving along another 5 mins , finally I was at the farmhouse. It was open top bathroom , anyway I wasn’t expecting a Jacuzzi  here.  The only thing that worried was a bee hive in near by tree where a bunch of bees being busy. Last thing I wanted was bee sting as a souvenir. In the end , I minded my own business and the bees were busy with the business of collecting honey. As I came out , I could hear the sound of jet flying by; I knew I would be flying in that in another 40 days. But here I was in this farmhouse.I ought to swear  at myself for coming here , not the  A/c hotel . But I didn't , I felt the flashback of vague childhood memories of traveling to farm walking by my Dad when I was little in a village . I haven't visited my mom’s village in almost 10 years. May be , it was God’s way of telling no matter where you go in life, Don’t forget the place where you came from and your roots. Compared to the ordeal of this , the actual interview was a breeze , all I could think was
  “ எவலோவோ  பண்ணிடோம்,  இத  பண்ண  மட்டமோ   !! " ( I 've done so many things, after all Wouldn't I be able to do this !!)

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