Draft 2Emanating from a family filled with a medley of professions,no field was frowned upon.
A lineage of lawyers and professors made sure thatdebate and vocalizing your thoughts was encouraged. Parents in the sphere ofdesigning and construction of buildings granted me the talent to think out ofthe box. And scores of cousins who were either doctors or engineers made suremy childhood was filled with stories of their adventures. But having a buffetof career options was more confusing than helpful.I wanted to be a doctor to cure people at the age of 4. Apilot to fly those loud things in the sky at 5 and a scientist to make robotslike Dexter in Dexter’s Laboratory at the age of 6. My endeavors at finding myselfa profession was something that was ever so changing. To facilitate me, myparents bought Scholastic’s Magic School Bus videos.
The entire concept of aMagical bus changing forms to teach children various topics was wildlycaptivating to a six-year-old kid. I used to stack books on the chair and siton them to get a better viewing angle. One fine day, while stacking the books, I found a CD in aCHIP Computer Magazine.
These CD’s usually had free game demos for readers totry out. Like every curious kid of my age, I popped a CD unto the tray and gaveit a spin. It was a classic-games demo edition.
I had Road Rash, Wolfenstein 3Dand a dozen other games at my disposal. The way the other bikers on Road rashwould know where to go and when to hit, boss battles on Wolf 3D and the finalscene in Prince of Persia when the princess was saved by the prince beguiledme. Magic School Bus wasn’t so magical anymore.Learning expeditiously about how to load games untodifferent drives and how to play them without having the CD in the tray, I wasunknowingly signing up for a career that complemented my interests. Computerwasn’t just an appliance to just view movies or listen to music anymore. Mycurious nature to find out what and how everything worked made me delve deeper.
Dismantling PC’s and upgrading them to play better games was an experience thatcould never be replaced. The sheer joy of seeing those LEDs light up after aproper assembly was unparalleled. But I had no one with whom I could discuss my newfound passion.School professors were far too involved in their own subjects to listen to abudding compute enthusiast. And my school didn’t have proper computer relatedsubjects till the 10th Grade. Despite the setback, I continued,headstrong, to pursue my dreams. Turning to my father, who mostly worked onAutoCAD for his 3D models and architectural designs, I bared my heart out aboutmy enthusiasm in computers. Having dabbled in games himself, he suggestedAutodesk Maya and few other software.
But with our interests lying in differentareas, our conversation was short lived. I fiddled with AutoCAD, to try out somethingnew and even got pretty good at it. Helping him design new layouts andrendering 3D models made me realize that even though I got my father’s eye andknack for creating good designs, it didn’t really enthrall me. I squelched thedoubt of becoming an architect and decided to follow my desires, even thoughthere was none to guide me. Scouring of the internet for any data I could get, I was nowamassing data on how to modify my avatars fixed powers. Dunking into the hex editors,to change a gun’s magazine size or modifying my characters max health, I wasinadvertently knocking on the doors of coding. Friends were intrigued by the suddensuperpowers my avatars had. This was just the boost I needed.
The files were a .qvmextension that were compiled using a C-Compiler and the Quake SDK. I foundscores of tutorials on how to program my own guns on the IGI (I’m going in)game. This side of the computer was something I had never seen before.
Excitedand afraid I might ruin something, I took the leap of faith and started moddingmy games. This was my first experience with the C language. But, everythingcame to a screeching halt. The 10th grade examination is very bigdeal in India. The parents and their children prepare both mentally and physicallyto score the coveted 10 GPA. My parents weren’t so different too.
But one of myfriends blurted out that they let us choose our own subject from 11thGrade onwards. And Computer Science was one of them. Never before was I somotivated. Working hard to finally get some guidance in my desultory adventures,I scored the prized 10 GPA. Marching on to the 11th grade with highexpectations, I was bewildered by the possibilities. Hailing from the CBSEboard, I never had JAVA, C or any relevant programming language. The 11thgrade attracted students from ICSE and other boards.
These colleagues of minehad previous experience with programming language, I was awestruck at their anecdotes.Though feeling somewhat somber, I got my morale back together. 11thand 12th grade dealt mostly with C, C++ and MySQL. Learning from mypast mistakes, I teamed up with like minded people and started doing projects. Myconviction and curiosity expanded my horizons past academics. I had venturedinto the wonderful field of robotics, creating remote controlled and linefollowing bots with the help of Arduinos. A decade of gaming fluttered my mind innovativeideas. Unmanned bots that completed missions, A.
I. bot Cortana helping MasterChief John 117 in Halo, I squealed at the idea of hoping to build somethinglike that. Now with sufficient knowledge, I got myself enrolled in undergraduateprogram at Acharya Institute of Technology majoring in Computer Science.
Rightfrom the first day, I didn’t let the language barrier come in between and madefriends with people with similar interests. We started a club called theideating club under the mentorship of Dr. Prithvi Shekhar Pagala. He was awonderful mentor.
Having had experience in modular robots at CERN, Switzerlandhe was my motivation during the first year of Engineering. I came up with a lotof ideas like having turbines in blimps and a pen that would record what youwould write digitally. My lineage of architecture enabled me to envision how myproducts would look. I could thus visualize and think of problems that couldaffect them before even putting the idea unto paper. This deadly combination ofart, computer and curiosity is my strength. This ability of thinking ten steps aheadand coming up with out of the box ideas, are one of the many abilities my teammates bank upon during projects. With the onset of the later years of engineering, manythings dawned upon me.
I realized I could give my 100% when in a team oflike-minded people. And my ideas always aligned themselves for the succor ofhuman kind. My background, I would contend, has forged me into the amateur researchedI am and the computer scientist I wish to become. Growing up in an allowing cultureand family that discussed everything, has made me actively appreciative and receptiveabout the problems marring the current human race. The stories of my highlysuccessful cousins discussing how they contributed to a certain field had my exuberantfrom the start. With the advent of Machine learning in all aspects of life, I havebecome aware of the ways in which I can bring about a revolutionary change.
Iam fortuitous to have had such a great family, who despite having very lessclue what I venturing into, never interrupted my imaginations. I am in eternaladmiration of the machine that I am typing this essay on, hoping that it oneday would channel my energy and my insightful perspective I inherit from allthose who came before me , to create something ground breaking.