I know that many people are like me – simple wandering about saying “yes” to whatever is asked. Spending most of the time dreaming what to do and suddenly a phone call reminds you that you need to go out to hangout with friends, submit your lab record or attend some meeting/function. In other words, not having a definite goal for yourselves and setting goals based on what you see around at that moment. What you are about to read is one such story – Ya, the story of myself. Read on and you might find a lot of similarities with your own life and that might bring up a smile on your face.

  • In my 10th standard, I wanted to become an archaeologist – I read about the various civilizations and even visited monuments and temples to read history. I talk with Sanskrit professors about the origins of India.
  • Then after seeing a big shot by the name Dr.Kathiravan in my hometown. He was a symbol of dedication, hardwork and passion. Then I wanted to become a doctor and serve the people.
  • I was naturally good at drawing (thanks to mom). I attended some painting classes during my 11th standard under Mr.Sylvester Peter. He used to say me that I have natural talent and could become a very good artist one day. Coincidentally I was already winning prizes at state level competitions. So, (you know a school boy’s mindset rite?)  I wanted to become a professional artist.
  • My father is a coach in my district cricket association. He taught me every nuance in fast bowling and made me a pretty good bowler. When I made it into the district team, I thought I should enter into the Indian cricket team one day.
  • When I reached the later part of 11th standard, I loved every concept in Physics and made a prototype of a Reverse Osmosis plant with my classmates. I was inspired by Albert Einstein, the man synonymous with the word “Genius”. I wanted to revolutionize the world by inventing the Time machine :P
  • During my 12th standard, I wanted to be a polymath and started winning every extra-curricular activity I found in my way. My dream of getting state rank perished with that. But I was very, very happy travelling long distances and meeting new people.
  • The 12th annual holidays helped me get into better contact with my brother Vivek. My brother has been winning the best employee award every Q (Quarter of a financial year) ever since he entered into Robert Bosch. He is the youngest person to get an onsite job in the HQ of Bosch in Germany. Seeing him grow, I wanted to become a Mechanical Engineer.
  • Then since I was engrossed in Computer Games during the 12th holidays, my parents said that I might be naturally inclined to computers and enrolled me for BE Computer Science under Anna University, Chennai. And yeah, I did learn it with passion (like I did for every other activity :D)
  • I started learning Java in my first year under one of the Assistant Professors in my department. I made a calculator using Java Swing and said to myself that “Yeah! thats it man! I am the king of Java. I will learn all the packages within a month and create a really big project in it. Thus I can get into Sun Microsystems as a Java specialist”. (Naivety ruled me :D)
  • Then came the voices on Cloud Computing. I started working on Xen, read lots of Amazon white papers and made some *trivial* papers on Cloud Computing. I was working all alone then.
  • Then one celestial meeting occurred, I met my best friend Ahamed Nafeez in my own hostel. He too seemed to be in a similar wavelength as myself. When I talked with him, before I could realise we were best friends already. We decided to work in Networks. We did certifications togethers, won Network engineering competitions, paper presentations, and to cap it all, we did a workshop on Network security. During those days, my dream company was Cisco and Cisco only.
  • Then when I saw Android flourishing, I started hacking into android development. I was jaw-dropped on seeing the cool projects in the Android Developer Conference. I worked with my roommate Ganesh to create some cool projects involving a variety of Android technologies. We wanted to make a startup on Android Apps.
  • Then I got introduced to the Bhumi Social Foundation through Manoj. At this point, you should know that my entire family is known for social service. Even I got some accolades regarding that. So I was easily influenced and I got into that completely different world. Then I decided to  get into full time social service by becoming a member of Teach For India. I have already said about the phone interview I had. But with a second thought, full time social service did not look like a good idea. So I dropped it.
  • Then I got my first Wifi enabled phone Nokia E63. I used Internet in my mobile very often. When I found that browsing was too slow in wireless networks, I started working on a solution and found a problem with TCP performance.  I made a research paper on it and it will published as a proceeding in Springer LNCS in few days. I wanted to bring a change in the way Wireless Networks worked.
  • Then my interest in Python began to sprout out when GSoC 2011 approached. Though I couldn’t do GSoC this year due to my brother’s marriage, I got into another Summer of Code by Umit, which was also a part of GSoC. Then I started making a few hacks in Python and now am sitting at PyCon in Pune typing out this blog at an alarming speed :P Now I dream of becoming an expert python hacker. :D

To finish it off, I realize that what I am now is just the remnant of all the previous Narendrans I had been throughout my life. Sorta jack of all trades. Seeing the specialist Python Hackers around me makes me feel guilty of not having done anything significant. I have tried atleast a 100 different things in the past six years that went undocumented and unnoticed :P. Saying this, even my future is uncertain. Few years down the lane, I have no idea what I would be doing. I don’t even know if this is strange or this is a “Typical Adolescent Thinking”. I need to specialize in one field through which I can effectively serve the community. DOT.

When I was hopelessly lamenting this to my mom, she replied, “What is the highest position in your field? Something named Google rite? I don’t want you to get in there and break your head. You got placed already. Be happy for that. Oor suthify with your friends, get married in a couple of years, settle happily and speak Tamil at home. Thats enuf. And dont ever take this topic again when on phone or when at home!!”

In a nutshell : I say “Enna valka da idhu”, Mom says “Keep it simple silly!” :D

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