I received similar texts from 3 people last week. “What’s up? Kya chal rha h ajkal (What have I been doing these days)”. And since I had been mostly inactive from social media since a very long time (almost half an year), some people were curious and I had a lot to share, and guess what: that’s a perfect opportunity to write a blog post after a long time. If you’re interested in what all I was up to, this post will give you some hint.
So after a tiring summer in which I attempted to pursue a Data Science internship immediately followed by my campus placements along with working on my Google Summer Of Code project throughout summer, a few interesting things happened.
I got placed (something I didn’t expected to happen soon), I worked upon a project called “What the f*ck Python?” which surprisingly got an overwhelming response. People loved it to the extent that they translated it in multiple languages, and I even got few emails from people saying how “cool” the project was (including a guy from Stanford). It was all exciting times, I was eager to prepare for more competitive companies like Google, Microsoft (yeah, I wasn’t satisfied with company I got placed into) but decided to push that for a while. And then something weird happen. All of a sudden, I got too free. I had liberty to spend my entire day sleeping if I wanted to. It’s in these times, the thoughts of life and stuff creep in. I looked back what my life had been in the past few year and realized that I had been too busy in shaping up my career that I neglected a lot of things (health, friends, hobbies, etc). And then I dig a little deeper why I’ve been feeling so empty, and came to know that I was soon about to become a member of a class of adults facing a state of mind called “existential crisis”.
What happened next? How I felt at that time is unimportant to this post, but after letting all that sink in, I tried to make a few changes in lifestyle. So I picked up those New York times bestsellers that claim “self-improvement” in one way or the other, subscribed to multiple youtube channels, started reading those productivity and growth articles on Medium, and so on. Some of the stuff was actually delusional, but there were some really good books that presented many practical concepts about life in a profound way.
After a while, the knowledge in these books started resonating and I tried to organize my life a bit. So I read more and more books. I’ve lost count of how many books that I’ve read so far (because it doesn’t matter anyways, it’s how well you read a book that matters). Someone says it right, reading books is an act of stealing wisdom, what takes people entire lives to discover, you get to know about it in few pages. Here are few of the books I read (excluding the e-books, of course),
I became conscious of my health. Started eating healthy food, it took time to get on track. But now, I can easily choose Nutriobox over the temptations of pizzas and burgers.
And one day at 2am, I went running after a pretty long time. I could barely complete 1 mile, but I realized that I really enjoy running. Another good habit to add. I started running at least once a week. And recently, I just ran 6 miles (even I was surprised at once). Next target: 10 miles.
Perhaps the only photo I took in the last 4 months.Like running, I tried multiple things. I learned Guitar, started gymming (and left proudly after a month of dedicated hard-work), played Lawn Tennis, got more into writing: started an anonymous blog (about life, productivity, and stuff), learned pointless skills like memorizing entire deck of card in 10 minutes (learned this from the book Deep work, took some practice to get to this level), started sleeping more (It felt like I had not slept properly for years), tried meditation (but failed, not once: several times). And yes, I intentionally put myself off from social media, turned off notifications for every goddamn app, it felt pretty weird in the initial weeks. Felt as if I’m missing something pretty damn important, and I know how difficult it was to resist posting when I had something exciting to brag about (practicing humility; a thing that I learned from the books Ego is the Enemy and Deep Work), but I became used-to in a couple of months, and I feel much better now. During the course, I lost touch with a lot of superficial connections. Since the notifications were off, I took even days to reply to people’s message. But a few nice people still stayed even after all this. Thanks guys :) (nice to have gratitude in life, something I learned from the book “Barking up the wrong Tree”)
And what about my CS journey? Amidst all this stuff, ain’t got much time for that! I made a bit of progress, however. I went too deep into blockchain, cryptocurrency and Dapps. Made some freelance projects, got paid in cryptocurrencies, invested in more coins. Everything was going up, and up. Exciting times. Until, it all fell. Some of the coins I invested in are around whopping 94% down from the all time high (lesson learned: What goes up, eventually comes down). Fortunately, I invested too early, so didn’t suffer any major losses as such.
I did a few more freelance projects. Got ditched twice by blogging and publishing companies. I spent weeks creating articles and sort of mini-tutorials, and then they stopped responding (lesson learned: The world isn’t nice, take advance payments before working on something). I recently wrote a comprehensive article about blockchain for IBM Developerworks (the post is still being reviewed by their team, I hope I don’t get ditched again). I applied for full-time positions at a few companies, but wasn’t able to get myself to study DS and algorithms. So after a couple of daunting weeks on InterviewBit, I literally gave up on the idea of getting placed in a better company (maybe I realized that I didn’t wanted that in first-place, it was something everyone else around me wanted). I also applied at some python conferences, got accepted but couldn’t go due to no financial aid provided. Applied for a few hackathons as well, worked up on prototypes, got rejected in final rounds (lesson learned: Don’t set your hopes high on such events, they almost always have unexpected outcomes).
Meanwhile, I read a lot of Python’s documentation, and after a month’s effort, I tried to come up with next major release of “What the f*ck Python!”. And with that, I became the top Python Github developer in entire India (I wanted to shout out so bad about this on social media, but I somehow managed to keep it to myself, until now :p)
Well, that sums up my last 6 months in brief. I don’t know what I’m gonna do next, probably more of traveling, writing, and getting out a crypto project I’m working upon.
Update April 2018:
I successfully published a couple of articles for IBM developerWorks (yay! first article as a “professional” tech writer) and recently was second runners-up at Times App Search Contest 2018 for my crypto project!