As it so happens, everyone goes through difficulties in life, and truly Life isn't Fair...
As a young kid, I was part of a troubled nuclear family. My father and mother both had their struggles to make meets end though both of them were working in government jobs. Albeit, they did well in their professional life, they were miserable in their personal stories.
I was 10 when they decided to part ways and I was left to live with my granny back in Kerala. Things were very different then, I became a member of a rather large family back in our ancestral home and it wasn't easy. We struggled to live a comfortable life, living in an old home without electricity and other modern amenities as we have come to know now.
Food was a luxury many days...
I didn't know what to do and started studying. I didn't know the culture, didn't know the language, and literally turned into an introvert.
One of the advantages of going to school was literally to have my belly full of food in the afternoons. I started focussing on my studies. Maths and science came easy to me and so was English. I finished my 10th standard with distinction and was a first from my family. Did my pre-degree (equivalent to +2 now) with a focus on mathematics. I hated biology and so maths was the obvious choice. After pre-degree I was in a real dilemma. I couldn't have afforded to study engineering for obvious reasons and the elders at home thought that another degree holder at home is rather a waste of time and money. My uncle recommended I start going to a workshop in town. They had contacts and getting a job there would've been rather easy and I would start making a living as well.
I had made up my mind to pursue that as my career.
The first miracle happened...
As destiny would have it, I had (still have) two great friends who wouldn't take 'No' for an answer. They convinced my family that I was a good, studious student and had a great life ahead for me if only I could study further. They talked to my Dad and got everyone to agree to the fact that I would have to write the entrance exams. It was supposed to serve as validation of my skills. Little did I know at that time that it will change my entire life!
I wrote the engineering entrance at that time and we had a total of 4000 engineering seats and 400 medical seats in Kerala. Mind you, this is in 1995. I scored 1380 as my entrance rank, which meant that I could get into an engineering college on merit. I still remember the day, it was all gloomy rainy day and we were sitting in Govt. Brennan College where I was awaiting my interview for B.Sc Mathematics admission. That is when the results of engineering entrance came and I accidentally happen to see that. I was convinced of getting a seat but I sure did have trouble convincing my uncle who had accompanied me for my degree admission. He went to a couple of shops and asked around if I would get admission with this rank and they all said yes. He also ensured to check different dailies to ensure my rank indeed was that and wasn't a typo :-)
I started my engineering on humble grounds at Kannur engineering college and did moderately well on all the subjects. When I say moderately, my life's motto was to score at the minimum 70% in all exams, which I did.
That is where the next miracle happened in my life.
I met her... she would later become my life partner.
A sense of urgency towards life, an urge to prove myself, establish financially well settled in. Remember you need to be well off to get married to a girl in our times. Falling in love alone wouldn't do the trick.
I was finding meaning for my life, finally.
Third-year onwards, I would literally spend my entire time in the computer lab, learning C, networking, etc. One thing was very clear, I was not enjoying coding. I was good at it. Wrote a lot many programs. I even did write the entire program in FoxPro to conduct our District sports meet. That was the first time, a sports meet was captured using a computer. Slowly I realized I had a knack for things that involved connecting computers. I was fascinated by the idea that bits and bytes travel as electrical signals over a cat-5 cable.
While everyone started attending coaching classes for programming languages, I started preparing for MCSE.
During the last year, two things were very clear to me.
- I need to start my career in networking.
- I need to go to the US.
The third miracle...
Again, as destiny would have it, I was selected because among the 13 of us who got selected by a US company (NEC Business Network Solutions) from well over 500 aspirants. My computer networking skills helped me secure a seat in that selection even though I couldn't speak a single sentence in English...
Still remember Sanjay (the interviewer) asking me if I would gain command over the English language, after a grueling one-week-long interview (hands-on labs on cisco routers/switches, multiple rounds of interviews, etc..)
I went to the US and spent 3 years there, came back got married.
Even after that, we went to the US, later only to decide to come back to India and settle down here. I was missing all things Indian then. Finally am where I am today.
Often I am amazed by the conviction and courage that I had during my younger years. Even though I am quite accomplished today, I doubt if I would ever be able to make such convictions and decisions as I did before.
Life isn't fair, but you don't have to be fair to life either....
Believe in Miracles