Wednesday, January 27, 2016

#defineLife - 'A Week in the Life of a Software Engineer'

Disclaimer: The write up is a work of author's fiction considering the variables & constants of many  software professionals known to the author who enters or already are in the IT industry with big hopes and (∪) does not necessarily resembles anyone in particular including the author himself. Having said that, Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons(indeed living) ( ∩) which is (un)intentionally depicted as fiction , might or might not be entirely coincidental and may raise unhandled exceptions in the mind of readers while reading the string of characters in the document .
Disclaimer complexity - O(n log(n)) :P

'I always wanted to quit on 'Monday' Mornings....' - Day 1

It was 7.30 am in the morning when I was travelling Err... commuting to my office on a gloomy Monday morning. It was the month of March. While driving I was lost in one of the random thoughts -  can't exactly tell what thought it was. It’s a bit too hard to remember each thing that your mind has manufactured out of some 50,000+ thoughts it processes in a day.

It was raining heavily. I parked my car at the nearest metro station to catch my the office bus. Despite bad weather, the bus was on time. While everything else was bound to get late on a rainy morning, this particular bus was on time. Unaffected by water logging, by traffic or whatever. Looks like these office buses have some special privileges to not to be late ever. Like in the past - my school bus. Sigh!

Corporate life consists of routine and then more routine. Boarding the bus, inclining my seat, putting in ear plugs & listening to one of my coke studio's favourite track - that's all that appears to be life's ultimate goal. Looking on the outside of the window while ignoring the gaggles of co-workers sitting along with me, and with rain water lashing over the bus's glass window, I paused.
I felt stuck, poised in that moment. That day was something different. The aura of the weather, scenarios and imaginations coming to my mind were making me feel nostalgic. It was making me run away back to those the days when I was carefree; rather I wish I had been more carefree. In such a b-e-a-u-tiful weather, I would have just simply grabbed the keys of my bike, took my camera out of its bag and captured the rapt aura of the weather while riding in this lovely weather.

Yes, you guessed it right. The white collar stuff. Though, 'White collar' is bit exaggerating for entry level IT guys. More on that later. As of now an IT joe who now works for a big IT company for the sake of having a job so that when I can complete satisfy the curiosity of my friendly neighbourhood aunty and a couple of concerned relatives who have often asked my parents about my whereabouts during college placement season. Now there are some typical aunties which often look for prospective grooms for their daughters in the neighbourhood only. I don't have a problem with their daughters anyways but that's not a part of the motto.

It’s been few months since I am commuting to office and I cannot find words to express a sense of dissatisfaction while working in these IT companies. And During placement drives, I was the person who was most excited to be part of one of the blue chip world. Now I often feel unemployment is not a bad thing either if you are financially supported. But for my neighbourhood aunties and long distance relatives I keep have to continue working so that they can start sending suitable matrimonial proposals, in which I am obviously not interested as of now.
The people you meet outside college life, once you enter in the corporate world are so same yet so different. The smiling faces, the enthusiasm of youth is lost running behind meeting deadlines and filling time sheets each month to ensure timely credit of salary.
And with all these thoughts entering and leaving my mind, my bus entered in the office premises. Some guys were sleeping, some were not. Some were planning their day for work, some were thinking about the meaning of their lives.

I stepped out of the bus, headed straightaway to the canteen for a quick breakfast before I get late in marking the attendance. The day progresses at its own pace. Entering your bay, greet colleagues. and starting your workstation. The usual stuff - marking attendance, filling time sheets, checking out emails, also checking out that pretty girl in the cubicle in front of you, finishing assigned tasks on time, and obviously searching for the meaning of life. Was that life all about? Monday throws questions and they cling in your mind to think about the answers all day and night...

'I always wanted to quit on 'Monday' Mornings....'

'But I quit on Tuesday instead' - Day 2

I have observed one immutable thing for Tuesdays. All the philosophy of life, goals and passions are lost in the wind as soon as you get to know that you have a schedule to keep and work that needs to be finished on time. And in IT industry, time is crucial. What they call is project violation date, service license agreement breaches, deadlines whatever. But the motto is to get the work finished in time.

That's life. But this all has its own fun too to be honest. The thing is that before you reach a point where you get to do what you love, you’ve got to learn to love what you do.
The given task is done, the access card is flashed on the ODC's door, ‘cappucino’ button pressed on the coffee dispenser machine and viola - you begin to appreciate what freedom is all about. Even though, only for a short while.

While sipping your favourite coffee and watching peers displaying their extraordinary table tennis skills in the entertainment room, one often wish to have some TT playing skills - unlike the technical skills, they don’t pay much but it is good to know how to service a TT ball successfully over the table as it is important to know how interfaces replaces multiple inheritance concept in c#. TT and IT will have always a strong & inseparable bond.

'Yay' 'ye'(ye karke dikhao, bc aisi service karke dikhao)  was all around when the guys from another project won a TT game mercilessly beating guys of my project. As if they have got an 'onsite' opportunity.
Finished coffee, shared few greetings with fellow peers, flashed access card and entered the bay - all prepared to take on the smash from the team lead. 'Smash' unlike in table tennis is lot different when it comes to actual IT job.

Sometimes the work you do actually appears a lot  shoddier to many including the one who does it. But it has to be done for the sake of meeting the deadline.
Sitting on your chair, often looking at that girl sitting a couple of bays behind yours and working on the assigned tasks makes the 9-5 time go well. It makes you think of the reasons why you spent those days in college just like that when they could have been utilised in more productive way. Thinking of quitting on your dreams or your job or to pursue higher education. I feel these all are just few common routes to escape, and escaping just like that will not be a very good idea. Especially at this point in life.

So  I decided to quit the idea of running away from life, running away from reality to illusions...

'But I quit on Tuesday instead'

'Because Wednesday gives you hope that weekend......
..................... is not that too far' - Day 3

1. "abay wo baju wale project me nai ladki aayi h sahi si, uska naam pata laga?"
2. "Wo java wala onsite jaa rha h aur hum yaha jhak maar rhe hai"
3. "Usne flipkart se 7% discount pe joote mangwaye hai. Apan bi mangwate h"
4. "Abay ye uska bnda bc, ye ch@%#&ya onsite jaa rha h aur hum yaha jhak maar rhe h"
5. "Yr wo iski nail polish aur sandals kitni cheap lag rhi hai."
6. "Wo wala mehendi ka design zyada better hai, us ladki ne jo lagai hui h jo mehendi"

I was looking intensively on my computer's screen...
I was drinking coffee at the office cafe but all I was hearing was gossiping...
I was in the office lift. I was in the office bus. Where ever I was, all I could hear was gossip.

Most of the time, All the time, while my ears were trying to ignore 'people' talks & gossips was all I was hearing and getting to increase my general knowledge about other people's whereabouts. What he/she is doing, how weird dress someone wears, how someone distinctively walks, who's bf is in which project and how he undeservingly got that girl and that onsite opportunity.

Wise people say that girls and onsite opportunities are like Delhi metro train at Rajiv chowk metro station - one goes, another comes. And if you miss your queue don’t worry, because the next metro might be of 8 coaches instead of 6. So you might just get lucky to atleast board that metro (being fraandzoned by the girl/being assured of future onsite by the manager).

But the 'Wisest' of Wise people say that there is still only 0.1% chance of getting a 'seat'
And getting to 'sit' in a metro from Rajiv chowk metro station, though..."
I wonder how discussing other's personal life instead of focussing on their own has become so essential for people. Out of the 4 basic needs - food, water, shelter - discussing other people's lives is the 5th basic need these days. Jabad jabaad jaabaaad... Typical fkcin gossiping mentality.

Keeping your mind at peace amidst of the chaos around you is one of the arts I have learnt around all this. The way your mind is receiving so much garbage input than sensible meaningful data from the world around you - it is too difficult to not to forget who you really are. While all this eats up a lot of your peace of mind, the only way you can be yourself is by simply recalling your dream and constantly working towards it irrespective of what x, y or z people thinks about you.  Consider people as variables which are temporary and they will disappear as soon as the program execution will finish.

With a mug of coffee in my hand, flashed my access card at the ODC gate, I entered my bay and started on my assigned tasks. And soon enough, the clocks says, it lunch time.

Lunch time is the saviour in a day of an IT professional. It is the time to cool it off. This one hour is the motivation at work on some days. After a delicious lunch, it’s time for a walk on the road outside the office with ample of chaaaai walaaahs, cigarette, pann masaalas. All around. Chai & cigarette are two mandatory affairs after lunch for many. For many, it’s a minimum of 5 cigarettes a day that keeps them going (but I wonder for how long). Standing with one of the office mates, unintentionally passively smoking, I saw people discussing Narendra Modi and Arvind Kejriwal.

 I guess people know more about these guys than what they must know about themselves. And after finishing that last sip of my chai, I had a glance at my watch and it’s time to move on.... Back to the cubicle.

'Because Wednesday gives you hope that weekend is not that too far'


'Thursday' appears to be an extended 'weak'day - Day 4

The second half is a very crucial part of any office day. First you need to make sure that you don’t doze off after the lunch while sitting at your seat, second you need to make sure all assigned tasks are on the track before you wind up for the day. Staying after 5.30 is a common culture in IT industry, luckily I had to be part of this culture few times only - the experience was good anyways, rather I pretended it to be good. The excitement levels in the second half are at their peaks when the hour hand of the clock is only half an hour shy from the finishing time of the office. The excitement is such like a person would break free from the shackles and live a life of freedom and achieve all his dreams. But the excitement fades away as soon as your cab is stuck in the traffic jam before reaching the metro station and every little hope  inside you kind of dies when you hear 'There will be a short delay in this service, inconvenience is regretted' in Delhi metro. To top it all, that aunty who just boarded the metro from kashmiri gate, keeps staring at you with all hopes of making you understand to give up your seat for her. That's the way it is. Unless you are not sitting in the compartment next to ladies coach, there is not much fun inside metro train either.

Knocked the door and you enter your home. Now this is strange enough. If you are in IT, you ought to spend more time of your day at the office rather than the home. Coming home, having tea and snacks then the dinner. Kind of routine as it seems. I recall those school days when coming to home at 3pm in a school bus was damn late by then standards! Watching 'Toon Tamasha' on cartoon network till 5 pm. Waiting for dad to come home till 7pm. Finishing homework or rather planning to finish homework from someone else's copy in school next day!... Hahaha. That amazing feeling when I deliberately didn’t do the homework and so that I just could borrow the copy of my crush in that VI standard. As I am writing this text, I am receiving whatsapp pings from my friends and instantly I am recalling those days when we used to establish dial up connection from our MTNL telephone line just to chat on yahoo messenger with one of your friend who also had a computer and MTNL telephone connection those days. Ah! Sigh!

 That 15 minute conversation on yahoo messenger still can't beat the non-stop 24*7 whatsapp conversation with anyone. Also that time in #Pre2000Era when we used to dial up our friend's landline telephone number and when on the other side of the call his mom used to pick up the phone and I used to say 'Aunty mohit hai?, Mohit se baat kara do' and often she used to say either of these things 'Beta mohit tution gaya hai, Mohit so rha hai, abi bulati hun, wo apne room me hai'! I also recall that time when I got to know my crush's telephone number after reaching the school in the early morning and finding the number by stealing the attendance register from the HOD's room, noting the number on a paper chit, putting the register to the place where it belong and I now realise how amazing that day was. By the time I am thinking all about my past glorious days, it's already past 12 am. I have some 6 hours and 30 minutes to catch up some sleep! As I switch off the lights and turn off my phone's wifi, I doze off.

'The day was long, the night is short. 'Thursday' appears to be an extended 'weak'day'

'But the Friday turns into your favour as it’s the weekend knocking the doors!' - Day 5

'I am already driving over 100 miles per hour and the 4400 cc engine of BMW X5 wants me to push further. I down shifted, rammed the accelerator pedal to the metal and there it is. I am cutting the corners of one of the most amazing highways of the world - the Autobahn. The twist and turns are so amazing, the straights are butter smooth. Life seems to be good. While listening to the lovely turbo spooling of the gigantic 4400 cc BMW engine, I tap on and on, i feel that's all what I ever wanted from life. Life is indeed good' Errrr...I guess someone is honking from behind, someone is flashing uninterruptedly and wants to overtake my car, I can’t believe who after all wants to catch up with me moving at a pace of 250 km per hour. The honking is making mw irritated and suddenly my eyes are opened to see my phone flashing and ringing - it's a damn alarm tone. Its 6.15 am and I realise how beautiful dreams can be broken so effortlessly by a alarm app of an android phone. So the BMWs, the turbo spool, the curves and straights of the Autobahn were not here to stay, they were mere  figments of imagination, my dreams. It’s time to get out of the bed, get out in the real world. Last working day of this week. Enough reason and motivation to get ready.

I have a very peculiar case of being punctual. I like to be always on time except for unhandled exceptions caused beyond the scope of my soft wired schedule. Though getting late has its own share of fun but I am just that punctual guy. I am all set for the day. My bag in my hand, access card attached to my belt holder. I am all decked up. A smart bachelor software engineer. No exaggerations about the smart part. I like to stay true to myself.

As I commute to office, I realise what I have learnt in all these 5 days. How I spent 5 precious day of my life. In these 5 days, I have gone through the highs and lows, experienced good and bad. Expected the unexpected and hoped for the best. Its 9 am and I am in my office, walking towards my workstation, waving hi and good morning to fellow co-workers. I have an unusual smile on my face for no apparent reason. The gloominess that I was wearing on Monday is washed down. How did that happen? I have no idea. I am just going on. I have my heart filled with kind of silent enthusiasm. To keep on doing what all I always wanted to do.

Friday is usually the day when I try to wind up most of my work by first half. I love to spend the second half doing something that is otherwise of my usual routine work. I am questioning myself. Rhetorical questions that actually don't need an answer. How I am able to be peaceful amidst of all the chaos. How the restlessness has been channelized to the calmness. I question intensively the whole day. I am smiling throughout the day. Though I tried answering all these questions to myself, I somehow realised that, the answer to the state of constant bliss is deep within me.

And when I look within, listen to that silence I realise how I am doing in this world. How a BMW cannot give me happiness unless I start enjoying running. How driving at 200 miles per hour on the world's best roads won’t give me the satisfaction unless I just start enjoying the joy of catching that last minute metro station at rajiv chowk.
How being a chief technology officer of a billion dollar company will not able to make me happy unless I start being happy with whatever I have. And more importantly, feel blessed to have everything in his life that is actually the dreams of millions. How being famous and known will not able to give me that self-satisfaction unless I become famous in my own eyes and start loving myself to the core.
With clocking ticking past 5.30, it's time to call off the day. Had a quick coffee, Packed my bag, switched off my workstation and voila. The sense of weekend is all set. All my philosophy related to life that encapsulated me the whole day subsided a bit. Though positive thoughts once entered in your heart are meant to stay, at least for a while. So I planned my weekend. I decided to do what I was not able to do for many days. Unlike Bollywood movies, things can’t change overnight. In real life, you have to go bit by bit. Step by step. Before I crashed the bed for a complete 8 hours sleep instead of routine 5 hours and full fill my sleep deprivation, I called a couple of my friends to meet up tomorrow. After a good night sleep. It’s Saturday. Very important to utilise Saturday to its fullest. I went to a nearby place for photography, met some friends and made a short movie. I don’t care if the short movie I just made with my friends is blurry or motion is shaky. I don’t want to become the next Imtiaz Ali right away. Neither do I want to be the next big thing. All I want is to keep doing what I always love to do from deep inside my heart. While doing all this, how the day winded up, I couldn’t even realize. I am in my room with my laptop on and I am working on the next task planned for Sunday. To work on that, I am wide awake till late night. Writing, watching movies and reading. I am all set for a good night's sleep. Switched off all alarms on my phone. The night turned into day and here I am awake at good 10 am on a Sunday morning. Ready, steady for the Sunday day out with friends. Writing a short movie script, shooting some of its scenes. laughing with each other, reminding each other of our potential, discussing life's disparity and converting it to faith. And all this while sitting outdoors, we see the dusk is setting in. The evening sky is full of glory. I am standing with my mates and watching the flocks of birds swaying around, kind of conveying how they are enjoying life. How life is full of happiness amidst of all the gloominess. How all we need to have is just a little hope.

'I always wanted to quit on Monday mornings..

'But instead, I started, Living to the fullest.'

This is not the end of the article, but a start of something new...

Day 1/Week 2 - To be continued...