A Fresh New Start!

Hi, It’s a perfect time to start something/anything new. It’s the start of another brand new year of the Georgian Calendar. First of all, Happy New Year Folks. 🙂

New Year 2014
Happy New Year 2014 Folks 🙂

Well, I believe everyone starts blogging with an introduction of themselves. I feel it’s simply because they have nothing to express. Atleast that is my case. I’ve been having this idea of maintaining a blog for a long time, but I never had any specific topic to talk about. But then I realized I was kinda good at content writing and reviewing. I finally decided that I MUST start speaking out for my own. And I believe I need to start atleast now. Better late, than never right? 😉 So, as everybody, I too, am going to start “blogging” by introducing myself.

My name is shine. I hail from the state of India which is more commonly and widely known as “God’s Own Country“.  Officially known as ‘Kerala‘, the Malayalam (മലയാളം) speaking state is a hub of budding talent in every field under the sun. It is one state in India that claims 100% literacy (that is because many other states in India are still struggling to educate themselves).

I hail from a NRI (Non-Resident Indian) family which was living in the middle east from the time my parents were married. My dad was among the lucky people who got abroad as early as 1990 (during that period, it wasn’t very common to fly abroad). After marriage, he migrated along with my mother. I was born on a little island called Bahrain, which a very  tiny and  cannot be spotted even on the Middle Eastern map .  My family has been more of a ‘Nomadic‘ family. We kept moving around a lot. It was mainly because of my dad’s occupation. He was transferred a lot. That made the whole family to keep moving a lot. But it was fun. I was used to the idea of moving because I grew up in it. Not everyone finds it easy to get accustomed to the idea of moving. But me and my brother, shone grew up moving from place to place. You must have switched schools (say, maybe 2-3). But just take a wild guess of how many schools I’ve switched. I switched around 13-14 schools in 14years of my school-life. I studied my upper-kindergarten, 5th grade as well as my 8th grades in different schools. As in, I’ve learnt the same things twice. Often there were times when we moved like in an interval of 6months. Because of such a ‘nomadic’ life, I’ve learnt to love travelling and I literally hate being static. I think my college life is the longest tenure I’ve stayed in one place (i.e., 4-5years). And I got bored of it. Thanks to the travels I had during that period (which I’ll talk about in a little while), which helped me survive the boredom.

Well, another specialty of my family is that we’re all associated with music. It’s more like music flows through our blood and veins. All of us are good singers. I have been trained to play the keyboard but I never put my whole heart into it after a few months, so, I never learnt to play  the keyboard well. I was associated with a couple of bands as a vocalist though.  Initially, it was a worship band ‘Heart of Worship‘ at church and then it was a rock band ‘Freefall‘ at college. On the other hand, my brother learnt the guitar and developed on that skill. I always envy him when I see him play because I too love that instrument.  He is a very good guitarist. I love to see him play and always decide to learn to play as good as him (or maybe better than him) someday (but that ‘someday’ just never comes 😛 ). Well, that’s about my family.

Me? Well, usually, I find it difficult to describe myself to people. I’ll try my best to describe myself. I’m basically a tech freak. A guy who is crazy about anything that has a technological wonder in it. I’m more fascinated by computer technology, though. I love the various things a computer can do (Did that sound like a statement of a previous century?). Taking up the computer field was one of my childhood ambitions. All of us have childhood ambitions which we keep changing as we grow up. But mine was always steady at the same point which I fixed in 3rd grade (I believe). It did not sway until I read about the different career options in my 12th grade. I had this slight interest in Mechanical Engineering because I had this passion for mechanical technology too. But, then again, I stuck to my childhood dream – Computers! And here I am doing my under-graduation in Computer Science & Engineering [CSE] student at Mar Baselios College of Engineering & Technology, Trivandrum. My idea of ‘college’ was a place where you could go if you wanted to, a place where you could learn things you loved (things you were passionate about), a place where you could hangout with friends,  a place where no cared whether you attended class or kept attendance, a place where you could show-off your skills, etc, etc. But that was not what was college in reality. Especially when it was a private, management-run institution like the one I got into. Atleast, I expected that they would allow us to carry tablet computers to classes and use them for drawing lecture notes, etc. Ok, I know I exaggerated a bit on my ideas of college, but it certainly didn’t have the lecturers not allowing you to take notes on a digital device on the list.

But, what confronted me at college was more of a school than a college. Well, the so-called “college” was stricter than normal schools. They had academic schedules that were strictly followed. Routine assignments, assessments, etc. Initially, I had only “fun” and “enjoy” on my list. “Study” was definitely not a part of it anyways. The first year was spent enjoying my time. Never bothered to be bothered about academics (I never was!). Then when semesters took over and time-spans shrunk significantly, it was difficult to find time for all the fun I had during my first-year.

I was introduced to a technical organization called “IEEE” in my first year itself. IEEE is a world-renowned non-profit technical organization that is spread across the globe that works towards the cause of developing and advancing technology for humanity. Since I was fascinated and interested in technology from my childhood itself, I joined IEEE without any question. And that is where most of my technical knowledge has come from today. I’d always attribute the development or the initiation of the process of development of my technical skills to IEEE. It is IEEE that has given me the professional exposure and networking opportunities to make me what I am today.

Volunteering in IEEE has many benefits. Never have I ever come across a disadvantage of joining IEEE (neither has anybody pointed it to me). It gives you professional exposure and makes you feel like a professional when you’re still in college. It gives you a great circle of friends and peers with the same frequency as you with similar technical interests as you even when you’re unable to find similar people from your own college. I’d rather be proud to say that I have more friends in IEEE than I have in my college.

Another benefit of being a part of a global organization is that you get the opportunity to attend various world-class events. I have attended many events that IEEE has organized. That included technical as well as managerial style events. I have been in the organizing committees of a few IEEE events myself. Now, that is not an opportunity that every under-graduate student gets in his college-life. Travelling around for IEEE events is what has kept me from dying of boredom in college. That is another advantage you get being a member of IEEE. You get to travel a lot. That has been a great experience and hey, it’s awesome to say that you already know how to organize events and how to manage a team even before you’re out of college.

Well, from there, my journey in the field of technology has only been growing. I’ve been going around learning about new technology and keeping myself updated about the latest technology (thanks to IEEE Spectrum). I saw myself growing from a guy who was just fascinated by technology to being a tech-enthusiast to being a tech-savvy.

IEEE has been along my side throughout my journey always supporting me. Eventually, I expanded my reach and extended my boundaries to work with other domains too (though, always related to technology). I’ve involved myself in various Free and Open Source communities. I’m technically more of a FOSS enthusiast now. In a world that values privacy a lot, I love everything that is free and open to ensure what I’m using is what I actually want. I’m involved with a few FOSS communities like the Free Software Foundation (FSF), Ubuntu, Mozilla and mozilla kerala – the mozilla community in Kerala.

Throughout my tech-journey, I’ve learnt a lot of things including many things that are not related to tech. But all these learning has made me what I am today.

Another aspect of me is my concept of my career. I think I’m a very liberal person. Like my liberal views on privacy, I have a liberal view of a career too. I don’t want to be working ‘under’ anybody. I don’t like the notion of being an employee, however highly reputed company it is (of course, there is one exception – Google). The idea of working on the same software/hardware for more than week intimidates me, let alone work for years. I’m easily bored by a monotonous routine life. Like I said I love travelling, I like to try out new stuff often. But none of these concepts fit into a corporate employee’s portfolio. You are expected to live a life scheduled to follow a routine – wake up, dress up, go to office, sit at the same desk, look at the same screen, have lunch, go back to work (the same boring screen), return from office, do office work at home to meet deadlines, go to bed and the cycle continues. This monotonous life is most common in IT company employees. I hate such a life. What fun is there in life if you can predict every moment of your life? I prefer to be my own boss. I’d rather live life the way I want it than live under somebody else’s nose following their orders. That brings to my concept of my career – something called “Entrepreneurship“. The term is not anything new in the 21st century. Almost everyone who is smart enough and has some logic in his brains startup with something rather than working under somebody and in an atmosphere that he would hate. I’m not trying to imply that I’m a smart-ass or a highly logical person. And I certainly do not have a startup yet. But that is just my idea of a career rather than working as somebody else’s dog following his orders. And I am not saying that I will never take up employment as a career. I was just stating my preferences. 😉

Well, I think that sums a lot about me. I hope I haven’t been boring you. If I was, you wouldn’t be all this way down still reading. I’ll just summarize what I just said in all those paragraphs above :

  • I already said that I love computers and technology
    I’m addicted to my laptop. Give me a electric plug-point and I won’t bother anyone. You won’t even know of my presence.
  • I love music – singing as well as listening. Music is an integral part of my life. I think it has become a part of my identity. I can be found with headsets plugged-in at any point of time.  A laptop bag and headsets completes my identity. 😀
  • I love travelling – it doesn’t matter where to as long as I’m on the move with my headsets plugged in and music is on.
  • Did I mention that I love clicking pics? Well, I do. I don’t remember when or how exactly I got fascinated by this hobby. Maybe since the time I learnt how to use a DSLR. Though I don’t claim to call myself a photographer, I love digitizing memories for the future. 🙂 But unfortunately, I have never got hands on my own camera yet to start exploring the field of photography in detail. All I do is fiddle with frames whenever I get my hands on somebody else’s DSLR camera. 😉

And now, the final piece of the puzzle – things I know and am good at :

  • I love coding – let it be anything. I just love programming though I’m not so well-versed with various programming languages. I’m just a noob who’s still learning. I’m pretty good at C++, a little bit of Java, a little bit of web development (HTML/CSS) and I’m on a quest to learn many more.
  • I think I’m kinda good at designing. I think that comes because I have good imagination. I’m not claiming I have great designing or imaginative skills, but I think I’m good in my own way.
  • I’m good at communication. Public-speaking has been my thing since I was a kid. No, I haven’t won any prizes in public-speaking competitions. But, like I said earlier, I’m good in my own way.

There are 2 things that I left out to give proper explanation above :

  1. Why I decided to finally start blogging now though I had the idea in my head for such a long time (for more than 6years)?
    This could also have been included in the above section, but thought it should be here among unanswered questions. I had mentioned earlier that I was associated with Mozilla Kerala right? Well, it so happened that I found myself to be reviewing and editing blog posts for the community. That is when the idea struck me again – “Hey, I’ve been having this idea of having a blog for such a long time and I haven’t found a specific topic to blog about. But here I am reviewing blog posts for Mozilla Kerala and I think I’m good at it. My language and content-writing skills are good too. Why don’t I make this idea a reality?” And that’s how “Shining Xpressions” came into being. 🙂
  2. Why did I exempt Google when I said I wouldn’t want to be employed by any company however highly-reputed they were?
    I’ve heard that the work atmosphere at google cannot be compared to any other company in the world. Their workspaces are so creative and awesome (so pictures tell me; again, looks can be deceptive). They’ve simply got an awesome creative & design team. No other company gives you the freedom of customizing your own workspace. You can make yourself comfortable the way you want it. So you ultimately are more productive in such an environment than in a monotonous environment.

Well, are you still reading? This is it from me for the time being. I believe I’ve given a very good and detailed picture of myself above. And if you’re still reading this post, I think I’ve kept you interested all this while. I’m very happy and glad that I could grab your attention in my very first post. Thank you for reading all the way down. I appreciate the effort. Please leave your feedback below. I hope you’ll keep visiting back for more posts from me. You could also follow my blog. 😉

Ciao for now. Cheers. 🙂

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