An incident that changed my life!

The following incidents happened with me in December (2015) while I was going to Amritapuri, Kerela with my two other team-mates to take part in ACM-ICPC regionals.

It was during my 4th of semester I got to know about Competitive Programming and ACM International Collegiate Programming Contest (ICPC), later we formed a team and planned to take part in the regional. Luckily the dates of the regional didn’t clash with our Semester dates so we registered for the Online round. Finally we cleared the online round and my team got selected for the Onsite regional. I was always excited about trips so I planned the whole train journey myself and booked the tickets of our train. But at the last moment there was a rumor that the semester might get postponed. After we got to know this, Me and my team-mate @Arpan Mukerjee started to panic about this decision made by our University (MAKAUT) as we wanted to take part in the regional so badly. Then I wrote a letter to the head of MAKAUT requesting to make the semester exams end by 16th of December and I also mentioned the reason behind it. At last we got the latest dates of our semester and luckily it was rescheduled to get over on 17th of December(If it would have been after 17th then we would have had no other choice rather than cancelling the whole trip as we had to report at the Amrita University latest by 20th of Dec), so we had no other choice and we had to cancel our tickets and re-plan our journey to make it happen.

On 17th of December our semester (5th) got over and we were about to catch the train from Howrah Station at 8:35 pm. I have always been a procrastinator and purposely decided to pack my bag at the last moment. While I was packing my bag suddenly there was a power cut and I had to suffer for this. So I finished packing my bag and got ready as fast a possible. As there was no Wi-Fi available due to power cut and No internet on my phone I couldn’t book a Cab. I had no other choice so I went out to find a taxi/cab and eventually I got late for this. Finally I found a taxi and quickly put my luggage inside and told the driver to take to me as fast as possible to Howrah so that I don’t miss the Train. While I was in taxi, the rest of the team members had already reached the station. The Driver was old but still he managed to drop me by at the station 20 mins before the train’s departure but suddenly I realized that I forgot to carry the dinner which my mom cooked for me. Well it was too late to notice I guess and I paid the taxi fare, the old man waved me good bye and I started to walk towards the platform.
Since we re-planned the journey at the last moment our tickets were in RAC(Reserved against cancellation) so we had to share our seats until it got confirmed. The train’s (Yeswanthpur Express) condition was worse.

This was the condition in front of us………

Still we enjoyed our journey. As per the schedule we needed to halt our journey and catch the next train to Allepey from Katpadi Junction.

It was around 1:35 AM when we reached Katpadi but only a few people got down there along with us and within a few minutes they all departed.
After we deboarded the train we washed our faces to feel fresh. We saw a small waiting room in the platform and walked towards it.
Soon we entered the waiting room it. It was clumsy, dusty and abandoned for a long time. One of my team mate started charging his phone (luckily two of them were working).

Unused waiting room at Katpadi Junction

I love photography and wherever I go I always carry my Photography gear/kit with me. 
 So I took my DLSR out from my bag and started to explore the platform and there was no one in the platform and a little far way we saw a tube-light blinking randomly. The atmosphere was a bit spooky with chilly winds blowing all over and we couldn’t find anything there. I was taking photographs but suddenly there was an indication of low battery on my Camera. So I moved to the abandoned waiting room to re-charge the battery. I searched my Backpack for the charger but it was not there! So I thought I have kept it inside the trolley which I was also carrying. But still I couldn’t find it why it was not there!
For me it looked impossible and I couldn’t believe I had forgotten to carry the charger with me.

Along side a man came and told that we were currently at the end/last platform and we need to move on to platform no. 1 (which has the entrance as well as exit gate) to catch the train (Alleppey Express) which was scheduled to arrive at 4:30 am.
We took the over-bridge to go to platform number one. While again I searched almost everywhere but still couldn’t find the charger. Well it was cleared that I had forgotten to carry my charger with me to this trip. I always carried an extra battery as a backup with me in case of emergency so I took it out but this time this battery too had no charge in it!!!
Well this was pretty frustrating and I had no explanation for this to myself. I started to think how can this actually happen ? I couldn’t believe that something like this can actually happen!

Everything got messed up and I started talking to myself.
How can someone who loves photography so much, can forget to carry a charger? 
How careless he is?
And many other random thoughts and questions started to crop up on my mind to which I had no answer.

It was 3:30 am and the scene was something like this.

Waiting for the train to arrive!

I decided to take a walk on the platform. Alongside a train arrived on platform no. 3 and I started to look for explanations.
I started to think in a reverse manner. The First question that came up was, “ When was the last time I went for a Photo walk ?” Well I don’t remember that! :/ And I started to realize that how much detached I got from Photography. I wont say that I sacrificed Photography for Competitive Coding but actually I couldn’t make time for it and unknowingly I lost its touch :(
To be honest the thing was not just merely about “forgetting to carry a charger” it was something much more than that.
I was always passionate about photography, I bought a DSLR from my own pocket money (when I was in my 1st year in college) as I was curious and always wanted to learn and explore. I took part in many photography competitions hosted by colleges, universities and other organizations. I won most of them and till date four of my photographs were published by t2 (The Telegraph-t2 ). Well I never did nor started photography for winning prizes , I did it just because I enjoyed a lot while taking pictures and framing them.
But have you ever thought why someone wins prizes or gets recognition by doing his/her work ? Have you ? Well I think when you do something you love (anything, it may be any kind of work) it is surely loves you back! So did my camera. It gave me great photographs and the prizes were just a bonus to me.
But from early-mid 2015 onwards I lost its touch and this was the present condition.
I believe this is one of the most important reasons why people fail in life and relationships. I couldn’t make time for Photography as I gave time to coding (which I was not good at) as I was also very passionate about it and I wanted to learn it too.
And I realised that since I lost too much of touch with Photography and Camera , silently it left me and went far away from me in a shocking manner! and it is very hard to explain in words how I was feeling at that time! Slowly everything started to get clear to me, actually the mistake was not made while packing the bag, it was made a long long ago. (And for the rest of my journey, literally I hugged my camera backpack when ever I slept in the train and kept it alongside me every time, as for a moment I though I was about to lose it.)
It was pin drop silence around me, the only thing I could hear was sound of cold chilly winds blowing. Alongside the train which had arrived on platform no. 3 a few minutes ago blew a long whistle and left the platform making things everything silent again.

Now everything was crystal clear to me and after that I made a promise to myself and it was that “Whatever I’ll do from today onwards, maybe how small or big the work is I’ll do with love, care and passion.” I also realised that this was not the correct time to think what happened as my only reason to come this far from home was to take part in ACM-ICPC regional. So for the time being I decided to move on from what ever happened and focus on the upcoming event.

Few hours later the train arrived (Allahpuza Express) and we boarded the train. The train journey was more pathetic than we expected. We deboarded the train at Alleppey (next evening) and took a passenger train to reach our ultimate destination “Kayamkulam”. Bus facility was provided by Amrita University from the station.
On the main event day we didn’t perform that well in the competition (ACM ICPC) but our experience there in those two — three days were quite enriching as we got to learn so many things and met some amazing people. In one word it was simply amazing!

A Photograph of me on the right and my senior team-mate at the left

The down journey was a lot better compared to the up journey. During my whole train journey (both up & down) I met a software engineer working in a startup, a school teacher , an army men, a guy from Chennai who was travelling to Kharagpur for his entrance examinations and last but not the least another bengali guy who was returning to Kolkata from Chennai central shared the same seats with us. He was an IHM BHU graduate currently working at Oberoi Hotels. He too shared his life experiences with us and gave us some valuable advice for future. In the end it was a fun ride and a great experience which I’ll never forget.

Well the trip tested me a lot other than my coding abilities!

1. To make something happen, its always about how badly you want it.

2. Procrastination is good as well as bad.

3. Love is very powerful, to succeed one should love whatever he/she does.

4. Life is Hard but beautiful too if you keep moving!

5. To know a person well, one must travel with him/her at-least once.

6. Don’t be at the same place, keep moving and see the world around you, trust me its amazing!

7. Maturity comes with experience and damage.

8. Fall in love with your work, it will stay with you forever! :)

Thank you so much for taking out your time and reading this!

If you have time please visit my photography page : PAGE

Link to ACM-ICPC Trip album : ACM-ICPC TRIP 2015

P.S. : Currently I’m in good well — balanced relationship with Coding and Photography! :p and I’m enjoying it! :D