DAY 1 (17/09/2022):
At 5:00 AM, I woke up, bathed, and got ready for the hackathon. An initial thought was to miss the hackathon as it was early morning and none of us is an early bird xD.
There were around twelve people from our college whom we knew, so we decided to go together to the venue as no one was sure where it was and how to get there. So, we all gathered at our college gate at 6:30 AM and waited for the auto to arrive. It was morning and as our college is on the Meerut-Ghaziabad highway, not many public transport facilities are available there. We skipped a couple of autos in the hope that we will get a full auto to the nearest metro station (which is a 40-minute ride from our college) until we realized that it is not going to happen, so, we split ourselves into groups and reached the metro station in different autos.
We took the metro to Kashmere Gate metro station and reached there at 7:30 AM before we realized that none of us has eaten anything since last night and all were hungry and nothing much was available at the metro station too. We had to wait till 8:00 AM until McD opens (yes, we were their first customers on that day) and we had our first meal of the day- A burger with fries.
Again, we took the metro to the nearest metro station from college and reached there exactly at 9:00 AM (We were supposed to report to college at 9:00 AM, but we were still not there yet. Again we took an auto and reached the college by 9:30 AM, rushing to the auditorium for the opening ceremony.
We were exactly on time. There was a great speech by Dr. V.K. Panchal, Mr. Nick Quinlan, and Mr. Kanishk Gaur. Then Mr. Anmol and Mr. Mohit Sharma gave a brief introduction about the hackathon and its sponsors.
Hacking begins at around 12:00 PM. The auditorium was full, so we were assigned desks in the nearby lab. It took about half an hour to set up everything and fix all the issues before we officially started. We begin with full energy and distributed the work among the team and started on our part. I was kinda beginner in the domain we’re working on, so it took me a little bit more time to settle in. At around 2:00 PM, we went for lunch to the mess, and while returning from the mess, we saw a pickup truck with the “Monster” logo. There was a long line on that truck before we realized that they were distributing Monster Energy drink cans to all the hackers! We took ours, took it to our work desk, and got charged up while hacking.
Then our hack continued. At around 4:30 PM, we decided to take a break, and to our surprise, we saw Mr. Nick Quinlan on a visit. We went to him in the auditorium, introduced ourselves and gave him a brief description of our idea, and got some photos clicked with him (We thought we won’t get this chance again). He was quite amazed that we were working on AR/VR tech and showed his interest in the domain. Although it was not his domain, he told us to ask him for any kind of mentoring as he had some contacts who can help us in case.
Followed by this, we were highly motivated and resumed our hack again. Again after an hour, our motivation was high, but our energy was down, so we decided to take a tea break. We had tea with Maggi from the canteen and discussed how we can make more changes and improve our project during the break.
We were back on the hacking again. Well, to be specific, it was not that intense hacking, rather than it was full of fun. We had other teams from our college, and the vibe of the room was full of energy and motivation, so I can say that you can’t get exhausted in that environment.
Coming to my favorite part of the event, we took our next break when we heard the word DJ NIGHT, yes, you guessed that right. We were exhausted but as soon as we entered that room where the DJ was set up and the “Gypsy” song was playing, we rocked. We danced like there was no tomorrow. Instead of getting tired, there was a surge of energy in that room. Everyone was vibing including the organizing committee. But sadly, that DJ night didn’t last long due to permission from authorities in the college.
After rocking the dance floor, we went for our dinner at the mess. After having the meal, we again went for a walk with our college buddies. We clicked photos, had chocolates, roamed the campus (it was a really big campus), and were back at around 10:00 PM to our desks. Although our project was around 50% completed by the time, we decided not to rest and continue with our work.
DAY 2 (18/09/2022):
It was cold in there, so we sat there wrapped in quilts and shawls. The time passed by, some of us including me took quick naps on the desk itself as we didn’t have any mattresses at that time. At around 2:00 AM, I and my friend decided to get a chocolate brownie (okay, to be honest, I had my eyes on that brownie from the time we arrived but I needed someone to go and eat it with me, lol). We went there, had that brownie and it was JUST AWESOME. We came back and it has been around 21 hours since we properly slept. We were tired, but the energy in the room was still high. While returning, we arranged a couple of mattresses and bedsheets, so if anyone wants to rest can rest.
Again, back in the lab, a major part of our work was done, so we decided to take chill and play games. We set the mattress and started with “Raja Wazir Chor Sipahi”, and ended with “Damsharas”. Fun was over by 4:00 AM when everyone went to sleep, but I stayed. I listened to songs while they slept and met one of my friends again, going for a coffee at 5:00 AM.
When I came back, I slept. I woke up again at 8:00 AM seeing my all teammates working hard while I was asleep. Well, we skipped breakfast and fast forward to that day, it was 4:00 PM. We had our lunch and our project along with the presentation was ready. We submitted it at the given time and the judgment round started. We were nervous, but confident at the same time. We were told that we’ll be visited by three judges but that count increased to five and now we were wondering what did we do wrong (lol). We were dead tired by the end of the last presentation when we got a Pizza and Frooti from the OC. Although we got no negative feedback from the judges and only some suggestions that we can work on, we were still not very confident that we’ll win. The next day, it was our exam, so there was an initial thought that we should leave for our college, and skip the closing ceremony. Well, we decided to stay, and fast forward to the closing ceremony, we were seated in the auditorium with our other college buddies.
The closing ceremony started and tension in the room was high! First, the price for the all-girls team was declared. Then for the third position, the winner was “Team7”, we were from the same college and we screamed for them. Like we were super happy for them. Now, we had some hope that we can conquer the second position, but it was some other team. Now coming to the announcement of the First position, the announcement was made: “TEAM THYNK”.
For a moment, I was sitting there numb. I forgot our own team’s name! What I remember is my teammate holding my hand and we started walking to the stage, still in doubt whether there is any other team named “Think”. But as soon as they told us that we made our project using AR/VR, we were convinced that it was us.
There we were, standing on the stage again with all the dignitaries and Mr. Nick. It was the first time I ever won something and the whole audience was looking at us. I was like happy and nervous at the same time, still, I can’t describe that feeling. I am still having goosebumps while writing this. We received the big cheque, came back to our seats, and can’t describe the happiness there. Two teams, both winning ones. The event concluded that night only and we took the goodies and went back to pack our items and leave. It was already late, and we were exhausted so we decided to stay in the college itself and went to the classroom where we celebrated first and then slept.
We left the college the next day with a lot of memories and fun. Never thought that we will return as winners of Hack the Mountains. I was wondering what if I decided not to come there and complete my nap on a Saturday morning while walking to the gate of the college.
Well, this was our journey and experience, I know there is more to it, but I guess I can’t describe the whole event in words, you’d have to be there to experience it. I just want to say, don’t leave any opportunity that you get! You don’t know when things can go in your favor!
Anshul Nigam, Team THYNK
First position, HTM3.0