My grandfather taught me the real engineering
First thing first… What is engineering to you?
For me, Engineering is not about spending 4 years in college and studying a few topics/subjects, getting good marks… proceeding to next semester . And at the end having a good CGPA. Because if that’s engineering.. I sucked at it.
And Now I realise, Graduating from a small college based out of a remote area in haryana, affiliated to a 3rd class university. And getting worried around your marks, may be wasn’t just worth it.
To me engineering is the problem solving skills, Engineering enables this understanding to come to life through problem solving, designing and building things. The vision to view a situation in a way to automate it as much as possible. Engineering come out of laziness(for me at least), because check out this guy’s profile who wrote a few really awesome automating scripts out of laziness, that included Sending automated emails like “not feeling well/gonna work from home” etc. Adds a random “reason” from another predefined array of strings, in case of hangover.
How did that all start
I am a guy from a lower middle class family based out of a small place in haryana, just a few miles away from the capital of the country,New Delhi. That place had just enough facilities, to be counted in urban area.
Born and bought in a joint family I was very close to my grandfather. He was a mechanic in his young age. He did experiment a lot of things in his life. Coming from a very small town in UP, He learnt to repair radio transmitters in his early age. And then worked with TV sets. B/W was the trend back then. Then He also had a bicycle repair shop. But then he changed his profession as a cook in a 5-star hotel. I really don’t know how this transition happened. My father also has same background. He used to repair wrist watches. And a few more people in my family also were connected to similar background.
So from a lower middle class fam, where you try to save every penny possible for the betterment of family and future, we use to also save on repair costs for anything’s broken down at home, as much as possible.
From electric sockets and other electronic items at home to 2-wheelers, I have seen my grandfather repairing anything. Retired from his work he also had time for this all. And I also use to get my hands dirty with him in most of his work.
By the time I was 13–14, I started to efficiently help my grandfather with all this stuff, which included basics of repairing fans, electric wiring at houses, repairing his scooter, my bicycle, Motors, jet pumps, voltage stabilisers etc. We never repaired internal wiring of all the motors, fans or circuits, as that required extra set of tools etc, or better skills. In this all, he was always concerned about my security. So he didn’t let me deal with live wires till I was around 16. I used to also deal with cassette players, and setting up speakers and FM radio sets with one of my uncles. Apart from this I used to open up my battery powered mechanical toys like toyCars, etc. to extract small motors and small bulbs and LEDs out of it.
Basic education added to it
My school wasn’t a big school, but one of the best school in the town. Studies till 7th and 8th standard was really useless for me, except for maths. I wasn’t just not good at it, But I sucked at it. I just used to somehow score marks needed to pass till then.
But life changed when I actually started studying Science, in 9th standard and understood all behind the scene concepts of various things I have been practicing at house. Like I already knew that it will spark up and blow up if -ive and +ive polarity of wires touched, but I didn’t know why? I knew about a motor converting electricity to mechanical energy, But how? I used a small motor out of one of my toy car and reversely connected the rotating shaft to another motor and generated electricity out of the latter one, Just for the proof of concept. But I didn’t know how did generators internally worked.
Then when I was in 9th standard textbooks started making sense to me. Science books started explaining things, Polarity, charge, electrons in electronics and Electromagnets, Fleming left hand, right hand rules. All started to build my logics.
Into the technology
By this time I was very much interested in this all this, But as a childhood dreams or fantasy, I always wanted to be a pilot. But an introvert child, not good at school except for maths and science, scared to talk to any new person and in a family where nobody knew how could I pursue my dream, I didn’t know What do to with that.
Meanwhile, I got so much interested in this, that my life’s goal subtly changed to be an engineer. In around 2005, with a few computer lab classes in school and a few of my friends having PCs at home, increased my interest in it. And I opted for Introductory IT as an additional subject in my 10th boards. With no classes in the school and self study got me good marks, boosted my confidence and gave me the courage to choose C++ as a main subject in 11th standard along with Science(Non-medical).
PS: I never liked biology. After this the path was a little set. Computer science engineering.
What wasn’t Right
The education system! The college! It was just NOT RIGHT. It was focussed over the theoretical knowledge rather than practical. I was a person more into labs and getting practical knowledge but Everyone else was just running towards getting marks in mains which was more leaning to how much you write in exam. Labs were like formality. Again, marks in these labs etc were based on how good are you in internal theory exams. So I actually did not learn much out of the college other than theory, and very less practical knowledge in so-called Labs. Later on, after graduation, I tried implementing a few of these theoretical knowledge into other stuff as my side projects. I still am doing so at times.
And here I am, a CS engineer.