I turned 30 yrs a few weeks. I thought that it was time to write about all the things I’ve done and all I’ve not. For obvious reasons the only ones I mention here are the ones I would like to share.
Switched the school:
When I was in the 6th grade I had a terrible time with health. I used to have acute asthma and it flared up when we moved to our newly built house “Alwal” in Secunderabad area. My school was about 20 Kms from where we stayed. I barely attended 10 or so classes at St. Paul’s High School in the 6th grade. Given the fact that travel does not make things better for someone like me my father, against all protests from my mother, decided to move me to a school nearer to our place – Valerian Grammar High School. I have to say that it changed the way I saw the world. For while I was @ St. Paul’s I only thought about studies and all of my “friends” were competitors. I wanted to be 1st in the class but never achieved it. Most of the kids came from a middle class bg and hence they all studied hard. VGHS by contrast was full of the working class. Thus most of the kids came from poor educational bg. I came 2nd easily – inspite of having trouble with my health.
If I had continued studying @ St Paul’s I am sure I would have gone on to join Ramiah and eventually IITs – mostly because of the influence of the people around me and the studies oriented environment. VGHS, by contrast, made me question EVERYTHING. It included why the hell should I study. Coming 1st requires a lot of effort. 2nd by contrast was not bad – but I got time to do other things I loved. A 1st would mean sacrificing what I like for a badge. So essentially I would have turned into a competitive man – successful by all accounts and a different set of friends.
I got into the IIIT, Hyd on the first try. I don’t think it meant anything to me because I didn’t know what computers mean and what difference they make to mankind. Had I given another shot @ IIT, I am sure I would have hit <500 rank and > 400 rank (hence no Computer Sciences). I am pretty sure that if I had gone down that path I would have gone West after applying for an MS/PhD and become one more NRI.
So essentially, I would have become an NRI, not living in India. My parents would have awesome photographs of me, my wife and maybe kid(s).
Picking Game Development as a career option:
As a Game Developer, I have a great time @ work. Never am I in a single location. I always get to think and work with the next best thing. However gamedev does not pay high flying salaries like MS/Google/Amazon do. I would have, in all probability, gone on to work for a large company in either telecommuncations software or banking software. However I would have definitely still continued to play video games. Working in a creative field definitely has an impact on me. I am ever restless and I feel quite irritated because there are so many things I can do but I cannot decide which ones to work on.
So essentially, I would have become a well paid Programme/Product Manager at a high flying company, I would own a Santro/Alto/City <or one of the expensive by typical alternatives>, would be very well versed with the organisational processes and would wear nothing other than formals 5 days a week.
Returning from South Korea:
GOD I love South Korea. I love Softmax. I would not have met the likes of Jack, Kwang Sub, Jackie, Xeeny, SRabbit, Zeppelin, Byung Jun, Il kun, Euray, Ryouma … and the list goes on. This doesn’t even include the many friends I made outside of work, especially the ones from Animal Rescue Korea. Had I not returned from Korea, I am not sure if I would be married to my lovely wife, sort of obviously. On the other hand I probably would have pretty much dropped anchor in Korea. It is a wonderful place where I would have been making more games in all probability online games. It also means that I would not be working for Sierra Atlantic (now a subsidiary of Hitachi Consulting btw) with the likes of Gopal. Working at SA taught me some valuable lessons – most of them non technical. I am responsible for the gaming vertical and that would NOT have been the case if I had continued to stay in Korea. Besides I realised that I am better at mobilising people, motivating then and ensuring that my team stays happy with what they are doing at work. I would have continued to think of myself as a one man army.
So essentially, I would have been a solo programmer, hacking away at code, probably fairer, would be visiting India on “vacations”, still going to XO bar and having fruit salad (mostly complimentary aka “service”) with Xeeny and Byung Jun, still training dogs and working with ARK, atleast 10 Kgs less than what I am right now.
Getting married to Kanchana:
I know for sure that there will be no one else who understands me better than my wife. I am pretty sure that I would have been forced to move and stay away from my parents. I don’t think I would have converted my pseudo wife into talking the way I do. In all probability she would be shorter than my wife who is quite tall for Indian standards. Would be spending loads of money on stupid shopping and cosmetics. Probably miserable is the word I am looking for.
*phew* None of the above actually make me feel sad – just nostalgic and amused. I feel good about the decisions I took. Given a repeat performance I am sure I would take the same decisions all over again. Now for the main part – this article is just a musing. Do not try to tell me that I am wrong – it is just a musing. It is a castle in the air, salt in the water…