Who am I?

“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”

― Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning.

This quote from my favourite book strikes a deep chord within me and it is my biggest hope that I can show the same mental fortitude to whatever lies in wait for me.

Professional

I work as a Technical Leader in Machine Learning for Parabole.ai.

It’s weird how I came about to be a machine learning engineer having zero experience in that before I joined this job, especially in a world all new CS engineers want to do is to get into Data Science. It all happened when I took the least paying job from the offers I had in 2017, packed a bag, and came to join an early-stage company without having any idea what the company did. The only thing I knew about it, they worked with text and I always felt an inherent connection with text.


Even during the initial programming days, when I was 12 years old, I would always enjoy solving problems involving strings more than writing code that displays patterns. I have come a long way since then, but text still makes sense to me.

I did not know what I was doing, but I just kept on doing it. I kept Googling stuff and it kept working. And three years down the line I am now a Technical Leader. Fancy words. However, it just means I need to Google about more stuff now.

I have had multiple offers both from academia and from other organizations. Nevertheless, I am still at Parabole after 3 and a half years.

Why? I just never felt the need to switch. I like the team, I enjoy the work that we do and I take ownership of the work that I have done. I feel proud of where the company stands today based on all the missed weekends, sleepless nights, and uncountable demos.

But if my boss is reading this,

Hey boss, just a small reminder. There are only 24 hours in a day. Take a break and let me have one as well.

Personal

As already established, I am a pretty simple guy who tries his best to live his life by a set of principles that my experiences have taught me. Even in this world where click baits are a sign of success, I am still very old-school.

Here are some of the things I enjoy

  • Reading & Writing
    I think this comes part and parcel with being a Bong. I have always loved books. They are a world of their own. During the end of high school, a lot of people had asked me, why was I not choosing literature as a major – such was my fascination with the subject. I enjoyed fiction just so much more than any book that was actually a part of the course. I remember our librarian getting exasperated once because I had finished almost all of the books which could be issued. I was of course not interested in any reference books which I actually should have studied. The fascination for reading books is still there, but now I majorly use audiobooks. For 2020, my aim was to read 12 books in the year, but because of the pandemic, I found a lot more free time and finished the year with 20. Details about them can be found on the Personal page.

    I like writing. Penning down my thoughts. More like typing down my thoughts nowadays. I write stories. Sometimes some other forms as well. However, after some pieces in school magazines, I have never given any piece for publication. Because when I reread them, I don’t like them anymore. It always feels like something is missing.

    Very few people know I write. That includes my closest friends. I am an extremely moody writer – but I think I am a decent one. Maybe someday in the future, I will start liking to read what I write. Till then, it’s majorly for my eyes only.

  • Football & Sports
    I have loved football more than anything else all my life. I have played for my college team and I am part of an amateur football club in Bangalore. In the final match of the last tournament that I had played, I picked up an injury. Torn ACL + Sprained MCL. I don’t know if I can ever come back to the field and become the player I was before the injury. But that’s okay. It’s a part and parcel of being an athlete.

    Even other than football, I generally enjoy sports. Badminton, table-tennis almost any sport under the sun. Except for basketball. I suck at basketball.

  • Guitar
    I picked up the guitar on a whim. A friend was getting bored and said he wanted to get a musical instrument and told me to do the same. I thought what the hell and ordered a guitar.
    I am not particularly good at it by any stretch, but I enjoy playing it.

  • Chess
    I got into chess during the Covid-19 lockdown. But I am comically horrible at it. I have been sniggered out of the Gariahat Chess Club. ( I mean going there was a stretch, what did I expect?). But I still enjoy playing it. 🙂
  • Traveling
    Every other weekend I will be out on a new trip or a new trek, often not even having planned something. I definitely love to travel with my friends but the best trips I have had are solo backpacking.
    My travels generally start with one of my friends giving me a call on Friday morning, Wanna go? And the answer is always yes.

  • Teaching
    It is one of my deepest passions. I feel alive in front of a whiteboard.
    I had a few horrible teachers from whom I learned very little. I would be frustrated and think ‘How would I have taught what they are trying to teach?’.
    That gave rise to teaching friends, then part-time teachings here and there, in NGOs for the underprivileged.
    Honestly, I feel like it is one of the very few things I am actually good at.

  • Listening
    Yes, this is a weird one. But I feel everyone has a story to tell. Unfortunately, people are too busy talking to actually listen to the person in front of them.
    I love to hear everyone’s stories. Often, what I write, I just give voice to a story I personally found interesting.

    I have a future plan of opening a Youtube channel, to just walk up to strangers on the street and ask them their stories. Don’t know how awkward it will be, but I want to do that someday.

  • Technology
    This list cannot end without technology. Technology is the best thing in the world right now, and I love it!

Why are you here?

I am not on any social media. So, for me it is a place to vent. To publish my thoughts, my journey, anything personal I feel like sharing.

But you are here now. Why?
You are most welcome to stay.
But why here of the millions of web-pages on the internet?

Are you a person who needs help with some machine learning or software problems?

Are you looking for someone to play chess with?

Are you a person who is suffering from some mental health issues?

Are you a person who has just wandered off the internet somehow and has a story to tell?

I would love to hear from you. Please mail me at [email protected]

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