life

Life is about trying out new things. How else are you supposed to know what are you good at. You get to live only once. Make sure it’s worth it. At the end of every year, I try to jot down the things I learned, all good and bad ones. While I find few of them worth cherishing, others are equally valuable to teach us lessons of life. 2016 was a wonderful year. Words would fall short to pen it. For the past few years, I had been wondering what my life is meant to be, what are the things out there which will render me with greatest pleasure, what is the secret ingredient of being happy. It was the year when I finally found the core where my happiness lies. While last year was fully devoted to my physical transformation, this year my focus was mainly on building my skills, to become a better version of myself. People often ask me about the trigger point of all these crazy stuffs that I do. Few people even asked me why do I not value money. All I can say is that they haven’t gone through the dark phase of life which I did. I have witnessed that anything can happen in the blink of an eye. We humans are mortals, made of flesh and blood. All it took me was an event to realize the value of life. Waking up each morning and finding yourself in best health is a blessing. 2016 was a year of diving into the artistic world – Poetry, Photography and Piano. Perhaps, someday I will compile another experience about these 3 P’s of my life.

So what was that event that changed me for good? My life was greatly influenced by the movie Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara (You won’t get a second life). I literally wanted to live it big while trying out all the crazy adventures, exploring the world and having hands on new things. As of now I have tried Bungee jumping, Sky diving, Scuba diving, Para sailing, Sea walking, Flying fox, 18 kms River rafting. In one of the adventures, I met an accident which took from me precious 72 days of my life. It left me devastated and broke. I had no clue on what to do. You can earn lost money but not the lost moments. They are priceless. I could give anything to get back the old life. What kept me alive, more important than oxygen and blood was hope. I realized what Pandora’s box is all about.

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All this time, I couldn’t stop myself asking same questions over and over again. Did I live my life the way I wanted to? Or was it influenced by how others wanted me to? What if there is no tomorrow? The answers of these questions steered my thoughts about how my life should be in a complete different direction. While I am done with adventures, I realized that there are other domains worth exploring. Toughest phase of life teaches you lessons nothing else can.

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Following are 12 lessons I learned in 2016:

1. Live life as if there is no tomorrow. And if you get a chance to witness tomorrow, do it all over again

2. If you love something, make it a habit: Do it regularly, be it playing piano or photography. It will help you improve your skills and to become a better time manager

3. Don’t procrastinate things that don’t take much time doing: Ever forgot to pay electricity or credit card bills on time and regretted doing it instantly you got the bills? If a piece of work requires less than 5 minutes of your attention, do it immediately instead of postponing it. These small tasks usually pile up and then takes more of your time than it should.

4. Had a breakup? Build up your skills: I won’t lecture much on this topic. Love is the sweetest fruit. But sometimes it doesn’t go according to your wish. If you suffered a broken heart, keeping yourself busy helps a lot. Try to learn something new.

5. Find happiness in whatever you do: Science has proven that you learn something quickly if you enjoy it. Happiness plays a very key role in your success. Look at successful people around you. They are far better than others because they love what they do. Don’t do anything just because everyone else is doing. Do it because your passion drives you

6. Meet new people, they have lots to tell you. Examples are better than precepts. People experience life differently. Sometimes talking to them is no less than watching a fiction.

7. Hope is a good thing. Don’t underestimate it

8. Choose friends wisely. Not everyone you consider friend will understand you when you will be undergoing hardest phase of your life. I learned this the hard way

9. When you feel left out, a lone wolf, write your heart out. Believe me, this is how I started writing and it is fun

10. Your parents love you. They will support you when noone else will. You should always try to find time for them no matter how busy your life is. As a matter of fact, I have noticed that people are not that busy. It’s all about managing time and priorities.

11. Wake up an hour early to feel the power of time. Have you ever woke up early and found yourself binding up a lot of smaller tasks? Were you not amazed by finding out how much your day changed? You plan your day in advance and observe the difference between an adhoc and well managed day. Remember, you don’t need an assistant for that.

12. Every year go somewhere you have never been before. Every month take a day off from social networks

Each one of us have different ways of narrating story because we live differently, perceive differently and react differently. If you love reading my way of telling the story, you might like other experiences I penned here – My life experiences.

Here is a list of 12 things I learned in 2015

Copyright © 2016, Aashish Barnwal,  All rights reserved.

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I very well remember the day I met you. The day I saw you, I talked to you.

As I’m writing this, all those golden moments we spent together are flashing in front of my eyes. Those were some of the best days of my life and you changed me for good. I learned to laugh. I learned to care. I learned to see the world from a different perspective altogether. All I can say is that you have given me memories I will cherish. You had a bad impression on me in a good sense. I am a very careful person. But for some reasons, it was hard to be careful when you were around me. I am the kind of person who prefers to bottle up the feelings to make sure noone gets hurt.

While I always liked you and loved you, you never really cared about my feelings. All those long hours were fake. Somehow, I feel you knew this all along. I waited long, really long. Days, weeks, months.

So it’s enough.

I can’t do this anymore. I can’t let emotions trick me into false believes that we can be together. If we were meant to be together, it would have already happened.

In this dilemma between heart and mind, heart has played me enough. Love was always my weakness. It’s time to let mind take the decisions. It’s time to move on. So here is me, letting you finally go. I wish you all the best. Whatever you do, be happy. Because it was your smile which made me fall for you the very first day.

Copyright © 2016, Aashish Barnwal,  All rights reserved.

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A thousand memories rolled down like a motion picture in his eyes when he heard her name after all those years.

“Just an acquaintance”, he whispered with a hard smile as his eyes were strong enough to hold the tears.
He always found challenging to express his feelings for her. How life could have changed if he would have dared once, had spoken those feelings ballooned inside the heart, he was wondering. He knew, somewhere she too had a soft corner for him.
Someone has rightly said, When in love, express it, keeping it to yourself doesn’t help either.
All those memories started playing like a flash motion. He was time travelling in the memory chains.
How can he forget the very first, all of a sudden, small chit chat with her. He still remembers that evening in the library, that she had turned from boring monotonous into a beautiful memory that he still cherishes.
“Hey! I am Ritika”, she said in a joyous tone and moved her hand in an amicable gesture. I am not sure if we know each other, but we are in the same section.
Well it was sort of most unexpected event one could have ever imagined. His eyes grew wide in surprise and he felt like someone has poured bucket filled ice inside his stomach.
Did she catch him looking at her from the corner of book? It was true that he visited library in evening hours just to see her, to see her smile. Her smile that always seemed to hypnotise him. There was such an enchantment she had in her sapphire blue eyes. He could feel his tongue magically glued with some invisible string.
“Hey! I am Ritika”, she chirped again. This time she was smiling. He guessed she had figured out he was not expecting her, at least not at this point of time, when there were people around, sitting in couples, reading, teaching and whispering so called romantic talks.

Somewhere on another thread in his mind was executing few poetic lines…
He kept looking at her and time flew by,
He wondered why he couldn’t take his eyes off her face,
Like the moon and its moonlight,
He kept looking at her with awe,
But never imagined he would get to see her so closely.

“Oh Hi!”, he replied briskly.
“I am Siddhartha”, he was very quick and nervous. “You can call me Sid”, he further added.
“If you don’t mind, can you please help me with few questions? Exams are near and there is so much to read and I haven’t got many friends”, she was somehow able to bind all these words in a deep single breathe. He didn’t need to be very observant to say she had prepared this in prior. She indeed knew well how to break the ice.
“Yeah! Sure”, he still couldn’t believe all this was happening in reality.
She pulled a chair and sit beside him opening the book. His senses were lulled by her ravishing perfume as she pushed herself closer to point to the problems she was finding difficulty into.
“What will he do when he is not able to solve the problem? No, it won’t be good to loose impression in the first encounter itself. She had confidence in him and what will happen if he breaks it. Won’t she think he is just a show off?”, his head was spinning with many questions. Fear seemed to wrap him under her arms.
“But he hardly faced problem in maths before. After all it was his favorite subject and he could spent hours solving equations and all as if it were his girlfriend”, another voice was overpowering the cold fear.
The problems turned out to be a cake walk. There were few instances when he felt she already knew the solution. “Is she testing his intelligence?”, He spoke to himself.
He didn’t have to think much. It was already 6 in the evening and she needed to rush for the hostel. She broke his reverie by snapping her fingers.
“It was nice to meet you Siddy. Hope to see you soon”, she said in sugar coated voice and hurried herself outside the library room before he could say anything. “And thanks”, a distant voice broke the grave silence.
That evening was different. He could feel it. And he realized it when his roomie asked, “Why are you smiling on your own?”
“Just remembered an old joke on pudding”, he replied trying to hide what had just happened.

Few moments no matter how long, give you the best smile, the best happiness.   He spent whole night awake listening to “Only you” in loop.
Looking from a window above, it’s like a story of love
Can you hear me
Came back only yesterday
I’m moving further away
Want you near me

All I need is you to stay
All I need you for another day
And all I ever knew
Only you

To be continued…
Signing off for now. Hope you enjoyed reading this. Part is here – Stranger. Friend. Lover. Acquaintance. – Part 2

Copyright © 2016, Aashish Barnwal,  All rights reserved.

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Life is all about how you live it. We all have got same 24 hours in a day. Some achieve much. Some achieve less. Some do wonders. Some do blunders. It’s about what we learn from our mistakes. This is the top 12 list of things I learnt last year.

1. Be brave. Pretend to be, even you are not. Nobody will know the difference. People cannot read your mind.6G4Ij41463673941

2. Dare to take risks. You would regret less about the things you did than the things you didn’t.vU4EhV1466787770

3. Your virtual life is not going to help you in your physical problems. Find some time out of your busy schedule and meet people you care about.

4. Learn to say NO.Learn to say No

5. Don’t waste time worrying about the people who don’t spend time worrying about you.

6. When angry, count ten.qnycg31466791917.jpg

7. Don’t do bad to people if you can’t do good. You will feel good in the long run.

8. Keep smiling. A simple smile could have you looking several years younger in an instant.Smile

9. Don’t compare your life with the people around you. You have no idea what their journey is all about. l-12487

10. When in love, express it. Keeping it to yourself doesn’t help either.Express love

11. There will be times when you would feel like king of the world. Be patient, humble and down to earth, because that is how people will remember you.hijuoZ1466790187

12. You can sometimes be wrong. Apologize for your mistakes and learn to appreciate people for things they do.8GcIao1466789510

Copyright © 2016, Aashish Barnwal,  All rights reserved.

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Ever since I penned my journey, the response has been quite positive. It seems like a 3 days extended weekend which I was thinking a waste wasn’t a waste at all.

If you haven’t read the second part, please read it here – Journey of a boy from small town to Microsoft – An untold story Part 2

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There were countless moments of mood swing. I already had an offer from Microsoft. I wondered if I should try for other biggies like Facebook or Google. Bottom-line was, I had fallen into procrastination trap. I was shy of 9 months to join Microsoft. I wanted to enjoy life. I wanted to take a break. My then friends at Google and Facebook had mixed suggestions.

“Dude, you should really give FB a try. I can refer you and interview would be scheduled in 2 weeks”.

“It’s time to explore. Once college is over, you are never gonna get it. This is the time to have some fun”.

Out of those precious 9 months, I spent 5 months at home doing almost nothing. Major chunk of my time was invested in only eating and chatting. When boredom seemed to kill me, I just used to compile an article on GeeksforGeeks. It was fun.

Sometimes even a simple mail gives you goosebumps. I had a message from Google recruiter mentioning my profile looked interesting and  if my interest was aligned, they could commence the interview process. With the mail was attached a video covering their expectations from a candidate in Google. I thought of giving a try to Google. But my practice was at a slower pace. Writing articles and solving problems were just to kill time and pure altruistic. Google is a big brand. I definitely wanted to try my luck there. It was just not the right time. It would be a pleasure to enjoy Microsoft etiquette for the time being.

July 13, 2013

The next phase begins

A long rest had finally come to an end. Nothing could make me happier than to see a person waiting at the airport holding a placard with my name imprinted on it. He directly drove us to Rejenta One. A month stay in a 5 star hotel, dedicated car, a driver, couple of good friends and new city. Whole world around me was screaming to explore it.

Life at Microsoft in a nutshell

Life of a Microsoft Engineer

 

GeeksforGeeks after Microsoft

I usually get messages like, Why my contribution to GFG has slowed down. Is it because of my busy schedule?
Seriously speaking, the passion which was ballooned inside me 3 years ago has faded. Coding is not the only thing that fuels me. In my college days, I used to code for fun. Whenever I found myself struck by the boredom lightning, solving a new problem or brainstorming a better solution was the saving grace. My contribution has been greatly compromised and now if I write, my focus is more on the quality rather than quantity. I must say, I am a slow writer.
Sometimes I ask myself, what do I know except coding? Is my life all about staring at the screen and writing geeky characters? A lot of things are there in the world and you won’t know what you would like the best until you give it a try. Life is made up of series of moments. It’s not the number of years we live that matters.

For the past few years, I had been wondering what my life is meant to be, what are the things out there which will render me with greatest pleasure, what is the secret ingredient of being happy.

The other side of my life which eats most of my time when I am not in office writing and debugging code, is as farthest from the geeky profile as it can be. This is a long story. And if you’ve got some free time, read What profession would I have chosen if each profession is equally valued and earns me equal salary?  on a boring day while sipping a cup of coffee. I am sure you would like it.

Geek on the top

A usual week day, a mail popped up asking for my interview. It’s really weird if someone asks questions about you and your life which is going to be published on a broad scale.

The interview is published here – Geek on the top – Aashish Barnwal | Make a habit of writing clean, readable, flexible and robust code

I am still learning. I am still exploring. It’s always fun to try out new things and most importantly, we must find happiness in whatever we do.

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Based on requests from many, I have documented the tips and tricks on cracking top MNCs. I hope you find it useful:

How to prepare for top MNCs?

 

Signing off for now. Hope you enjoyed reading this. Everyone has a journey. Well this is my journey.

Copyright © 2016, Aashish Barnwal,  All rights reserved.
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I usually do not write diaries. Since this is probably the best two days of my life, I thought to pen it down.
24th September 2012: A great day for me. Hired by Microsoft, India.

I traveled to Hyderabad to attend an event organized by Microsoft, called the New Hire’s Day on 8-9th march 2013. I with my friend Abhinav boarded flight on 7th march from Bhubaneswar. We were more excited as this was our first trip by air and that too fully sponsored by MS. We were warm welcomed on the Hyderabad airport. We were taken to the Re:gen:ta One(Five star hotel). We were the first one to arrive Hyderabad(7th afternoon). So we kept on exploring the hotel room. The hotel was awesome and it had everything you can think of. The only thing it missed that there was no lock in the bathroom. 😛 Anyways, i enjoyed a lot. I have attached few pictures of the hotel.

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People started landing from different parts of the country right from the 7th evening. We interacted with few of them. I met my roomie Akshit Khurana, a very cool guy. Each of us received packages in the hotel itself which included a MS T-shirt and schedule of the event to be held in the next two days. The great thing was that color of the T-shirt represented team so that we could find it easy to interact with members of same team. We were supposed to wear the T-shirts on the next day.

The main event started on 8th morning. We were taken to the MS campus at 8:30 AM. We got NHD I-cards which was representing a random team name (This had nothing to do with our actual teams). The event started with some talks(as of our surprise, it was not boring, we enjoyed it fully) from great leaders regarding careers @Microsoft and how they did it, followed by a tea break. Then, we had an ice-breaker session. This was a kind of intro program so that we could mingle with each other in our team and know the team and its product better. We had great fun together. Everyone was interactive. MS is full of smart people where you get a chance to learn from everyone. We learned about the products more closely we would be working on. We also played some games together. Few of us got goodies too. Within half an hour, the environment melted and we had interacted with most of us. The session ended on 1:00 PM.
At about 2:30 PM, academia session started. They told us how MS is organizing varieties of events like http://Code.Fun.Do in different colleges to pick up the talented people apart from campus hires. There was a discussion on how they could improve such programs and events.

One of the best things in MS is that the working life is very flexible here. You can come at any time and leave at any time. There are many exciting things in the campus which won’t make you feel bored and which make it a wonderful place to work. We(I and Abhinav) played Kinect(first time) where your physical activities are synchronized with the game. It was an amazing experience.
There was a photo session where we had a lot of pictures(by MS of course). I will attach it once they upload it.

Real fun begins.
The main fun began at about 5:00 PM. We were clustered in the hall for group photo session where the environment suddenly became noisy and some of the previous year hires started dancing. Then everyone went mad and each of us jumped onto the dance floor to rock on. We danced a lot. We also got chance to visit the MS campus. Guys I must say the campus is beautiful and amazing. One eye catcher is that you will find road running from the 7th floor of the building. Then it was time for some D.J. We all danced a lot (even me, and I’m not one who likes to dance) and had dinner. There were some small games. People got chocolates for winning it. The food was great. This ended the first day at Microsoft.

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The next day was something challenging for us. We were told to group together with team name as indicated in our NHD I-cards. We faced Engineering Challenge. We were given some stuff and we had to make a mechanical structure. The major challenge was that they told us to do it in steps. Design. Implement. Test. The main objective was to make us learn how to work in a team while having fun. We had a lot of fun together. Special thanks to Richa Bansal, Aarif Jindani, Manish Kumar, Saurabh Agarwal, Ritu Lakhotia, Amritha Raghunath, Prateek Agarwal , Naresh Kumar and Harshit Pahuja. It was almost done, we just missed something. It was really fun interacting with you guys. Cheers. 🙂 🙂

The one thing which makes MS an amazing place is that nobody cares how you look and what is your background. The only thing which they care is work hard and party harder.

All good things come to an end..
They were right. After the NHD, you will keep on counting the days of your joining. Great food. Free cold drinks. Beautiful and amazing campus. Smart and innovative people. Diverse culture. Everything just blew away my mind.

And here is the pic of the day. I am the one in the middle. Red represents office team 🙂
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Copyright © 2013, Aashish Barnwal,  All rights reserved.
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