Happy Teachers Day to everyone out there. Coming from a family of many many teachers and inspired by dad, I was very sure I’ll become a teacher later. While that surely didn’t happen, I still enjoy teaching a lot.
When I just joined the college as a clueless kid, there were some folks who served as a great mentor and helped me learn things along the way. We used to hang out in our own lab called Sun lab. The machines in this lab were thin clients with just a terminal. On the first day when I met these folks, I was super worried about them ragging us. But all they did was to give me a server and asked me to do whatever I can do with it. Of course, I gave up within 5 minutes (I think I was asked to write some text in vim). Thankfully, that motivated me to learn more about that black terminal (Linux) and server management (which came in very handy when we just started HackerRank).
Manu taught me everything related to building scalable/manageable software, hacking skills, and everything else. I still clearly remember when he “cheating” by using VNC in the Windows machine of CAD lab. I was jaw dropped when the system “booted” into Linux with an Alt + Tab. After having all the fun, he explained the concept of VMs and VNC patiently.
Shankar Ganesh aka (Shagan) – taught me every single security/hacking trick I know now (grub password, key logging, phishing). He was the reason why I got into Novell Open Source Internship Program (NOSIP) for the LDTP (Linux Desktop Testing Project) and the reason why I was even able to get into Google Summer of Code the next year.
Along with the technical stuff, I learned how and when one should defy the rules. For example, the picture above is one of our college wallpapers, and having “hot” wallpapers weren’t allowed. But no rules apply to Shagan and I picked this good habit (defying the rules and not the hot wallpaper) from him.
Alagu – Gave us all access to internet servers. Also when we hacked his own server later and deleted all the web pages, he let us go without killing us :P. My first PHP “large scale” PHP project was under him and still thankful for getting me a server in the sun lab. :-). The above photo is us posing with “our” server.
Manas Garg – Taught me anything and everything I know now. Managing people, delivering projects, people’s happiness, and everything else I literally copied from him. Listing everything I learned from him will take up this entire blog post.
Choose your mentors wisely, that decides how you get shaped up
I saw the above quote on social media recently. While I agree with that 100%, in my case, I’ve been totally lucky to come across such great mentors who helped me get started at the right time. I don’t think I chose them but was totally lucky to find the right people at the right time.
Now, I’m a lot more mature and realize there is something to learn from everyone I interact with. Including the interns, colleagues, friends, and family, I’m learning, re-learning, and unlearning something every single day. Learning from everyone is a lot more fun and challenging.
Thank you all for making me what I’m today!