Many of my friends wonder how a shy literature-loving music-enthusiast with a degree in business administration evolved from a bath-accessory sales rep into a full-time developer, programming in around 4 languages, speaking over 6½ languages, making over 50 times his first pay-check. It’s been 10 years since I wrote my first lines of code, so I thought I’d share my experiences for the decade 2008-2018. Like the So Far Away song (by Staind) says, “I can forgive and I’m not ashamed to be the person that I am today”.

To begin with, I’m very lucky that my parents did a fantabulous job at raising and educating me – I can’t thank them enough. However, looking back, my childhood was a bit different from that of an average kid. Today I am not ashamed to accept that I spent ~6 important years of my life struggling with BDD. Having decided to leave the past behind, I picked up hip-hop music which brought me peace of mind.

First Job: Sales Officer

I started my career as a bath-accessory sales representative. I had to travel a lot for the job and I would make use of the travel time to make rhymes in my mind and write them down on my notepad.

I learnt a lot about the streets of Kolkata as a sales rep and made around 3 big sales in 9 months.

However, I wanted to work on my music, so quit my job to write and record some songs and make a music video. At the same time, I was looking for a job in the advertising / branding sector because I liked it more than working in sales.

Ryder, my german shepherd dog
Young Ryder sitting on wet floor – Mar 2012

Music + Graphics Design

Promoting my music led me to creating a profile on MySpace. There I wrote my first lines of HTML and CSS. Anyone remember Tom Anderson? Soon after, I produced my first animated music video titled Don't Tell Me What which helped me land a job as a graphics designer.

I love writing scripts, doing storyboards and making videos.

I learnt PhotoShop, Illustrator, Premiere, AfterEffects and Corel DRAW – I was quite satisfied, until I recorded a demo album and decided to make a website to promote my music. I changed my line of work to become a programmer, however, my brother is now a graphics designer and I think he does it much better than me.

PHP Developer

In 2009, I made a website to promote my music while learning PHP and JavaScript from various online resources. I had learned some GW-BASIC, C and C++ at school, so learning PHP was easy and fun. Having seen my vid and website, a friend Rahul and his business partner Manuraj gave me a job as a web developer at Xgenmedia Solutions. I used the opportunity to the fullest to improve my programming skills and built a wide variety of PHP and JS applications.

My colleague scaring off a rhino in the forest
My colleague scaring off a Rhino, thanks to PhotoShop – Feb 2012

Greenpill Productions

While doing jobs, I realized that at the heart I wanted to be an autophyte. In 2013, I started my little multimedia solutions shop named Monstamouth Entertainment, later renamed to Greenpill Productions to make it more “formal”. I ran Greenpill with my brother for around 3 years and enjoyed every bit of it, putting my business administration degree to the test.

The first thing I built in PHP was a CMS called WebSrc. Later, I built 2 more CMSs in PHP which added to my knowledge of database design, OOP and architecting scalable, extensible software.

During my Greenpill days, I spent a lot of time building a product – a site-building platform named Natty for which I wrote a tonne of code. However, in 2013 I learned about Drupal and I’ve mostly been working with it since then. At Greenpill I built a good quantity of Drupal 7 websites.

¡Viva Colombia!

Ever since I had turned 16, I wanted to move to somewhere outside Kolkata and start life anew. In 2014 I got a taste of it when I went to KL, Malaysia, thanks to my aforementioned friend Rahul. Finally, in 2016, I decided to pull the plug on Greenpill Productions and took a step back – going from a proprietor to a job-holder. I moved to the beautiful city of Bogotá in Colombia where I improved my Spanish. There, I built web services for a mobile app while working for a huge software shop named Imaginamos. However, my project ended soon and I was left looking for a new adventure.

Streets of Bogotá with mountainous background
Streets of Bogotá with mountains in the background – Dec 2018

Montréal, QC

Being a language-enthusiast, from amongst Spain, Italy, Germany, China and Canada, I chose the french-speaking Canadian province of Québec in search for a long-term home. For this, I thank Alex and Suzanne from Evolving Web – a cool web agency located in Montréal from where I'm finishing this article after my work hours.

The multicultural and multilingual city of Montréal has been quite nice to me. I feel glad every time I converse in French.

For a minute, I'll forget that the sub-zero temperatures damaged my cell phone. Temperatures reach down to -35°C in Québec but luckily, it hasn't affected my life negatively.

Montréal in winter as seen from my window
Montréal as seen from my window – Apr 2019

This concludes the story of this decade of my life. I mostly spent it discovering myself, building a bridge over the river Kwai in hopes of getting back to music someday. I haven’t yet realized my dream of speaking all 6 official UN languages – I’m trying my best though.

10 Things I Learned

Having shared my story, here are ten things I learned during these years:

  • A rock is shaped by the waters that flow around it. Choose your company wisely because it can change you for the better or worse.
  • There are people who will never acknowledge you and even look down at you! However, if you ascend, they will eventually look up to you.
  • Climb not the mountain because the others do – Climb the one you want to climb, when you feel ready.
  • A rock can only be broken, but never be moulded. Never bother giving feedback to a person who is not open to change.
  • As long as you believe that you're superior, you cannot learn from others.
  • If you're not improving, you've reached stagnation. Be better than you were yesterday – everyday.
  • Absolute knowledge is beyond a mortal's reach. So know what must be known and ignore what can be ignored.
  • Don't be a YES man – learn to say NO.
  • Take care of yourself and ensure good health. Don't say that you've no time to maintain the car because you're busy driving it.
  • Work to live, don't live to work! These days, one can become a workaholic without even realizing.

Thanks for reading! Looking forward to writing my next (non-biographical) article soon. May good be with you.

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