I recently had a conversation with a friend (thanks a ton, if you are the one reading this!) on LinkedIn which took me back into the memory lane. I realized and reflected on a lot of things from my past. Would you believe I’m going to tell you things right from my days of 6th grade school from year 1998?

Retail Pharmacy was our family business. The store was just adjacent to our residence. As a 6th grader usually I wouldn’t have much to do at home once I was done with my homework. I used to hop into our store to spend some time with my Dad. Since I spent several hours daily at the store I picked up some very important skills which I haven’t realized until a long time. I usually met a hundred people (customers) daily from our neighborhood and interact with different people, including the representatives from wholesalers/distributors who would either come to take orders, deliver goods or for some other stuff. I soon started interacting and talking with a whole lot of people at the store. Seeing my interaction with different people, my Dad realized and nudged me to do all that I can do while I just hopped by in the store. Within a year I learned to take care of routine store tasks like writing Checks/making cash payments for the purchases, looking into the inventory, reordering, customer record keeping, banking transactions and almost everything I could do without stepping out of the store. Book keeping in those days was literally done in books where each page (followed by a few blank pages :P) used to be an account. I didn’t have a slightest realization until a long time that it was extraordinary for a 6th grader to have that opportunity which taught me skills that I believe are very critical to where I stand today. I learned what commitment means, to respect, persuade and negotiate; being humble, confident and fearless during those days. All this wouldn’t have been possible if my Dad didn’t see the possibilities. This went on for few years. In the meantime, I fell in love with computers as I had an opportunity to see some programming/coding in action by my brother.

Fast forward 6 years during my undergrad, I attempted entrance test to secure admission to study medicine. The career choice was made after a some discussions within family. But deep in my heart I wanted to learn computer science which I didn’t tell anyone due to the reasons I still don’t know for sure. One day I talked to my Dad and told him for the first time that I was very inclined towards computer science, I didn’t want to pursue medicine. My Dad and family agreed immediately. I was now heading towards a career in computer science only to hit another roadblock. I didn’t elect mathematics in my undergrad as I opted Biology to study medicine after undergrad. I wasn’t eligible to get an admission to an engineering course. Bachelors in Computer Applications (BCA) was the only option to study computer science without having studied mathematics during undergrad. All the admissions to enroll into BCA were closed by then. I joined a 2 year course on Diploma in Pharmacy, just to save myself from scratching my head waiting for next academic year. Once I completed my 2 year Diploma in Pharmacy, I finally got admission to Bachelors in Computer Applications (BCA) and soon my first personal computer in 2006! And then I stopped hopping into our store.

I completed my Bachelors in Computer Applications (BCA) from Solapur University and Masters in Computer Applications (MCA) from University of Pune. I have been a voracious learner all my life. I learned my first programming language C Programming and then .NET on my own. Those were the days with very little internet access and the learning used to be totally different from what it is like today. I have built a bunch of utilities, applications by the time I completed BCA. During MCA, I secured a couple of Microsoft Certifications based on .NET and also became a Microsoft Student Partner (MSP). The projects I had done beyond curriculum, Microsoft Certifications and the contributions through Microsoft Student Partner (MSP) Program all collectively opened the doors to Microsoft for me. That’s how I landed at Microsoft right out from the college which didn’t have a campus hiring.

My first job couldn’t have been better. I’ve grown professionally and grown as a person a lot here. I’m very fortunate to have known and worked with some of the best people I’ve ever met here at Microsoft, who are some of my closest friends for life.

Since early 2016, I started dabbling into Machine Learning when I came to know about it’s potential to do amazing things like diagnosing diabetic retinopathy using retina images. It soon turned out to be my labor of love. You can check my blog and GitHub which I keep updated with my works and learning, experiences.

There are a bunch of other interesting things/incidences which helped me reach where I’m today. This post would have been much longer if I had written about all of them. What I’m today is a result of several connected dots. I didn’t have any reason to do things I did back then, yet all of them unfolded into something I had never expected back then. Life unfolds magically. It has taught me to do things selflessly without expecting any returns, as long as I am passionate about it and I believe it’s a right thing to do. Life opens up and reveals itself gradually and it’s an ongoing puzzle. We should do our best with the pieces we have, hoping that someday we’ll either find rest of the pieces to play further or they will just fall in place.

first posted as a LinkedIn article here.