Friday, December 07, 2012

Perception is reality

I have been involved with computers and technology in some form or the other since 6th grade; now that's a long enough time for me to see trends, spot inconsistencies, and call bullshit when I see it. I have decided against calling people out in the future, starting now. Why you ask - because it hurts!

Very recently, I had an experience that made me rethink the oft-bandied concept of "perception is reality". At first I didn't believe this to be true. Then I joined Microsoft and was introduced to the notion of "stack ranks". Someone then told me about "glory coders" and "table thumpers". Slowly, but surely, I began to grasp both the importance and the pitfalls of playing the perception game. It was around then that I realized that unlike most people, I have always played catch up in the perception department.

My childhood was spent trying to figure out my place in the World. Though my upbringing was simple, my environs were quite the opposite. Bombay can be a difficult place, high school can be rough, and many a wound is inflicted on you when you cannot fend off the attack. You cannot defend yourself because you don't see the attack coming or have the faculty to ascertain the damage. Let me not belabor this point; each of us carries wounds from that time in our lives. It does underscore my point though - there was a gap between perception and reality even then.

I have spent most of my adult years bridging that gap. I thought I was finally in the black vis-a-vis the reality vs. the perception equation when everything came crashing down. I was back to where I was a few years ago - doubting myself and the very foundation on which I had built my professional life. A myriad of questions popped into my head: "Is it time to quit, again?"; "Is this the right profession for me?"; "Do I have technical depth or is it all a facade?"; I was questioning whether I knew myself at all, whether I truly was the master of my fate. As I searched for answer to these existential, and totally ego-bashing, questions, a spell of brooding ensued. My sense of self-worth was warped; days turned into nights; everything was hazy.

That's when I got a shot in the arm. Puneet and a few angels at work helped to restore some of my confidence and self-worth. The put me on the path to piecing it all back together. For that, I am in their debt. Thank you all for restoring the perception-reality equilibrium; your support means the world to me.

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