2020 - A Not So Technical Review

2020! This year has given bittersweet experiences to each one of us and as we are entering the last month now, I feel it surely deserves a review. It was a kind of testing time for all of us. A year ago, I would not have imagined to even come across certain things that I explored this year and hence, I am more than willing to share some of these amazing things I experienced and learnt which has aided me in countless ways.

Books

I finished reading 5 books this year. They are:

Currently, I am reading the English Translation of the Meanings of Al-Qur’an

One particular change I experienced is that I have fallen in love with reading. In fact, I am even open to recommendations. I already have a bucket list of books that I intend to read in the upcoming year - namely:

I had also started reading Surely you’re Joking Mr Feynman: Adventures of a Curious Character, but I found some of the topics/conversations in this book to be very much focused on science/engineering. So, I stopped reading after 2-3 chapters with an intention to definitely come back to it later.

Poems/Storytelling/Shayris

I have always loved listening to storytelling/poems and was already following Tape A Tale. Last year, I remember attending one of their events in Pune and it was awesome. In 2020, I found 2 more youtube channels with similar content UnErase Poetry & Button Poetry and I have listed some of my personal favorites below:

When it comes to shayris, recently I am smitten with Gulzar Saahab. Some of his ‘nazm’ can be found here. Also, the youtube channel by Sidhant Sharma is worth checking out here. @GulzarPoetry is a tribute account on Twitter that should be followed. Out of so many, 3 of my favorites from him are:

  • आइना देख कर तसल्ली हुई, हमको इस घर में जानता है कोई
  • दौड़ दौड़ के क़दम मिलाता हूँ, ज़िन्दगी यह कितनी तेज़ चलती है
  • याद है इक दिन? मेरी मेज़ पे बैठे-बैठे सिगरेट की डिबिया पर तुमने एक स्केच बनाया था, आकर देखो उस पौधे पर फूल आया है !

Another work of art which I liked was from Salim Khan Saahab - आँसू आये तो खुद पोछना, लोग पोछने आयेंगे तो सौदा करेंगे

On this note, I will recommend everybody to check out one of my friend’s initiative on similar grounds - Hindinama

Youtube Channels/Interviews

I also explored some youtube channels where YouTubers interviewed some celebrities who had very humble personalities. Instead of talking about their current work/films, I was fascinated and inspired when they spoke about their struggles, and the lessons they learnt from those struggles. Below are some of the playlist/videos that will surely become your everyday’s go-to motivational kick:

Recently, I came across this super-cool channel called We Are Yuvaa, and I must say that they are coming up with some really good content.

Twitter

I started following some people on Twitter who regularly tweet beautiful things that get you through the day. This made me realize how soothing it can be to come across some simple, yet meaningful words in the world of memes and trolls.

Articles

I also found these beautiful articles which talk about work, life-lessons, and advice

Technical Stuff

On the technical front, I finally got myself this website which was long due. I joined AppDirect as an Application Security Engineer and I am working with some incredible people. I completed a certification on DevSecOps and also spent a good amount of time learning Kubernetes, Golang, and solving the Web Security Academy. Currently, I am learning about application security, engineering, and automation.

After unraveling so many new paths, going into detail about each one might end up being overkill to this blogpost. But I also feel, it would be unfair to end this blog without sharing some of my learnings throughout:

  • From Sir A. P. J. Abdul Kalam, apart from his well-known team management and leadership mantra, I learnt how to always be grateful to the people who helped you in your journey and to stay grounded no matter whichever level you stand upon
  • The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck taught me to prioritize things in life and how to care less about unimportant things
  • The Phoenix and the Unicorn project are two superb books that depicts a very simple yet powerful message that if all the teams in your organization work together as one team, you can surely be able to achieve and maintain a secure and solid software ecosystem
  • Importance of mental health and peace: Apart from the things I explored, I realized the importance of mental health and how it should be equated with physical well being. Some experiences I faced on a personal level this year, made me affirm to the fact that no matter how much you love someone or have known someone, they can end up leaving or hurting you and some might even go to an extent to pull you down. On this note, it would be appropriate to quote, "Not everyone deserves to know the real you. Let them criticize who they think you are" - The Spy, Paulo Coelho
  • Work-Life balance: This one is really important because I never liked the remote work idea but thankfully, I have been able to keep the walls strict between my work and personal life. This goes both ways - first, remember the fact that you can always be replaced in your company so don’t compromise on your health. Take regular leaves and breaks when it comes to working. Secondly, it is also important to ensure to get your work done in an efficient way and give your best
  • Stand and Speak up for yourself: In the end, all that matters is you and yourself. So, there is no need to do anything which doesn’t make you happy no matter who it is coming from. Everyone is entitled to say ‘NO’. Once again quoting my favorite Paulo Coelho, "If it costs you your peace, it's too expensive"

I am guessing you all have an impression by now that I have explored a lot of things this year but I am a firm believer of the statement, “Less is more, More is less.” Adhering to this statement, I am all set to bid farewell to this year and heartily welcome 2021 with an expectation to learn more and embark on yet an amazing journey that will transform me into a better person. To conclude, I will say live with gratitude, laugh, and appreciate the goodness even in little things because that goes a long, long way…