ďStart loving what you do, or start doing what you LoveĒ
1. To begin with, can you tell our readers about your journey in the last four years?
My journey began right from the first semester. When I came here, I was just like any other guy who was interested in electronics. I was guided by a senior to attend all the workshops, no matter how many there were. So I followed his suggestion and at the end narrowed down my interests, which came out to be robotics which primarily attracts me. As I was told that first year is a learning phase, I kept attending all the workshops in my second sem as well. After my first year completed, I did my first internship in a robotics company called CETPA InfoTech in my hometown - Lucknow. It was then, that I got an industrial experience about how robotics is mingled with our society. During my tenure there, I also worked on some ethical hacking issues for their computer science department. Mostly I used to be busy with my own projects. In my first year I wasnít associated with ATMOS, I just enjoyed the fest. It was only second year when I started helping out with the fest.
My second year went completely into playing Counter Strike and doing my projects. Projects as in, I used to Google Instructables, see how we can accomplish a task and work on it. That is how I gained knowledge. Whatever I know today is because of this activity. Gradually, I started getting my own ideas and started following them. So my journey went from gaining knowledge to applying it.
My PS-1 was with the Embedded Systems department at the Indian Railways where our task was to increase the efficiency of the whole existing control system. Our team was able to increase the efficiency by 19% boosting it to 72%! I had an opportunity to work with L.V. Prasad Eye Institute also, where we were given 10 days to automate an Ophthalmoscope which I along with my team was able to achieve in 7 days.
In my 3rd year, I was elected the Technical Convener. I screwed up my semester, yet I am happy that I got to experience how itís like to be a TC. However, even after ATMOS I didnít lose interest in my projects and continued with them. Unlike what I expected.
In my 6th semester, I spent 2 months applying for internships and thesis. I got a call from UPen, Princeton, any of which I couldnít go due to some financial issues, IISc and even Lunar Planetary Institute which is associated with NASA, which I missed due to some issues with the visa. You get to learn a lot when you make choices, and thatís exactly what I experienced then. Meantime, I was in Bangalore; riding bikes, getting challans and enjoying my life. There I worked on Aerial Robotics and a project on Real Time Artificial Intelligence. I guess thatís pretty much it.
ďYou get to learn a lot when you make choices.Ē
2. What inspired you and kept you going throughout your journey?
Basically, I gave up on my subjects. I knew I didnít want a job in electronics or any other subjects. Itís not like I am super interested in robotics or computers or something else, but I needed something to earn money in the future, right? So, I thought letís stick to what I like more. Practical application was the best option to do. Though, this isnít an ideal way to go about things, this is how things turned out for me.
3. Did being a Technical Convener help you in your projects? If yes, then how?
According to me, being the Technical Convener didnít help even a bit in my projects, as my job was completely managerial. As the name goes, as a technical convener my job was to convene the requirements of various tech assocs to the SU. I had to look after the rules set up for various events, the talks organized by Embryo, the workshops and exhibitions being held and so on. I tried to help the robotics club in completing their projects but couldnít due to other managerial work. Thankfully, I had some trusted juniors who did the job for me. As we didnít have any sponsorship even when 20 days were left for the fest, I couldnít concentrate at all on the technical side.
4. Any specific difficulty in your journey that you would like to share with the readers? And something that you learned from it?
The biggest difficulty I ever faced was losing interest. This could be attributed to several reasons. Be it starving, being in bad mood, landing up in a fight or falling down to get hurt which led to hours and hours of wastage of time. Out of this, I primarily learnt how to isolate events. For example, not getting proper food, getting hurt and doing your work are exclusive events. Getting affected by these things isnít how the world works. Once you go to the outside world and work with a company, youíll realise that differentiating these is really important. In the real world it is never a Do or Die situation. It is always a Do situation.
ďIn the real world it is never a Do or Die situation. It is always a Do situation.Ē
5. How did life at BPHC change you as a person?
When I came here, I was totally a dumbo. When I read some random messages that I sent to my old friends, I feel ashamed of myself, I mean I donít understand how can I even type that?! I really had a boring lifestyle. I guess most of the people who join engineering college are dumbos. The only meaning of joining an engineering college is to not leave as a dumbo. Well, coming to my life at BPHC, it has done a few good and a few bad things to me. Bad thing is that I became lazier. I donít feel like working now. Good things would include public speaking. I can speak on public forums now. Iíve become more confident, my personality has improved and yeah, my English has improved a lot.
6. What are the things you like doing in your free time except these technical things?
I like singing. I record my voice, listen to it, delete it and then curse myself for the kind of voice I have. Apart from that, I like doing random things. Like someday I feel like learning Spanish, someday I feel like learning something related to AI, someday I study about tyres. I also like going to my friendís room and unfolding his clothes or destroying their rooms. This is how I like to pass most of my time.
7. What are your views about the current Technical Culture on campus? Any suggestions for improving it?
According to me, technical work is anything that will help you in your future. Just engineering isnít technical work. Management, Finance, Business, Consultancy and many more also qualify as technical work. So, I suggest everyone to find their motivation and keep working in that field. Try few fields and find a thing that interests you. For those who couldnít find a motivation yet, I suggest start coding and go for an IT job and earn money.
In this semester I didnít see many workshops happening. I was there for ATMOSí16 on campus. I liked the quality of workshops and I also like the fact that there werenít too many events. But, I hated the fact that there were very few Workshops. I feel that everything boils down to motivation at the end. The drive to work should come from within you, it canít be taught by any mentor or even the internet. I believe that the person teaching you has a big role to play in your motivation. I guess mentorship should be like a ĎTwo Way Trafficí. I suggest that the mentors organizing workshops should deliver what the audience wants and the way they want it. In the same way the audience attending the workshops should also respond accordingly. The workshop organisers should be more planned while conducting them and set weekly targets that they should try to achieve no matter what.
ďThe drive to work should come from within you. It canít be taught by any mentor or even the internet.Ē
8. What is the scope of the field that interests you and how can our readers, who are interested in the same field follow their interest?
Basically, research is the field I am interested in and I want to proceed with it. Specifically, I am more interested in application based research. Research is the field that doesnít have any solutions on Internet. You need to brainstorm your mind and find every solution yourself. You need to go through papers, books, articles and develop your mind. Hence, this opens up your mind completely. I personally wish that every person should try research at some point or other in their life. Talking about Aerial Robotics, it is going to become a billion dollar company in the coming years. Countries like USA and India use drones in their defence mechanism. Hence, this is an industry that has to keep going. For those who want to pursue research, getting admissions for thesis or research is quite easy in any of the premier colleges or under renowned professors. What I did was just getting the mail IDs and mail the person I was interested to work with. Though I faced many rejections but at the end I got calls from various institutes.
ďAerial Robotics, it is going to become a billion dollar company in the coming yearsĒ
9. Any concluding Words of Wisdom for our readers?
I would suggest everyone to first of all keep work exclusive from all the other activities. I would also ask everyone to please maintain their CGPA as itís the first barrier in achieving anything. Failing which you would miss many opportunities. This, I regret till now. I would also urge everyone to find their motivation and follow it relentlessly. I follow a simple ideology that I would like to share with everyone at the end.
ĎStart loving what you do, or start doing what you loveí.
We thank our beloved senior Saumya Kumar Saxena (a.k.a. SKS) for having this interview with us. We hope to that everyone can take some inspiration from SKS, and achieve something great in the coming years.