Yes. This is not a book review. I’m tired of book reviews, and I will not be doing them for sometime.
Lets move on to other stuff, stuff just as unimportant as any other post on this blog.
This month, I’m late already. I’ve been trying really hard to find a great topic to write about in a way that will make my chest puff up with a sense of pride. Then I spent days just idly staring, a feat which I accomplish almost everyday for 6 hours in college.
One of the most interesting things to happen to me this month is an application development competition for Windows Store. To describe the experience as educational would be a gross understatement. So, here goes.
Admittedly, I do not have a great deal of knowledge about Visual Studio, but then, I learnt just enough to create a prototype of an application that would be just as pointless as any of the apps present in the Windows Store right now.
The competition was to develop an app, but the challenge was to do it in 24 hours. And for the first time in my life, I worked for 24 hours, with only one thing in mind. And it was exhausting. It was not the lack of sleep or the work that was exhausting, but the focus was.
I’m not going to tell you about the app. It wasn’t a great idea, but it was something that me and my two teammates thought was important, at least for us. The first 4 hours were completely unproductive, because we weren’t able to come up with a concrete idea of what it was supposed to be. After 4 hours, during a break, we realised that it was pointless to try to code while modelling it. We spent the next hour just putting down ideas on paper, and then started a few sweet hours of unbelievably productive work.
It is one thing to work efficiently, and it is an entirely different thing to have fun while doing it. I work on stupid little projects of my own, in my house, on my dilapidated yet wonderful laptop, all the time (which is one of the reasons I’ve been late this month) enjoying every moment of it. Interestingly, to do it as a team, is a surreal experience. I mean, who wouldn’t love to sit down and work with people with the same interests as yours on your brainchild?
Anyways, 11 hours in, we were doing pretty well, until something went horribly wrong. Somehow, we’d lost a file that was integral to the functioning of the app, and we were set back 11 hours. We took turns, trying to figure out what was missing, unsuccessfully for two hours.
I had to take a break, get some fresh midnight air. Something like this is always accompanied by a flood of thoughts. I realized that it was not the fact that the code we’d worked on for 9 continuous hours was gone that made me angry, but that we spent a lot of time unsuccessfully searching for that elusive error which destroyed 9 hours of real hard work.
You know, time was still a luxury after the first 4 unproductive hours, but at this point, I seriously began to doubt if the app would ever be complete.
We began working again. This time, it was not the first four hours in that motivated us to do it, but it was the goal to get that app out, up and running.
Different emotions lead to actions of varied intensities. This is something that I have experienced and seen very rarely. That day, I saw the level of productiveness of the work that was done when it was treated as a matter of life and death. That night, physical exhaustion was not something that any of us really bothered to worry about. We had 10 more hours, and by this point, we knew we were fighting for a losing cause. We knew that our app wouldn’t stand among the top 5, but we put that behind us.
To fight to win is incredibly difficult, but to fight to survive is a challenge far tougher and demanding than anything else. We started from scratch again. This time, we built the app with half an hour remaining on the clock. While we may have won the battle but lost the war, the triumph of winning the battle from a seemingly hopeless situation was the silver lining I take from the entire thing.
Most people won’t really understand what I underwent that day, because all they see is just three dudes sitting on a couple of laptops typing random letters for 24 hours, by the end of which something really unimportant and uninteresting is born. If you’re someone like that, I’m glad you didn’t get the story I had to narrate.
Time moves forward so quickly, that 34 hours from now, I have exams, important ones at that. I should probably go now, time isn’t a luxury anymore.