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A 'CADET' WHO CODES EVEN IN SLEEP!

It’s when we hit our lowest points that we are open to the greatest changes.

No, it’s not about Covid-19, it’s about life in general. And no, this isn’t a quote by some great influencer, it’s a quote from an anime series, the favorite of the anime lover, about whom we are going to narrate in this article. Nevertheless, this seems to suit his story so well.

What’s so special about the story we are going to discuss? Madhav’s story shows us that everything comes to us at a time which is best for us, not at the time when we want it, and that time is usually when we think we have lost what we were dreaming of. It shows us that our only duty is to work and do our duty, excessive future planning is just a waste of time if we just keep on doing our duties with full enthusiasm, results will automatically come.

The question is, what is our duty?

No, duty isn’t limited to your assignments if you are a student, or to your office work if you are a professional. Madhav defines duty as “The things you do for your own growth as well as the growth of your community”.

What makes this story so special is that it makes us realise the fact that whenever we achieve something, just moments before that everything seems to be going completely opposite of what we had planned. If we think about it, that is life. Life plays games with us, it can test us at each moment, but in the end it just wants us to have faith, he who has faith and keeps doing his duties, achieves what he wants.

There are tons of interesting stories which we can share starting right from his childhood which prove the point that things come to us when we need them, when we are prepared for them, and not when we are greedy for them. Since we cannot discuss everything from his life in a short article, we will keep it limited to 3 major stories from his life.

Let us start from Class XI and Class XII

Madhav Bahl took PCM with Computer Science, and thanks to his amazing teacher in school days (Ms. Venkat Lakshmi), he got a keen interest in Computer Science. Each day his love for programming kept increasing. Those days, his only aim was to become an army officer, but as we all know, in India it is highly essential for any science student to sit for JEE exams and aim for IITs.

He took coaching from Vidyamandir Classes and tried to prepare for JEE, but his mind had only two thoughts, he either kept thinking about his dreams of the pride of an army officer or he thought of how he can solve various problems using C++ programs. The two goals he was trying to achieve were completely opposite to each other, and hence he came up with a name for himself, “A Cadet Who Codes”. He had his priorities clear, to become an army officer who can code.

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No, this photo isn’t from his 12th class, wait for it, we will tell you the story behind this photo

He was so enthusiastic about coding that once in a mock JEE exam conducted by his coaching class, instead of solving the problems, he was trying to write C++ programs to solve those mathematical problems.

Due to this ambition of his he wasn’t really able to focus on his JEE preparation. He was quite good in Mathematics and Physics, but his performance was below average in Chemistry. Finally the judgement day was here. He cleared the exam for NDA. Then came his SSB, the 5-day interview for selection. Sadly, he got conference out (he could not clear SSB, he got out on the 5th day). But that did not demotivate him, he was confident about his prowess in Physics and Mathematics, and thanks to these two subjects, he cleared JEE Mains. Deep down, he knew that he wasn’t prepared for JEE Advanced, and as expected, he could not clear JEE Advanced (just because of Chemistry).

He thought his goal of living a cadet life will never get fulfilled. Since he spent most of his time coding, he wasn’t very well prepared for the entrance exam. In spite of that he got admission in VIT as an ECE (Electronics and communication) student. But he was depressed thinking that both his dreams, of being a a cadet and to be a Computer Science major, did not materialise.

Usually it’s when we hit our lowest points that we are open to the greatest changes. Madhav didn’t give up, he kept coding, and he still lived a disciplined lifestyle, just like a cadet. It’s a common saying that when we really want something, nature has its own way of giving it to us, and it gives it to us at the right time, so that we can understand its value.

Fortunately, his physics teacher was the ANO of VIT-NCC (National Cadet Corps). He introduced Madhav to NCC and encouraged him to attend the recruitments. He got selected easily, and thus began his cadet life.

At the end of the first semester, Madhav got an email stating that there was an option for him to migrate to another branch. Only the top 2% of students from each branch will be migrated to other branches, and for that too, students will have to take 2 extra courses of the branch they wished to migrate to.

Madhav thought it was worth a try! But he didn’t want to risk his current subjects for the subjects of the other branch. He took the maximum number of credits possible in one semester (27) and gave his best in all. On top of it, he got recruited into two technical chapters of college (APPLE DEVELOPERS GROUP and IEEE COMPUTER SOCIETY). It was a very hectic semester for him.

On top of it, he was a part of NCC, due to which he had to wake up at 5 am every day. One can imagine how hectic it would have been, but as Madhav always says, there is no shortcut to success.

It was the day of the result. Madhav was worried whether he would be able to secure a position in the top 2% to get migrated. Results came and he got the fourth rank. He couldn’t believe his eyes as he never expected to come 4th amongst so many students in VIT. He successfully migrated to Computer Science branch.

Initially he thought he had lost his dream of becoming a cadet who codes, but what happened was exactly the opposite, he successfully became a cadet and a coder as well. This story of his shows us that everything is meant to happen at a proper time, we just have to be patient.

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The next story in his life would make us realize that it is more important to focus on the journey rather than the destination. It is very essential that we all do our duties without thinking about the end results. The end result is not in our hands, thinking too much about it is useless, but doing the hard work is in our hands, and only if we work hard can we get the desired results.

Soon after starting programming again in college, Madhav realized that he was more inclined towards coding than he was towards a cadet lifestyle. He shifted his goals, instead of becoming an army officer, he now wanted to become a software developer.

His journey into development started in the chapter ADG (Apple Developers Group) as an Android developer, but after a couple of months, he realised that his laptop would not support Android Studio. Two months later he shifted to the web team as per the advice of his senior Anandu. At that time in ADG there was only one senior in the Web Team, Hardik, the best mentor a person could get. He used to mentor juniors. Madhav was just getting started and he really loved the way Hardik mentored him.

Owing to unavoidable circumstances, Hardik had to leave the group, and more sad was the fact that Madhav was an introvert at that time. After Hardik left the group, Madhav felt hesitant to ask doubts thinking that no one might be obligated to answer.

Madhav faced many difficulties but explored everything on the internet and he grew into, what he loves to call, a self-taught developer. There is always a benefit of learning on your own, you learn much more than what you intend to, because you have no one to guide you and then you end up exploring many many things.

He continued helping a lot of people in tech, and all of this for free. Below is a list of few of the many initiatives he has taken so far:

He opened a community for coders named “CodeToExpress”

Daily Codes: for practising coding daily

Daily Interview Practice: For interview preparation

Daily tech interview questions

C2E Opportunities: To share job and internship opportunities for people in tech

C2E BLR Meetups: To share updates for meetups and conferences happening in Bangalore Featured Writers Contest

DailyJS

ES Essentials

JS Snippets

Towards Self: self-help blogs

Towards Self: self-help podcasts

Learn with TheLeanProgrammer: Podcast

And many more…

Even now, during these tough times when the world is fighting against COVID-19, he is doing his bit of contributing to the community by mentoring people for free under his web mentor program - (http://webmentor.tech/)

This was an initiative he started informally to help his college juniors. The students who loved his mentorship gave him the idea of starting a community.

All he thinks while starting any new initiative is how can he help more people in need, and never about any personal benefits. It is noble intent of his that transformed his small initiative of helping college juniors into a nationwide initiative to help people in tech.

This clearly shows us that as long as we all do our duties with the best zeal, without being greedy, it will result in an optimal output.

Although there are many such inspiring stories of Madhav's that we can narrate, due to space constraint, let’s move on to his last story.

HOW HE GOT HIS INTERNSHIP @ MICROSOFT

What we are going to tell you next, is again going to prove that nature has its own plans for you, you might make hundreds of plans for the future, but nature will automatically select what’s best for you. All you can do is keep working hard.

Madhav got selected for an international hackathon named Hack Harvard. He was very happy about this as it was going to be his first journey outside India. He got himself all prepared and excited.

He formed a team for the hackathon and was going to give his best to try and win it!
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But then something happened due to which he had to back out, and could not go. He was feeling very sad about it, but suddenly he got a notification that his application for Hack InOut (another very big hack in India) was selected.

He decided, if not Hack Harvard, then he is going to give his best for Hack InOut. It was going to start on a Friday. Due to some reason, the whole week prior to the hack was a little overwhelming for him and he barely managed to sleep for two hours a day. Then came the day of the hackathon. Although that day was just for workshops, he sacrificed his sleep again as he was continuously thinking of ideas for the hackathon. Hack started on Saturday morning, and got over on Sunday night, making it the 8th sleepless night in a row.

After the hack, instead of staying back at Bangalore, he decided to go back to his university on Sunday itself. It was an overnight journey, adding one more sleepless night.

Then came Monday, the day he was originally supposed to have departed for US, for Hack Harvard. He was not feeling great about it, his friends had already left for US, and he could not go. What happened next is really interesting.

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While he was sitting and feeling low, he got an email stating that Microsoft was visiting his campus to recruit interns. Madhav forgot about how sleep-deprived he was, got up with full “josh” (Hindi word for enthusiasm), and attended all the interview rounds(one coding, two technical and one HR). Few days later, he gets an email stating that he has been selected for the internship at Microsoft.

Now if that “unavoidable circumstance” due to which he couldn't go to US hadn’t happened, he would have been in US on the day of Microsoft interviews. So, even though he was super sad for not being able to go to US, he got this surprise, which again proves what we told you earlier - "It’s when we hit our lowest points that we are open to the greatest changes".

If you have similar stories, please reach out on
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