This page is for larger posts / updates / reviews I write about my life. It isn’t ideal but for now it is what it is

What’s going on?

Posted: August 19, 2019

“What’d you do last year?” and other questions no one ever really asks themselves, but they should.

Where have you been?

So a lot of things have happened since my last post. I’ve graduated (that was a slog!), I’ve joined Stripe, I’ve moved countries. It’s been easier than I thought it’d be, though.

What are you doing these days?

I’m writing code while standing at a desk everyday, which I’ve found can be pretty good for my productivity. I’m also trying to eat at as many different restaurants as possible.

Have you sold out? (more positive take: Would 17 year old you be proud?)

One thing that I’ve realised (although I probably already knew this) is that writing code for a billion dollar corporation is definitely not as fulfilling as working with MetaBrainz as a bunch of upstart hippies trying to change the music industry. I’m pretty sure right now that a few years down the road, I’m gonna look at MetaBrainz as the shining light in my work, so I really am trying to find time for it as much as possible.

However, the decision to move has definitely not been the wrong one, as far as I can see right now. I’m learning new things, meeting more and more intelligent people pretty much every day, to say nothing of the feeling of seeing a new culture as a part of it and not as a tourist. For now, this is definitely something that I wanna keep doing.

So yeah, I’ve sold out a bit, but only because it’ll make me better when I get back. And yes, 17 year old me would definitely have been happy with me.

What’s next?

I really have no idea. Graduation was a cold hard slog and I’m actually kinda okay with not having big life plans for a couple of years. I plan to be a little financially responsible though, but let’s see how that goes.

When are you gonna write the next post?

I’m gonna be more regular getting my thoughts in writing from now on. I think it could lead to a really interesting personal experience later. Let’s see how much of a sellout I am by the end of the year and in ten years. I wanna say at least a minimum of a content post every month? If I don’t have actual content, I’ll just do a rehash of these questions / think of better questions.

What do you want to have done by the next month?

  • Read a book, I’m looking at “An Elegant Puzzle - Systems of Engineering Management” by Will Larson right now.
  • Release incremental dumps for ListenBrainz.
  • Make statistics finally work for ListenBrainz.
  • Feel comfortable writing Ruby and JavaScript.

What did you do last semester? Travel.

Posted: October 30, 2018

How I learned to stop worrying and love the airport

I visited Barcelona, Paris and San Francisco in the last month.

It meant spending a major part of my time in airports around the world and in the air.

It was still really fun!

There was a small landslide that almost cancelled all my plans of doing cool things and meeting cool people in the MetaBrainz Summit 2018. But I eventually made it to Barcelona. (phew!)

Barcelona is the best city I have ever visited. I gazed at the beauty of the Sagrada Familia, gorged great food and great wine at the Cuines Santa Caterina and drank myself silly at a BBQ on a terrace looking over the beautiful city.

I also did a bunch of work in Barcelona, before eventually flying to Paris!

Paris had always been the “City of Love” to me. I was excited to actually see it in real life with my own eyes. The first impression that I got was that it was unreasonably chilly though. That went away soon as I got accustomed to the weather and started doing some sightseeing. The Eiffel Tower, the Louvre Museum, walking alongside the Seine, the Shakespeare and Company bookstore, Paris definitely is a place to sightsee.

Then, I went home, only to catch a long flight to San Francisco two days later.

The Google Summer of Code Mentor Summit 2018 was the thing that brought me to San Francisco.

San Francisco is crazy. I was exasperated when I realized that people actually commute from San Francisco to places like Menlo Park and Mountain View. Seems like a long trip to do everyday. But you get to work on cool stuff and get paid to do it, so it might be worth it.

Anyways, I stayed in a crazy good hotel in San Francisco, and met some really really really awesome people there. It really tripped my sensibilities to meet so many people working on so much cool stuff in 3 days. It was crazy!

Crazy is really the only word I have to describe the last month of travels. I feel pretty lucky to have been able to go to so many places while in college.

Anyways, I’ve become accustomed to airports definitely, with so many layovers and so much waiting.

Random Online Diary Update

Posted: June 30, 2018

It’s been a long time since I updated the blog. When I wrote the last post, I was in my mausi’s house waiting to go to Barcelona for the MetaBrainz summit, happy with getting my first real job. I’d also scored a shiny CodeNation internship for the summer just a few weeks earlier.

Anyways, it’s been almost 9 months since then and a lot of things have happened. I’m still working for MetaBrainz, the cool projects are still cool. I wasn’t able to join CodeNation over the summer because of some really weird issues with college. I’m not very disappointed because I like the MetaBrainz work still.

I was a Google Code-In mentor this year, and I was impressed by all these young kids knowing soo much when I, at their age, didn’t know what a database was. It has been really eye-opening, I tried to help as many people out as possible.

I’m now a Google Summer of Code mentor. I’m mentoring Rashi and comentoring Kartikeya, both good friends and working on AcousticBrainz and MessyBrainz in the process. Never would have thought of such a chain of events happening last GSoC, when I was happy and content just getting into GSoC as a student. Mentoring is pretty different, but I think we’re making progress and learning things (maybe different things but still things) together which means that I’m happy with the projects.

Of course, mentoring GSoC is not the only thing in my GSoC responsibilites. I’ve been working on ListenBrainz over the last months and we’ve had releases adding big features. I worked on creating data dumps for ListenBrainz, that took a lot of time. I worked on creating a recommendation engine (!!) with Suyash, that was an awesome project. This summer has been work on importing listens from Spotify automatically.

That’s it for Computer Sciency stuff, I guess.

Other than that, I went to Thailand for a vacation in January! It has to be the best trip I’ve ever made. Getting weirdly drunk and talking with a South African tourist about cricket is a memory I won’t forget.

I also went on a trip to the Andamans this summer. The weather tried to play spoilsport but we had fun. We stayed in a hut with no internet and no phone connectivity for a week. The beaches on Havelock Island are wonderful, I would definitely consider them as one of the best.

I’ve been sitting at home now for almost a month, so I’m itching to go away somewhere again. College starts in about 20 days, so I’m planning to visit my brother in Kota, then visit friends in Jaipur and Mumbai and Delhi. I wonder how tiring 4 cities in 15 days will be, we’ll see.

Speaking of college, I’m stuck there for another year while friends who were basically family are moving away to different corners of the globe. This made me sad for a while. I’m not sure how time will pass without these people in college. It won’t be the same, that’s for sure. I still have really really great people in my life though, so I’m optimistic. ✨

Some Really Eventful Weeks

Posted: September 24, 2018

The last few weeks of my life have been, for the lack of words, fast-paced and busy as fuck.

I’m currently sitting in a bed in my aunt’s house with sleep nowhere to be found. This small moment of peace has been something I’ve not had in as long as I can remember. I’m gonna get on a flight to Barcelona tomorrow to meet some amazing MetaBrainz Foundation people for the MetaBrainz summit and this moment will go away again. So I’ve decided to document stuff that’s happened in my life since Summer of Code started. Maybe I’ll read this and look back at this time of my college career (reminiscing or some shit).

So I worked with great people in the MetaBrainz Foundation on ListenBrainz, my first “real” project. The ListenBrainz beta was released this July, I was pretty overwhelmed when I saw code that I had written being used by over 800 users. But Summer of Code ended soon after and I had to acclimate back to college life, where nothing of note ever happens unless you do something yourself.

I kept contributing to ListenBrainz as time went on, adding an API so that submissions from Spotify to Last.FM could be redirected to LB and we’d understand those submissions. Also, I kept fixing minor bugs as they popped along. I got an offer to join the MetaBrainz Foundation as a part-time developer working on ListenBrainz and the MetaBrainz website ( This was a nice opportunity that I welcomed because college can get boring really rapidly and solving real problems is a nice experience. Also, I’d always had an aim I was working towards during the majority of college (ACM-ICPC in second year and the first half of third year and then GSoC in the second half of third year). MeB would provide me with stuff to keep me productive and not go down the dark drain of doing nothing for an year.

I ran around to Chandigarh in the meanwhile, applying to acquire a visa so that I could actually attend the summit. This was a really taxing task, with tons and tons of paperwork. However, in Chandigarh, I met Pranav Kant and Sagar Karira for dinner, awesome people who made the trip a bit less tiring.

Meanwhile, I came across CodeAgon, a contest organized by CodeNation, used by them for hiring interns and full-time engineers. To me, CodeNation always seemed like this unassailable target, people like Pranet Verma and Lalit Kundu work (or have worked) there. If a company has options like these in their hiring processes, my chances seem slim at best and non-existent at worst. I hadn’t even taken part in a programming contest seriously since ACM-ICPC last year!

But anyways I decided to give it a try and got a rank of 137 in the contest, which was good enough to be called for interviews. I got an e-mail asking if I was okay with giving an interview on the day mid-semester exams had started. I replied back asking for the interview to take place on the Tuesday after the week that midsems ended, because Sunday was Software Freedom Day celebrations (which I had taken a major part in organizing) and then I had to go to Chandigarh again to collect my passport on Monday.

I spent the midsemesters flip-flopping between interview prep (a bunch of leetcode grinding and GeeksForGeeks and CTCI reading), studying for midsemesters and working on ListenBrainz. Because I was juggling around three different things, I think I didn’t do any of them really well. But the midsemester week got really stressful because of this. But it ended somehow and I spent the next day running around trying to make Software Freedom Day the best experience for everyone. The next day, I spent 12 hours traveling to and fro from Chandigarh to collect my passport. (they granted me the visa!).

I was kinda tired the next day, but there was a CodeNation interview to give and I was really pessimistic. I’d actually written a draft turning down the interview at one point. But I decided to go on and just give it. The interview was pretty laid back, to be honest, just some cool discussion on the stuff I’d worked on so far. There was a lot of talk about LB, the tech decisions we’d made and the challenges I’d faced in GSoC. I got to the second round, but I also had a presentation to give the next day on my major project.

This meant juggling around interview prep and my major team. At this point, I was pretty fed up and tired. It felt like I’d been working 80 hour weeks for the last three weeks and when the major project presentation ended, I decided to just sleep and not worry about the interview. I woke up 5 minutes before the interview. This round was the one in which I was gonna have to write actual code, so I wasn’t sure how well it would go, tbh. It was pretty stressful for me, trying to grope around for solutions to two problems (one easy and one kinda hard) while trying to make sure the interviewer was on the same page as me and he knew my thought process. I got to the solution of the first problem somehow, but it took me much longer than it normally would (mostly because I wasn’t even sitting with a notebook and pen). I wrote the code pretty fast though. The second problem was harder and I got to the optimal solution after getting a LOT of hints. There was no time to actually code it up though.

When the interview ended, I thought I had messed it up beyond repair and there was no way I’d move forward to the next round. (it was kinda bittersweet because if I didn’t, at least my busy weeks would come to an end.) But then a mail came, telling me that I’d made it and the next (final) round would take place the next day. I didn’t study much for this round, reading last minute notes for Operating Systems and DBMS (just in case).

The last round was pretty cool, a system design round, where I was asked to design a service like Spotify and Google Play Music. I decided what features I wanted to add and how I’d add them. We focussed on a Shazam like audio fingerprinting feature for the major part of the interview. This was kinda hard for me because I have literally no machine learning experience, so I kept talking about my own weird ways of matching recorded data with actual real data to find the correct track being played. The most fun part of the interview was the last 10 minutes when I was asked to brainstorm as many features we could add to this service as possible. I spewed out so many features in this small time, I kinda surprised myself.

The next day, I got an offer! Now, stuff has returned to normal, I guess. I’m not that busy anymore (for now).

I plan on making the summit a nice cooldown affair to get back to normal life. Hopefully, the long weeks are now over.