Sometimes you know that you need to take a giant leap of faith to move towards your calling. However, you are unable to do so, due to fear of failing. In those moments, you wish for a push. You wish for somebody, who could come and tell you that everything will be alright - “just do it”. I was in a similar state of mind since start of 2013. I was working with Microsoft and my experiences at work were getting unfulfilling by the day. On the other hand, a career and a life in teaching was inviting me with open arms. But, how does one take a call on leaving a well-paying career to pursue teaching- a skill not very well appreciated in most parts of world. At that point of time, I needed that push to make me plunge into the unknown and then in June 2014, after around 18 months of dilemma, I finally got that push from the most unexpected and unsolicited of sources.
A friend had passed away in an unfortunate hit and run accident in Bangalore. That friend was not an ordinary person, he was ” Harsha Suryanarayana”, greatest ever programmer India had witnessed. He was my college mate from 2003 to 2007 and my relationship with him was more of admiration rather than friendship. We were very different personalities. He spent most of his time doing programming and playing computer games, while I spent most of my time partying and falling in one sided love with one girl or the other. I didn’t get to interact with him much during college days. However, I always admired him for his superhuman intelligence and other worldly humility. Even after college, our interactions were limited. But my admiration for him was intact.
The news of his death was a big jolt for me. But I was impacted more by the tons of tributes which poured on social media for next few days. The profound description of people’s experiences with Harsha and the way he lead his life floored me completely. As a result my feelings for Harsha changed from “A noble soul gone too soon” to “A life well lived”. “Life is short and unpredictable, live it well”- is a message which I had read and heard a thousand times, but, it never rung so loud in my ears till that fateful day.
Me like any other human being does not know when my life will end, but from then on whatever life I had left I wanted to live it well, the way Harsha had lived it in his short life-span of 32 years.
Harsha’s words - “You do not need too much to live. It’s all the social conditioning that makes you desire a big job and a fat salary. You can live with less and be free”. This helped me to decide on quitting my job to pursue my dream - a full-time teaching career. I went on to establish a ‘one of a kind’ institute which imparted education to children in an unconventional but exciting and impactful manner.
This institute has now matured into a private limited company, which is trying to revamp the way education is imparted in our country. We, as a company, have a long way to go, and I am yet to see, what impact we can bring with this initiative. However, Harsha, even after 4 years of his death, still remains the biggest source of inspiration for me. For the same reason, I have named my company ‘HumbleSchool’, it shares its initials with ‘Harsha Suryanarayana’ and rhymes with ‘HumbleFool’ which was a handle used by Harsha in programming competitions.
I aspire to do my job with the same level of humility as Harsha did. That’s the very least I could do for the man I admire.