An Epiphany

It was a breezy summer evening. Ranveer was at his desk, focused on his homework. He was in the eighth standard. Sitting beside him was Asha, his mother, working on her own office presentation. Still, she liked being there, just in case Ranveer needed help. The duo was lost in their own worlds.

Around 8 pm, the front door bell rang. Ranveer’s father was home. Ashok was a doctor, and he often had to work late. Ranveer ran to the door and greeted his father. After all of them had settled down at the dinner table, Ashok made an announcement. They have an invitation for the next day. One of Ashok’s colleagues was getting engaged, and the whole family was invited to dinner. Breaking from their busy schedule, the family welcomed the invitation gladly. Ranveer was excited, like any 13-year-old should be. It has been almost two years since they were out somewhere as a family. He got mad at COVID again. During his months of isolation, he missed out on school, the park, friends, and family outings, to name a few things.

The next day was gone in the blink of an eye and the evening arrived. All dressed-up, they reached the function. The home was beautifully decorated. Fragrant flowers adorned the entrance, and bright lights hung from the ceiling. And everybody seemed happy to be there.

Ranveer was a curious teen and started exploring on his own while his parents mingled with other adults. After a while, something caught his eye. Something that seemed familiar but still wasn’t. A television. He had never seen one like this. It was big and fat. He called his father.

"What is that big thing over there with the curved screen?" asked Ranveer.

"Well, it’s an old television. They don’t make them like this anymore", replied Ashok.

Ranveer’s next question made his father laugh out loud. "Why is it so big on the sides and the back?" he asked. This was an unassuming question. He was 13 in 2021. He has only seen flatscreen televisions mounted on walls.

"Why don’t you google it and find out for yourself?", suggested Ashok.

That night, Ranveer was on a mission. He needed answers. He was an inquisitive child, and was considered a dedicated student by both his parents and teachers. Finding answers to curious questions was his hobby. He spent hours searching the web that night and found out about the meteoric growth of technology in the last thirty years. It was an eye-opener for him. Yes, he did realise how effective online learning can be soon after starting online classes the previous year. Adjusting to a completely new model of learning and examination was difficult. But now he knows that it worked out for the best when it comes to education.

His mind does not stop there. He starts recollecting bits and pieces of information. He remembered his father speaking about how doctors needed to update their knowledge as medical science was making breakthroughs every day. He realises that they have been shopping for groceries online for over a year now. Earlier, his father used to go to the market on weekends and take him along. He misses it. He choked up a bit thinking of his grandparents, whom he hasn’t seen in two years. They live in a different city and they are still using keypad phones, so there was no way to see them over a video call either. All these fragments of thoughts came together to build a conclusion. Technology is the future, and with it, nothing is unattainable. Technology is developing at an astonishing rate, and those who are unable to adapt will not make the most of opportunities coming their way.

He made up his mind. A question has been bothering him for the past few months. As someone serious about their education, he knew that it was almost time to decide on a field of higher study. That would enable him to prepare in the right direction, strategically. But there were so many options. The list of pros and cons would never end. He has the answer now. The answer is to adapt and overcome. Adapt to changes and overcome challenges. In this pandemic and post pandemic period, the biggest challenge they have faced is going out. Days were spent, sometimes even without the bare essentials. But now, whether you’re a teacher or a seeker, whether you’re selling a service or a product, you can do it all on the internet. This new wave of apps and online portals is actually allowing them to invest more time in themselves. That’s it. That’s what he wanted to do.

Ranveer broke the news at breakfast the next morning.

"I want to learn to code. I want to be a developer. This is where we are headed in the future, and I have really gained an interest in it", he said.

With an understanding set of parents by his side, he was able to find a good online tutor. His age did not matter. Learning to code is easy when you have a knack for solving puzzles. With an aim in his mind, Ranveer writes line after line of code. He wants to build the most sophisticated A.I. the world has ever witnessed.