As a child, it is very important for you to have a sense of curiosity about the world around you. Only through your questions will you be able to build the models that will help you understand and interpret what is happening. There were three sets of people who helped me a lot as I was growing up my parents, my teachers, and my friends.
My parents fueled my learning. Even as a child, I remember going out every Sunday and buying either the latest Amar Chitra Katha comic or some other book. As I grew a little older, it was the magazines we used to get at home. We were not very well off financially I can remember sitting with my parents every evening and writing out the days expenses in a diary. My mother would walk with me so we could save a few paise in the bus fare. But there was no compromise in the quest for knowledge. I grow up in a world of books and they encouraged every bit of that interest.
My teachers at school reinforced this love. I was fortunate enough to have some wonderful teachers who encouraged my interest in maths and sciences. We had an excellent library where I would spend most of my lunch breaks. A lot of the books Id read dealt with invention and engineering. I just had to know everything! I would then make my own notes sometimes copying entire articles so I could keep reading them. (I guess it is no surprise then that I blog so much!)
Two of my friends stood out in particular we would challenge each other in this quest for knowledge! Perhaps, it was the library which bonded us together. But that was just the physical environment. As I look back, Anand and Narendra were for me two friends I could always turn to for anything. That we were part of the same team when we won the Nehru Science Centre quiz contest was an icing on the cake. The friendship which began in school has lasted through the years even though distance separates us now. Anand is in the US East Coast, Narendra on the US West Coast, and I am in India. But the bonds of friendship that began nearly 25 years ago still run deep.
You cannot select your parents. Your parents select your school. The school selects the teacher. But you and only you select your friends. As you grow up, you will spend more time in school amidst your teachers and friends. As in everything, a little luck is necessary to get the right teachers and make the right friends. I was more than a little lucky! I hope you will be, too.
I hope this quest for the new and unknown is something which passes on to you. The world is a fascinating place, and there is much to be discovered and done. Whatever you decide and do, I hope you will get off the beaten path and tread on the road less travelled.
Tomorrow: Emerging Technologies
TECH TALK Letter to a 2005 Baby+T