Pursuing his Passion, Ashay Tejwani, Tech Guru
What are you passionate about?
“T” in IIT. Tech! It has given to me the most versatile experiences which I probably wouldn’t have had in any other field – Participant, Mechanic, Electrician, Carpenter, Coder, Hacker, Team Leader, Mentor – the list is endless. Apart from being a great teacher, its become a way of life, changed the way one looks at the world and also the definition of impossible.
The most beautiful part of being involved in tech – you are the artist as well as the audience. It demands a lot from you – sustained enthusiasm, many failed prototypes before completion, loss of sleep and social life; however, the inner satisfaction you get once you see your project working after all the struggles, it is a reward in itself. And it is not restrictive in nature- music, art, sports, research, finance – choose any genre, there’s always some application of tech possible, often necessary. Tech is omnipresent, engrossing and ever changing, and the thought of such endless possibilities itself is very exciting.
Although my journey in this field started off at the age of 5 with MS-DOS and later VB and Java in subsequent years, what really got me glued to this field was my Electronics Club Summer Project – Hand Gesture Input Gloves (HGIG’s). HGIG’s was basically a venture into Human-Machine interaction – enabling the user to use his/her hand as a mouse and try to detect simple gestures for converting sign language used by the speech disabled, while avoiding Carpal tunnel syndrome as there is no stress on the median nerve. I’m currently working on 3 major Technovation projects (Parinat – a humanoid, Artificial Instrumentalist – a drumming robot and Non Contact Emissivity Finder – an industrial product) with 19 other finely talented individuals.
How much time do you devote on your Technical Projects vis-à-vis Academics? Is your Passion affecting your Academics, if so, does it bother you?
Most of these projects have a sound-like flow – there are compressions and rarefactions. There are times when mainly project planning takes place, which are relatively chilled out, and then there are long continuous weeks of work – about 7-8 hours a day. If I said it wasn’t affecting my academics, I’d be lying through my teeth, however, it is more like a tradeoff. It doesn’t bother me as we generally factor exams in our project timelines, and try and complete all the work for a particular stage about a week before major exams, so with a supportive team and good time management, one can easily maintain a decent CPI along with these projects.
What are your expectations from IITB in terms of helping you in realizing your passion?
My main expectation from the institute in terms of help has been funding, workspace and recognition to the entire team. Initially this aspect was dismal at best. However, instead of complaining, I actively interacted with the STAB core team. The scene is gradually improving, though we still have a long way to go before we reach a level of tech that is at par with that of institutes abroad.
What do you see yourself doing once you are out of this place?
At present, this is a very blurred image. Ideally I’d like to pursue one of the many fields I’ve worked in further and eventually start teaching it (I found my niche in being a mentor + working on projects, this is probably the closest to that outside), but considering my department, CPI and the companies that come for placement, I’ll mostly end up in some firm where I can put my coding skills to good use and continue tech as a hobby at whatever level possible.