ABEL KURUVILLA

@abelkuruvilla

Exploration of an Engineering student from Kerala in the year 2017

Hello everyone... I am here to briefly talk about the experiences and journeys the year 2017 had to offer me, and how some of you could achieve that too. Let me remind you that this is not some kind of inspirational story. I am here to share some of the experiences and opportunities that I got, and how you could easily get that too..

At the end of 2016

As the year 2016 ended, I was a regular 5th Semester Computer Science and Engineering student, studying at NSS College of Engineering, Palakkad, Kerala, India. I was being an active participant in the Entrepreneurship Development Cell (EDC) of our college, but nothing more. The year 2016 had passed by without much excitements. 
 The only news was our team of 5 getting selected for a startup training program by SV.CO by selecting our self android product of an android game and then an interview round
A regular B.Tech kid...

Begining of 2017

At the start of 2017 itself, 5 of us registered our own private software startup, named "Karela". We signed legal agreements, and registered ourselves at Thiruvanthapuram. I co-founded the startup and was the Chief Technical Officer. Our startup was digitally incubated under SV.CO . Thus started our startup training and sessions.

Karela working in Men’s Hostel

Alpha Launch at FreshWorks Office , Chennai

On March 3rd, we had our first Alpha Product Launch at the office of FreshDesk (now FreshWorks) at Chennai. This was the 1st time that I see for live how a vibrant startup software company works. The entire office was fully vibrant and colorful. The entire setup and atmosphere made me wish I could join the company that day itself.

On the Alpha Launch day, we presented our product in front of a jury of experts and received many good feedback. It was also an opportunity for me to meet up and network with many helpful and skillful persons.

Product Pitching @ Freshworks

This was actually the first time that I visited Chennai city.

Smart India Hackathon 2017, Chandigarh

I think this was one of the first unexpected and gifted journey of the year. Me and my team of 6, our team named “Techsols” got selected for solving a problem statement stated in Smart India Hackathon (SIH) 2017 . SIH was an initiative undertaken by the Government of India and AICTE to solve the problems faced by different ministries and government sectors by the students themselves.

Team Techsols at SIH 2017 @ CGC,Chandigarh

The selection was an unexpected surprise to us. Moreover, our ministry’s program was scheduled at Chandigarh Group of Colleges (CGC), Chandigarh. All the expenses of the travel was covered and reimbursed by the government. This became an opportunity for us, and we undertook it. Even though the entire Hackathon was for just 2 days, our entire journey took 1 week. We had 4 entire days in train journey, 2 days in Delhi, and 1 days in Chandigarh apart from the event. 
This was also the first time that I visit Delhi or Chandigarh.

You can still apply for SIH 2018, the deadline is Dec 31, 2017. Please do apply here.

Customer insights Day at Bangalore

Another 1 day trip was to Bangalore for the Customer Insights Day set up by SV.CO at the big office of [24]7 . We got to talk with many experts and get the feedbacks on our product.

Customer Insights Day at [24]7 Bangalore

This was not however my first visit to Bangalore :-p

Visit to Silicon Valley 16–28 June

This is one of the major explorations I had in 2017. As part of our training in SV.CO we were sent to a one week visit to Silicon Valley funded by the Kerala Government and Kerala Startup Mission. This visit had been a life changing event for me.
During our trip we visited headquarters of Facebook, Google and Intel . We visited many Investors, Google Launchpad, academic institutions like 42 Coding USA, and North Eastern University.

At Google HQ, Silicon Valley

I also had the opportunity to visit Steve Jobs house, all thanks to Iqbal and Aravind, two random Indians we met on road and gave us a very good time.
One entire day we walked through the city of San Fransisco, visited Golden Gate Bridge, etc. etc., the list goes on. The entire experience is more than one blog to explain, so I will shorten it up here.

Golden Gate Bridge, San Fransisco

IEDC Summit 2017 and NVIDIA GAMER CONNECT

These two may not seem like a grand event, but both these events had given some great memories for me. Meeting many talented guys, seeing their good works , all of this came true at IEDC Summit. I also got to re-energise my old habit of gaming at the Gamer connect too...

Nvidia Gamer Connect, Kochi

Winning Digital Masala Challenge 2017, Kolkata

When December had arrived, I thought maybe all the fun in this year was about to end. And somehow God laughed at me , and gave this surprise. 
Me and my team of 6 got selected for participating in the Digital Masala Challenge competition organised by Youth Ki Awaaz and Facebook at Kolkata. The selection was a surprise to all of us in the team.

The entire travel was sponsored by Facebook and Youth Ki Awaaz. They booked us flight tickets, arranged our stay in a 5 star Hotel (The Lalit Great Eastern), and even booked the cabs for us. I personally was shocked by all these hospitality. Even though I have attended many hackathons and competitions, I had never received such a luxurious treatment.

The competition was stretched for 2 days ( 17-18 Dec) with Idea Pitching at 18th evening. Among all the participating teams, ours was on the most youngest. But somehow when the results came, we won the prize money of $5000, which came as a shocker for all of us.
Due to lack of timing , we could not roam much around the city, but we did visit the Tomb of Mother Theresa, Quest Mall, and Eden Gardens Stadium.
This again was another first time trip of mine to Kolkata.

My team for DMC, Kolkate

Conclusion

If you thought that all of these trips and explorations came because I was such a nerd, then let me tell you something, all of this can easily be achieved by you too. All you have to do is take up some necessary actions.

All the opportunities that I got are still present. If you just look up your eyes and search for it, you can easily spot them. It seems there are many more present now.

All the voyages that I undertook where not on my own. I had a team of friends besides me in all the journey that I had this year. Always have a team that you can depend upon, a team that you can call your own.

I am not some super kid or genius. I am just an ordinary final year engineering student, who lived his year doing the work he loved, and do it wholeheartedly.

Do the work you love, and enjoy doing it.

Quoting Amir Khan from the film 3 idiots,

“ Don’t run behind success, let the success run behind you”

All these opportunities, does not mean that I have become some successful person. I am still a struggling engineering developer. But all I can say is that the explorations that I had last year, gave some amazing memories and experiences, which makes me look forward to another year.

Happy New Year to all..

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