Kinderdijk, The Netherlands, May 2019.
I won a painting competition at the age of 5. And another one the next year and at least one every year after that till I was 16 yo...
I still have the glimpses of that first award ceremony fresh in my memory. Also, the look of pride on my parents' faces.
Drawing & painting came naturally to me as a kid and so did the love for cars. As a kid, I would run my imagination wild to draw landscapes and indulge myself in sketching something from textbooks, news articles or magazines.
My parents also bought me a set of Mechanix Metal game around the same time (4 or 5 yo). I'd build a model car every week from it and show it off to my friends. I was fascinated by the thought of playing with something that I've built with my own hands and well, of course, my own imagination.
I got my first computer when I was 12 yo and I taught myself how to use MS Paint and to my surprise, I won a computer painting competition held in my school in the same year. That just made me all the more interested in computers and what I could do with the different apps on my PC. So I picked up some basic Photoshop and movie editing skills and if my memory serves well, created some animations on Flash as well.
Golden Oriole on MS Paint, 2006.
The pleasure was all mine when I realized that I could make art and build stuff and also do justice to my academics, all with much ease and excitement.
Wanted something more — Mechanical Engineering
Although I was good at sketching & painting, I never wanted a degree in Arts. I was a bright student at school & math & science were my favorite subjects. So, after clearing my entrance exams for engineering, I decided to pursue Mechanical Engineering because I was heavily influenced by Iron Man & Transformers movie series. Also, it reminded me of my childhood days of building model cars & robots from Mechanix set and this was the perfect place to satisfy my hunger for making 1:1 stuff that is real and used for real-world applications.
Built a go-kart car — just under ₹ 12,000
So at the age of 19, having an elementary knowledge on how a car is made, me and my friends built a Reverse Trike Go-kart car from a motorcycle engine & gearbox and it was an instant hit in the college. We spent a little under ₹ 12,000 ($175), that's all! And it was designed and styled by me, but nothing would have been possible without the joint effort from my friends who supported the off-beat design. My confidence just blasted out of the roof when I drove it for the first time. After being selected as an integral member of the auto-club, I put my designing skills to test and designed the club logos, brochure, t-shirts & car decals.
In the summer of 2014, I did my first Himalayan Trek and that experience taught me everything the city life couldn't!
Empathy. Hospitality. And most important, respecting other souls and nature! It got me into thinking how the other half lives. Their needs were less and lifestyle simple, yet they never complained about anything and always had a smile on their faces. Very interesting!
Landed an internship at a Healthcare startup at IIT Bombay to design casings for medical application devices.
I shifted my attention to 3D modeling & simulation software and made my first portfolio showcasing my appetite for design, both in 3D and visual communication. I got an internship at a healthcare startup at the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay. During my internship, I worked on some 8 different projects creating 3D designs for component parts and casings. I was introduced to 3D Printing over here and seeing my designs see the light of the day straight from the 3D Printer was nothing less than magical! I was hooked on to the 3D printer so much that I decided to make a 3D Printer for my Final Year Project. Also, I got a job offer at this startup. Yayy!
Reverse Trike Go-kart Car, August 2013.
White out, Pha-Konda peak trek, June 2014.
Hello Sahira - #trekdiaries, June 2016.
Cheers to new beginnings!
In June 2016, I went for another Himalayan trek, this time a little higher than before. The same lessons learned before — revisited and some more. Also, I lost myself taking a lot of photographs, capturing the raw beauty of the landscape and the people there and made some early attempts at Vlogging my #trekdiaries. (You definitely don't want to watch them. Nope. Save yourself the trouble.) But during the trek, I met Sahira, the cutest kid in Himachal Pradesh and she let me take a selfie with her. ^_^
1 yr 1 mo job as a Research Assistant — Head of Product Design
I headed the Product Design of medical devices at that startup and with the help of my team, completed prototypes for a handful of smart medical devices. One fine day, I was asked to create an app UI that would measure your Blood pressure & record patient data under a clinic/hospital profile. I created a handful of mockups of the app UI. I got a lot of "woah that looks cool ya!" from my colleagues.
That was it!
That was the moment I geared up for taking UX / UI seriously and started reading up more about it, how to do it, where to do it from, blah blah blah...(Well, one more reason apart from the encouragement was my selfish reason of learning how to code & design for web / mobile) ;P
My UX / UI Design journey kicks off.
I enrolled myself in the Designer Track Program at Bloc.io. Remote learning — ever tried it? It opened up a whole new world of creating stuff that sits on your laptop or mobile phones or smartwatches or practically anything that has a display or an interface to communicate with humans. But visual design is not just enough for something to work — it requires a conscious thought and some sense of logic — which is what UX is about.
Also, I like to stay physically fit, so I took up cycling as a hobby. On 13th January 2018, I participated in a cyclothon organized by a bicycle café near me where I did 80km of midnight cycling starting from the Gateway of India, Mumbai. It's the strenuous of all adventure activities that I've done so far. >_<
App UI that made me do it - UX/UI I mean
My mood after cycling 80km, January 2018.
My final thoughts
So far I've shipped 3 UX / UI projects under Bloc and I have done the UX, UI, Branding and Front-end Development for each of these projects.
To be honest with you, I can tell you that I know a lot about a lot of things but I still feel that I have a lot to learn about a lot of things. That's not all. The experiences I've had so far has shaped my understanding of UX and what goes into building products, whether digital or physical or phygital — how the web works & how UI is interpreted across different interactive media & how different demographics perceive, interact and consume the data.
The future of design is going to be more deliberate and delightful.
Here’s to the crazy ones ! - Jobs, my idol.