The Herald of Perseverance: Astitva Srivastava
A calm and composed person, a programming nerd, an assiduous learner, a hardworking individual, an exceptional Hindi conversationalist and an honest leader are the qualities that distinctively portray Astitva Srivastava, a final year student from the Department of Computer Science and Engineering. His dedication and passion are completely reflected in his work. He does not run away from responsibilities; not only does he embrace them, he also takes initiatives.
Born in the village of Semrauta, Uttar Pradesh, Astitva’s earliest memories include him going to the Shishumandir with his sisters. He and his elder sister always attended school together. He went to Gourav Academy and Christ the King until one day, when his father, a Medical Officer by profession, shifted the family to the city of Raebareli. He attended SJS School from Class 1 to 6, following which he joined Lucknow Public School, Raebareli. His father was really strict and serious about academics. Hence, his primary focus was always on studies and he did it so well that he never joined any tuition till class 12.
Sketching The Portrait
Growing up as a disciplined child, Astitva was always desirous for experimenting things which sometimes got him trapped in serious problems. The talent of a budding CS engineer was clearly reflected in his early years when he used to experiment and explore each and every feature of mobile phones in order to clinch his curiosity.
He describes himself as a complete nerd in his schooldays. He reminisces of the days when he stood first in Class 9 for which he was supposed to receive a cash prize of INR 250, after bagging INR 150 by securing the third position in the half-yearly examinations, the system of cash awards and certificates annually was done away with that year itself. He felt bad but decided to do well, not for the cash prize but for the sake of satisfaction. Further, he worked hard and secured 10 CGPA in Class 10. But the Continuous Comprehensive Evaluation(CCE) system was implemented that year itself and nobody around him understood what exactly a CGPA of 10 meant.
Speaking on his interest for computers. he was quoted saying:
I was always passionate about Computers and when I was introduced to HTML in Class 10, I was absolutely amazed. Hence, I took Maths, Physics, and Chemistry with Information Practices (Deals with Java, JFrame) in Class 11. I got 99 in Information Practices in the Class 12 boards and that one mark was lost only because of a printing mistake in the question paper. I feel bad about it even today! (laughs) .
Being the district topper in Class 12, he received the attention of media. Sadly, he was not at home and his father had to give the old photos. He still laments saying that he did not look presentable in the ones that got printed in the newspaper!
From the very beginning, Astitva enjoyed exploring everything that was taught in computer labs. His programming grounds started with learning QBasic where he had to mug up the codes to get good marks in exams. The inquisitive programmer witnessed a turning point in the Intermediate when he was introduced to JAVA and had to work with JFrames.
He did not take any coaching for IIT as he was only concerned about the Class 12 boards. He took the Online JEE Mains Examination thinking that he is a ‘Computer guy’! However, he underperformed and his results were not good enough to take up Computer Science in any of the NITs. Nonetheless, considering his top marks in the Class 12 CBSE boards, he was awarded a tablet for emerging with flying colours. Since it was the first smart device of his life, he was extremely excited but sadly, he had to take the train to his coaching institute the next day. He worked hard and that ultimately fetched him an AIR of 5036 in JEE Mains. Taking into consideration his CML rank and the ranking of the institutes, he sorted his preference list and eventually secured an admission in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering in NIT, Rourkela.
Scripts of NITR
When he got admitted into NIT, Rourkela the first thing he searched was about the quality and type of food that was served in the mess, which is when he came across a Monday Morning article regarding all these matters. So he learned about Monday Morning even before joining the institute.
Finally, completely unprepared, reluctant to stay away from home and family, Astitva stepped into NIT, Rourkela. Being the studious student he was, he continued to remain thoughtful about academics and hence, used to consistently ace in the semester exams.
I used to feel bad even when I lost one or two marks in the examinations of my first semester. I got a CGPA of 9.6 but I wanted more! I did not study for CGPA but I wanted to learn. People started teasing me by calling GMAT even though I was not into studies all the time. Then I also thought maybe studying too much is not the only thing to do at college, so I started taking studies less seriously and then started joining clubs.
He was the member of the Microsoft Campus Club wherein he was actively associated with hosting of the Tech-A-Thon, Workshop on Web Development and Treasherlocked 3.0, for which he was asked to make a video using AfterEffects. Despite having a laptop with 2GB RAM at that time, which was not appropriate for using heavy software like AfterEffects, this techie managed to successfully make the video. Due to his immense technical flair, he was also invited to join Bookfount by Dilip Raj Baral and is currently working for the launch of Bookfount.
Once his friend Surya Prakash Sahu mentioned that the club CodeHub had become unusually dormant and that it could be used as a medium to help many students in the aspects of providing technical knowledge. He thus reinvigorated CodeHub with Surya along with other members and they held many sessions on different topics related to computer sciences so that students could be benefitted and could explore their skills further. During Innovision-2017, the club hosted a workshop on Git. The turn-out was good and their attempts were successful too.
Astitva also served as a member of Monday Morning(MM) and went on to become the Technical Coordinator for the academic year of 2016-17. Despite the heavy workload, he always maintained his cool which led to his teammates perceiving him as one of the calmest and honest members.
Astitva was a part of the core team of the Monday Morning Android app development- Project Vibranium. Under the leadership of Abhay Kumar, the guidance of Dilip Raj Baral and Sushovan Das and along with his peer Surya Prakash Sahu, he significantly contributed in developing the MM app. He recalls attending frequent meetings wherein they discussed the wireframe of the app, module wise division for coding and ways of optimizing the app. He remembers staying up very late in the nights along with his senior Dilip Raj Baral in order to give final touches to the app. He feels that he had one of the finest experiences while developing the UI/UX part of the Monday Morning app as this made him more proficient in his technical skills. The day of Nitrutsav-2017, when the team finally uploaded the app on the Google Play store, was indeed a memorable one for him as well as for the Monday Morning readers! He is currently serving as the Technical Mentor of Team Monday Morning and is continuously associated with fixing the bugs, reviewing the code of the junior team members on GitHub and endlessly updating the app.
On his association with Monday Morning, he was quoted saying:
There is a special feeling about being a part of MM. I was always interested to know what was going on in the campus in detail. I was not an avid reader, so I used to attend every meeting so that I remained aware about the campus. Moreover, it has also improved my interpersonal skills.
From A Dilettante Developer To A Pro
In his school days, using basics of HTML, Internet Explorer as browser and Notepad as editor he made a website as his project and had developed a strong interest in web development since then. After having visited the website on Monday Morning before joining NIT, Rourkela this invigorated him to improve the website of the student media body. Hence, he went for the MM technical inductions after being suggested by his friends and there he achieved a full score in the task. His senior, Siddharth Manu exclaims having found a jewel in the process! Though Astitva was not proficient in either web or app development, he learned very quickly.
Single-handedly, he has been managing the placement portal of the campus and even though he has not been declared as an official member of the placement committee, he shoulders such great responsibility selflessly. He was the only one whom Siddharth Manu, who had developed the Placement Committee Portal of NIT, Rourkela could trust for handling this hoard of sensitive information.
Siddharth Manu, speaking about passing the baton of the Placement Committee Portal said,
When I had to leave the institute, I could not find any successor to handle the Placement Committee portal. So I handed it over to Astitva with all the master passwords because although he was not a part of the placement committee, I trusted him enough to know that he won’t misuse it or leak any confidential information. Also, though I could not even guarantee him a certificate from the Placement Committee, he willingly accepted the job without any expectations! So the best quality about him is that you can have confidence and totally rely on the fact that he will take his task to completion. You can trust him to always do the right thing!
Defeating Failures And Embarking On Success
The Monday Morning’s website was supposed to see a new dawn of elegance. It was truly a hectic time as the night before the D-Day seemed disastrous with the website being unable to fetch the updated data and hence was in the middle of a chaotic hodgepodge. Quite early in the next morning, the solution to this hassle got wired into Astitva’s brain and immediately after executing it, he drowsed off into slumber. The next thing that happened was that he was late for Pre Placement Talk(PPT) of his dream company, Microsoft. However, he was able to appear for the second round of placement test. Sleep deprived Astitva took the second test in which he scored badly and was rejected.
After being unable to secure an on-campus internship, Astitva, with a never give up attitude, tried to apply through Internshala.com and was contacted by Logic Square Technologies where he was asked to develop a webpage as a selection task. With ardent efforts, he was finally selected. It was a start-up where he was provided with two projects. Perfectionist Astitva found many flaws in that company’s code and began perfecting it ignoring the fact that it wasn’t his task. Hence, his tasks often used to get delayed. No other intern was so dedicated to that company and due to time issues, he was forced to focus only on his task. Therefore his second task was completed before time and he was duly lauded for his efforts. Singing and Photography, have always helped him to rejuvenate and focus on the work at hand.
When the topic of final year placement came up, Astitva had a strong wish to work for Microsoft. This strong craze was because the different products of Microsoft are used by millions across the globe and this company provided myriad genres of services. Hence, he wanted to work for that organisation. Even though he was not recruited by Microsoft, he wishes to endeavour again in future if chances permit.
He was finally placed in Veritas and during the final decisive HR round, as he states it,
Being the Technical Coordinator of Monday Morning did all the necessary magic.
Astitva derives inspiration from Dilip Raj Baral and even praises him too highly. Dilip has had a massive role in polishing him technically and had helped in discovering a great coder within him, believes Astitva. He also claims to have learnt a lot from the selfless nature and dedication of his teammate Surya Prakash Sahu.
Last But Not The Least
When asked about what message he would like to give to the budding technocrats, he was quoted saying,
Find what you really like and then pursue it with all of your zeal. Join clubs which cater to your interests and can help you nourish your hobbies. But at the same time, do not worsen your academics. And if you wish to pursue research and higher studies, do study a little more!