The moments that define us

Nintendo Gaming Console

Despite being just 5 years old, I distinctly remember my mother taking me to meet one of her friends on a Sunday evening. Her friend’s kids were about the same age as I was. They had a video game console connected to a TV and a computer keyboard. Video game consoles were the popular thing back then; I had watched my cousins play on them for hours. The adults permitted playing on the console as long as we did not cause a ruckus or disturb the adults. I remember the kids starting the console and being stuck at the ‘Start Game’ screen of a game (Contra , probably?) not being able to figure out how to proceed. Several minutes passed as they tried every combination on the keyboard and were left scratching their heads. They had no idea what to do.

I did.
I can never forget the rush of excitement and euphoria I felt back then as I gazed at the Enter key and thought to myself, “One key press would start the game. One key press would solve their problem.”

I did not think much of that Sunday evening for the next ~15 years. My fascination for computers grew along with me and I enrolled in a CS degree course after completing school. Programming came later into the picture. Back then all I wanted to know was how software worked.

When I think back on how I got here, it feels like this was my plan all along. The specifics were variable, but the grand scheme was already in place. All I had to do was act it out.

On that Sunday evening in ~2002, a five-year-old boy in suburban India helped two kids start their game. And, unbeknownst to him, kicked off a chain of events that would lead him right here.

Don’t search for defining moments, because they will never come. The moments that define you have already happened, and they will already happen again.
- Peter Dinklage