6th Anniversary CTzen Autobiography Blog - Part 5 (Finale)
This is it! The final chapter of my autobiography that will conclude everything about myself up and until now. It took me a year to write it all out while struggling through some really harsh, difficult and tough times. But I’m glad that I’m able to push this autobiography out giving you the journey that I’ve been through and what I wish to accomplish in my life and give back to this amazing and wonderful community that I fell in love with.
Ever since 2014, the world for us had been in disarray and chaos. On one side I was struggling to cope with the pressure of University and on the other side my dad’s job loss meant that my parents were being even more preservative on spending money on me. But thanks to the Car Throttle community and my will to strive to fulfill my dreams, I managed to put up a smile every often forgetting the struggles that I’m having to go through. The pressure from the broken education system at University and my passion to strive for perfection meant that I was in murky waters having to find time to keep my passionate fire burning. Though I found activities and hobbies to escape reality and focus on my vision.
In my first year of University, I managed to make a small group of friends whom I got familiar with. Partly because one of them lived next to my house and so did other two along with my close friend. Towards the end of 2nd year 1st semester, we’ve known one another very well and had created a close circle among ourselves by that time. So when our final exams began, we decided to travel together in my CL2s car, a very ancient Maruti-Suzuki Alto that was still running on the tires the car was purchased on. All was going well. The car ran fine, it didn’t had any engine issues, it was able to engulf two 6 foot and three 5.5 foot personnel with a bit of squeeze and was decent on fuel economy. We set off to our examination center which was located somewhere on the outskirts of the city in his car and on the way to or back sometimes, he’d sometimes engage in one or another stunt driving maneuvers. I usually sat in the back with my other two mates while my close friends would sit at the front. Then on the penultimate day of the examination, as we were picking up our friends and started heading out to our exam center, the inevitable happened.
As we picked up the last of our friends from the pick up point, my CL2 said he’d try to impress me with his driving tactics that he learnt from Need For Speed: Most Wanted 2005… all while many of us were still in the car with him. Pumped with over confidence that we were going to write one of the easiest exams, he decided to cut the morning lorry entrance traffic by driving recklessly cutting from lane to lane reaching speeds of up to 80 km/h on a stretch of road under the bridge. As we cut across a few lorries, a lorry was slowing down for a U-Turn on the right lane. As he cut that lorry, he was greeted with a sudden sight of a student on a sports bike emerging behind the lorry from our perspective who had taken that U-Turn from the other side at speed with his knee down. My CL2 saw him at the very last second and responded by jerk turning the steering wheel trying to swerve around him. Unfortunately, the decades old tires had all their threads erased and there was no grip in the tires… combined with his knee jerk reaction of suddenly swerving the car around that bike sent our car into a slide. As he tried counter-steering, he kept over correcting sending the car into a tank slapper. As he kept over correcting the slide, the car lost control and spun out. There were a few public service cleaning workers on the side of the road who saw the car incoming, jumped out of the way and our car T-boned an electricity pole from the rear pillar. The window glass proximity to the pillar had shattered from force and my friend who was sitting near the window made an impact on the glass with his face on the window causing the shattered glass pieces to cut open his cheek deep and cause bleeding.
I was sitting in the middle with my legs wedged between the front passenger and driver seat and the rear bench backrest. The impact caused my leg to be jerked sideways badly while it was still wedged in between the seats. This created an immense pain in my left thigh and buttocks. While my other friend who was sitting on the driver side jerked his neck when the impact was made causing swelling and pain on the back of his neck. As for my close friends who were in the front driving and riding shotgun, didn’t suffer any injuries from the impact. Out of sheer frustration, I called out my CL2s name loudly while my CL1 from the front passenger seat swear at the biker out of anger and frustration. Our friend who was on the impacted side with me had made impact with shattered glass and was bleeding profusely. We immediately got back in the car after assessing the damage and drove to the nearest hospital to have our friend attended at his injuries.
The accident had already caused us a delay of about 20 minutes. After our friend was discharged, we got back in the car and started driving towards our exam center. After just a few odd meters, we noticed a very strange pulses of vibration and rubbing sounds as the car rolled on. CL2 decided to drive faster to see if the vibrations and sounds would fade but instead they kept getting faster and eventually the wheel well started to smoke. Turned out the tire and the tire wall was rubbing in the wheel arches where the impact was made as the wheel itself was wobbling as we drove along. The sounds and vibrations felt uneasy and disturbing. So we decided to pull over, take all the belongings from the car, lock it down and take a ‘Tuk Tuk’ to our exam center instead and arriving just about on time. The exam was an easy breeze for me. Then on the return journey we had to sort out the transportation back. Because there weren’t any ‘Tuk Tuks’ that would take us back home which was 50 km away, we had to ask our class mates to drive us to our friend’s car where we had parked it. We managed to catch whoever was willing to lend us a ride to the place where my close friend’s car was parked. After arriving at the location and assessing the overall damage, CL2 called his dad to pick up the car while we waited for him to arrive. After an hour and half of waiting, his father turns up on his scooter. Most of my other friends and class mates by this point had left so it was just me and CL2. After he assessed the damage, my friend’s dad had given me the keys to his scooter and told to to follow me to his home. After dropping the scooter at his home, it was only a day I just want to forget after having a near death experience.
The whole over confidence 'Need For Speed' recreational driving style in the real world in a car with no maintenance done to the tires and ending up crashing gave us flashback of what might've happened with Paul Walker. It was a terrifying and traumatizing experience. But most importantly, he had learnt his lesson the really hard way about the dangers of reckless driving.
Even though I was in Engineering, it didn’t stop me from having a bit of fun on the side. In September of 2014, I bought my largest LEGO set ever. It was also my first time buying LEGO in India since the last time I bought LEGO was years ago when I was in IISJ. However here in India, even though LEGO wasn’t as popular or well sold. Despite that, it was still available on many stores online albeit with heavy customs and taxes levied on them. My parents were being reluctant on spending such a large toy, so I decided to use my Engineering field as an excuse to buy the LEGO Technic 42000 Grand Prix Racer set as a lot of the mechanisms and components in it were related to mechanical engineering in one way or another. I was also lucky to get my hands on it as dad was in Jeddah still at the time. After asking my mom for the money, I placed the order and within a few days, the set arrived early in the morning. At the time when I bought it, I had finished my semester exams so I dedicated my day to building the set. I started out in hopes that I could build it in 6 hours or so… but instead I had spent 14 hours non-stop building it throughout the night. I was awake for a whole 28 hours that day trying to build the car.
My dedication to build the LEGO Grand Prix Racer showcased just how vivid and bright the passionate flame was burning in my heart as my desire to keep on going building the toy kept my momentum going.
In 2015, a large hoard from a batch of our juniors from the mechanical division of our college came together and created a racing team. It was ironic that my batch of students who were a year senior to them had no interest in anything automotive related apart from me, CL1 and CL2. I got to know their team member and leader who was a car enthusiasts and had connections with the racing organisation and people in it. When news reached me that they were building a go-kart to participate in the International Series of Karting go-kart racing event, I decided to head over there to check it out. The project was in it’s infancy stage and only just begun. At the time I visited them, they were still looking for sponsors and funding to start their project. They told me they could get financing and sponsorship from the national bank but need a few account numbers from the bank to get approval for sponsorship. I had my bank account opened in the national bank a few years prior to me starting university so I decided to help them by joining their team and contributing them by giving my bank account number as member of the project. This helped them out a lot, giving them a boost in their talks with the bank for funding. After many talks with the national bank branch manager, we couldn’t come to an agreement with them for malicious reasons related to spying on our other sponsors and had to be dropped. At this stage, they were still short on cash despite the dozen strong team funding small chunks of cash into the project. Next thing they did was asked our branch of mechanical students for some contribution but didn’t work out much. So the team leaders threw in from their wallets to fill up for the funding. This was a conceivably worthy option as they had most of the project cost covered but were a few chunks short of hitting their limit. After much thought and self convincing, I decided to help them out by filling out the last chunk of much needed cash to fund the project. The team members particularly the leaders were very impressed by my humble move to investment in their project.
With all the funding now secured, the team borrowed an old workshop with permission from our Mechanical Branch Headmaster and set to work at last. The project started out with CAD designs of the go-kart with all the projected tolerances and stresses the chassis design would endeavor. After being showcased and getting an approval from our professors and teachers, the project began to take shape. After two months of working on it on and off, the go-kart was finally completed and ready to be taken to Bangalore where the competition was taking place. A few days after the photo-shoot session, they left for the city. Once there at the event, catastrophe hit them. It turned out the chassis designed for competing didn’t met the required standards. This had startled the team as at first they didn’t know what to do with it. Then after some consultation, they found a go-kart building expert where they had him built a go-kart built from scratch in a record short time. This obviously had costed them dearly but it was worth the effort. The session was divided into three with course test session on one day, free practice and qualifying on other and race on final day. After scoring decent in the tests, the next task was getting to know the track and making adjustments to the kart. My college team qualified somewhere in the middle of the field. But on race day, as the flag dropped, they made strides and progress through the field as our team had the most consistent pace which allowed them to catch the leaders very early in the race while also taking advantage over other’s misfortune and mishaps and eventually taking the lead. After 15 minutes of running around, the checkered flag was waved and our team crossed the start/finish line first claiming the prize money and the winners trophy.
After returning and narrating the tragedies and misfortunes that they had to face but ultimately claiming victory at the event had left me a bit disgruntled but the great news was that as I was considered a part of the team, I got my investment back with some profit! It was a risk worth taking and it paid off well and it was my early experience of getting a profit into something I had invested in. I just wished I could take part in such events and have support from my family to pursue my dreams.
Leaving Saudi Arabia for Good:
Since 2014, Saudi Arabia was in turmoil and was only heading for the worse. Companies had started to stall, wages weren’t reaching employees, corrupted leaders were being thrown in prison and employment was taking a very heavy beating. All the reliance on the oil revenue had hurt country’s income very badly. As 2015 rolled in and wages of employees were still unpaid, the immigrant workers from India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Philippines and even average working Arab nationals in the country slowly started to send their families back to their home country. It was uncertain at this point if we would be forced to leave or not.
Since 2005, I had a PlayStation 2 which bought a lot of great memories and fun to my boredom. Though it had online connectivity, not many people utilized it’s feature. Even I once tried connecting online, it never worked out. Regardless of it, the single player experience was an immense fun and an escape for me from the stress I was endeavoring at school. Sometimes, I would bring my friends at home to play 2 player or at occasions, 3 or 4 player party modes. It was a lot of fun. Then in 2010, I got myself a PlayStation 3 and that changed the gaming experience a lot for me. My sister and my brother had secretly snug the PlayStation 3 without dad knowing about it and brought it here to Hyderabad. A few years after joining Car Throttle, I found the gaming community through which I got to know several users who in turn I became friends with them and had huge fun playing GTA Online completing missions, car meets and fooling around in the lobby. The experience I had gained from some of the games on PlayStation 3 saw me put some of it into actual application but had an adverse reaction from many people about it being just a console meant for playing games on it when I tell them about what I’ve been able to extract from it.
In October of 2015, we were visiting Jeddah again. But this time, the turmoil was high as the uncertainty of the economy and flow of cash heavily restricted meant that jobs and income was very questionable at the time of the economic crisis. I thought to myself that I won’t be getting a second chance at buying a PlayStation 4 here in Jeddah again with the uncertainty at it’s highest - Stocks weren’t moving out of the store, money wasn’t flowing at all, people weren’t buying stuff as expected because of no wages… all these factors had driven stores to up massive discounts just to get the stock out of the door. This was the perfect opportunity for me to buy myself a PlayStation 4 that I had been holding out for so long. Originally launched in 2013, it was available as a 500 GB storage model. But recalling the news about the first batch of them having hardware issues, I knew that I wouldn’t have to go through the same fate over again with the newer 1 TB versions by simply holding out until Sony unveils a newer version which was just happened to have launched around when we were visiting Jeddah. Even though it was a newly released model, it wasn’t selling at all due to the economic crisis. As a result, stores were pairing up the console with some games and extra controller just to get it out of the store.
Saving up for it wasn’t an easy feat considering how miser my parents were to spend any money that would bring any joy or entertainment in life. Some of the money came from before we moved to India when I would save up money when mom used to give to me for grocery and I would keep the extra change. Others came from when I was going to high school and I would save up money by asking for a little more money in sense than usual. I did the same when I joined university too. Every week, I would ask mom for money to fill up my Access 125 scooter which had a very impressive fuel economy of 52 km/l. Or if were to hyper-mile it, then it would easily get up to 120 km/l! And considering my university affiliated college was about 5.1 kms from my home, the fuel would last very easily for 2 weeks straight. But I would lie my way through to save up every alternating week. By the time it came to buying a PlayStation 4, I had saved almost twice as much and thanks to the generosity from my dad who deposited some more when he had opened my bank account, I was triple over it. But I did not stop there as I continued to save up for future investments even more.
A day or two into our stay in Jeddah, we had already started to shop for the commodities we could take back. Eventually, we’d visited our local books and electronics store where I spotted the PS4 on display. Luckily I had also bought money I had saved up for purchasing it and a few games with it as well. As the day dawned near for our departure from Jeddah close, dad was still taking me to the construction site with him everyday for my “trainee” experience. It became apparent that with my constant visit to the construction site meant that I wouldn’t have the chance to go to the store and buy PS4. So instead, I decided to hand over the cash over to my brother and asked him to go to the store and buy it when I’m gone with my dad to the construction site and hide it before I get back… and he did just that. He got the bundle with FIFA 15 and an extra controller. While there was not much with variety in the bundles to choose from as other variants offered more games that we probably wouldn’t play instead of an extra controller, he picked the former… a choice I would’ve made as well. Once getting it back home, he had it under the study table until I got back home with dad. To our surprise, he still didn’t suspected the missing PlayStation 3 that sister had snucked it out two years ago.
When we were departing back to Hyderabad, sister decided to do the honors by carrying the PS4 and all it’s accessories in her backpack as we left the box behind… again, to sneak past without our dad knowing about it. Once we were back in our home country, we plugged it in for the firs time and fired it up. Everything ran smoothly and it was nice ergonomic feel to hold a controller that didn’t feel so cramped in my hands. Soon, I ordered some of the latest games like Assassin’s Creed: Unity and Grand Theft Auto V again for it. The graphical improvement was a lot better than what it was on previous gen and the whole controller ergonomic aesthetic design felt a lot better controlling when playing in endurance session. Unfortunately, my disappointment was met when I tried going online in GTA Online. That’s when I found the PlayStation Network that was free in PS3 was now a paid subscription via PlayStation Plus. And at the time, PlayStation Plus wasn’t a thing in the country further adding to my disappointment.
At one point, I was able to go online in GTA Online without the PlayStation Plus subscription. Luckily, I was on time to transfer my character from my PS3 on to next gen platform as there was no subscription required to play online that day (I imagine it was something to do with celebration on Sony’s side) but I got lucky that I got to log in online and transfer my character without any hick-ups. Then a day or two later, the free online pass had expired. So I decided to take help from my CL3 by depositing money. He agreed to help me out with the PlayStation Plus subscription. He pointed out the cheap and affordable PS plus cards belonging to US region being sold only on eBay at the time and that he would help buy them for me by depositing money into his bank account. And so, that’s what I did. One day, when I got free from uni stress, I went to the bank where he had his account and deposited money in it. Then called him up and gave my eBay account and asked him to make the purchase. Then I asked one of my Car Throttle user Cristina to help with out and create a US region PlayStation account. And it worked out! Within a week, I got my 3 month PS Plus subscription card e-mailed to me and I was able to enjoy the online content happily with my Car Throttle buddies who some of them had managed to get on the next gen console as well. It was a huge blast playing with the people you know even after moving on to next generation as we’d discussed in the community what platform we’d be shifting to and with whom can we enjoy with. CL3 and Cristina had proven to be very resourceful and reliable friends that I could imagine. It was thanks to them, I was initially able to interact and play with my Car Throttle buddies even more so often and kept me out of the on going issues I was having to deal with.
2015 ended in a lot of misery for me and my family but at least we were financially safe in India. To ignore the misery, I passed my time playing with my CT buddies in GTA Online. Every time I'd go online and play with my friends, it would always be a fun and enjoyable session.
2016 proved to be a very turmoil filled year and the one that would turn for the worst. Back in India, I was severely affected by the University compartmental exams and stress. On the other side in Saudi Arabia, things were turning for the worst as the government decided to take up stance to improve the economy. Dad was visiting India again in around August of that year. Around mid-September, I underwent Lipoma removal surgery from my arm which itself was a very painful experience as it was growing in my right arm for over 12 years by now had grown about 3 inches in size. A few weeks prior to the surgery, dad told me that he would be taking me only back to Jeddah with him for my residence permit renewal and job hunting and not all of the family will be coming this time as the situation had turned very grave and desperate as he had been unemployed since July 2015. At the end of September, me and dad left for Saudi Arabia not knowing what calamities await us there.
As we arrived in Jeddah and left the airport, we hailed a taxi from the airport to our house. Once reaching our apartment, dad unlocked and opened the door to our house. As the door opened, I was welcomed to an unfamiliar sight - EVERYTHING in our house was gone! Sofas, tables, chairs, beds, closets, our old computer, our school books, our old clothes and most nerve hitting were my toys from my childhood, my car magazine collection and the PlayStation 2 with all it’s games. Dad explained that the situation had become so desperately critical that all immigrant workers were forced to give or throw away their belongings somewhere and move in with others or leave the country entirely with their families due to unsustainable conditions. My heart sank seeing and knowing what the situation was and what had become of us in the country.
The situation was so desperate that the corporations were enforcing the work to be completed by holding their labors and employees wages back as much as possible while the ones who were laid off were done so without being paid for nearly a year.
A day after we arrived, dad took me to the same construction site in the university where I was stationed as a ‘trainee’ under my dad’s name and talked with the sub-contractor to provide me with training from the engineers in the mechanical field. The reason he cited was for me to get experience in the field of mechanical engineering by working with the mechanical segment of Engineers at the site. I met with the same Engineer from my Uni who was senior to me by a year or two whom I was tasked to work with at the site. I was put in charge of analyzing and keeping track of the progress on the HVAC and fire fighting system. At the time when I visited, the progress made on the HVAC and fire fighting system was negligible from last since when dad had left it at. He was very angry at the sub-contractor company boss as he still hadn’t had the HVAC and fire fighting systems fired up even though they were only a tests away from firing up. After dad got back, he worked with them to ensure the systems were all working to finish the project. Then at the same time, he would leave me at the site and leave to search for job elsewhere. Then come back at 4 to pick me up. This was the daily routine he’d play. He had a talk with the sub-contractor that after the project finishes, I was to be paid for working with them for two months time that I was at the site. He agreed to pay me for my wages of about $2000 a month which wasn’t too bad for a start but was way less than ideal even for a trainee.
While coming and going to the construction site everyday proved to be a bore for me, I had no choice but to embrace the fact that I would be paid for my “work”. I decided to just accept the fact that I would be paid regardless of how much I would have worked at the site. And on the side, to keep the boredom away, I did a spot of car spotting. Even in these tough time, I was able to feel uplifted and spirited thanks to the diverse car culture in the country that I was able to sight see and take photos of with my aging Samsung Galaxy S4 phone.
It was oddly surprising to see so many diverse cars even in these tough times in daylight. As despite the recession, people were bringing out and buying several high end and classic cars that are rarely seen. There was a high end sports and luxury car dealer just a block in front of our apartment on the main road where we lived. I would at times go there to see and take a photo of the cars at the dealer. They had all sorts of cars ranging from modified Porsches to the classic ones like the 914 to even the classic hipster VW Transporter van. The dealer wasn’t particularly big but it wasn’t short on bringing in the largest and fastest or hippest car they could get their hands on. They always had something coming in and leaving out of the doors until the recession period where the stocks weren’t moving out of the door much. Despite that, it was amazing to see something new all the time every time I walked past or drove past from the construction site.
The visit wasn’t without it’s trouble though. A few weeks into my stay, I slept in front of the A/C blasting cold air on my face which immediately led to an extremely high fever the next morning and I had to be taken to hospital where I was diagnosed with a very temperature and had to be given medication. Unfortunately, because dad was fired from the company he worked at, the family insurance was also taken away making life extremely perilous for me and dad in an event of an accident or illness which I experienced when dad had to buy medication after I was discharged. As the times were tough, the prices of medicine had been raised slightly to make up for the losses and with the lack of insurance, this meant that dad also had to pay the entire bill for the hospital charges as immigrants weren’t given any medical care or education benefits in the country.
The other trouble was my compartmental exam dates had been announced from the university and that meant that I had to return to Hyderabad ASAP to write those exams. Unfortunately, by the time news had reached me, I had already missed out on a semester’s exam. Dad decided to arrange fees for my exams that I would be writing by the time I would reach home by informing mom about it. Unfortunately, my dad’s unwillingness and confusing measures to drive me all the way to Saudi Arabia for him to go job hunting while I could be at the site “gaining experience” in the HVAC and fire fighting field that I’m clearly not interested in made me frustrated and very depressed knowing that I wasn’t being productive with myself either… to the point that I ended up voicing loudly my dad about the depression that I’m having to go through. Dad decided to resolve the issue by simply telling my mom to cancel the exams I was supposed to write. A day later when I found out about it, dad had informed me that he assumed that because of my frustration with the exams, I didn’t wanted to write them and henceforth have the decision to cancel the exams I would be writing. It was a utterly convoluted decision that had nothing to do with what I was doing there with him.
Rumors were already looming in the country that the government was finalizing on a tax system that would be implemented in the country or the first time. It was soon revealed that it would be fees that would implemented on immigrants only for living in the country. And it was quite egregious as well - All immigrants were expected to pay the fees per head per month since they first landed in the country and this fees would double every year. This was really really bad news for immigrants who were living in the country with a large family for over 2 decades. Ever since the news broke about how the way fees system worked, many immigrants had decided to apply for exit from the residence permit for their families and have them sent back to their home country. Dad did the same with mom, brother and sister’s residence permit renewal to avoid him having to pay the egregious fees that he would have to pay for all of us, so he decided to leave me and himself out of this. So did all my uncles and aunts when they heard this news broke out which meant that October of 2015 was the final year that my mother, brother and sister resided in Saudi Arabia.
To make things even more worse, the inevitable happened. On 8th November 2016, the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi made a sudden appearance on national television at night and announced the demonetization of the legal tender of highest order of hard cash currency. This immediately created chaos, halted progress and heavily affected small businesses severely in the country as everyone was forced to rush to the banks to deposit cash in their bank accounts. Dad was watching the news on his iPad mini and was taken aback when he heard the announcement. This caused a lot of change in plans for us as I decided to go back to the country to write my exams and at the same time deposit my savings in my bank account as most of the cash was mostly non-legal tenders hard cash currency notes.
The next following weeks were quite harsh on us. Our beloved Terrano II was falling apart but still holding up in one piece. It encountered an overheating issue where a short repair proved to be a rusted radiator. When that was being sorted, we got an invite over to the small town of Tabuk where I had spent most of my childhood, from one of my dad’s sponsor who asked him and me to come along with him and check out a power plant construction site for a job and cash opportunity. Dad agreed to go but unfortunately, my residence permit was expiring on the day of the visit. So he advised me to carry on with the daily routine while he goes off with him leaving very early in the morning. I was asked to attend the construction site that day then come back home once my “duty” finishes. A van driver was assigned to pick me up from our home to take me there. I woke up on that morning to find that dad had left and I was on my own. After getting refreshed and finishing my breakfast, I waited for the van driver to pick me up. Though he arrived a bit late, I too fell asleep waiting for his arrival. After a bit of nap and a few calls later, I got into the van with him where he dropped me off at the construction site where I was again asked to do the usual task of inspecting and watching them test start the HVAC systems. It was a very boring day but when it finally finished, I awaited for the van driver again to drop me at my home again. After much delay, he arrived and had me dropped off at home.
Even when I got back home, dad still hadn’t returned from his trip. So I decided to take the opportunity to buy something from the Jarir Bookstore again. After getting refreshed, I immediately walked out to the Electronics and Bookstore and bought a few PlayStation Plus cards from my own savings as the account I had initially created back on my on PlayStation 3 was a Saudi Arabian one and needed a Saudi Arabian region PS+ to access online elements on PlayStation 4 to play it. **Along the way back, I stopped by a Shawerma shop owned by a Turkish chef who had been running it for over 20 years whom I got familiar with and got myself some dinner. Dad returned late at night when I went to bed after an exhaustive day. The next day, we set about preparing for my departure so we went about buying things I needed. One of them was the security dashoard camera for
26 November 2016 - This was it. The final day that I’ll set foot in Saudi Arabia. Having lived in the country since December 1992, I had seen a lot and had been inspired by the amazing automotive culture there that eventually bought me opportunities, forged and defined my future. It was a sad day knowing that I probably wouldn’t be able to go back… but also a bit confusing. On one side there was the convenience, civilized city with people from India and neighboring countries I could interact with. Then there were the shops which again were run by Indian folks that I got familiar with. A Shawerma shop owned by a Turkish chef who I was a bit familiar with near my house where every time I would get an opportunity and extra cash left over, I would go there and buy a few shawermas to munch on. The friends I made, the adventures I had and the cars that I got to drive accumulated to a priceless experience that I would never forget. Then on the other hand, times were changing and it was about time I moved on and embrace the change and look up to shape my future and fulfill my dreams. Late night on 25th November, I packed up with all the non-legal tendered cash that I had received to have it deposited in my bank account from dad’s sources, ready to depart for the airport. I was told that I would be on a seat in the business class that dad was able to get it for extremely cheap.
We left in our dinky dark red Nissan Terrano II which again, I had spent so much of my childhood in that wagon that I was getting nostalgic throwbacks as we made our way to the airport... of all the places we've been in it, all the adventures and family road trips that we did together in it and the first drive that I had in it. I'll miss it so very much.
Dropping Out Of University:
Months before I left for Jeddah, I started my 4th year 1st semester at my university affiliated college early in 2015. Anxious about the result I would get as I the finals and the compartmental exams were a complete disaster. During my compartmental exams, I was caught cheating as I couldn’t prepare for any of the exams due to the extremely tight schedule which didn’t allow for any free time to study at all. For this, I had all my compartmental exams cancelled and had been reprimanded of my exam centre hall ticket for those set of exams. It was a very disgruntled and rude behavior on their end for having such a mismanaged and congested schedule which prompted many to cheat their way through. I was dumbfounded by the pressure of the examination and was caught red handed. Weeks later after the exams finished, I had resumed into my 1st semester of the final year. I was already able to understand and make sense of several subjects.
But then a week into it, I was informed by the examination branch that I was summoned at the University examination office for my cheating case. A few days later, me and mom went to the University examination council office where thousands of students had also been summoned for malpractice reasons just like myself. After much queuing and waiting, I was finally called in. Once in the office, I was met with two examiners who had questioned me about how I had cheated. Then after explaining to them, they examined my evidence and with 5 minutes, they told me leave. I hadn’t had the slightest of clue as to what had happened there but I wasn’t feeling very confident. A few days later when the results were out. I asked my friend to search for my result outcome on the website through his mobile phone… and when I saw, it was only a devastation of my hard work and the series of events that had created so much disappointment - I had several of my semester papers exempted from the result for cheating and had worst, I was detained for not clearing enough papers to promote into the final year along with several other students in my batch. However, I was allowed by the management to continue to attend classes and take notes.
By the time I reached internal exams, all those who were detained had their names removed from the list and were barred from attempting them. I went down with my classmates to the examination office and consulted with them about the situation and they simply denied saying we need to clear our backlog exams from previous year semester papers under a specific limit to appear for the current year to continue. We then head outside of the old workshop with our heads hung in our hands not knowing what to do next. We came to a conclusion that we had no other choice but to clear our papers to appear for our final year.
In April/May we had our University exams starting again, so I decided to prepared for all the compartmental exams. The whole result had deeply impacted me mentally to the point I was infuriated and frustrated with myself and didn’t communicate with anyone for about a month or so. Then after attempting all of those papers throughout May and June, I was expecting a good result. I waited until July when the results had been finally been declared. And to my shock, I wasn’t given any score in several subjects despite attempting those papers. This created more anxiety and depression in me to the point I was enveloped in suicidal thoughts again.
2016 came over and being annoyed over the horrible results, I was left with a long face not knowing what to do. So far all the compartmental backlog papers that I had attempted had all been either near pass or ‘zero’. I still had kept hope and faith that I could ace and pull myself out of this. Early in 2015, before we had moved into final year 1st semester, we were told by the college mechanical department to select a project for the final year 2nd semester and showcase it to the headmaster for approval next year. I suggested CL1 that we only have CL2 in the group with us for our final year project to which he had agreed upon our trio group project. For the project itself, I suggested him a few ideas but he couldn’t understand many of them as most of them were of my area of expertise understanding… mostly associating with engines. But the one idea that struck him well was Koenigsegg’s Free Valve Camless engine. I showcased him the video and stated that we could try to recreate this idea by ourselves to which he agreed upon. The same year, after the disappointing results that were announced of our penultimate year, we showcased this idea to our headmaster… and to my misfortune, I was reprimanded from the group by the staff as I was detained and cannot take part in the project with CL1 and CL2 as they had to carry on with the project without me even though it was me who originally came up with the idea of free valve system.
Having set the idea for our final year project, the misfortune of the absurd education system struck me down which meant that both my close friends would carry on the project without me even though it was me who came up with the idea. It was extremely heart breaking to know that both my close friends would take all the credits for my project idea without sympathizing me.
After returning to Hyderabad and reaching back home from my final visit to Jeddah, I left the other day with the money mom had given to me for the compartmental exam fees. As I was making my way to the university, the chaotic traffic on the way to my college caused a minor fender bender which I got pulled over for even though it wasn’t my fault at all. After some arguing, sorting out issue with him, I handed over him some cash which was meant for my exam fees for the “damage” that I caused to his car. I then arrive at my college after navigating the insane traffic around my college premises only to find via my classmates that the first semester exams dates have already passed and paying for those would be irrelevant. Suddenly, I didn’t felt too bad about having to loose money to the guy I got in a fender bender argument with. After paying the fees for my remaining compartmental exams, I headed back home and started to prepare for these exams ASAP. But even so, time just wasn’t on my side as my time away in Jeddah, I just couldn’t get to study anything. Nor had I taken my books with me either. I decided to write these exams anyway but this time without cheating and using creativity. After two full months of writing backlogs feeling confident with some subjects, I was expecting a better result. And when the results were declared, I found myself irritated seeing so many ‘zeros’ in the sheet. At this stage I was really starting to loose hope.
As my friends and close friends also made their attempts to clear up their papers, they’d been more successful and lenient than I could do. And by early 2017, almost all of them had cleared their papers and had left for Australia or USA to pursue higher education in those countries. CL1 had cleared his papers by 2017 while CL2 cleared a bit later in late that year. CL1 had left without directly exchanging goodbyes with me while CL2 was kind enough to meet up with me before leaving. Both of them had left to pursue M.S in Australia while I was stuck here writing exam after exam. After they had left, I decided to make one more attempt at clearing as many papers as I could. In late 2017, I had filled the fees for all the papers I could write and started preparing for them.
By December of 2017, I was attending all the papers I had paid for. Some were going well but many were down right miserable as I couldn’t grasp with the idea of wrote learning. But I was keeping hope that even if I clear just a few of these papers, I would be promoted. And by January 2018 I had attended all the exams and was awaiting for my result. By February, the results for the exams I had written were out and unsurprisingly again, I flunked in every subject I written the test. Not only that, but I had failed again with several ‘zeros’ in the result. This really was the last straw… no matter what I learn and write, I ended up failing and just didn’t seem to make any sense whatsoever to attempt those papers again! I told my parents that I’m not writing any of those papers again and that I would rather choose to drop out out instead. While I had chosen to drop out, my sister a year prior to me had cleared all her compartment exams and graduated while my brother got into university of his choice. It had all become an insult to injury on my lack of achievements.
The compartmental papers I had attempted in December only availed more failures and this time, it was the final straw. I decided on giving up on these papers and dropping out as it didn't made any sense to continue on with this misery of spending day and night preparing only to fail consistently.
Striving To Make Progress On My Dreams And Giving Back To The Community:
Ever since my late childhood, I was consistently engaged in various automotive related activities and creativity. I always dreamed about owning the fastest car possible or perhaps building the best one that I could come up with. What initially started out as just a hobby turned into a passion to strive for and potentially built my career upon. But as usual, the road itself isn’t without it’s troubles and hardships. Particularly as I encountered many were right in my house… with my parents.
I initially started out at a very young age with drawing in note books with pencil in 2D. During those time, I simply drew what I would see out on the road and at the construction site whenever I would visit with my dad. I would also come up with some car designs that I would imagine up myself around at the same time. LEGO bricks particularly proved to be a great help in expressing myself imagining my own ideas and building what I would assume to be engines in them and movable components such as folding roof, hinged trunk and bonnet opening. When I was young and still in Jeddah, we walked into the Jarir Bookstore one day and I found a great book teaching how to draw cars and other forms of transportation in certain angles and lighting. I really wanted to buy that book to learn how to draw but then my dad stepped in and would prove to me that book is useless because it was better to draw on a computer as it’s cheaper, easier and faster to design cars on it. But it wasn’t my specialty as I wanted draw by hand first, then port it into the computer. A simple physiological development and learning step that my father had failed to understand and forced me to skip it and jump straight into the complexity of designing by computer. It was a missed opportunity that I never got back. Then as I grew older and entered into my early teenage years, I started designing cars by looking and tracing the lines of some of the toy cars that I had or recreating them with LEGO as close as possible with the limited quantity and skill that I had accumulated. One day I showed some of my designs and ideas that I came up with to my dad and he was really impressed with them. He told me when I would grow up, I should submit these ideas to car companies who’d in turn reward me. Then when we would be going out with our family on weekends, he would suggest me a few ideas about about what I should work on to improve automotive landscape such as flying cars. Some of his ideas turned out to be relevant while others seemed far fetched. But I had taken all of them into consideration and would go on to eventually work on them.
By the time I reached high school in Jeddah, I was very serious about innovating and had taken the automotive dream very seriously. Sometimes whenever I would get free time, I would imagine ideas that perhaps I could turn them into reality someday… only to be disappointed that someone else has already implemented that idea like Porsche Panamera’s rising splitting spoiler. Originally I had imagined it for extremely high end cars like Bugatti Veyron… only to see it just a few weeks later on the 2009 Porsche Panamera Turbo with it’s “rising and retracting splitting spoiler” showcase video on TV. Although my idea was slightly different to that of Porsche in the sense that it had more movable components and segments, it was nonetheless identical. Obviously, I was sadden to see that someone had beaten me to an idea like of small calibre that but I remained optimistic and kept thinking outside of the box to advance my scope to different heights.
However, it wasn’t until I flunked and repeated high school again when I became even more creative with the ideas that I brewed up. This was thanks to the exposure of the internet that I had that I found my roll model to look upto. First while looking at the Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit 2010 post launch content, I came across the behind the scenes making of the Pagani vs Lamborghini: Need For Speed Hot Pursuit where I saw the founder of Pagani Automobili S.p.A which intrigued me to look into his past and why is the car so appraised by Top Gear and other media. Scrolling through the Wikipedia pages and watching some of the interviews and documentaries. His story of “David vs Goliath” inspired me a lot to look up to him as my role model and realize that it was possible to work in a company, gain experience and then work on your own to fulfill your own dreams and ambitions. Horacio Pagani was the stepping stone in helping me decide on my career path.
Then a few months later, I found out about Koenigsegg in some of the documentaries he and the founder of the company, Christian Von Koenigsegg were featured which showed how he saw his rise up to fame. One of them was an entrepreneurship interview with him where he explained his losses and his journey to success. But the key element that caught my eye was all the inventions that he had done. Particularly with his earliest one with the ‘Click!’ flooring - A simple and novel way to bond two floor boards together. Initially, he made it in his uncle’s workshop and showed this idea to him but rejected. He then went on about showing that idea to various floor board manufacturers which they all had rejected it. So he decided to give up on it and move on. Then one day as he walked into a floor board shop, he saw his idea on the shelf with the same name ‘Click’. He went back home and checked online for patents and found that the idea was patented by a company few months prior to him showing that idea around. Later, he found out that the company that stole his idea was sold for a whopping $2 billion at the time and was worth $11 billion. It was one of the biggest opportunities that he had lost out to with his own nativity but had decided to move on. Later when he had established his car company well enough, his strive to innovate in the field of power and drive train systems and showcase it in his products inspired me to look up to him and realize that there is so much to accomplish and achieve in those field.
The interviews and documentaries about Horacio Pagani’s and Koenigsegg’s struggles and rise to fame showcased via their documentaries and interviews inspired me a lot to look up to them both as my role models, realize my potential, creativity and work on achieving my own vision, goals and ambitions. I would draw up both automotive designs and technical ideas and talk about building the car that I had envisioned in high school. The response I got from most of my classmates at the time was overwhelmingly negative because they just didn’t seem to understand why anyone would work so much to build something so different and unique when one can simply take something off the shelf and use it for lesser cost and build it anyway. Obviously, I had rejected their criticism as they didn’t understand the concept well nor were they capable of doing something unique on their own anyway. And by this stage I had learnt to accept criticism as I learned that if people aren’t criticizing one’s dreams enough, then they’re not doing something right.
Horacio Pagani and Christian Von Koenigsegg's journey to their success was the perfect inspiration for me to focus and innovate in various fields and realize about securing income not necessarily from the field that I would want to get into and still manage to strive on them to build my ultimate dream car.
Thanks to the affordable internet that I had here in India, I was able to surf for longer and was able to interact, watch and learn a lot about what it takes to be successful. Speaking of which, a non-automotive related inspiration that I came across with on Facebook was some of the quotes given by one of India’s greatest Presidents of all time - Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam who quoted saying “Don’t read success stories, you will only get a message. Read failure stories, you will get some ideas to get to success” and “All of us do not have an equal opportunity to develop our talents”. These quotes made me realize that success can only be learnt through failures only. Inspired by this quote, I kept soldiering on brewing up technical ideas and designs.
By the time I reached university, I became very serious about turning my ideas into reality. I kept brewing up ideas and designs as I made my way up at the university. Some of them weren’t viable and practically impossible while others have potential to see the light of day. The same goes for designs. A lot of the car designs that I came up with over time evolved. The designing was also something I found challenging to learn on my own as I could mostly draw in 2D while angular pose still seemed like a challenge to get it right. Above that, I never had time that to devote to improving these skills. But regardless of my lack luster skills, I would let my mind would tell my hands to draw what it desires to express. I kept drawing them out in a spare book that I would always carry with me whenever I would go to any educational institutes. It was thanks to the inspirations that I had encountered that have challenged and motivated me to striving for perfection.
Since my repeat of high school, I struggled immensely to make strides and progress on my dreams as the culture of crunch studies and private tuition continued. There was barely any time to concentrate on my ambitions throughout the time period I was in these educational institutes. While sitting idly in the classroom, I would come up with ideas and automotive designs that could see scope in the real world. For this reason, my spare books had always been proved to be very convenient in such situations. Almost every year, there would be a new book where I would doodle any idea and design that would be lingering in my mind. And eventually, I ended up needing a file to store all my ideas.
Ever since I joined Car Throttle in 2013, my motivation to innovate went up as a community, Car Throttle proved to be a great learning and inspirational platform and community for me that taught me so much. The dedication of the CTzens and the staff to spread wisdom on how the technical aspects of a car works made me cling on it. Which is why every time after returning from university, I would jump on Car Throttle looking for articles to read and get to know the functioning of certain mechanism in a car. By 2018, I had learned a lot about the little technicalities that I had always questioned and had doubts for… these were all cleared thanks to the amazing Car Throttle community that I was happy to be a part of.
Car Throttle's amazing content created by both the staff and the CTzens made me cling on the community in search of inspiration and wisdom and had motivated me to keep brewing up ideas after ideas to keep myself going and keep me away from the clutches of depression and anxiety. Car Throttle really became an anti-depressant for me to be cheerful in these hard and difficult times.
In mid-2016 after I had written my exams, I was becoming more and more curious about making serious steps into entering entrepreneurship. After reading the stories and failures of Christian Von Koenigsegg ‘Click’ idea, I was very intrigued and decided to figure out via Google Maps to find a patent office to file and register my patents. I found a suitable office with remarkable ratings in a posh area a few kilometers from our house. At first I had asked my dad about it to which he called them up and inquired about the so-called “patent” that I wanted to do. Then after ending the phone call, he straight up lied to me saying that they don’t do patents. Realizing that he was probably bluffing at me, I checked their website where I found out about their services being offered to file, register, buy and sell patents. I decided that since dad wasn’t of any use in this situation and was so absolutely pessimistic, I had taken CL3 with me on this trip. After figuring out the parts and prices of PC at a PC mall in our city, we made a final drive to the patent office to find out about the patent filing process. The boss was very kind and generous to dedicate his time with us and discuss about the entire patenting process and the procedures for them. He even explained to me about his failures on ‘big data analysis’ and how it was a lost opportunity for him. After acquiring most of the information about patents, I set about looking in my archives as to what I could start out filing a patent for. I decided that something of a smaller caliber would a great starting point for me. However, dad made the call and stated that I was supposed to come with him to Jeddah for him to go on job hunting.
Ever since my dad had lost his job, he was quite stringent on spending any money on me and would simply not give up on straight up lying to my face.. which he has been doing since childhood. I thought that perhaps after loosing his job, he would be honest and understanding as to what I want to do but clearly he hadn't learnt his lesson.
Back in Q4 of 2016 before I went to Jeddah with my dad, my laptop was starting to reach it’s life cycle as most of the peripherals had started malfunctioning and dad was talking me into buying a new laptop again which I had profusely denied on getting another laptop as I rarely used my laptop outside of my own room and it didn’t make any sense to buy another one again. Above that, the battery was also no longer charging and the brand Toshiba that my laptop was from had gone into bankruptcy and had closed several of their services and repair centers across the country. All these factors meant that my laptop was pretty much useless and the only potential use for it was to use it as a storage drive as it was one of it’s fewer working components still functioning.
This is when I met up with CL3 to discuss on building a new PC seeking some of his advice as even he had decided on building a new gaming PC for himself too. Initially, I had planned for a full blown gaming PC that I could use it for various other purposes but CL3 advised me to constrain my budget as I wouldn’t need that much money to build a PC just for gaming and that it would be a waste of time and money to build such an expensive PC. I heeded his advice and planned my build a bit when I was in Jeddah with my dad at the time. I asked dad for some money and challenged myself that I could build a PC for under $1000 or what most laptops cost in that store and that I would need it for CAD as my current laptop isn’t powerful enough as is broken and wasn’t serviceable… to which he agreed upon. After visiting the electronics and bookstore and getting an upfront look at the cost of certain laptops and their specifications in Jeddah and taking advice from my CL3, dad had given me some cash and stated would give more when he initially comes to Hyderabad. I decided to build my own PC when I finally return to India.
Just before the start of 2017, a few days after I came over from Jeddah and written all my compartment exams, my dad also revisited from Hyderabad again taking a leave from his job hunting. I was a bit surprised by his visit as he returned a little too soon from his last visit. When asked about his efforts, he replied that he availed no success in securing a job there and that the company where he had stationed me as a trainee had shut down as the boss of the company was prosecuted by the university staff, arrested for delaying the project way too much and had consumed too many financial assets for a simple work. This also meant that my wages for working with my time with the company were also cancelled and that I would not be getting paid for my work at all. I really wanted to let it go but loosing out $2000/month wage was a really heavy hitter for me. Dad had advised me let it go and concentrate on the future instead.
As we awaited for the exam results to be declared, I was advised to go to a CAD coaching institute (in an area where all the other educational institutes were present) as I wanted to learn how to design cars and design my own simulator rig (they were quite expensive and not readily available in the country) which I hadn’t told my parents initially about it but my they wanted me to learn CAD so I could get a job in Saudi Arabia again in some other field. The CAD institute where I was admitted had provided us with all the study material and decent class hours with our batch comprised of a dozen or so students. Among these dozen or so students was a person that I got to know who seemed to know quite a lot about cars. When I began my conversations with him, he went on about discussing about cars and brands that I had known about such as Koenigsegg, Pagani, BMW E36 325i, Audi RS3, Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG, Nissan Silvia S13, S14 and S15, Toyota Corolla AE86… you name it and he knew about them all. In all of the least places that I had expected to find a petrolhead, I found one in a CAD center that I didn’t even expected to find one in.
At the same time, my Samsung Galaxy S4 finally decided to give in as it’s motherboard got fried from the bloatware and gimmicks that caused it die on me. Luckily, I was able to salvage some of my work and project related topics that I would want to work on in the future by backing up some of my work onto my external hard drive. Alas, other bits of my pictures and documents that were on the phone’s storage remained inaccessible as the phone now only booted into BIOS mode only. For the past few years, I reminding my dad that I needed a new phone and that this Galaxy S4 would be giving up on me eventually. But he never cared about my work and instead bragged about how superior his iPhone was at the time. After all these years, the inevitable happened and the time finally came to buy a new phone. My work, my ideas and documents for my patents became inaccessible just like my hard drive which was damaged when dad threw a tantrum at me in the fit of rage for not studying well. And with my laptop now broken and falling apart as well, it was a very high time that I build a new computer as well.
Dad's stingy and miser habits were having a profound affect on me as I needed tools and accessibility to services to succeed in this ever changing world. But his rage and anger took turn for the worse when he started destroying my work and caused so much depression and anxiety realizing all those years of research and hard work were all suddenly rendered inaccessible and ruined. But instead of giving in, I decided to keep working on.
Over time, as we continued on with the classes, I got to know him even more so (Will refer him as just CL4). He was studying an automotive specialized university affiliated college somewhere on the outskirts of the city and was too struggling with his compartment exams. We initially met up at the institute but exchanged addresses and found that we were living quite close to one another. After getting to know him and with our batch classes now close to being finished, I turned my attention back to my CL3 who had completed his gaming PC build while I was away in Jeddah for around $500 at the time and showed off his PC performance when I visited his place and “proved” that I wouldn’t need a high end gaming PC to play games on. Convinced by his PC performance, I decided to build my own PC albeit with a tad higher spec’d than his PC. On January 20th, dad was returning back to Jeddah for job hunting and as traditionally, had given me some money which I decided to spend it on PC components. At the same time, I had discreetly bought the Logitech G29 sim setup as it was on sale on Amazon which arrived a few days after my dad left for Jeddah to job hunt again. I already knew asking for him straight up wouldn’t work as he would probably deny my passion and interests anyway. All I had to do now was build my gaming PC, buy some games off Steam and test it.
With advice from CL3, I got myself an Amazon Prime subscription and bought most of the components that wouldn’t amount so much online. Initially, the setup was supposed to be around $1600 but because my CL3 had advised me from spending too much for a gaming PC, I ended up spending just half of that. Other components like the HDDs we bought them from the local PC mall where prices were lower than they were online. After much looking around finding the best bang for buck components, my initial build looked like this with it’s specs:
Motherboard: MSI B150M Mortar Edition LGA1151 ITX form factor
CPU: Intel i5-6500 LGA1151 4 core 8 thread @ 3.2GHz
GPU: ZOTAC GeForce GTX 1060 6GB AMP! Edition
RAM: Corsair Vengeance LPX 8GB 2400MHz
PSU: Corsair VS450 450V
SSD: Samsung 750 EVO 120GB
HDD: Western Digital Blue 1TB 7200RPM x2
Cabinet: Mofotech Reactor Z1-500 Gaming Cabinet Mid-Tower
Monitor: BenQ GW2255 22”
Keyboard: Logitech G213 RGB Prodigy
Mouse: Dragonwar ELE-G9 Thor Gaming mouse
Speakers: Philips MMS-4040F/94 2.1 Channel Multimedia Speaker System
Headphones: Superlux HD681 EVO
After a month of waiting, all the PC components had finally arrived and I took them to my friend’s house first from where we took them to the PC mall again where he knew a person that had his PC built to have it assembled. After three hours of having it built, my gaming PC was finally in one piece. We then bought it back at his home and done the initial start up sequence and installed in the Microsoft Windows 10 Pro 64-bit on to it. Then CL3 invited some of his friends at his place who lent a hand in setting about splitting the HDDs into segments. Once setup was complete, we set about getting it going by plugging it into the monitor from my friend’s Bravia TV only to encounter a display error as the monitor simply just wouldn’t display anything. Baffled and confused by what was happening, we kept hitting restart on the PC and even plugging it back into my friend’s TV to check if the monitor or if the cable had been damaged or not. In the end, we assumed that perhaps it was the monitor that was damaged and needed to be replaced or buy a new one. By the time we wrapped it all up, it was 3 am and my mom was worried staying up waiting for me to get back home. I drove back carefully and reached home safely.
Later in the morning, I went about sorting out what had happened. After much trial and error and getting nothing out of the display, I decided to give it one last go before I request for a return. Looking at the wires, I found out that the monitor display HDMI cable was connected to the motherboard and not the graphic card. After the wires were plugged in well, the monitor was finally putting out the display and I could finally put it use now! At times, I would invite CL3 and CL4 to my house along with CL2 before he had left to Australia to watch livestreams together like Liqui Moly Barthurst 12 Hours, Blancpain GT3 24 hours of Spa, WEC Le Mans 24 Hours and the ADAC Nurburgring 24 hours with them on my new PC. At long last, I had found someone I could talk and discuss about cars and technology with in a less awkward manner… and it was incredible to finally have a small group of friends who were fine discussing about cars and it’s technicalities after so many years.
After I had completed my PC build, I attempted the compartment exams one last time which resulted in score sheet being marred with ‘zeroes’, I gave up on studies and concentrated on patenting and entrepreneurship for the remaining of 2017. The whole concept of entrepreneurship and patenting seemed very alien to them. They’d go on to tell me to not to indulge in starting a business because according to their “experience”, starting any kind of business would mean that it would go into a loss anyway and therefore wouldn’t make sense to start one anyway! Their ideology of relying on the company to pay for their wages to run the house and financially support us and not moving on was just too absurd, risky and stupid in itself with the conditions and hardship we had to endure and go through showed our desperate position despite having an income from a few small businesses. **My dad’s friends were the least impressed with him. It was quite a pathetic situation to be in… to see my dad’s friends establish their businesses on a large scale after just a few years of working in a company, then moving on to be financially stable and secure to look after their family while my dad continued to rely on jobs with uncertainty from large corporations.
I had to bear the consequences of my dad's actions which had resulted in consequences that I had to endure now. This was reflective anytime I would meet with my father's friends at their businesses. They would interject and scold me to convince my dad to retire from his job and establish a large scale business here in the country like theirs rather than continue to serve others in their country. I usually don't have any words to reply back to them so I just swallow their criticism.
Caring no less for the misfortunes that my father had brought upon us, I continued on to fill the pages of my book that I got just for writing down all my potential ideas that could be worthy for patenting and starting my business upon. I would be doing this throughout 2017 on and off realizing that the current mindset of the people wouldn’t bring in anything good to the nation. A prediction I made way back in 11th grade at DPS School that one day people are going to struggle because of the lack of diversity for jobs aspiration and the problems would only snowball eventually - In 2017, there were reports that had stated the unemployment in the country was on the rise. For every job post, there were over 1200 candidates applying for a job in the government sector. More so, one in every 100 applicants applying for those posts were PhD holders! It was almost as if my prediction and speculation about these forthcoming issues were right all along and my path towards entrepreneurship made more sense ever since I was inspired by Koenigsegg and Pagani.
At the same time around in mid-2017, dad finally returned from Saudi Arabia again having no luck in finding a job, and bought along with him my rarely used Logitech G27. But the most requested thing that he bought was the latest Samsung Galaxy S8 phone - one of the first phones ever to have a bezel-less display. Not that I would’ve needed such a high end smart phone anyway but I just needed a smart phone that was fast and had lots of storage option and a great camera for photography. At the same time, he gave into my idea of starting up a business and stated that he’d look into supporting my business model here in the country (Or so I’ve been made to believed) as my visa and residence permit expired and that I wouldn’t be able to go back to Saudi Arabia ever again.
Throughout the remaining of 2017, as dad took a leave from his job hunt for much longer this time, he would take me out and put me in command of driving the car (as he couldn’t drive consistently through the insanely congested traffic of our city) and take me around the city to all the businesses we owned and meet with people who would potentially be a part of our business venture. But the most prominently visited places would be wedding functions where dad’s friends would invite him over and over almost every week. He stated that there would be potential businessmen and company executives we could meet and interact with and bring them in for our business venture. At first, I was looking forward to it over the thought that we’d be meeting with these businessmen and discussing my business model with them. But it turned out to be a massive disappointment as he would take me from one wedding function to another only to sit in for the feast. We’d never meet with any business personalities, not did my dad’s friends would talk to him about the business prospects that we wanted to do. Except it was more of a chill out spot with his friends for my dad where he’d use me as a chauffeur to get him around and have me invited over for free meals at those weddings. His actions were starting to make me feel betrayed.
The betrayals didn’t just end there. In 2018, dad had sent me to one of his close friend who was managing the construction of an apartment building. His motive was me to attain experience in how construction of houses and complexes is executed here in India. After 2 months of attending the site, the work was completed and I came to a conclusion that the poor labor quality and construction standards wouldn’t necessarily teach me anything unique about this field as compared to what there was in Saudi Arabia. There was very little to be gained out of it and it felt like I’ve just wasted my time running around in the heat doing nothing. Then after dad came over from Saudi Arabia, he went on to meet up with one of his old friend who was also struggling to find a job back in Saudi Arabia and discuss business with him as dad couldn’t avail any success in striking a deal with the friends who had invited him to feast at weddings (not that he even tried in the first place). When I asked him about the business that we’re going for, he stated that it was better to go with a food related one as it was easy and “profitable” option that everyone in the city was doing and it would make sense to do it because it would bring in a lot of money. It was a bit of an exaggerated and ironic statement to be made as everyone here who sets up a restaurant next to one another go on to complain about the profit margins. And my dad was looking forward to establishing the same. Initially, they after an Australian natural fruit beverage drinks company that had agreed to setup a chain with them and promised for a 33% share split but we found that it would take way too long for the investment to break even. After giving up on that, we looked around to setup our own fast food chain but was ultimately given up as well. I had my doubts from the start that the business model my dad was choosing wouldn’t succeed. After months of constantly running around the city gathering data about the business model that he wanted to go for, he came to a conclusion that the profit margins for restaurant were relatively very very low… and it would take well years to recover the investment with large uncertainties.
At first when dad confronted me and stated that he'd support my idea for a business model, I was rather excited. But the entire episode of looking to setup a business where profit margins themselves were very narrow just seemed like a complete waste of time as the market had been over saturated... and yet my dad went on talking about making a profit from these businesses. As time progressed, my relationship with dad was starting to reach it's lowest ever as he remained uncertain to support my vision and dreams... and instead looked to build my future his own way.
Ever since my sister had completed her graduation, the spot light was on her only for my parents rather than on me as I wanted to do something for our nation, something for the automotive community that I’ve been dedicated about and working hard to fulfill it. After she secured a job at a DELL affiliated service centre, it suddenly became my duty to drop her and pick her from the office everyday. Even though she had her driving license, she didn’t know how to drive as she didn’t drive once ever since getting her driver’s license. At the same time, my parents wanted her to get married as they were inviting potential groom’s parents seeking interest in her. Many of them who visited us were offended that she had a job and ultimately, my parents forced her to quit her job. Quite ironic and misogynistic when the millennial and generation X were struggling to secure a job in a country where they were hard to come by and the cost of living was going up. This also meant that because my sister became their priority, my plans for entrepreneurship were rejected. When I confronted this with my parents, they stated that my sister was their priority and that her lavish wedding was something they needed to think about as it was part of our “culture”. None of what they stated made any sense or seemed financially viable. But their priorities had me sulk to the lowest point of depression filling my mind with thoughts of rage and suicide.
Realizing that I couldn’t cope with this depression and with most of my interests being pushed aside because of it, I looked to start writing about this autobiography on the occasion of the 5th anniversary of my “CTzenship” in 2018. The original plan was to have it released on the day that I had initially joined Car Throttle and publish everything by at least my birthday. But with my father returning from Saudi Arabia once again, he decided to initiate his other plans. In December 2018, dad initiated the construction work to complete the remaining unfinished portion of our house. Since the construction work began, I was forced to look after the labors at work he had initiated and had swayed me off course from my work over and over again. Despite the work overload, I remained adamantly focused on my vision and looked to finish writing this blog.
I went on to combat this lowly feeling by continuing to playing GTA Online with my CTzen buddies on kik who helped me in uplifting my mood, gave me good memories and something to be cheerful about as we interacted and goofed about online
This brings the autobiography about my 6 year journey to an end. I had endured a lot of hardships and struggles to finish it. But I’m glad I was able to do so after a year of writing about my journey… each showcasing an era as I was growing up chasing my passion for cars. These past few years have been extremely hard and unkind on me. Sinking deep into a never ending tunnel of depression, I try to keep my hopes and ambitions alive.