Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Why I Code or note to my first love?

I am a programmer. I code every day. Why I code? Here is my answer.

Coding is an activity where I can write a program and computer will execute it. It started with very basic use of computer. I gave a command: date and it printed out the date. It was amazing. I was four years old and I started thinking how it came to know today’s date. Some years fast forward, I got into the computer lab of my school (no computer was not a subject for a 12 year old in my school, it was just luck that I was able to go inside my school computer lab), a senior was coding in Basic. I asked him what he is doing. He showed me what he was doing. I said to him can I do a simple multiplication? He said why not so I wrote (under his instruction) a program that multiplied two numbers. My first love started.

The feeling was something like a master and slave. I am your master and commander you follow my orders. This is my first understanding of coding. I understood that if I code it right it will do what I want it do. So computer gave me my first feeling of being master of something. I was not so popular among kids so I had time to play with school computer. It gave me opportunity to learn how to tell computers what to do. So then I coded so I can tell my pet what to do, and that was the reason I used to code that time.

Late in teenage, I realized that people around me were getting their friends. I mean someone special in their life. They used to spend a lot of time with them, talk to them. College was full of people who were dating. I was not even a cool guy in college. So I needed something to hold on. In our college lab we used get access to computers during college hours. So I started to show up in lab in the morning and screw all classes. I used to code. I used to code in C. I felt like I am at last in peace with the world.  I felt like I am in conversation with computer. So now I started coding to communicate to the computer as a friend. A friend who will be with me, always. My first love.

Next I joined a company as a programmer. Where I saw and met a lot of programmers in the company. They are all amazing people. I started working on code. I came to know that you do not write code from scratch you take others’ code and maintain them. I used to see code comments with bug ids, I used to go to the bug tracker pull up those bug ids and saw the names of people who worked on them. The code was talking to me, some of them were so clear as if I have coded them. Some of them were a bit awkward, hard to understand. Then I realized that I was talking to them, in space time continuum I was there sitting with them in conversation with other programmers. I was debugging the code – also trying to map their mind for a sorting logic, searching technique or a trivial account money transfer between two currencies. In all this I understood that why it is a programming language. The value of code readability, the value of lambda calculi or Turing Machine, all of that I came together so that we programmers can talk a time apart. Computer became a paper, programming be the language. My first love metamorphosed to me again.

So why I code my love, is it because I love to code or is it I want to communicate to some unknown programmer in the future. I code because I love you. I want to remain with you and discover you in my old age that I have reached a position where I can say, I know why I loved you for so long. My guess you will guide me to my nirvana. I will rest then at peace.