Welcome to the Depths of Delhi
DELHI. Got my bag and clear customs, like, literally just walk outside. “Taxi! Taxi!” “I HAVE a taxi” practically shouts one person in my face, but I am unfazed. I know this hustle, dust in my eyes, I ignore the solicitors whose most voices are all but drowned out by the honking... Ok. No surprises at this point. I followed the old routine: max out an ATM, chuckle at the receipt showing my millionaire Rupee status bank balance and I begin to look for a legit cab.
Half asleep, I arrived at my hotel, amidst a sea of neon signs and lots of, well honking - even though the streets were relatively empty. My neighborhood looked like a combination of Tijuana and Las Vegas, not exactly my scene - but the price was right. No donkeys to be found, but there were oxen and horses casually strolling along the busy streets. I found my room after the midnight check-in and I was in for a real shock. I opened the closet and the closet light turned on, door closed... and then off... Half dazed I kinda relished this ingenuity. Like an app... The user, half asleep me, performs an action and then there is a result. Like a "Hello World" programming exercise in which the novice programmer makes the computer say "Hello World" upon pushing a button, this closet also delivered a great experience, a light. I sleep.
I wake, to a horn, in darkness. Wait a minute I think, I am in INDIA! I soak in my surroundings and notice a glow from the closet, "Were they growing something in there?" I make a funny to myself, I chuckle, spring out of bed to give the closet door a nudge shut, but the nudge does not turn off the light. Hours ago the system worked perfectly, now broken. I start flipping switches around the room, initiating the informal QA process. The light is still on. Teasing me. Getting brighter, now pouring out of closet cracks as my eyes adjust to the otherwise dark room. I hate this kinda thing when something should work, but doesn’t. It makes me second guess the engineering, my prior experience with the device, my existence – as well as the social cultural fabric. “What kinda country would allow such a thing!” – well maybe I am not that upset, yet. I am light sensitive and I begin to rationally apply tests to satisfy my highly irrational emotions.
There are about fifteen light switches in the room, which under some math probability problem, likely produces more combinations than I care to think about. I try approximately ThirtyFour Interactive combinations. It is not any one switch “breaking” the "code." I look to the top of the closet and notice... Another type of switch – or button rather, one triggered by an open or a closed door... Boom. I poke the button, the light turns off, release button, light on. Relief. Logic. Riddle solved. The switch had simply been dislodged and all I had to do was fix it back into position.
A calm came over me as I casually reached towards the button for an easy fix - a kind of relaxation felt when writing in the final answer to a crossword puzzle. Problem solved and now just to place in the crown jewel. In my zen state of self-proclaimed genius, I reach to fasten down the switch when ZAP, Zzzzz, and faint smell of a cooked finger happens. I am electrocuted by exposed wiring that was casually hidden in the dark, presumably highly flammable, wooden closet. Finger and ego damaged. Why is it like this? Here was a pretty good idea, working, and then ZAP. So close to a good idea, yet this thing was never done right from the beginning.
What does 12 Indian hours of musical airplane chairs, honking, and exposed wiring mean in context of app development? Everything.