“For you, a thousand times over.”

Posted on by Taneea S Agrawaal and Vrinda Malhotra

Categories: blog and student posts

Team TwitchesThe Twitches in their element! (Image Credits: Humans of IIITD)

Yeah, that’s not quite how the Twitches came into being. It was a heatstroke that led to us meeting. If you have ever seen a Bollywood movie, you will relate. On a scorching July morning, our protagonists/narrators met at a college orientation, that both of them would not end up joining. Vrinda was feeling too hot and was lost on the campus when she asked Taneea’s Mom for directions.

T: I hated you on sight.
V: I don’t even remember seeing you. But I remember asking your Mom for directions. She is so sweet.
T: (Rolls her eyes) Oh, she remembers seeing me.

Just to give you a little introduction, T stands for Taneea:

“I am an Indian student pursuing Bachelors of Technology (B.Tech) at IIIT-Delhi. I have a myriad of interests, coding being just one of them. A hacker, a programmer, and a hardcore Berlin Artparasites fan, I am an outdoorsy person who likes to solve problems in real life (including the ones where almost everyone on Earth spells my name wrong). I am a hopeless romantic and a geek, but an unlikely one. A day spent with my laptop, and an interesting problem to solve, having delicious food (with copious amount of exercise, of course!) only to get into bed with a hot cup of coffee in hand is my idea of bliss. I hope to touch lives and make a difference to the world through my work and expression. I want to be an engineer, a problem solver, and all things awesome!”

And V stands for Vrinda:

“I am a Computer Science Engineering student at IIIT-Delhi. The best way to describe myself would be that I am a problem solver. For me, coding is a way to solve problems. I live for the rush that you get when your code finally does what you want it to do- or more often than not, something similar. I am also an avid reader and a language enthusiast (coding as well as natural languages). I can speak, English, Hindi, German and some Punjabi. Few things are important to me in life, programming being just one of them, and reading, and good food. Good food is paramount. So is Harry Potter - I am a fangirl @TheChirpyBitch. Also, I love TV- comedy shows, sci-fi thrillers, detective shows. My current obsessions include Orphan Black, Veep and everything Marvel.”

“Words are, in my not-so-humble opinion, our most inexhaustible source of magic. Capable of both inflicting injury, and remedying it.”

Our not-so-pleasant encounter was soon followed by life in adjacent rooms of our campus dorms. What came next was a similar taste in music, a shared love of reading, writing and a common craving for caffeine in the wee hours of the night and mimicking iconic Bollywood scenes, like here:

Team TwitchesTeam Twitches, in their element, pretty much! (Image Credits: Team Twitches)

We first started working as a team at the end of our freshman year- for a course assignment. We quickly realized that we worked well together, filling the gaps for each other. From then on, there was no looking back. We were elected as the coordinators for our college’s Literary Society in our sophomore year, and that really tested us. We clashed a lot but at the end of the day, we would find a way to make both our ideas work. We have been roommates for a year and loved every minute of it.

“It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.”

Our decision to apply to RGSoC this year was extremely delayed. It wasn’t until February that we’d made this decision. And after that decision was made, the next biggest challenge was to find our coaches. 3 days, an infinite number of messages to people asking them to coach us, and a ban from Meetup.com later, we had four amazing and capable coaches willing to take on the task of coaching us throughout the summer. That’s when, to represent our twin-like nature and preserve our love for fiction and fantasy, we came up with the name “Twitches”.

Team TwitchesTeam Twitches' customized logo! (Image Credits: A dear friend of the Twitches' : Varnit Jain)

As part of the Rails Girls Summer of Code, we are contributing to OpenFarm, which is a free and open database for farming and gardening knowledge, that according to one of our mentors, Rory Aronson, also is a potential API for Farmbot.

We were first attracted to OpenFarm because of the plethora of opportunities that it provides to programmers and non-programmers alike. The learning curve is huge. It also has great potential in India where two-thirds of the population are farmers. Right now, we are getting accustomed to the code base by solving issues. It is so satisfying when your PR gets merged! Next, we would like to add our own features to the website.

Team TwitchesTwo PRs Merged on the same day! (Image Credits: Team Twitches)

To get selected as a sponsored team for RGSoC’16 was probably (read: definitely) one of the best days of our lives. It gave us an opportunity to grow not only as programmers, but also to grow as an integral part of the community of women developers contributing to open source across the globe. The first week of the program brought with it celebration, excitement, nervousness, and even frustration. Between uninstalling Linux, getting notified by a bot that we hadn’t updated our log (and having a mini heart attack because of it) and sending our first PR- it was truly a roller-coaster ride.

Team TwitchesTeam Twitches with their supervisor Ramon! (Images: Team Twitches)

The RGSoC team even put us all on the ‘Thank You’ board, and the students got our very own Slack channel for community bonding!

Team TwitchesTeam Twitches on the Thank You Board! (Image Credits: Ana! (RGSoC Organizing Team))

Key Learnings

  • Never write ‘Yes, do as I say’ if Linux asks you.
  • When submitting a PR: Hound: 17 violations found Us: We would like to be excluded from this narrative.
  • Don’t forget to write the daily logs- or the bot will remind you.
  • Try solving a problem yourself before asking for help. Most of the time, you can solve it- it’s just lack of confidence that is stopping you.
  • Never judge an issue by its cover.
  • Never fear or hesitate to ask for help. It can come from the most unlikeliest of places.

Like always, Albus Dumbledore has exactly the right words:

“Let us step into the night and pursue that flighty temptress, adventure.”

Disclaimer: A special thanks to JK Rowling, and Khaled Hosseini for being amazing writers and providing us with quotes that we'll carry with us till the end of time.
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