Rocketeer Close Up: Gaurima Das

Java, Python, C++...and dance?

Long before modern software languages, there was physical language. There was movement, and soon after, dance. Out of this came one of the world’s oldest and richest forms of codified movement—Indian classical dance.

What do these modern and ancient languages have in common? Actually, says Gaurima Das, a passionate practitioner in both realms, quite a lot.

Gaurima’s interest in software languages was sparked in 12th grade when she studied  C and C++. But her passion for Indian classical dance began much earlier.

At the age of two, she studied Bharatanatyam, an ancient dance form that originated in the temples and courts of southern India. Later, she studied Sattriya, which comes from her home state of Assam. She also took up Kathak, a storytelling dance form from the north of India and enjoys Bihu, a spirited Assamese folk dance.

"This was a joyous moment for me, performing Sattriya in college. Both body language and facial expressions are important in Indian classical dance. Here, I’m expressing Lord Krishna 'playing' his flute, the Murali."

After receiving her Bachelor's degree in computer science, Gaurima began work at Numerify and continued to diversify her coding knowledge, learning Java and Python. Today, she is a Consultant with the Rocketeer team in Bengaluru, India.  

"I am super excited about my work at ServiceRocket and the friendly environment in which we were all received,"  Gaurima. "Everyone is so helpful and enthusiastic."

"You can learn many new things at ServiceRocket. I’m very grateful to be part of this team."

Gaurima shared her thoughtful insights with Under the Dome.

How do you see the connection between software language and Indian classical dance?

GD: Both coding and dance are forms of symbolic communication. With Indian classical dance, the goal is to help the audience understand the song’s meaning through movement. The same is true with coding. It should be written or its results should be plotted in such a manner that it becomes easy for everyone to understand the logic behind it.

Do these two forms call on different parts of the brain?

GD: I see dancing and coding as stemming from the same part of the brain, because if you’re not interested or keen to do them, the results of either one will not be as desired!

Do they complement each other in your life?  

GD: Dance is my favorite hobby. Whenever I get stuck in a coding problem, I play music and dance. These two forms of expression refresh my mind and help me resolve coding problems or errors.

"In Indian classical dance, mudras, or gestures, communicate specific ideas, events and actions. This mudra, bana hasta, indicates holding an arrow."

Are there similar challenges in learning code and in studying Indian classical dance?

GD: Every programming language uses the same basic logic. The only difference is the procedure and the syntax which we need to learn to execute the code.

"Indian classical dance requires great flexibility and stamina."

If you lack the former, you’re unable to accurately perform the dance. Moreover, to make the dance eye-catching, one needs to practice several times, which requires the latter. Thus dance is challenging both physically and mentally. Both mind and body must work in parallel.

Indian classical dance also demands great patience to master. There are times when one wants to quit, but if you push through these challenges, you will find your mastery.

Are there Indian classical dancers who have inspired you?

GD: There are so many. Uday Shankar, Pandit Birju Maharaj, Shovana Narayan are just a few famous Indian classical dancers who represent Indian classical dance globally. Ghanakanta Bora and Indira Pujari Bora are famous Sattriya dancers.

Are dance and coding best done as collective forms?

GD: In my childhood, I was a part of a local dance troupe; more recently, I dance alone. It’s quite similar to my work. There are times when I get stuck in some coding problem that I need to discuss with my colleagues. And there are times when I deal with coding problems alone. So both group work as well as solo work is what is needed.

"These bells, called Ghungroo, are more than ornaments. Ghungroo helps us keep the rhythm of the dance and music."

Do you plan to continue to dance? How about learning code and new technologies?

GD: I feel the same sense of joy in mastering a new coding language as learning a new dance form. I plan to do both for the rest of my life.

Does empathy come naturally to you? Do you love challenging yourself and solving problems? If so, ServiceRocket wants to hear from you! We’re a global family of Rocketeers who practice values like #ThinkTeam and #We’veGotyourBack every day. We also offer great benefits like TechChoice and Returnity. Check out current ServiceRocket job openings.

Coding is a newcomer in human expression.

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