It all began in 2007 when I started learning Java in 9th Grade. I had no prior knowledge of programming and I did not know what to expect. However, I was really curious to know what programming was used for and what I could do using Java.
The next two years passed in a flash. By mid-2009, I had learnt the basics of Java and made a little project - a Billing System for a Vehicle Rental Agency. I was obsessed with programming. My friend +Anirban and I used to sit together in our Computer Lab, competing as to who would finish the day's assignment first. Those were the most enjoyable couple of hours in the whole day and that phase is the most memorable one in my life. I absolutely loved it.
I did not write code a single time between then and 2012.
In December 2012, I got to know about Google Code Jam from my friend Aaryaman ( +adyaman ) (ironically nicknamed Jam). I immediately asked +Aditya Sarode (my first friend in Engineering College) if he would be interested to join in. +Aditya had learnt C++ in school and was logically very sound. He agreed, and we started solving some problems at Codechef, a couple of days before Code Jam. I had lost touch with Java but I was slowly catching up, so I was optimistic about making it past the Qualifying Round, at least. Meanwhile, +Aditya taught me File Handling in C++ and we discussed the differences between C++ and Java.
Then came Google Code Jam. I woke up at 5 a.m. to read the problems and start solving as soon as possible.
There was an easy problem on Palindromes [ Fair and Square: https://code.google.com/codejam/contest/2270488/dashboard#s=p2 ] whose Small Input I solved quickly. There were 2 large inputs in that Question (instead of the usual 1 large input), which looked required some analysis. +Aditya solved Tic-Tac-Toe-Tomek (both small and large) and we had crossed the Qualification threshold. All this was done by 6pm.
[ Some extra info: We had a Chemistry Exam that day in which I flunked and had to write 4 assignments to cover up. ]
+Anirban had been solving too and he helped us with 1 of the large inputs of Fair and Square. Later in the night, we solved Lawnmower, which was rather easy, but required some thought.
At the end of the Qualification Round, all 3 of us had more than 35 points and had qualified for Round 1.
Google Code Jam was the event that gave a new birth to programming in my life. That day onward, I started learning various data structures and algorithms, and also started learning Python, C++ ( since C++ is one of the most popular languages in Competitive Programming and Python is now widely used for a variety of applications).
That's how the journey began.