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Chehak: The girl with a Midas Touch

- By Chehak Nayar

She always wanted to be an architect when she grew up. She loved writing content and dancing. New computer technologies fascinated her and she liked the idea of becoming a CSE engineer. So what did she finally choose? All of them!

Life is too short to fill it up with regrets, so never give yourself an opportunity to say “what if?”

Here's what Chehak had to say about her journey in her chat with Team Fayz.

My initial years in school were an amalgamation of me trying my hand at everything: studying, participating in poem recitals, debates and drama, singing and dancing, art and craft, sports, etc. This helped me open up as a person and become a confident individual. This also gave me exposure to a plethora of fields and taught me how to deal with success and failure and interact with new people.

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I chose Science in Class 11 and 12 and began preparing for JEE, like most other students looking for a career in Engineering, but I didn’t want to leave behind the idea of becoming an architect, so I did a crash course in Architecture for about a month. I used to thoroughly enjoy going for those classes as we were made to sketch, and amidst the hectic and tense schedule of JEE preparations, it was a sigh of relief. I wanted to make sure I work towards both, a career in Architecture and Engineering and then later be in a position to choose the one better suited for me. I got into the two top colleges for Architecture, SPA Delhi and CEPT. I also got into the engineering college of my choice in Bangalore after securing a good rank in COMED-K exam. Bangalore as an IT hub had always fascinated me, as the city breathes technology.

Now it was my decision. I had to take a call. My dad is an architect but IT was something that nobody had taken up yet. Technology did interest me and I wanted to tread my own path and explore further, so I decided to pursue Engineering. I indulged in various projects, some involving Natural Language Processing, helped make a webpage for a friend’s NGO website. The architectural spirit lingered on as I used to sketch on some days after college as a hobby. Simultaneously, content writing stemmed out of this free time. I used to come back from college, many a day and write about my day. It could be a super eventful day or a super dull one. I was known for making elaborate birthday cards with huge birthday messages, so yes I had a knack for writing, somewhere.

One day, while randomly browsing through technical internships I came across companies offering internships for “content writer”. This was the first time that I realized that what I used to do as a hobby held value for companies, so much so, that people made a career out of it! So I tried my hand at one such internship. The pay was not much but I learned a lot. I went ahead and put my experience on LinkedIn when something unexpected happened. People started offering me jobs for content writing, based on my experience as an intern. It is from one of these people that I learned the concept of “freelancing” and “quoting prices” for my writing. Each new opportunity that I got, I received with open arms and started maintaining a parallel resume as a freelance content writer. Over time, my experience grew and I wrote about a variety of topics from biographies to DIY articles and soon entered technical writing. This helped me combine my technical skills as a computer science engineer along with my freelancing.

Towards the fad end of college, I interned as a Frontend developer for a startup while freelancing for a bunch of companies simultaneously while in college. I also mentored a few juniors who were beginning their freelance journey.

Soon content writing solely for other companies felt like too much of a job rather than a passion. So I started my own blog by the name “chehakchirps” and an Instagram page “sketchn_scribble”. These two ventures are currently at their initial stage and I’m working towards being more regular and engaging.

The blog posts are extremely heartfelt and talk about relatable stuff that people can apply in their day-to-day lives. The blog started with an article which talks about using music in your routine to control your mood. The response from my peers, friends and family encouraged me to continue writing.

The Instagram page is in collaboration with my sister who is extremely talented at sketching and doodling. We put up her sketches and artwork and sometimes I incorporate some of my architecture days sketches. My main contribution though is through writing self-written poems as captions for the posts. The posts are about issues like animal abuse or motivational poems about achieving your dreams, self-confidence and loving yourself…

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After completing my B.E in CSE, placements started. There was a company by the name “Target” which had come to my college for on-campus placements but I somehow overlooked that email and didn’t get the chance to attend its test. I was disappointed, as I had heard a lot about the company’s work culture and technological indulgences, but I carried on nevertheless. I got placed in two other companies but I was not happy with the role they offered me.

Content writing was my only source of salvation but being satisfied with my technical job was also important.

So I kept looking for better opportunities and working hard on my skills as a computer engineer and as luck would have it I came across a pool campus drive for the same company "Target" and attended the written test and interview and cleared it. Today I am glad that I dared to wait for the right field I wanted to work in and believed in myself and not accept a role in the companies in a haste, under pressure, which I would not have been able to put my heart to. Now, I am in the company of my choice and satisfied with what I am doing. I kept trying and got my reward at the end.

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The story of me waiting and continuing to put in effort for my choice of company stems from a lesson I learnt way back in school.

As a part of one of my inter-school competitions, I had to go, along with 3-4 other students for a poem recital + acting competition. So we had to dress up as characters in the poem, recite the poem and act alongside. The poem was “Jhansi ki Rani” and I was Rani Laxmibai in that. An important point to be noted: the school we were going to for the competition was notorious for its students’ boorish behavior. So we began our performance and midway, one of my fellow participants forgot their lines. Owing to numerous rehearsals I remembered his lines and recited them on his behalf. That was goof-up #1. Shortly after, I had a sword-fighting scene in which the foil wrapper of our swords came off and then one of my friends slipped on the wrapper and fell and his lines at that point, which were in Hindi but translate to “...and Rani Lakshmi bai falls to the floor and dies”, were recited by me (Rani Laxmibai). At the same time, I was falling onto the floor to complete my acting task as well, as I recited my own death and the crowd was roaring with laughter, mocking us and it was a complete mess. It was nothing short of a disaster.

After our performance, we went back to the green room, demotivated and embarrassed. When the time for the awards came, we sat in hopelessness waiting trying to hide our faces. We were pleasantly shocked when we won the third prize and the reason the judges gave us the award was based on the fact that we didn’t give up and although we messed up bad, we continued till the end and made sure we completed our act, despite getting booed by the audience.

This incident taught me how one should never give up and keep trying our best and we will definitely get what we deserve. This took place when I was merely 12-13 years old but the learning stayed with me.

That's my life in a nutshell, striving to do better, trying my hand in all fields that I am interested in.

The famous quote goes "Jack of all trades but master of none". My spin to that is "Jack of all trades and the master of whichever one".

The thought that I go by is that you don’t have to choose between your interests and career options, just decide on how much weightage to give each of them at different stages in life and go ahead and do anything and everything that you want to in life.

I still have a lot of things on my bucket list. I will keep trying and giving my best: and surely make it all come together, if not now, one day.

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