- Describe the world you come from - for example, your family, community or school - and tell us how your world has shaped your dreams and aspirations.
My eyes sparkled as I looked at the body. I didn't know which part to explore first - like a kid in a toy store. I ran my hands against the body and picked up a small component and recognized it at once - ZTB455K - it was a supersonic heterodyne. Funny how I could remember the name of that convoluted component but couldn't remember to put my retainers on every night. Then again, I spent nearly my entire childhood dismantling devices. This wasn't the first TV remote I'd broken open.
At age 11, I received 2 gifts (now that I look back, probably the best ones) - The Harry Potter franchise and a screwdriver. My grandfather was an electrical engineer and he always brought home convoluted machinery and opened them up to check for defects. I always hung around whenever he did so and learnt the ritzy names of a lot of components. I watched him for hours as he worked on elevator schematics at home, wondering what all the various symbols and lines meant. I was fascinated by technology and wanted to know how and why things worked the way they did. Noticing my intellectual curiosity, my grandfather decided to present me his first screwdriver as a family heirloom, of sorts. He taught me to unscrew screws and encouraged me to open up electronic devices and explore away. I'd hawk around to find damaged radios, remotes, watches, CD players and spend hours together disassembling them and learning about the components inside. Harry Potter became an all-consuming obsession. Soon, my life was just reading and dismantling. As I read, I drew some parallels: Like Harry used his wand to enter the magical world, I used my screwdriver to enter my own micro world. While Harry was a wizard, I fancied myself as a mechanic. And the thought stuck - I was going to grow up to be a mechanic; because being a mechanic meant that I would never stop learning and would never get bored again. When people usually learnt of this, they chuckled and patted my head sympathetically. My teacher also dubbed it as 'lack of ambition'. I was also reckoned as somewhat of an oddity among my friends. Not many girls wanted to fraternize with girl whose idea of a playground was a jumble of old circuit boards, spare electric wire, and an assortment of broken appliances. But, my parents were thoroughly supportive of their little girl running around with a screwdriver in her pocket. They also got me enrolled in a simple mechanics course where I learnt about the different types of circuits. Bolstered by my family's approval, I went on to build a Fridge-door light circuit with the help of my grandfather but used it to light up my closet instead. It is from my family that I leant the power of unconditional support and insatiable curiosity.
Changing times brought new technologies and new innovations. This changed my interests but did not change but my ambition. If anything, these tech advents have given my dream meaning. A mechanic is a tradesman, craftsman or technician who uses tools to build or repair machinery. I want to be an entrepreneurial mechanic who uses tools to build machinery that will make our lives simpler. 'Less is more' is the mantra I live by. And using technology (Internet of Things) for the simple expedient of finding your misplaced car keys or ID card on stressful morning is exactly the little way I'd like to contribute in making someone else's hustle a little easier. A small change, that's all that's required to make this world a better place.