Tinker Tinker Tinker
Story of role-model Padmalaya Rawal
Padmalaya said, 'For our 1st date, I stayed up all night. AND - I fell in love. It was an Arduino board!
I grew up in Yamuna Nagar and my father had a flour mill. An electronics repair shop was also nearby and it fascinated me endlessly.
I would hang around the shop. The owner would let me take away discarded gadgets. My experiments came home with me & over time, grew into a full lab (Thanks Mom!).
In 5th standard, I was already connecting a mobile battery to motors & bulbs to make things whirr and pop.
It was not easy to persuade my father to let me buy a soldering iron (considered unsafe). After I got it, I spent all my pocket money to buy electronic parts and assemble circuits.
Father had limited means. But he had a simple rule too. Spare no effort or money, if it is related to learning.
This has shaped my brother and me, both. Later in internships, I would often ask for payment in electronic components and lab equipment, rather than cash.
You already know - It was 2017. I was in 11th grade. I met Arduino. Life changed.
Next year my parents packed me off to Chandigarh, for IIT coaching.
Instead of cramming, I would spend my time tinkering on the Arduino. Six months later, I quit and came back home.
I told my parents, I could prepare better from home. No prizes for guessing how I actually spent my time.
At the same time I also started my youtube channel. I would silently share working electronic circuits - I had put together. Followers followed.
I got a PCB Maker to sponsor my channel at just 700 subscribers.
With my first PCB in hand, I got my first internship to build a PCB for a DIY-kit for hobbyists, which they still use.
In all this, I missed getting into IIT.
'Yay!', I said to myself, 'I can now focus on being an engineer!'
By now, I had started tinkering in CAD too - designing PCBs.
I got into an Engineering College nearby & loved the freedom to tinker even more.
If you haven't figured it out, I was a pucca introvert.
Yet, I desired, as I started college, to be a persuasive speaker. That too in fluent English. It seemed unreal, because all I could do well was to tinker.
I made it to the Google Developers Students Club and interactions with others rubbed away my shyness. I became more fluent in my English too.
A 3D printer, one more tool to tinker with, came into my arsenal during 2nd year (COVID) of my college (Thanks Papa!).
I landed another internship. This time, they paid me too.
My single-minded passion now began to pay off - quite unexpectedly.
When final year rolled in, I was already participating in hackathons and got a chance to teach IOT in my college, though I was still a student.
This also helped me speak persuasively and fluently in English. I thus realized my 1st-year desire.
Cut to Present.
I have founded my own brand - and tinker daily to make it move ahead. I have a job. The future awaits me, as I graduate this year.
All because I tinkered. You should too!