Architect Kavita Mehta: ‘Success follows your heart’
- IWB Post
- June 16, 2015
Kavita Mehta’s only dream was to become an architect. But to keep her family happy she left all her dreams in her parent’s house when she moved in to her in-laws. After raising 2 teenage kids, she decided to make a comeback and finished the half-measured route of her dream career – architecture. Our chat with this inspiring woman will take us through her tough journey:
What’s your typical day like?
I keep updating my designs and structural changes on architectural plans, and work on projects-in-hand. Apart from this, I also co-ordinate and check things on the project site.
How did you start your career?
I started my career 20 years ago. However, it has started taking a proper shape since last 5-6 years only. I am a qualified architecture from Ajmer Engineering College.
What is required today in a talented architect’s resume?
Basic computer skills, drawing programs and some designing skills are a must. In addition, you really need to have an eye for detail and art. Subjectivity plays an important role in architecture, so you will need to be able to translate your ideas into models that people understand, and get used to the fact that not everyone is going to like or even understand your ideas all the time.
How stressful is your job?
I think it is as stressful as I allow it to be. Since my brother and my son support me in my work, I am always close to the family! (laughs)
That brings us to the topic of the family support.
Taking a stand for myself and going against my family’s wishes was one of the most challenging moments of my life.
Why was it challenging?
I agreed to get married just for the sake of my father’s smile. My in-laws’ family culture was very conservative. I adjusted in every situation and forgot about my dreams. Soon the pressure of bearing the child came on my head. As a woman, I constantly took actions for others’ happiness – and only after that, I worked on my dreams. But even after that, I had to listen to whispers against my dream career.
I have stood strong against all type of comments and criticism to pursue my dream. However, my mother before my marriage and my mother-in-law after my marriage have been my biggest support. Whatever, I am today is because of them.
What kind of criticism did you face and how did you manage to get over it?
People commented over my long working hours saying that I didn’t give much attention to my family. Sadly, most of these people were women from my family. There were times I used to cry sitting alone in a room. This made my work suffer and I started feeling dissatisfied with it.
So can we say all is well?
You can! The only regret is that I missed so many years due to family pressure.
You are an example for thousands of women out there; however we are sure you have faced many obstacles at work too!
In the beginning of my career, people were afraid to handover big projects to a new female architect. They used to ask me repeatedly if I could handle or not. I felt bad but never let that demotivate me.
Stereotypes! And what is the scenario of the wage-gap in Jaipur?
Female architects are offered less. However, the average salary for young architects varies, depending on the importance and size of the projects they develop. Also their skills and the amount of responsibilities they can handle judge the kind of salary slab they are offered. But there are also many myths related to this career, it is called a masculine job. Believe me, it’s not.
Many people seem to think that architects are designers & some kind of decorators. While some architects choose to make their career paths that way, most of us do not.
Okay, now let’s jump to some fun quick questions.
What makes you happy?
At work, when an Architect who is more experienced than I am approves my ideas. It boosts up my confidence. In family, when my son hugs me and wipes off my tears. I see him as my pillar of strength.
Aww. Tell us about the most rewarding moment ever.
When I was planning my come-back to work, my friends helped me in every possible way. They are my treasures.
You’ve got some amazing people around you, Kavita! Finally give some suggestions to youngsters and their parents reading this blog.
Today’s generation believes in smart work and shortcuts to achieve goal. They need to understand that if they reach the heights through hard work they will never fall down.
Also regarding the decreasing social values among children, I want to give a message to all the parents reading this blog that freedom is good but only when it comes with a sense of responsibility otherwise it is harmful for the well-being.
Photo Courtesy: Nupur Agarwal