Meet Lalarukh Wahid Cheema - 45th Common.

Lahore: 14 January 2022: It does not matter how big or small your dreams are, but what matters is you should constantly be working to make them a reality. This story may not include any CSS preparation tips or guidance but here is a little life tip. Never give up on your dreams just because people around you don't approve of them, you are living your life, writing your own story and you are the one who matters in all this. I come from a family that prefers boys over girls, with my father being an exception and that is why I have made it this far. I studied sciences till my A level. Half way through A levels I decided to go for social sciences, therefore, ended up appearing for both pure and social sciences subject exams. The resulting contrast was obvious, I performed better in social sciences and managed to convince my parents to let me pursue art. I ended up in the prestigious National College of Arts, Lahore, and started my undergraduate studies in the field of architecture. This decision triggered an immense reaction from my relatives, there were multiple views over how this was not suitable and a very mainstream science over arts sort of debate started. I ignored all this negativity, it was hard, as I had just moved from Karachi to Lahore and everything was new. There were objections to everything I did, from lifestyle to studies, that left my dad isolated from the rest of the family, I am forever grateful to him for not leaving his ground in my support and spending all these years away from his family. My life took an unexpected turn in the year 2012, NCA started a project "Art for Humanity" where we had to work in the Cancer ward of Mayo Hospital. We were expected to do something artistic there and it sufficed as our Minor subject for the semester. On our initial visit, I noticed that the ward lacked basic facilities, there were no ceiling fans, no lights and electrical appliances were not in place. We were all given some amount to beautify the premises. I utilised mine into getting lights placed and fans repaired. The budget wasn't enough, so I managed to seek sponsorship from Philips. There was nothing artistic about getting things fixed that I thought were important, so I failed my subject, but this marked a new beginning. In the same year 3 months later, with the sponsorship of Master Paints, I did a solo project with help of 2 other friends and made 18 study spaces for the children of SOS village Lahore. We hand-painted them in the heat of June but the smiles and love that we got in return were worth it. Soon after we were asked to arrange blood for the needy and 5000 rupees for some street vendor's daughter's wedding. It was the second year of university and we survived on pocket money, but we managed. This gave me confidence and we have managed to complete 500 plus cases to date, including sponsorship for studies of needy, arranging blood and medicine, helping establish small businesses & similar cases. In the year 2014, I volunteered to work for animal welfare and that has become one of my passions. I have multiple rescues and my next aim is to have an animal shelter made in the name of my first rescue. The number of cases that we get on a daily basis is alarming. I wish to see a day when there'll be no such cases to cater to and we'll have a better place to live in. I did CSS in 2016, I was not sure if I wanted to take this road. My preferences were not in line with the majority and that raised many eyebrows. By choice, I ended up in a group that was not so mainstream, happily. There have been multiple suggestions over how I should rethink my priorities in life, but I think there should be room for those who like to have it the other way. Serving in Information Service of Pakistan, hoping that someday we'll not have an extremist image internationally. Being an artist, I believe in the power of Art and Culture! It's hard standing alone with a different perspective, I may not win immediately, but I might win someday. Or if not, at least I would know I was not doing it for social validation, and I had my aims and dreams to follow. The goal is to be human first and everything else later. Hoping that there can be more tolerance and room for all fields, disciplines, and people.
Courtesy: Humans of CSA

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