So, no script?
Not one word?! You hum and then just the tag line at the end?
Are you serious, Naina?!
Ae may ta! (This girl I tell you!)…
My boss, Debolina Ray, was right to be nervous. Audi was one of the biggest clients for Fever FM, Bangalore and impressing them in fifteen seconds was a tough job! It just so happened that the adventurous idea of lullaby and active suspension married together produced an award winning advertisement which contributed to a very expensive feather in my cap and a huge campaign for the radio station.
Radio is all about fun, entertainment and a mad adventurous outlook to life. Given my humble upbringing, this life with Radio is clearly my biggest adventure.
My father, Balbir Kaushik, a simple man from a small village in Haryana, was one of the first ones to move out of his ancestral place to complete his graduation and get a reputable government job in Delhi. It’s here that he met my fiery Bengali mother, Manju Choudhury almost 40 years ago. After a whirlwind romance which defied customs, the two embarked on a journey of life which truly has been myriad of ups and downs they maneuvered through gracefully. My mother’s passion was to give me all the talent I needed. Apart from my studies, she gave me 5 years of Classic music lessons and 1 year of Bharatnatyam training. She would encourage me as I would sing loudly with the radio at the age of 4 and would feel enchanted by the RJs. In a conventional family like mine, being an RJ was not exactly the kind of job you could look up to but I finally got the courage at 12 years to tell my parents, I wanted to be one. They came up with a simple solution for me, “complete your education and then do whatever you want!” It felt like a veiled threat back then, but now I look back and just laugh at that conversation.Once I finished my graduation, my parents gave me 20 thousand rupees as a prize which they expected me to do shopping with. Instead, I urged them that I wanted to use it for the formal training of an RJ. I got many odd and judgemental looks from my extended family but thankfully I pursued. After a few phone calls my father arranged for my first teacher, as God knows I needed some solid training back then. At that time my rate of speech could give bullet trains a competition. It took me 3 months to come to an acceptable speed after which I joined as an intern and a weekend DJ with Radio Hint, a community radio station which was a 3 hour bus ride away from my home. Simultaneously, I got through the National entrance for Post Graduation and resumed my studies. As hectic as it was, I loved the pace of life. After my Masters I got a prestigious placement from my college for an Assistant Manager in an Environmental Auditing firm, but it was clear that I didn’t fit in. The daily work, the constant filing and mapping were not my soul calling and I kept asking the Universe for the next best thing. Soon enough the Universe answered with me joining my first real job as a Writer and Voice Over Artist, both my talents which would make my growth. This was my first taste of people who would teach me to be ambitious and focused in the coming years. I learnt much about writing, voices, advertisements and became the coordinator of the team in just a few months overseeing teams across the Globe. Seeing my hardwork, my senior and a great friend, Adarsh Vinay, recommended me to none other than Sattvik Mishra, the head for Scoopwhoop. Sitting with Sattvik in the very first office of Scoopwhoop with only a dozen staff, the feeling was of impending joy.While it wasn’t a very permanent role I worked on, I knew this is where leaders were made. I started as a junior writer and my articles reached a million hits within a few hours, shared by unknowing friends across multiple platforms. It was also the first time I faced the camera like a nervous doe. I had the best time working through it all and interacting with the amazing staff, many of which moved on to do great work in the field of media. It is said though, that great purpose is found only after great downfalls and it seemed I was certainly due. In about a year I was approached by an amazing Radio Station in Bahrain. With the charm of first abroad exposure and double the package, I was really excited and got through all the interview sessions with ease. Everything was ready for me, the office, the house, the contract; but only one thing was missing, my passport, so I applied for one. Meanwhile, I decided to give up my job and wait for my passport to arrive. As luck would have it, it arrived just a few days after my opportunity closed. I was extremely upset and stressed. This wasn’t the Next Best Thing I had asked from the Universe. After months of cursing myself and doing plenty of freelance work I landed with an interesting opportunity across the country which I decided to take.During all of this struggle, my friend for 11 years and then Fiance who had been very supportive suddenly showed a noticeable change. As I expressed my excitement with this new job he voiced that he was not convinced with my ambitious streak. The dynamics of friendship and love quickly changed to a weird sense of insecurity. When you know someone for almost half of your lifetime, letting them go is the hardest choice you make but somewhere the little 12 year old me was waiting to discover her journey in Radio. After breaking off the engagement I decided to start afresh. This is where the Universe presented me with the time of my life which would make me grateful throughout my career. I joined as a Creative Solutions Associate with Fever FM in Bangalore. A vibrant team, a madcap boss , and awesome environment paired with competitive clients gave me what I wanted the most, an exhilarating experience! My voice was an asset which was immediately trademarked by the organization and you could hear it across all major cities of India. I have realised though, as we begin getting comfortable, life has a way of shaking things up again. Hardly a year went by and my opportunity from Bahrain knocked, or rather snuck on my Facebook Messenger, again! I have always been the one to take up the Universe on its challenge and this seemed like the Next Best Thing yet again and I just couldn’t pass it on. After that choice I never looked back. I have been blessed as it has been an uphill road ever since. I went to Bahrain and had a wonderful exposure and made friends with the awesome RJ Simran. While spending more than a year there I was headhunted by Fever FM, this time for Hyderabad city. The Universe was yet again calling me for an adventure as I landed in another wonderful city with a team that made me feel so welcome. I was a star for months in my organisation and trained for an Assistant Head position with a wonderful boss. This is also, the place I came to interact with RJ Kabir, my colleague and competition from the city of Lucknow at thr time (it surprised us both when we met on our first day in Radio Olive a year later). I worked with organisations like Teach For India, TedX , did TV interviews and worked extensive projects with children of the city.
My work was impressive to the point where I got appreciation from many celebs for my work. I kept working harder and within a year the Universe gave me the biggest Upgrade yet! After finishing up a wonderful week’s work with local eateries of the city I woke up with a text from my current CEO, Mr Krishna, asking if I was available to move to Qatar. One thing I have learnt is that if people have faith in you, always be grateful. It was because of this faith that Krissh, as we fondly call him, showed in me which made my decision. I took the Next Best Thing given to me by the Universe, Radio Olive 106.3 FM. The experience is like none other and I have been living a dream many can only imagine. The fast pace, wonderful people, interactive audience and a steadfast team is what drives me everyday. I have worked with many vibrant individuals and organisations which have taught me to be explore my own boundaries across the team and management. Whether it’s campaigns, music, scripts or daily shows, the website for the station; managing it all makes me feel alive every day. I have always been of the mindset that hard work done with a smile will always be recognised. The right intentions will line up the right opportunities in your life. When times get tough it is definitely hard to remember this, but eventually good intentions and hard work are always rewarded by the Universe.
Chetna Kaushik Aka RJ Naina
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