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Leetcode 20. Valid Parentheses or "That day when life happened"

Some months before coming to the United States, I had an interview for a tech-consulting firm. There, I was asked to solve the LeetCode (LC) problem on Valid Parentheses . The following is a mixture of a story and the solutions to the problem. After reaching out and applying to the company, I felt excited that I had finally gotten another interview. I was given two weeks to prepare. Adrenaline was my new blood. Coffee was not even necessary. The joy of preparing and trying was enough to keep me awake for the whole day. At that time, I didn't know about the 75 blind problems (I was too green). So some basic google, brought me into the most common questions they could ask me. The interview was planned to last between 5 to 6 hours. It was the perfect example of a one-shot interview. It started great. For the first two hours, I excelled. I was radiating happiness. Little did I know, that during the coding part things would go in a different direction. Before jumping into the general pr