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Home is where the heart is…

Copyright to the original owner

Wow!! 2.5 years have passed and I haven’t written a thing.

Hey but many of you know what it’s like to have a 2 and a half year old right?

You’re completely exhausted. Practically dead, but it’s finally bedtime.

You lay down, pull up the covers, head hits the pillow.

Instantly the baby starts crying. @austen CEO, Lamda school

Not as bad for me now but its true! Babies are side projects that will test you to your physical, and psychological limit. Its one of those times in your life when you have new found appreciation for your parents. Thanks mom and dad for putting up with me!!

Hey and by the way it’s been 2.5 years since I moved back to India. The ride so far has been exhilarating, exhausting and simply humbling. I want to take you down to the moment I realised I was going back to India. It was actually one such sleepless night when Anik had been crying for more than 3 hours straight, there was nothing wrong with him, just a stressful night. If you don’t have kids, please remember this –

human brains are wired to respond to the cries of babies, unlike anything else. You cannot ignore it, the stress hormones will kick in. Just ride it out. People worry about labour ☺️ but with all due respect later part is harder.

Anyway the constant screaming was constantly making me think and introspect. I was quickly able to reach a conclusion that some unresolved thoughts in my mind were beginning to surface during that stressful situation.

Your mind races fast during such times – it runs multitude of scenarios like in a simulation. In a minute, you weigh your options. You think about what is important to you and what is not important to you.

there I had it!! I concluded that I would be a stronger person had I been with my family. I wanted the option of seeing my parents when I wanted. I wanted my son to truly have grandparents, cousins and an extended family and not speak with them on just FaceTime. I wanted to spend time with my parents and for Deepika to spend time with her mother, not when they are critically ill but when they were happy and fine. I have met so many people that live with regret of having prioritised their careers over their happiness or family. One of the mental models I follow in life is to ensure I live with no regrets (much as humanly possible), I was certainly not going to live with this one. Next morning I had a long discussion with Deepika, with my mentors and my trusted friends, and it was sealed. We were moving back. A lot of things transpired between now and then, finding roles, switching countries, houses, jobs, vehicles, you get the drift ☺️

Chapter 2 😬 I have lived most of my life in Pune, coming back shouldn’t have been very challenging but boy I was wrong. We were a family now. With home and office in 2 different parts of the city, and the terrible traffic meant that I had to move closer to work. Setup a new house, and everything. It all fell in place after some (actually lots of) effort. We even fell ill a lot during the first year or so but we made it alright. We are certainly happier – Anik has grandparents he can see whenever he wants, he has cousins, we have family get togethers, Deepika and I get to see old friends and yes the Sun makes a whole lot of difference ☀️!

Professionally this was a roller coaster but a really fun one. As I mentioned, the decision to move back was personal so I was bound to have fewer choices on the professional front that too self limited by a city. India is a wonderful place to work, it is the fastest growing economy in the world, and Pune was recently ranked as the most livable city in India. Minus traffic and some air / noise pollution woes it is a sunny “Paradiso”. Pune is home to one of the most iconic IT industry corridors in India. While I had the option to continue with Vodafone, I chose to go back to Barclays as I found a better fit and a greater challenge there. My Pune role has been a brilliant change – even though it was Barclays with a 8 year history I came from a commercial role to a tech role, I changed from a product owner to an engineering role. However my tech background and well established networks were immensely helpful. I have so far managed to build with support from our amazing leadership one of the best machine learning teams in Barclays and have also recently been working on building an India arm for our Barclays Ventures division. Its a big deal and my team and management has nothing but kind to me.

It’s been almost 3 years since I moved back I have also made 3-4 trips to London since but there is only positive reaffirmation.

My mind feels lighter, there are no regrets, no burden or as they say, home is where the heart is or in this case just a little left of center.

Copyright to the owner Mandira

By Abhi Shah

Hi, I’m Abhi. After living many years in London, me and my family re-located back to India in the summer of 2017. I spend most of my time working with a high performing team at Barclays in Pune, India and the rest with my son Anik! I have spent half of my career in commercial product roles and half in technology. I have also spent over 9 years living outside India, and have traveled to over 27 countries. Visit the Bio section of this website to learn more about me.

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