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Experiences

Sleep better! 15 hacks to rock your productivity

It was fall of 2018. A usual work trip via Mumbai. Me and my car driver were cruising at about 80 KPH on the Mumbai – Pune expressway. The rumbling of tyres on the concrete pavement was fading into the pitter patter of the diesel engine. I was engrossed in reading my favourite book after a good nights sleep, as we passed the Khalapur toll. In about 20 minutes, I instinctively looked up. The car was strongly veering towards the right as we were about crash on to the divider. I literally shouted, “Watch-out!”. I had one hand on the driver’s shoulder, pinching him while bracing for impact.

Thankfully the driver regained control and said, sorry sir, “ek second ke liye aankh lag gaya tha”. Hindi for, sorry, “I fell asleep for a moment”. While counting my blessings, I somehow made it through the rest of the trip with a heightened sense of consciousness and a strongly caffeinated driver.

Inadequate sleep has caused major economic & productivity crisis!

The cost of inadequate sleep in Australia according to research is about $18 Billion. That is about 2-3% of Australia’s nominal GDP. In the US, the number is close to a whopping $400 Billion. Also, across many other large economies, it is close to 2% of their GDP. I estimate for India, it is to the tune of $60 Billion. The grim economics adds up quickly. The well-being issues caused my inadequate sleep makes it even worse. It is no secret that poor sleep affects health adversely. It does so in children and in adults. In fact, the effects are even worse in the elderly. It is a leading cause of cardio vascular diseases, and undoubtedly results in lots of untimely fatalities.

sleep less in the city
Days feel horrible when we don’t sleep well through the night

On a day to day basis, poor sleep results in cognitive issues. I am sure you have noticed that after a poor night’s sleep, we find it difficult to pay attention to our work schedules, or complex issues. We demonstrate reduced understanding of simple things. Also, we show delayed reaction time. “I am sorry, I missed that question could you repeat please?” – does this ring a bell? While this can result in some harmless fun at work, the collective cost is quite serious.

The delayed or impaired reaction time claims many lives on highways all over the world every single day. Not to add, it makes us perceive things excessively negatively and results in overall irritable behaviour. Leaders need to be especially aware as bad sleep will result in poor decisions. As a result, this can impact not only yourself but also the organisation and your teams.

Our bodies are amazing at regulating sleep, but…

Circadian Rhythm. Scientific term for our regular sleep-wake cycle literally means “about a day”. I have experienced this really strange phenomenon where I often wake up at precisely the same minute in the morning. Sometimes so precise, that I see the same number 7.03 on the watch few days in a row! Have you noticed this too? The conspiracy theorist in me thinks this is another proof that we live in a computer simulation. However, the realist in me knows it shows how good our body clocks are.

Our age plays a big role in determining the mix of sleep types and their duration. In simplest terms, older adults do not sleep as well as younger adults.

As we grow older, we lose our ability to regulate or generate sleep.

This applies to ease with which one can go to sleep, the amount of deep sleep, and the fragility of sleep. Everything gets worse as we become older. There is research that substantiates why this happens. So how do we react?

Hacking our way around common enemies of sleep   

If we focus on these 15 hacks, we can substantially improve our ability to generate and regulate sleep. I have tried and tested these!

1.    Pre-plan your day and prepare your morning!

Take a look at your calendar for next day and do a dry run in your mind. This should relax you about the next day. Some people even go to the extent of trying to pick what we want to wear the next morning, you may want to prepare breakfast menu or chop some vegetables ahead of time.

enumerate

Any sort of prep relaxes you as you know you are better equipped for the day to come.

2.    Express anxiety or residual emotions. Talk or Journal.

Anxiety & worry can affect sleep. We are just sat in bed, thinking about our unresolved emotions. We worry about how that challenging interview would turn out. Your amazon parcel is stuck somewhere! There is no end. Just using your friends, partners as a soundboard for this can massively alleviate the impact that worry has on your sleep.

sleep journal

I have observed that writing what is on your mind, or listing down tasks, has an overall relaxing effect before you go to bed.

3.    Tweak lighting. Not only in your bedroom but also during the day.

Melatonin secretion is photo-sensitive. In other words, it is affected by exposure to light. This means you should be exposed to as much natural light as possible during the day. As the day wanes, artificial lighting should be controlled depending on your tasks or sleep routine. In our house, we start early evenings with bright whites, and slowly dim them and switch to soft yellows as we approach bedtime. I have observed that this has a nice transition effect. The bedroom lighting has to be soft. I have a combination of yellow spot task-lighting for reading etc. and overall soft yellow hues.

soft lights

Although not compulsory, consider automating lighting. I have this automated in our bedroom. An Alexa command can switch from bright to yellow. We can also control dimming which is very useful if you don’t have specific lights installed for reading etc. It helps you ease you into the night.

4.    Do not forget the lighting for bathroom breaks.

It is not routine but sometimes we have to wake up to go to the restroom. Most of our bathrooms are either inadequately lit up, or they are super bright. I have installed an IR based motion sensing dim lighting in my bathroom. This is in addition to all the other kinds of lighting that I can control manually.

under the bed light
source: Iwantitall.co.za

This ensures, when I am a sleepy head, and I am going into the restroom, I don’t have to manually turn the lights on or off. You can also install dim motion sensing lights under your bed. This way, when you step out of bed, it lights up a soft hue. Such lighting ensures my eyes don’t have to endure sudden exposure to bright lights. It also makes sure I don’t trip over! 😄

5.    If you can, allow natural light to enter your room in the morning.

Keeping some parts of blinds open allows natural light to filter through gradually as it dawns. This ensures Melatonin can ebb, allowing our natural circadian rhythms to take over and gently wake us up. This is so much better than the jarring sound of an alarm.

natural light

Your smart home can help. You can get smart bed lamps, although I am not sure how good they are. They get brighter as it dawns and they claim to gently wake you up. Have you tried one? Let me know in the comments section whether it works!

I ran out of budget 😁, but one thing I would like to DIY one day, is to automate opening of blinds in the morning. I will keep you posted on the effort. For now, partially open blinds do a good job of letting the natural light in easing us from sleep to wakefulness.

6.    Please invest in a good mattress

When was the last time you bought a new mattress? Majority of us would say a long time ago. Speaking for India, there are many start-ups that have really changed the game on the whole mattress experience! There is so much choice available. After doing months of research, we settled on a moderately layered memory foam + a composite base. This is our choice, and you will probably prefer something else. However, the key takeaway here is the value of experimentation. Good mattresses need not be expensive, but if you like one that is expensive, please invest. It is one of the best ways of spending your money. 🙌🏻

7.    Experiment with pillows!

On a related topic let me share some science on pillows. Pillows determine spinal alignment. They can give you chronic neck and back pain. Choose a pillow that keeps your head aligned to your sternum and collar bone. If you sleep flat on your back, also ensure head is not too high or too low but properly aligned to your body. Experiment until you fight the right fit.

8.    Fresh or dedicated bedding every night can work wonders

It is a bit of work, but changing your bedsheet can do wonders to your sleep. Who does not like the smell and feel of a fresh bedsheet as you prepare to snuggle? Apart from all the health benefits such as reduced allergens, etc. there is a discrete brain signalling that occurs when you change your bedsheet before hitting the bed. Your brain knows that now you are entering a relaxed state. Your favourite PJ’s can have the same effect. So please take the extra effort.

9.    Mosquito nets for my friends in India or tropical countries

I grew up sleeping on beds with full sized manual mosquito nets. It was a chore, but a worthwhile one. Firstly, it allowed us to keep the room fully ventilated, which was awesome. Secondly, with a tent like effect, it immediately made the sleeping environment a bit cosier. This may not work for you or some may feel claustrophobic, but it certainly worked for me.

10. Mess stress is real 😃 keep your bedroom tidy!

You may have a gift, and you can sleep in a dumping ground. However, for most people, mess is a major cause of stress. Just keeping your room clean and tidy can control the hormone cortisol which is a major miscreant towards your sleep.

11. Snore, but don’t roar! 🦁

Can you really control snoring? It is certainly possible. Some exercises, elevated position (pillows), nasal pressure equalizer devices all can be done without visiting a sleep clinic. These do help. If you do not get relief, please do visit a doctor.

snore

12. It’s worth investing in an air purifier

Unless you live in Swiss Alps, or remote countryside, you are likely to have urban pollutants in your bedroom. This causes congestion, allergic reaction, hoarseness of voice, and a few other issues. A HEPA filter based air purifier can really make you feel less stuffy in the morning. Personal experience, and I 100% recommend it.

air purifier
source – amazon

If you use a room heater, consider getting a humidifier. The heat radiators will suck moisture out of the air and make your airways dry and itchy. This cannot be good for your upper respiratory tract. A humidifier works wonders. Similarly, in tropical climates, an air conditioner can regulate humidity well. This will really improve quality of your sleep. Ceiling fans are a strict no for me they also dry out your airways, and often result in poor sleep. This may be different for you.

13. Try white noise. It didn’t work for me.

There are various white noise apps, and devices available on the market. They are supposed to make you sleep better or faster. It didn’t work for me, but hey give it a shot, what do you have to lose? Let me know if it works for you.

14. Exercise more during the day, keep it light in the evening

Vigorous exercises in the night contribute to heightened alert state and loss of sleep. Regular exercise will definitely improve your deep sleep. Also avoid too many liquids in the night so as to avoid completely unnecessary trip to the loo! Avoid big meals after sunset can also help you regulate blood sugar and positively affects quality of sleep.

15. Desirable sleep routine

Start your bedtime routine with something you love. A book, some soft music, perhaps? A cup of chamomile tea, or simply some fun chat with your little ones! This can truly be the best time to connect with yourself and your loved ones. Once you have a set and desirable routine, you won’t let anything else distract you!

sleep desire
sleep desires

Use habit forming methods to do this effectively. Meditation can be amazing too! This will help you win over all the other distractions.

Pro-technique to sleep faster

US Army uses this technique. It involves relaxing muscles of your body one by one and visualising a pre-determined scene. I have tried this once, and due to sheer curiosity of whether it will work, it didn’t work for me 😄. It may work for you! Let me know if you manage to try it.

Is it ironic that I was writing this article at 1am Saturday night? Ethical dilemma wasn’t over until I bought it, and slept for a good 7 hours before finishing up on Sunday. If this article doesn’t give you some insight, at least its length can help you snooze better. 🤣 Either way, it is a win-win.

Oh and by the way, did I mention that you should keep away from screens a couple of hours before bed? Easier said than done, right?

Happy sleeping…

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Experiences

Diversity & the surprising reason we need to fight for it

My tryst with a hate crime

Before we talk about diversity, I want to tell you a story. It was spring of 2007. I had recently moved to Buffalo, New York, for what would be my first overseas assignment. The second largest city in New York State, Buffalo has feel of a sleepy suburb, with rich industrial history.  Our work days began early in the morning in shared radio cabs that felt quite futuristic for a young twenty something. We made our way to a multi-story office in downtown Buffalo every weekday, and religiously started back home 5pm. As we were doing lots of “production support” we also had many late nights.

Cooking, friends, sports and access to cheap electronics was so much fun. 

As many young foreigners living their dream in the US, we quickly figured out how to drive on the right side of the road. We started renting cars over the weekend. We didn’t waste a single weekend and traveled to tens of states and cities. Hours and hours on the interstate network, we explored America as it should be explored.

On one such evening in New York City, a group of criminals / hooligans targeted us with racial slurs and intimidating behaviour in a harrowing episode. We were thankfully unharmed but the ordeal left us shaken to the core. I have to mention that my colleagues and almost everyone else we met were extremely generous, welcoming, friendly and simply brilliant. This is not a gripe about a country or a community but just my first brush with what we didn’t know back then as – “hate crime”. However, I am pretty sure it could have happened to anyone and anywhere and also that it exists everywhere including in India. All that mattered within that moment is that hate wasn’t to be tolerated. In conclusion, I made a promise that day to myself to fight hatred, racism, bigotry and bias.

Lack of diversity has roots in our limbic system

Let’s look at 3 reasons why diversity can help address some of these issues.

1. We are not just fighting attitudes – we are fighting our very own Limbic system. This will take generations to change.

Stanford University’s Recruitment to Expand Diversity and Excellence program suggested that about 75 percent of whites and Asians demonstrated an implicit bias favoring whites over blacks (Link).

diversity is linked to our primordial brain
Limbic system dates back generations

It will take generations worth of effort to change this.

In other words, Racism, bigotry, hatred, and xenophobia are all emotions. They run deep in many of us. We are taught that racism is bad however parts of our limbic system (Amygdala) respond to new and unfamiliar stimuli with apprehension and fear. This is referred to as implicit bias. While we can train our brain and become better at controlling our instincts, biases don’t change overnight. They must change over generations. As a result, diversity can help with that transition. I studied graduate school in a class with 25 different nationalities. Also, I have traveled to over 27 countries and I have operated in extremely diverse work environments. This has conditioned me to realise that diversity brings value, richness of thoughts, and opinions and actions which is 💯 a good thing.

The universe is full of infinite diversities. That’s what makes it so exciting.

We know about racial / gender diversity, and many of us have heard or operate with rightly laid out diversity and inclusion targets. How many of us consciously celebrate other kinds of diversity? Do you hire for example because someone brings brilliant creativity to your team? Did you ever connect with someone because they have much different life experiences than you? Do you usually avoid the unknown or you embrace it? Are you uncomfortable with uncertainty or do you thrive on it? I think it’s time we did all these things.

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Different is many!

A millennial that does not believe in hierarchy adds to diversity. An individual that requires a strong sense of purpose before committing adds to diversity.

This diversity of thoughts, beliefs, and opinions is critical.

  • Introverts vs Extroverts
  • Creatives vs Analytical
  • Northerner vs Southerner (regional)
  • English speaking vs vernacular
  • Deep thinker vs impulsives
  • Comic vs serious
  • Rich vs poor
  • Naive vs shrewd
  • Secure vs insecure
  • Known vs unknown
  • Straight vs Gay
  • Liberal vs conservative
  • Democrats vs Republican
  • Too young vs Too old
  • Highly Educated vs Drop outs
  • Ivy league vs non Ivy league

In conclusion, the more the better! Send your kid to a diverse school. Let him or her mingle with non like-minded people. Hire for all kinds of diversity. Invite external speakers to your team meetings. Perhaps from a different region or even industry. See how much you learn and become better at everything. Finally, diversity brings difference of opinion. This almost always results in better outcomes.

diversity can be fun

Culture trumps process – every time!

I believe culture and diversity are joined at the hip. In addition, in order to create or maintain great culture, you need to re-assess the importance you give to diversity.

The culture is what creates the foundation for all future innovation. If you break the culture, you break the machine that creates your products“.

Brian Chesky, AirBnB

Brian also suggests that strong culture removes the need for arduous processes. It is like doing mental math vs. doing calculations on paper. Mental math is great culture whereas calculations on paper are processes. They may achieve the same goal, but processes are much slower.. To conclude, great culture means that you can trust people to make the right decisions!

Diversity helps avoid cognitive biases thereby improving decision-making

Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg in an interview, talked about how Facebook places its bets on the future. He highlighted the strong role culture plays. From testing a new ad-format, to choosing the next big thing to invest-in. Above all, Mark’s commitment to diversity is visible from the quote below.

“We invest in people who we think are really talented, even if they haven’t done that thing before – like the CFO who hasn’t taken a company public before – we simply are committed to invest in talented people”.

Mark Zuckerberg

According to this Deloitte article, diversity helps by,

  • Avoiding group-think. You benefit from having all the diverse perspectives on the same challenges.
  • Increasing scale of insight. This is something that I have personally experienced in my career. Quality and scale of ideas is better in a diverse team
  • Identify the right talent to solve their most pressing issues.

Science strongly favours diversity. Without it, we wouldn’t have been the dominant species on this planet.

Darwin’s theory of natural selection supports diversity. According to a related theory, A large gene pool has extensive genetic diversity and as a result, it is better able to withstand the challenges posed by environmental stresses. So even marrying outside your cast or race can be a good thing for your gene pool 😁. So, babies and marriages aside, diversity on boards results in better returns, diversity on teams results in better results, diversity in data science teams results in better bias avoidance. It is widely researched that diversity of thought is not just good but it is great.

Universe is most likely teeming with life

Conclusion

In a universe most likely teeming with life our survival as a species seems to be dependent on diversity. How would you feel if you were the only kind of intelligent life in the universe? I would be certainly unhappy. So if not for all this, for the universe’s sake, would you join me in fighting for diversity?

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Experiences

Inexpensive ways to keep kids Busy

It’s been over 2 and a half months, and the chirping of little kids has been eerily quiet in our gated community. Last week, my 3 year old son asked me, “Daddy, when will Conora-virus go? When will the playground be open?” and I had nothing but a sigh and an unsure “soon, Anik, soon…” to mutter. Sad, right? Don’t let the occasional memory of playground or his friends fool you though. Anik has been having a gala time since the Lockdown began and he’s been a very happy child. We will give him full credit for that. Let me share with you some inexpensive ways to keep kids busy. My spouse and I have facilitated a few playing and learning experiences for him that we would like to share.

Cardboard + imagination = unlimited fun as an inexpensive way to keep kids busy.

Weekends? no! They are craft days!!We ask Anik – What would you like to “make” today and the answers are as imaginative as they can be. Spaceship, Speedboat, A Car City, A Booster Rocket. Some spare things in the house, and a bit of stationary and we sit with him and craft our way to some really cool #makercraft. This is one of the great inexpensive ways to keep kids busy. Patience is key, so is participation – for sticking, colouring, marking and all kinds of stuff the kid may enjoy. We usually start with a plan on a whiteboard and then keep iterating our way. I will let the pictures do the talking. We hope Anik learns creativity, patience, and the love for building.

Pre-schoolers make great little chefs!

The entire world has been baking during the coronavirus pandemic and we are no exception. This surely is a proven way to keep your kid engaged. Helps Anik learn textures, tastes, dexterity, and again, making. This is another inexpensive ways to keep kids busy. We have gone a step further and given him some common ingredients and let his imagination take over. We have as a result, Grape and Potato wafer canapés, Apple Pie Made up of Apple and Coarse Sugar, and many other creative recipes you will not even find in a Michelin star restaurant. Take a look at some of these!!

Household chores + role play can turn pre-schoolers into happy little helpers.

Want to load your dishwasher? This is one of the great inexpensive ways to keep kids busy. You should ask your kid for help, Anik calls it a dishwashing Robot and he loves to help. Our cleaner bot is his robot friend too, he calls it Eva (from the Pixar movie Wall-e). Anik also loves on days to clean up and show us his superpowers! This doesn’t always work but when it does it’s great!

Your house spaces and furniture are your best friends!!

A bean bag, a hydraulic bed, sofa, simple mattress, can turn into amazing physical activities for kids. Balcony / Terrace can turn into yoga spaces. You don’t have to do a lot, just don’t interfere with creativity. This is one of the most amazing inexpensive ways to keep kids busy. There is a big safety issue here, so please exercise common sense. We turn our hydraulic bed into a slide, sofa with a bean bag turns into a bird’s nest, a mattress can turn into a ski slope. My kid for instance has conceived a fun pretend swimming pool – a bedsheet surrounded by pillows and a house ladder as a diving board, and there is pretend splashing too, and we have to be there with him. I’m sure all of us can relate to jumping on the bed, but with Anik we have taken it to a whole new level. We have also brought in aspects of simulation for instance we have built a car city replete with school, hospital, garage, emergency services, roads and everything!! Anik had blast building and playing.

Technology is a means to an end – it is NOT one of the inexpensive ways to keep kids busy.

Tech does NOT mean screens. Screens are okay, I am not averse to a couple hours of screen time a day, but it surely is passive and doesn’t engender or utilise creative ability at all. We try to harness tech to keep the kid engaged and curious, this could be simply be , communicating with his friends, or helping me repair a tap, or teaching how to replace batteries in toys, and then come the science experiments. For instance at 3 although not with a lot of expectations, me and Anik have created a DC generator prototype that generates electricity from another fan and a propeller wind mill. We have also created a water pumping station using siphon action. Anik’s grandfather has designed an aeroplane shuttle system based on a rope and a few straws. It’s brilliant. You can also experiment with Augmented reality fairly easily. Finally Lego! Lego is not tech but isn’t it? Using building blocks to create fascinating things… for me there is no better definition of tech.

I don’t pretend to be a super parent. These are humble efforts that are purely born out of necessity. Who knows, they might even inspire some parents and kids!!

Can you relate? Let us know in the comments below.

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Experiences

Flying and the “Queue phenomenon”

Flying? How many of you have noticed, that people just love queuing up at the gate while an aircraft is boarding? In fact, I have noticed that even before the gate has opened some people love queuing up. Zone wise boarding? No no! People still want to queue up. Upon landing the plane doors aren’t even open yet and there are many who will happily queue up in the aisle.

While utterly illogical for the most part, we can explain this behaviour by basic human nature to be a bit insecure.

We see a queue growing in size, and we feel compelled to join the front of the queue. We don’t want to cede our territory and be at the back of it. Perhaps we are anxious that we may not get space in the overhead storage compartment or we are petrified that we may miss out on boarding in a sane way. Perhaps we are anxious that we may face inconvenience by many aisle obstacles. Whatever is the reason, yesterday something really funny happened. While flying to Chennai one such queue was standing for almost an hour. When the gate finally opened, and boarding started we hoarded into a bus. I was expecting mayhem. However, people seemed already satisfied by standing in the queue for absolutely no reason.

I have given up on queuing when flying

I’d rather sit quietly and read a book or observe other people while wondering why do people queue up. I go towards the end of the queue. This is when most people board feeling peaceful and accomplished that I’m still going to get my reserved seat and it doesn’t matter if there is no overhead storage left for my handbag.

Our brains are wired to be competitive it feels irrational to not queue up it also feels like if you queue up you will get into the plane faster but the plane ain’t leaving until boarding is complete! Hey but who am I to tell hundreds of limbic systems bored at the prospect of flying in a pressurised tube at 30000 feet and trying to get some excitement by queuing up 🙂?

Some lessons in real life I can relate with. What do you think?

  • Don’t engage in meaningless competition
  • Sometimes just because all others are doing it, you don’t have to do it
  • While fear of missing out FOMO can be real the effects often can be unfounded
  • just because you are busy doesn’t mean you are productive

Until next time, ciao!!

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Experiences Learnings

Relocating to India – Home is where the heart is

Copyright to the original owner

Relocating to India wasn’t planned. It was on our minds for a while. Your first child is quite an experience. It literally acted as a trigger that was waiting to fire for a long time.

Hey! you know what it’s like to sleep peacefully right?

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 my son, 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 this part is harder.

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

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.

relocating to india

It was crystal clear. I concluded that I would be a stronger person with my extended family. We were relocating to India.

Deepika and I wanted the option of seeing our parents when we desired. I wanted my son to truly have grandparents, cousins and an extended family and not speak with them on just FaceTime. We both 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 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. I spoke with my mentors and my trusted friends. Finally, we sealed it. We were moving back. A lot of things transpired between now and then, finding roles, switching countries, houses, jobs, vehicles, you get the drift ☺️

After relocating to India.

I have lived most of my life in Pune, relocating to India 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. As a result, On the professional front, I had fewer choices, including choosing 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 liveable 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.

Pune has been brilliant

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.

relocating to india
Copyright to the owner Mandira