I belong to a place called Surendranagar. You might never have heard of it. It is a small town near to the city of Ahmedabad (this you would know) in Gujarat. By referencing the major city close by, that is how I am used to introducing the place I belong to. A place that got its first miniplex (not even a multiplex) just some time back, a place that still doesn’t have McDonald’s or BurgerKing, a place where Zara, Allen Solly, Gucci, Van Heusen, Forever New are still unheard of, a place where online transactions are a rarity, a place where Ola, Uber, BigBasket are still not operating, a place where there are no shopping malls yet, a place where growing up, the only schooling options we had were English medium/Gujarati medium (GSEB State Board only ) — no CBSE, no ICSE. With that said, I am proud of my native, the childhood it gave me, and the path of progress it is on.

I belong to a place where, 8 years back, it was neither common, nor very appreciative of a girl to move out of town, stay all alone, for studies. In 2012, after a lot of convincing, my parents and grandparents agreed to let me go to DAIICT for pursuing my undergraduate. I spent 4 years, staying in a hostel, all by myself and completed my undergraduate in Information and Communication Technology in 2016. First time away from home, I cried and was home sick for an entire semester. I still continued, trying to stay positive each day, trying to blend in that place, as I wanted to get over my home sickness and take a plunge in the world where parents might not be able to protect always. This leap of faith taught me much more than calculus, algebra, data structures, algorithms, and software engineering. I learnt staying and traveling alone, I learnt managing finances, I learnt about different cultures, different customs, and different set of people, I learnt how to enjoy the most with minimum resources at hand, and most importantly I learnt to accept opinions, thoughts, and ideas with an open mind. I made memories and friendships of lifetime and lived experiences I will cherish forever. These 4 years of college transformed me as a person. It opened windows to the outside world, that I never knew existed.

I belong to a place where, the farthest majority of people traveled, all alone, was to the nearby city of Ahmedabad. In 2015, when I was in third year of my undergraduate, I took a 24 hours flight to Houston, Texas, USA — all alone, for attending the 3 days Grace Hopper Celebration (GHC). I knew nothing about immigration and customs, I had no experience with foreign currency, I did not know how I would communicate with my family back home, but everything just worked out fine. As my comfort grew, so did my parents’ confidence in me, and their endless support kept making me stronger. My first international travel, all by myself, taught me to believe in myself and never be afraid of anything.

I belong to a place where majority of the lot still expects a girl to learn household chores, get married, and be a home-maker. An earning, independent, confident girl is probably still considered as many, as the spoiled girl. Leaving these stereotypes behind, with a determination of building a career for myself, I interned at Google in 2015 for 2 months, interned with Morgan Stanley for 6 months, took up a job at Morgan Stanley and worked there for 3 years. In 2019, an opportunity to work at Google came by. With determination and hard work, I prepared for Google interviews, managed to crack the interviews, and recently started working as a Software Engineer with Google.

The three year stint at Morgan Stanley gave me a bundle of opportunities. The projects I got to work on helped me develop professional skills like interacting with stakeholders, working across timezones, be a team player, and many more essential workplace skills. It also made me realise the importance of communication and interpersonal skills. To work on this, I joined the public speaking platform — Toastmasters, that taught me skills that would help me throughout my career. Google gave me an opportunity to work with the best of minds. I learnt to deal with the imposter syndrome — where I constantly doubted my abilities initially but stayed confident that with determination and hard work, I would be able to cope up. I am still new to this place and I am ready to face and accept all the challenges and opportunities coming my way. The determination to build a career for myself made me confident, helped me learn juggle between important tasks at hand, manage time efficiently, develop interpersonal skills, and many more things that made me more confident, independent, and a better version of myself. These learnings and experiences are surely going to help me in my personal as well as professional life ahead.

No place is a bad place to start at, no time is a wrong time to take the leap of faith, no situation is worse enough to hold you back. Learning, fulfilment, dreams, and aspirations are not slaves of fancy brands and modern lifestyle. With determination in heart and a will to grow, keep marching forward and new doors will keep opening. This mantra has helped me get here and I am looking forward to challenging many more stereotypes, taking many more leaps of faith, and learning along the way.

I am an extrovert, enthusiast, and an opportunist looking forward towards the next adventure. I am a strong believer of finding happiness in little things.