Tell us about yourself
We moved from India to Saudi Arabia for my father’s job in petrochemical engineering when I was around 10 – and it was a real shock to the system. It was a completely different life.
I went from being able to play outside until 8pm and 9pm and having relative freedom, to being pretty confined. The culture was so different, we weren’t allowed to play out or talk to boys and the school I went to kept boys and girls separated. Things in Saudi Arabia are different now, but I found it really difficult to deal with at the time.
About five years later, we moved to Bahrain for work again - another totally different experience, but this time a better one, where boys and girls could hang together and we had space to be kids. Those last three years of schooling were my favourite.
After school, and as an Indian, the choices were either to become a doctor or go into engineering! I chose engineering and moved back to India on my own to study computer science at one of the best colleges for the course in the country.
It was another big culture shock. I went from a comfortable life and nice house in Bahrain, to terrible college facilities. I lived in a tiny room no bigger than a washroom, with no air conditioning and temperatures around 40 degrees and insects everywhere. Due to the religious region the college was in, all the food was vegetarian and I struggled to make friends as I didn’t speak the dialect very well. I cried for around three months!
But after a while I knew I had to transform myself and make the most of my time there. I started connecting with people and while the four years were hard, I learnt a lot about myself.