I’m currently lying in my Airbnb in Mumbai, a city which has sucked me in, spun me around and thrown me back out again! I realise I am extremely late to write about my last week Hyderabad but hey.. there’s no time like the present.
The final week on the programme – in all honesty I felt ready for things to draw to a close. I was feeling quite exhausted as it turns out living in a new city, learning on the job, meeting new people, having fun, thinking and reflecting about life is quite tiring and a lot to cram into 6 weeks! I was looking forward to having some down time to digest and process all that happened during my time in Hyderabad. The week was stilll jam-packed , we were all busy closing out Client actions, preparing our final reports and presentations, ready for the final showcase on the Wednesday, as well as making the most of our last evenings in Hyderabad. This meant for many celebratory meals and drinks out!
I also attended the annual Design Summit which Prashant was speaking at and I got to spend time with his niece which was fun! On Friday afternoon Prashant and his wife invited me over for lunch to their house to say goodbye, it was a really lovely way to end our working relationship.
On Wednesday morning we had a final reflection session, it was heart warming to hear snippets of everyone’s personal journeys through the programme. After our session it was time for the showcase, where all volunteers presented their learnings and highlights of the experience. Clients and everyone involved were invited too so it was a great way to finish off the programme.
I thought I would sum up my thoughts on the experience by highlighting 6 things I learnt spending 6 weeks in Hyderabad. Warning, it does get cheesy.
1. Find your people
I knew this one already – but I learnt just how much you can learn and gain confidence from being around people with similar ideas, thoughts and beliefs about the world.
2. Be a rebel, follow your calling
The social entrepreneurs in India are probably the biggest rebels of the kind. Many have gone against the typical and stereotypical Indian career paths. Being an entrepreneur? And a social one? What does even mean?! It’s inspired me to trust your instinct, be brave, embrace every part of yourself and follow your calling, even if it seems crazy to those around you.
3. Challenge, be a sceptic
The whole start up scene is filled with many a buzzword and is very cool to be a part of. However I learnt to remember not to just accept things and get caught up in the trendiness of it all, but remembering the importance of challenging and asking questions!
4. Test and experiment, life as an expat
I was crazy when I thought I could just pack my bags and move to a new job and city. The programme was a great way to test and learn about what life as an expat would be like, the good, bad and ugly. I found out the the things I need to make me feel settled and at home. Headphones for podcasts and music, and cake.. banana cake. Might seem obvious, but it’s useful to try things out before fully commiting. In fact one of the best pieces of advice I got on the programme, was to MVP my life!
5. Ride the wave, life is a journey
For me I learnt that I don’t necessarily want to work towards this one pinnacle goal of being director of X company with a house, husband and a white picket fence. For now, I just want to continue to have experiences, embracing all that comes with them, to keep learning and growing.
6. Be in the moment
This is one for me to remember and work on. Because of the above I know I might be constantly thinking about the next move, the next dream or goal. I figured that it’s not a bad thing, but I want to make sure I learn to enjoy the moment, be present and grateful!
I left the programme feeling pretty proud that I didn’t crack during my time in Hyderabad, very grateful for the opportunity, excited for what the future may hold and very much looking forward to taking a breather out of the city.
My travels beyond Hyderabad are also teaching more than I ever anticipated. I am learning about what living in a real community really means, learning that there is a wallah for everything you could possibly imagine and oh boy each day is teaching me just how many contractions and juxtapositions there are to India.