Child Rights Social Worker
My granddad told me, 'Fly away. This nest is always yours and will remain.'
"You have been selected to go to London!" they told me. I was 22 years old, and I had just gotten a job with the UK government.
I was very proud to be offered such a wonderful opportunity so soon after I left university. But in the midst of my happiness, I began to feel fear. Had I fully thought through the idea of leaving home and moving to a foreign country?
I had never in my life travelled out of India. I had never been so far away from my family, whom I depended on for everything. The closest I had come to travel was hearing stories about foreign countries from my dad. I felt terrified, insecure, and excited all at once -- a whole load of emotions that I was not in touch with, as I had led a sheltered life thus far.
I took a breath. I knew that this job was a rare opportunity. Thousands of people had applied. I was one of the youngest of the applicants to be chosen. I couldn't chicken out.
On the day my flight left from Dehli to London and my journey began, my granddad said something which has stayed in my heart. "Until today you have pushed to be confident, adventurous, ambitious and I am proud of you. But you are still like a frog in a protected pond. The time has come to take those skills you learned and make the world your stage. Fly away -- this nest is always yours and will remain."
I sobbed through the whole flight, but his words struck a chord. I understood that if I didn't push, I wouldn't move. And if I didn't dare, I wouldn't win.
In London, I learned to challenge my own status quo. I kept pushing boundaries to take my work to the next level. In my personal life, I learned the art of balancing tradition and modernity. Slowly, I began to feel comfortable moving between my Indian and Western environments. This journey continues.
Today, I have a global outlook and a multi-cultural perspective that I achieved because I dared to lean in. I have travelled all around the world and made friends in many countries. And India, my nest, is still just as much a part of me as it ever was. I know that I have so much more to look forward to, both across the globe and in my home. I genuinely feel that the world is my stage, exactly as granddad told me.
A woman who thought programming wasn't for her leans in — by learning to code.
Cofounder, Code First: Girls and Entrepreneur First