Anjul Sahu

2020 - the year of change

Posted at — Feb 19, 2021

When I spent my new year evening with all my friends, I never thought that it will be the last such event in Australia. We all met and stayed at my friend’s place, Shivaji and had a lovely memorable gathering. This year, I was also planning to come back to India. It was always back in my mind to get settled in my home country, India. The Australian journey started with a surprise in 2012 and it was never planned for such a long time. I came to Melbourne in 2012 on an assignment for an year which keep extending for years. I always resisted change due to the fact that it was one of the best country to live and we had a social circle which kept us busy. But as a long term vision, I was looking for roles in India and luckily, I found a place at InfraCloud. It was aligned to my career aspirations and after talking to the founders, I was really got that it was a really nice fit for me.

COVID-19: Fear and Excitement

As we all know, 2020 has been a bit tough for everyone across the world. In the late Dec 2019, first time I heard about the outbreak in Wuhan through Twitter and news but I never thought it will convert into a pandemic situation. The risk increased when a few colleagues from China joined office after the Christmas break in the first week of January. In few more days since that event, news were coming from various offices reporting cases. It went like this until mid-march when most of us started working from home in Australia and offices were shutdown. This situation is pretty much similar in most of the cities. I am usually excited when there is a situation like this. I had never seen any pandemic before in my life. I was tapping for all the news to understand what’s really happening while I was also preparing for the move.

So in April first week, I got the job offer and then I started the big bang move. But unforuntately, COVID was taking over the world and international travel was disturbed. Around the same time, my wife also had baby which was making us nervous due to the risk of infection. We remained at home as much as possible and I am grateful that both my current and future employers were understanding and supportive. I started taking small steps to move and then started selling all the stuff I had there. Eventually in mid of June, we took a hard step and moved out of the current house and decided to stay at my friend’s place Praveen until we get the flight back to India. We reach out to various groups on telegram, facebook to find charted flight and also to Indian embassy to get a seat on the Vande Bharat Mission flight. Luckily, we got one in June in couple of days after leaving our home. I am very grateful to all my friends and colleagues who supported us during the hard time and came to meet even during the restrictions on the last day.

Quarantine in India

I was really nervous due to lack of sufficient information by authorities when I took the flight. However, a few good folks shared their experiences on Facebook groups which helped in some ways to overcome the nervousness. We landed and got exemption to get home quarantine, which we did in a farm house in Indore. Our family arranged everything and regularly came to meet us, they couldn’t resist with proper precautions. Personally, It was one of the best time I have spent with my family, remotely in a farm in a peaceful setting. I wish I retire in such a setting.

New Job and Remote Working in India

It was a first change ever in my life. I joined Accenture after my college and never left it until 2020, that’s 12 years - a really long journey there. This time was very memorable when we were still learning, how to get a proper rhythm in remote working. The organizations across the world were trying to innovate how they communicate, how they deal with pandemic and still grow. We were not equipped to work remotely but thanks to the advancements in telecom sector in India, the broadband is significantly improved and one of the cheapest if you compare with developed nations. I did try to setup my desk and but it is still evolving. I will write separately about this topic sometime later.

Interestingly, I got some new assignment, even though it was cloud native, but somehow tied with my previous experiences which I was trying to avoid. You can not leave your history behind. I learnt that I should use my old skills as a strength and mix with the latest skills to create an awesome experiences for the clients who are still stuck with the old tech. This was indeed a good learning for me. Over next few months, I was trying my hands dirty in various new skills that I never worked earlier. It kept me busy professionally for the next half year.

Welcome Advait

This year was dedicted to our young child. We spent all of our energy on him once we returned to India. On 1st Oct, he opened his eyes with a loud cry that most of the people on the hospital floor noticed. It was one of the happiest moment after Avyan’s birth. Within few days, we decided on the name Advait. How did we came up with this name? We wanted the name to be rationale and meaningful and in someway derived from Sanskrit. Avyan’s name was also picked up from the Vishnusastranam - 1000 names of lord Vishnu. In the same way, we found Advait which is derived from Advaita - meaning Nondualism, philosophy of Shankaracharya. He has been growing fast and getting love and care from both sides of our family.

Advait

Learnings

Professionally and Personally this year has been great for my family. I want to document what I learnt in the past year.

  1. Friends and Network are your goto people, sometimes more than family. They help you in the tough time and keep you motivated.
  2. Always try your luck. I got the right job opportunity because I reached out to few folks and we both found commonalities. Be proactive and don’t shy.
  3. Spend your time with family, they feel lonely.
  4. India is full of opportunities, so those who are always looking outside the country can reconsider.
  5. Keep learning and try to use your negative points as strength. Diverse skills are always important in the team setting.
  6. Invest as much you can for the long term, keep liquid fund - I see a lot of people don’t do it and it can bite you someday.
  7. Trust your gut and take calculated risk.
  8. Do invest in a proper remote setup, future of work will be either remote or hybrid.