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Videshi Woman – An interview with Leena Isaac, Infotree Solutions Limited

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Where are you from?Leena Isaac Feature

I am from London, UK.

How long have you been in India?

I have been in India for 6 months now.

What brought you to India?

I could fill pages! ‘I love India and all Indians are my Brothers and sisters’ – sounds familiar, this was constantly ringing in me!

Mainly to connect my little girl (4 yrs) to family/roots, more so, even after attaining the citizenship I was a foreigner. Instead of being a foreigner in foreign land better to be one in own land! Living away from country, a certain detachment develops over time which creeps very sneakily, sooner I sensed that quicker I made the exit.

Another reason is to realise my entrepreneurial dream, the booming economy which has an appetite to sustain and provide a slice of the pie to everyone even in fierce competition. Having already achieved the experience of owning and running a company in UK (still running), I decided to spread my wings back to my roots.

And of course I can’t miss the fact of having the enjoyment to celebrate every festival in bright cheer enjoying the day off instead of working!

What do you love most about being here?

Ah! Tricky question! It goes without saying the ‘Support system (Family/Friends)’. There are stifling times but as they say ‘sab maaf hai apno ka’.

The most satisfying aspect is the love my little girl has developed towards Hyderabad and India, in her own words she doesn’t want to return to London but does miss her friends. Pssst between us, she has hardly missed them though unless I show their photos sent by their mums. This certainly is best result.

On another aspect, although amazed with the progressive development of infrastructure still yet to love it.

Are there any great moments that particularly stand out for you?

Plenty! The moments have been so great that the passage of 6 months went unnoticed and felt like I have never left. My videshi moments have become distant memory.

The reconnect with family & friends, the fond remembrance of memorable memories, the warmth of people, the catching-up with friends, party invites, busy weekends, mid-week celebrations (which was never a thing in UK), the spontaneity, the fun road trips….and the list goes!

What have been your greatest integration challenges?

The usual common challenges include Weather topping the list, horrendous heat, dust, traffic, etc.

I love the way my little girl put it in the initial days ‘I don’t like it here as it is very hot & warm, too many people and too many motorbikes’

The other biggest challenge which to an extent caused an emotional meltdown at a point was the inefficiency of hired help add to it their non-commitment and time discipline. Living in the UK for many years, we got programmed to high levels of efficient, time based delivery, even the postal deliveries adhere to strict time norms.

But still ‘Mera Bharath Mahaan’. We are what we are, the moment I accepted this, all those situations turned amusing! Its synthesised happiness!

Have there been any individuals or organisations who particularly helped with your move and integration?

My parents top the list being the best support and add to the mix my sister and best friends.

Have you joined any networking groups?

None, taking my time transitioning! Would love to in times to come. WeAreTheCity tops the list…

Do you have any practical tips for ex-pats moving to India about how to integrate or deal with cultural differences?

Reading my excerpt, certainly gives an idea of the challenges.

The major tips are,

  • Make a visit prior to the big move to scope out
  • Take as much help from the support system, don’t shy away.
  • Be prepared for many disappointments, just handle the situations calmly, take help
  • Don’t be on overdrive to fit in quickly, take your time.
  • Move into a community which is a mix of cultures preferably NRI and locals, don’t be in a rush to buy a permanent place, experiment the first 2 years
  • Parents with kids, support your child through the transition, but the irony is they adapt much more quickly.
  • And don’t compare the lifestyle before to now, accept that it’s a transition, all the comforts accumulated over the years in the foreign land will not be available readily, therefore take it easy on lifestyle.

 

What does the future hold for you?

Everything I can reach for, I just need to stretch my arms!

I have started working on my business plan to go live in April 2016, lot to plan, do and work. Busy times ahead.

Engage in girl child education, I do sponsor many girls but want to be more involved. Coach, mentor and guide them personally. Do my bit to transform next generation.

Be a ‘Make in India’

This article is accredited to Anju Arora.

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