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Pravasi Women – Vinita Ramtri, Vice President, Financial Services

vinita1-sTell us about yourself

Someone recently referred to me as a ‘pocket rocket’. I think that sums me up quite well actually!

We all live once, and in this one life, I want to pack it all in. Eternally motivated, I just never stop. I’m a workaholic and when I’m not working in the office, I’ll be found working at home and if I’m not there either, I’ll be working out at the gym.

I try and live up to the ‘work hard and party harder’ way of life, working in short bursts for a few months before I make an escape.

One thing about me that very few people know is that I was born in Beawar. It’s a very small, remote town in Rajasthan, India and I would be surprised if you have even heard of it. Over the 30 something years of my life, Liberia, Las Palmas, Jaipur, Pune and Edinburgh have all been home at some point. Currently, it’s London.

I live here with my children and head up conduct risk in financial services. What’s conduct risk? Simply put, it’s all about doing the right thing, in the right way for the right reasons.

My motto in life: love as if you were to die tomorrow, learn as if you were to live forever…

vinita2-sWhere are you living currently and why did you choose that location?

I live in Greenwich. Located just 10 minutes from where I work, Greenwich is home to a World Heritage Site, Europe’s most successful entertainment arena (the O2 arena), Britain’s first urban cable car, London’s oldest Royal Park and the place where hemispheres meet.

Internationally recognised as the home of time, Greenwich is also where to find the Prime Meridian of the World. Every place on Earth is measured from here. I crave my morning runs by the Cutty Sark, along the river Thames and in the lawns of the Old Royal naval college.

http://www.visitgreenwich.org.uk/vinita-s

Why did you move away from India?

It was destiny rather than design. We moved to the UK as a family when I was married, and over the course of time, as I chose to be single again, I also decided to continue to live in the UK. Life has a strange way of evolving and that’s the beauty of it. But I wouldn’t say I moved away from India, it’s still very close to my heart.

What do you miss most about living abroad?

Pani puris. I could survive on Indian street food for the rest of my life.

On a more serious note, I miss friends and family. But with London being so central, there are always friends who stop-over and say hello as they connect to different locations. It’s here that I’ve made new friends and reconnected with the old, so I can’t complain.

My motto in life: love as if you were to die tomorrow, learn as if you were to live forever…

What do you like most about your current location?

I love the buzz. The city is so diverse and exciting. Museums, galleries, sporting events, shopping experiences from flagship stores to bric-a-brac at local markets, green spaces and endless bars and cafés. There is a brilliant charm about London that’s so hard to describe. I guess I could try and discover the city for the rest of my life and still have more to see.

The charm about it all is that even when I’m going about my simple busy life, and not necessarily reaching out, the city reaches out to me.

Did you face any particular challenges moving away from India?

Yes of course, there were challenges.

I remember having to sit driving tests to get a UK driving license. Having been a seasoned driver on Indian roads, both on bikes and cars, I guess it was more about unlearning than learning. Just basics like the MSM routine. I guess in India the norm seems to be ‘signal’, ‘begin slight manoeuvre’, then look into the ‘mirror’ or get caught out by horns blaring at you, in which case you ‘react’. Honking the horn is just a way of life, a bit like permanent banter between cars and never considered rude or disturbing.

Of course, I passed my test and put the horn to rest.

Who in particular helped you during your transition?

I worked for BskyB at the time and colleagues were a big help when it came to cultural transition.

Little things, like ‘Southampton’ is not ‘South Hampton’ and that Liverpool Street and Liverpool station are not in Liverpool but in London. And yes of course, ‘fishnets’ are not worn to work! Let’s just say, it was learning by doing.

We all live once, and in this one life, I want to pack it all in. Eternally motivated, I just never stop.

Do you live in an Indian community? If so, what are the main differences between Indians abroad and Indians still living in India (if any!)

No, I don’t live in an Indian community, but I know Indians who do. The main difference (or commonality?) is that Indians in India love having domestic help and couldn’t live without it even for a day. And for Indians abroad, this is often their single biggest gripe. Somehow, it doesn’t bother me at all.

Do you think you’ll go back to India one day?

I don’t think so, London is home to me now. I’m very close to family but my sister lives in the US and my parents visit for extended periods, so family is often around me.  I do love India and I visit when I can.

Twitter: @vinita_ramtri

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/nhome/?trkhttps://www.linkedin.com/vinitaramtri

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