to break all myths about africa.

even before i was offered to be at south africa,

even before i had decided to take it up,

even before my visa process could happen, 

even before the travel tickets came, 

i heard enough apprehensions from everyone. 

reason being its africa. 

 

till date. 

till this moment. 

i have my folks, friends, strangers, colleagues, 

and everyone in the world, 

asking me one question. 

is it safe there? 

hope you’re not in trouble. 

 

its irony and beautiful. 

to let them know that. 

africa is really safe.

the native people are, 

polite, courteous, kind and loving.

 

that’s what i have felt about being in africa.  

in so many conversations with my close people, 

i have iterated the fact that i enjoy being here. 

 

agreed. i have my homesick days. 

because i have my people too. 

and when they are not here, 

i tend to feel lonely. at times.

only sometimes.

 

to break the myth.

africa is rich in every sense.

its people. who are examples of perseverance.

rich in my eyes with the way they treat fellow beings.

 

my days go incomplete,

if i don’t initiate a conversation,

‘hey! how are you?

good, good and you?’  

with a stranger, 

who with time,  

becomes someone i smile back at everyday. 

a month’s experience in south africa.

1 month has rolled by. 4 weekends happened too. apart from work for which I am here at South Africa (SA), I have managed to savour myself with some exploration of visiting different places in SA.

my first weekend was an experience of kissing-the-sky at Rand Airport. a group of us had gone there to have our breakfast along the runway. some genius amongst us enquired about access to flying and that happened immediately without a second thought. 25 minutes of riding a small aircraft with a cute pilot is definitely not a bad idea.

the following weekend, I, Anjali, Girish and Sumeet drove through gigantic mountains to reach Hartbeespoort. there, we visited hartbeespoort dam, snake and animal farm and went on a cruise and speed-boat ride. around late afternoon, we headed to a cafe for lunch. and it just began to rain and became a brilliant setting for our meal. till date, we have our share of laughter about that day’s rain.

and last weekend, part of nextgen (Sumeet, Halliq, Ashni, Padmini, Vijaya, Chinmay and myself) along with Anjali and Girish adventured to visit Blyde River Canyon. This visit till date is my most favourite one in South Africa because of how nature unravelled its beauty in every frame of our sight. Starting from the 6.5 hrs long journey from Sandton, Johannesburg to stopping by at exotic places for documenting what our eyes were experiencing in front of us – beautiful panoramic views.

best moments were visiting mac mac waterfalls, panoramic views from god’s window, wonder view, upper viewing point, lower viewing point, world’s end view,  horse riding and visiting pothole in Graskop.

given a choice, I would like to explore blyde river canyon once again just to experience its breathtaking beauty.

with all of that, 1 month at south africa has been very exciting and completely adventurous for me. look forward to remaining months of my stay here and exploring newer things.

tataastu.

from the city of gold.

My 2014 couldn’t have begun in a better way. 2 weeks into the year and I am in Johannesburg (South Africa) for work and the everyday learning is something I am completely addicted to. Its a nice feeling to look out for new things, be inspired by a new culture, people, food, routine, etc. 

Quick observations from the past 1 week – 

  • Nelson Mandela is like god to every native person here
  • The weather is very pleasant here. (atleast around January, its very good. Maybe its due to the summers)
  • There is ample day light throughout the day (between 5am – 730pm)
  • Roads are very neat and all of them follow lanes here. The directions are pretty similar to Indian driving 
  • The currency of South Africa is Rand. And, the cost of living here is pretty decent and manageable. 
  • The place is so vast with a variety of options, that one can’t get bored here. 
  • There are all kinds of food cuisines available. But, if one is a pure vegetarian (read : no eggs included), then the options are pretty limited. Again, you could choose to cook. 
  • Work timings for most corporate companies are anywhere between 730am and 6pm. 

As of now, I can’t wait to explore more of Joburg, especially the art and music scene here. And, I would be more than happy if any reader of this post could suggest me with some places / links I could visit / refer to. 

And, I quit working.

I am currently working with Human Factors International (HFI), a firm which is best known for its Usability consulting and Training services.

I aspired to be part of this company when I started accessing useful content on UX, Usability, Research through their YouTube, Twitter channels and their official website. One day, I learnt about job opportunities, applied and got through. And, here I am in Mumbai, working with them since Oct 15th 2013.

What came as a pleasant surprise is that I don’t have to work any more. I don’t have to think that I am doing a job. Not at all. Dear Reader, You’re Puzzled? Yes? No? Ok. Let me clear this for you.  Why I say I don’t have to think that I am working is because I love everyday here at HFI. Trust me. Every single day is so new. And, the past 30 days hasn’t made me feel even for a moment that I am working in a company.

What makes me feel this way? The People. Work Environment, HFI’s Culture, Processes and Structures, the freedom, creativity flowing day in and out.

In the past month, beyond UX, I have acquired an interest for Carrom, Table Tennis, Food, Musical Instruments, Jamming music, Merengue dance form, Martial Arts, exploring new places with my fellow colleagues. And, I am sure with time, the list is only going to be a never ending one.

Now that answers why I have quit working. Because, it feels at home with HFI and I am able to learn so many many things, focus on my interests and continue to contribute back to the organization in my best possible way.

P.S : Thank you Human Factors International.