Namaskara from Bangalore Namaskara
This month’s postcard comes to us from India. This is our first Pythia—aka one of the women of Pythian—spotlight of 2022. What better way to celebrate National Women’s History Month? Read on to learn more about database administrator Archita Chauhan.
Tell us about where you live.
I was born in Gandhi’s home state in Gujarat and grew up there. Gujarat is famous for its heritage, “Nine Nights” known as the Navratri festival, Uttarayan (kite flying), and much more. After I married, we moved to Bangalore, in eastern Karnataka. It’s a city of gardens and is traditionally culturally rich and famous for its South Indian food and great atmosphere. It’s also the state of kings.
What was your path to Pythian?
It was pretty short, but exciting. I started as a database administrator (DBA) in Gujarat, and five years later while looking for a change, a colleague who had moved to Pythian referred me because they were looking for DBAs. So, I applied, had engaging interview rounds, and here I am. I’ll always be grateful to my friend for leading me to Pythian!
What’s a typical day like for you now?
Bangalore is in the opposite time zone from Eastern Time (ET). I start around 7:30 a.m. and go straight to Slack, where my ET colleague hands things off before she leaves the office for the evening. We chat and catch up on tickets that need to stay open. If nothing needs to be carried forward, I’ll annotate what I need to do for that day and then log off, finish off my regular chores, have breakfast with family and check in with my 2-year-old daughter.
By 9:30 a.m., I’ll log back in and my pager shift ends an hour later. There are days with less client work where I do some training and upgrade my skills. Most days, we also have a standup meeting with our lead database consultant (LDC), who lives in Macedonia. Typically, my shift officially ends around 5:30 p.m.
What has been the biggest challenge in this role so far?
Jason Farhat (Director, Data and Analytics Delivery, Open Source) was our team manager when I joined and he was great. He made things very easy from day one. The transition was smooth and although there have been many changes on the team, I have fantastic teammates, which also helps. Jason has been a great resource, so I can’t say I’ve had a single most challenging issue. He’s moved on and we have a new manager, Blanca Waterman, who has also been fantastic with the team already.
Any specific challenges in being a woman in the tech space and if so, how do you handle them?
Pythian has been a place where I haven’t encountered any gender bias.
Women are welcome at every level, including as team managers, and no one is treated as one gender or another—we’re all database consultants.
Tell us about your workspace.
My husband also works from home, so we currently share an office, which has worked out well. There’s another smaller space in our bedroom which one of us can use if the other needs to be on a call.
Normally, we put on some soft instrumental music on loop, maybe some soulful or classical music. My team currently has less coverage in Eastern Time, so if I’m required to work late in the evening, I might put on a bit of fun music if my daughter walks in and needs a dance break.
How do you spend your time off?
We love to travel and take road trips. We also love strolls through the forest and along the beach. There are many places you can reach by road, so we like to visit those as well, and because my husband enjoys photography, he makes sure to capture our favorite moments.
I’m very passionate about cooking, so I experiment a lot in the kitchen (especially with Indian and Chinese food) and test dishes on my family and friends. As a family, we also like to sample other foods together.
Lastly, I love to paint, and gardening is a stress buster for me!
Any specific activities you look forward to in the Spring?
Bangalore is India’s IT hub, so it attracts significant traffic. There are usually a number of music festivals and open-air concerts in the area, but not since the pandemic. Thankfully, some organizers have been holding similar events, especially for small children, as well as potlucks, so there are still ways to connect and feel like part of the community.
What’s one type of food you could eat every day?
Any type of Chinese food. Also, all Indian food, specially some lip-smacking street food!
Describe Pythian in one word.