Pythian Postcards: Mississauga, Ontario … by Way of India
Editor’s Note: Welcome to the third post in our “Pythian Postcards” series! So far we’ve visited Toulouse, France and Singapore. Today, Mayuri Lalwani takes us to her new home of Mississauga, Ontario:
Q: Where are you located?
A: Currently in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada, but I lived in India for most of my life. I lived in Bangalore, also known as the Silicon Valley of India, for almost eight years before moving to Canada just before the lockdown in March 2020. I was born and brought up in Aurangabad, Maharashtra, India, which is world-famous for its Ajanta and Ellora caves.
Q: How did you end up there?
A: Five years back when I came to Ottawa, Ontario for BORGing (Pythian Onboarding), I absolutely loved seeing how kind the people in this country are and how beautiful the country is. I always wanted to visit Canada again. When we were thinking of moving out of India, Canada was a natural option and things just worked out and I’m now a permanent resident.
Q: What do you do at Pythian, and what path brought you here?
A: I’m a Site Operations Consultant. I started working for the SRE Windows team (T46), and moved to the SRE Operations team (T10) when it was formed. Apart from working on the technical items, I’m also the Team Manager Assistant for my team and I help out with management aspects as well.
It’s an interesting story on how I came to Pythian. I was referred by my now-husband, who was then a former colleague and I joined his team. We fell in love and got married one year into working at Pythian. Eventually, I moved into T10 while he was still working for T46.
Q: What kind of accommodation do you live in?
A: I live in what’s called a condo townhouse. It’s a standard three-bedroom townhouse in a complex run by a property management company. I have a small backyard and some space on the front which at the moment is completely covered by snow.
Q: What is your workspace like?
A: I have set up a desk, but I tend to move around the house a lot and work from all over the place including the dining table or even the couch at times.
Q: What are you hobbies?
A: I love cooking. I’m a vegetarian and enjoy making a lot of traditional family recipes. Since my husband and I belong to different states, we have a lot of different dishes and I am still trying to learn all I can from my in-laws. I tend to make fresh meals at least twice a day! Apart from cooking, I enjoy traveling / trying new things and getting new experiences, as well as exploring nature whenever possible.
Q: What’s the best thing about living and working where you do?
A: Living here after spending my entire life in India feels very different, but different good. The lifestyle and the weather were a bit overwhelming at first, but I’m beginning to enjoy the winter. The best part here definitely is nature. I have access to a lot of walking / hiking trails nearby and awesome routes to take a drive.
The area where I live in particular has a lot of Indian communities, and Indian stores that make it very accessible for me to get things I would like back in India. So it pretty much feels like home away from home.
Q: What does a typical day look like for you?
A: My typical day starts late as I’m not an early riser. After my first cup of ginger masala tea (more like chai latte), and some morning errands, I get to reading my emails and Slack chats. The day at work is filled with mostly meetings, backlog tasks, ongoing work on issues reported by clients and scheduled maintenance work. I make fresh lunch and dinner every day from scratch. We try to have our meals together whenever possible. Apart from that, I take some time out for a walk, or some floor exercises and yoga everyday.
I love watching crime drama, science fiction shows and a varied range of documentaries. I love listening to music especially when my workload seems to be too much as it calms me down and helps me focus. Whenever possible, I also take time to do some DIY art, nail art and baking. Reading books is something I have always loved but it was like a lost passion which I have rediscovered very recently.
Q: What do you consider to be your biggest achievement to date — professional or personal?
A: I think my biggest achievement to date would be being independent pretty early in life. I used to tutor school kids while I was in college to help cover my own expenses. My engineering studies were mostly funded via scholarship as well.
I moved out of the house at the age of 21 for my first job, and thereafter have always been completely independent. For a woman from an Indian society, this is a pretty huge thing.
The other thing I am proud of was being able to lose approximately 12 kilograms of weight last year. I followed a strict keto diet with daily weight training and it was very, very difficult for me but was worth it. I am very proud of myself for being consistent and not giving up.
Q: What’s the best advice anyone has given you?
A: My Sanskrit teacher in high school would use this saying, “Swatah Melyashivay Swarg Disat Nahi,” meaning You won’t know how heaven looks until you die. It advises people to be empathetic and try to put their feet in someone else’s shoes to be able to understand their perception better, and to be aware that you can’t feel exactly the same way as others without experiencing it yourself.
Q: If you had to eat one meal, every day for the rest of your life, what would it be?
A: I would say there is not just one but two dishes I could live on for the rest of my life. The first one is a very simple, savoury dish called Aloo Paratha which is eaten with tangy mango pickle, and yogurt. This dish is very homely and satiating and lifts my mood no matter what.
The other one is Almond Halwa. This is a dessert dish, also very homely. I remember it because it was something my grandma used to make only on birthdays. It would be the highlight on my birthday and I would wait for that day to come just so I could have it.
We hope you enjoyed this glimpse into life at Pythian. Don’t forget to sign up for next month’s feature.
Check out previous Pythian Postcards posts here: