Since I am from India, I always think in terms of Bollywood movies, where everything is possible. Yes, that’s right…everything. Maybe that is why when I started off with Badoo, I always believed that this was within my reach.
If I were to make a Bollywood movie of my journey from India to Badoo, it would be aptly titled “From Delhi to London, by air” because that’s how it felt like — as if I was flying through my dream.
They say every summer starts with a winter, and it held true for me too. November is the onset of winter in Delhi. In November 2015, when this story begins, it had just started getting colder when God decided to provide us with some warmth — we were blessed with a baby girl. And by the beginning of new the year, he decided to give some more.
I had already been working with Nimbuzz for 5 years and it was time for me to move on. While looking at the opportunities available on LinkedIn, I spotted a “We are hiring ad” for Badoo. Since Nimbuzz was a communication app, we would look at every app which connected people, and I immediately remembered how I got really excited when I was exploring the Badoo app. There was some charm about it and some allure, which to this day I am not able to pin down in words. Without any second thoughts, I went to the job offer page and clicked on the “Apply” button.
The very next day, as I was casually scrolling through my emails I came across an email from Badoo expressing interest in my application.
In every Bollywood movie, the protagonist dreams big, very big. I also did the same. Even before I could finish reading the email from the recruiter, I had started day dreaming.
In my daydream, I was already in Badoo’s London office and wishing everybody “a very good morning!” It took a nudge from my wife to get me out of Badoo’s London office and back to Delhi.
“Why are you smiling at your screen?” she asked me.
“Badoo has replied. Want to go to London?” I asked.
“No darling, I still have to clear the interview.” I replied sheepishly.
My wife was as excited about me clearing the interview as I was. Together, we were going to make this Bollywood movie into a dream come true.
I was already excited about Badoo, and here was a second email from the recruiter which contained all the benefits, details about their relocation policies, and more. I sent back a polite reply to get the process started.
Within the next two days I completed the competence exercises the recruiter had given me. If at all there was a tiny doubt, which entered my mind about ever making it to Badoo in London, it was immediately after this test exercises. But then, doesn’t every movie have its ups and downs?
A few days later, I got a call from the recruiter Nikolai. He set up a brief call of about 30 minutes for us to get to know each other better. The telephonic interaction with Nikolai gave me a feeling of joy because he was extremely friendly and comforting. It was a short, just a casual conversation where I explained about my projects at my previous workplaces.
Nikolai listened to me and at regular intervals asked pointed questions. He also showed a keen interest in understanding what was driving me all the way to Badoo, and how or what did I see as my future there.
Then, he explained what would be expected of me, the perks and how the forthcoming interviews will be structured. Best of all, he shared with me the links to Badoo’s famous parties (or should we say infamous?).
The next thing that they arranged was a Skype call with Ilya, the QA director and the call probably lasted 40 minutes. He started with some logical questions, which needed presence of mind and later moved to more technical questions overall.
After a couple of days, my second Skype call was scheduled with two team members, Alexander and Nikolay, where I was grilled much more deeply on Mobile Platforms and Mobile QA. The interaction was based on my past work experiences and my knowledge about the various mobile operating systems and the testing of mobile applications. I didn’t expect my interaction to be so intense.
“Easy peasy”, I had initially thought. I wasn’t so sure now!
After almost an hour, I was exhausted but I had managed to keep my smile intact.
I know, I know, we all have this contradictory feeling after interviews where we think it went badly, when in fact it went well, and vice-versa. But this time, I was really confident! The Bollywood lover in me peeked his head out and said “Boy, oh boy. You’re going to London!”
Soon enough, my feeling about the interview turned out to be justified as the offer letter dropped into my inbox. The happiness and excitement about getting the job quickly gave way to sadness, when I realised that I was going to leave my parents, my friends and my country behind to start a new life in a foreign land. On top of that, my wife was working in India, and we were not sure if this would even be possible here in London, as we wouldn’t get the same support as we had in Delhi, to look after our daughter. In India, it was easier as my parents had provided the childcare we needed, but my wife stood by me — as indeed always happens in every Bollywood movie.
In a few months’ time, I was walking into Badoo’s office in flesh and blood and shaking hands with colleagues. In a Bollywood movie, the protagonist would have taken only 2 hours to realise his dream and I had taken a few months. But hey, who is complaining?
If it were not for Badoo’s amazing re-location policies, I might not have been able to hit the ground running in London. Initially, I had thought to come alone first and bring my wife and daughter later. Trisha (my wife) wasn’t too excited about this plan, but I wanted to find a good house to stay in before they could both land in London.
The company’s relocation package solved this for us — the 15-day temporary accommodation, and assigning us a relocation agent helped us find our house within the stipulated time. The agent with whom I was put in touch was quite professional, and made a effort to step into shoes and helped us find a house that we all loved.
Thanks to that, I didn’t have to spend ages looking for a new place to live.
Now, it has been more than a year since our move and the Indian community here has kept us going. We do miss our families back home during festivals and auspicious days, but we have fun with the local Indian community that organises all kind of events on these days.
In fact, after taking up the Badoo job, we have truly become global citizens. I don’t just work with colleagues from different parts of the world, but I can say I even have friends now from all over. Because of the helpful and highly professional nature of my colleagues, I never found it that difficult to adapt to this new workplace.
A lot of my new-found colleagues and friends ask me, why move from Delhi to London? I have only one answer for them: global exposure. Sure Delhi is big, but London offer a whole new dimension. My family and I now have a much bigger canvas to paint our lives on.
I am loving Badoo, and I am loving London too.