In this blog, I wanted to explore the fascinating tapestry of cultures that shape our world and our interactions. Working alongside colleagues from diverse backgrounds has inspired me to delve deeper into understanding, celebrating, and learning from these unique perspectives. Through my experiences interacting with many many people, I love getting the insights on navigating cultural differences in the everyday. At ever learning what I learn is to reflect on the joys and challenges of embracing diversity, striving to expand our traditions rather than confine them.
Having studied in close to 10 different schools (I promise, I was not kicked out of any), gave me quite a long running list of friends coming from various backgrounds, talking different languages, celebrating variety of festivals and following different customs which made me realise at a very young age that these differences amidst people is what made them unique and beautiful. It’s eye-opening, seeing how much richness each culture brings. Beyond mere acknowledgment, it’s about actively embracing and learning from these differences; it’s about being respectful. More than just nodding along or constantly being in the fear of offending someone, it’s about actively embracing and learning from these differences. It’s surprising how a simple “tell me more” about a friend/colleague’s holiday tradition can lead to a deeper connection. It’s about creating an atmosphere where everyone’s culture is like a vibrant thread adding to the bigger picture.
Recently I came across an incident where a fellow HackerRanker and I had a “WOW” moment realising that she and I call our grandfather “Taatha”. I mean what are the odds that a South Indian girl and an Arizona Native person have the same exact dialect for a word. This got back memories from my past where I have been blessed to interact and learn from people from various countries, celebration things from which I learnt something new in every interaction.
With every school I changed, I had friends and their families with different belief systems, some similar to what I had at home and some very different which was my starting point to start appreciating these uniqueness and embracing it. When I joined Christ University, I was blessed to be in a class that had the highest number of International students. I had 14 of them in my class and getting appointed as the class monitor gave me an easy way to be introduced to the entire class first and then becoming closer to them too. One biggest hurdle that these international students were facing was following the Indian Teacher’s accent and the way in which the classes were conducted. So I spent quite an amount of time with them getting them upto speed on the syllabus, notes and homework. I am not sure on how much Electronics, Math or Computers they learnt but I did learn quite a lot about the place that they come from, the commonalities and differences. LOVED every bit of every conversation. I continued doing the same through my Diploma and PG as well. Just learn from people and every interaction with each of them.
When I started working at HackerRank, the same curiosity to learn about people and cultures continued. Working cross-geo makes it much more possible to appreciate and learn more about people and cultures. By being the part of the DEI initiative at HackerRank which is called “IDEA (Inclusion, Diversity & Equity for All) also educated me in a many senses that I wouldn’t have ever imagined. Learning about Black History Month to celebrating Pride, from knowing more about the Lunar New Year and at the same time also knowing about the various new years within India, from knowing more about Hispanic Heritage Month to celebrating many more festivals and observing certain observances along with my fellow HackerRankers has been a great journey in itself.
One of the links that I came across recently on Celebrating Cross-Culturally did bring in more prospective. Do give it a read when possible.
Life is like a big, colourful puzzle with lots of different pieces. Embracing diversity means appreciating all those different pieces – the different cultures, traditions, and ways of seeing the world. Each piece makes life more interesting and brings its own special story. It’s not just about honouring the differences but celebrating them, like adding bright colours to a picture. So here’s to enjoying this mix of differences because they make life more exciting and teach us so much about each other.