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Shagun Mehra
Project Director
Surya Palace Hotel
Born in Baroda; lived in Switzerland, Paris and Mumbai. Got married and had settled down in Mumbai. Couldn't resist the tug of Vadodara and returned in 2009.
Vadodara gives you the time and space to focus on things that are relevant. I can pack so much in a day - I go for a swim at the palace early in the morning, play some golf, come to work, golf some more in the evening, then go to the gym before returning home to my two-year old daughter and books. It would be a nightmare to accomplish this balance in the bigger cities.
Coming back to Vadodara and meeting people, who like me have travelled to different places of the world, is really fun. The mix of experiences adds a completely different flavour to the city. It's really refreshing to be with someone who is just as enthusiastic about life as you are. I've met a lot of foreigners at the
hotel who've been to Varanasi, Rajasthan, Kashmir, the South, the metros - all of them say that there's something about Vadodara which is different - it's probably the open-mindedness. We don't get stereotyped into any slots and this gives me a lot of pride.
It's a city that has contributed immensely to making me who I am today - and I take that home very warmly. I've always seen my father, Piyush Shah, going the extra mile to give back to Vadodara in whatever way he can - whether it is to keeping the city green or keeping it alive with renovations. I see this passion even amongst my friends and so many other young people here.