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Madhavi Agrawal
Founder, Cygnus World School
Born in Kolkata; schooled in Delhi. Hated the thought of coming to Vadodara. Now, after 12 years, does not want to live anywhere else.
First of all, Vadodara's remarkably safe, especially for women and children. In fact, the first thing that struck me about the city was how freely girls could move around, even late at night. I'm from Delhi and you can imagine how scandalous this must've been for me. When my children go to school, I don't find myself constantly paranoid about their safety. In the bigger cities, these are real challenges people face on a daily basis.
The art and culture here is nothing short of incredible - I've learnt so much. It's not commercial but simply art - expression in its purest form. Everyone is open and friendly. People here are smart, intelligent and above all, genuine. Unlike most other places, the city is not about the car you drive or the clothes you have or the watch you wear; it goes much deeper than that.
There's a beautiful golf course here which is responsible for the wonderful golfing culture in the city.
The gyms and clubhouses are world-class. There are constant matches going on - basketball, tennis, cricket, football, badminton - you name it.
Professionally, Vadodara's given me a huge space and opportunity to build upon my passion. Given the short distances and the easy-going environment here, you get the time and space to do things that you want to do. More than money, you're motivated to go after what's in your heart. Reflecting back, I wouldn't have been able to do this in Delhi. Cygnus has been an ambition both for me and for my family - I love education and I love kids - with this project, we've officially opened our hearts and doors to the children of Vadodara and I think they've responded well. We will constantly endeavour to provide them with the quality of education they deserve.