Keeping in touch with over three hundred relatives is no small job and something Trips takes very seriously. However, after applying to over two hundred positions before finding the right one, I am pretty sure there isn’t much she can’t do when she puts her mind to it.
Where have you lived? In India, I lived in Bangalore, Bombay, and Poona. I also lived in London and New York.
Where do you want to live? New York is at the top but I would love to live in San Francisco and I have been trying to move there for four years now, Chicago even though the winters are tough, London if I could afford it, and Barcelona but my Spanish is not very good.
What do you do? I worked at the Associated Press and the Hearst Corporation and now I have just started working for a travel deals company where we post the best deals on our website and newsletter.
Among the following: family, social life, career/education, surroundings, what is most important to you and why?
Having grown up in a place like India where culturally families are so close-knit, family and friends definitely come first for me. I know not just my immediate family, but also my first, second, third cousins and everyone keeps in touch and tries to meet up often. Second is social life, especially in the field where I work because it is a very social industry and so you need to know the right people and meet new people. A lot of my friends think I am crazy because I know a lot of people in different industries. My career would come third but I don’t think of myself as a very ambitious person, busy climbing corporate ladders. I do find that I get bored quickly and so what drives me is to find something that doesn’t bore me. I have had four jobs in the past five years. I have been working since I was seventeen and was a lawyer in India before switching to Media.
Working for a travel company, how important is it for you to travel?
I think it has always been important, the problem is not having the vacation time to actually to do it. Particularly in the media industry, I have been in jobs where I get one week a year. I go to India every year to visit my family and I try to get other trips in as well. Now with this new job, I feel like I am actually getting to travel because they highly encourage it. They give you money to check out hotels and three extra days to travel in addition to my vacation.
Did you find it hard to find a job in this recession where the pickings are slim?
It was hard and the fact that I am here on an international work visa limits my pool making it that much harder. Looking for a job is a full time job and I become obsessed with these things. I applied to two hundred jobs in a week and got four calls. Two of them were gimmicks, one was not enough money and the other was where I am now.
Coming from Journalism School and having worked in print, is it your experience that print companies have welcomed online and digital or do you think that they are resistant to doing so?
I think print has built this bad reputation of being a dying industry and it really is not. It is not as bad as it looks and they have
been affected just like every other industry. The online push is inevitable and it is the most important thing for any company right now, but there should be a blend where a lot of the content needs to move online.
Do you feel as if Journalism is compromised when moved online?
Personally I feel awful because this generation does not want to read a lot and wants to get the gist of the story in ten seconds so we lose vocabulary. We are also less informed because we get superficial information. The biggest danger is that people move away from professional news sources and turn to blogs, which is very frightening. Most of the stories on blogs are not researched, they don’t mention their sources, and it is just one person writing rather than a team of journalists and fact checkers.
Do you think newspapers can pull off charging for their content online?
I think when one large news company starts then everyone is going to have to do it to survive. People are trained to get everything free online so I think it is about finding a balance between giving readers enough to get them to come to the site while getting them to pay for more information.
Was it challenging for you to move here from India?
In India, I have always lived in cities that are very westernized and so it is very similar. People ask me how do I live with the culture shock and really there isn’t much because it is just as crowded, expensive, crazy and fast paced as I was used to. I think the loan I took out for school was more frightening. I borrowed more money to go to a one-year journalism program in New York than my dad made in twenty-five years of work.
You were a lawyer in India before you decided to move to the United States to go to Journalism School, why did you decide to make that transition?
I was in India working as a lawyer for HSBC and I guess I shouldn’t have picked corporate law because I needed a job that allowed for more interaction with people; instead I was just reading contracts all day. It was a combination of boredom, working over a hundred hours a week, dealing with people who were driven by money and the power that comes with the job. Guys were such assholes and so arrogant and there were no people that I would want to socially interact with. None of it was a good match and I hated it, but the pay was really good.
After making the transition to media, what was most difficult about working in journalism?
One of the lowest paid jobs in the country is that of the news-reporter. They make less than firemen or bus drivers. I went to one of the best journalism schools in the world yet, the people who graduated from that program make less than $27,000 dollars a year. They work so hard, are always one call, and it’s a thankless job.
What differences do you see between family in the states and in India?
A lot of Indians moved to the US in the seventies so I have about three hundred aunts and uncles in the US and I am not exaggerating. It is a very big family that I am still close to because I see them twice a year in India and we keep in touch. I was never close to my mom growing up because she was very overbearing and so I was always the rebel in the house, constantly fighting with her. Still, they were very much a part of my life and they knew most of what I was doing. Although dating was never a topic of discussion, not even now when I am getting married; they probably still think I am a virgin!
Can you hang on one second, that is my aunt from India and I have to go say hi to her. [Trips runs to say hi to a woman]. I didn’t mean to run off on you, but that was my aunt who lives in India and is here for a meeting. So random [Laughs]!
Wow you do know a lot of people! That was definitely a perfect example.
Yeah and now I don’t even know where I was.
Earlier you mentioned that women in India stay home until they get married, how are marriage traditions different in India compared to The States and was that an issue for you?
Yes, it was a big problem in my house because I come from a large traditional family. All my cousins got married before they were twenty-three. I left my home at sixteen, which is unheard of because most girls stay at home until they get married. My parents have tried to get me married by setting me up since I was twenty-one. Because most of people in India are Hindus and they have big problems with Islam and Muslims, the worst thing that you could do in my house is marry a Muslim. As I pushed back harder and harder against family interference, I started dating people here who were not Hindus and when my parents heard about it, they got worried that if they kept pushing me, I might marry someone they hated.
Is your fiancé from a similar background?
He is, but I think that it’s more a coincidence than anything else because I was not looking for it. I think he has all the non- Indian qualities I want in a guy, but he also has the qualities that I like in my culture and that’s hard to find.
It sounds like an “ending” where everyone is happy. Has there been anything hard in this relationship?
Relationships are never easy and ours has had its ups and downs. We went through a pretty rough patch a couple of months after we started dating when I realized that certain aspects of his personality and lifestyle were not conducive to a life together unless he changed them. There’s nothing worse than hurtful fights with someone you dearly love and want to build a life with but I wasn’t willing to make any compromises for the rest of my life on important aspects of our life together. In the end, he surprised me by working overtime to make sure things were different and issues important to us being together became his priority. Oh, and he also quit smoking one day about a year and a half ago just because I mentioned that I wouldn’t ever marry a smoker, and I give him a lot of credit for that.
To end on a simple note, where do you see yourself in a few years from now?
For many years, I have had a roommate who is sixty-five and the wisest person that I have ever known. To use one of her analogies, you are on this bus going uphill towards a mountaintop and your goal is to get to the top where you are happy and content with your life. But she says, there are a lot of people on the bus-friends and family, and your goal is to get to the top with the fewer number of people possible because they are weighing you down. The problem is that we try to take everyone with us and you are never going to get up there if you don’t let some people off. I think a lot about this idea of trying to please too many people. I want to reach a point where I am happy with what I am doing and only have around me people that are adding positive things to my life. I still feel like I have too many people on my bus but that is where I want to be.