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From slum to high rise — Amazing journey of Mumbai’s Microsoft design engineer

Enjoying fruits of hard work. Shaheena Attarwala in her new apartment in Mumbai where she moved in from her house in a slum

Hard work and persistence is what helps one in overcoming adverse circumstances and this is what Shaheena Attarwala did as she fought her way from a slum in Mumbai to live in an apartment in the city.

Working as a Design Engineer at Microsoft, she has gone through a lot before arriving where she is today and that is what she shared on Twitter which has gone viral online.

The trigger point for Attarwala to share her story happened when she spotted her old home in a series on Netflix. Mentioning about it she wrote: "The Netflix series 'Bad Boy Billionaires: India" captures a birds-eye view of the slum in Bombay I grew up before moving out alone in 2015 to build my life. One of the homes you see in the photos is ours.”

Conversing with NDTV Attarwala disclosed that she lived in the Darga Galli slum close to Bandra railway station and her father sold essential oils for his livelihood. Living there, she faced several obstacles. "Life in the slum was hard and exposed me to severest living conditions, gender bias, and sexual harassment but it also fuelled my curiosity to learn and to design a different life for myself.”

Determined to beat the odds, she said, "I did not want to accept the default fate that awaited me.”

On seeing computer for the first time, Attarwala was drawn to it and felt it could help her out of her situation.  She persuaded her father to admit her in a computer class and later skipped lunches and walked back home, to her a computer of her own.


Moving from programming to designing changed her career and last year she moved into an apartment with her family.  Her Twitter post stated: "From my father being a hawker and sleeping on roads to having a life we could barely dream of. Luck, hard work and picking battles that matter.”

Expressing her gratitude to her father she said: “"After decades of living in the slums, his patience and sacrifice has helped us elevate to a better life. We focused on savings, living below our means and sacrificing where necessary."