Tag Gurgaon

Cost of living in India – monthly expenses after R2I 2010-2011

Rent + $2100 per month

Cost of living 3

August, 2011

  • Domestic travel – Meenal and I took a vacation in Ladakh. May be one of the most beautiful places we’ve ever seen.
  • Clothes – we didn’t take enough warm clothes to Ladakh thinking that it’ll be warm. Surprisingly we found good American and European brands for outer wear at very good prices.
  • Groceries – My mother-in-law started giving us lots of fruit every time we visited and she refuses to get paid for it. So it won’t be happening any longer.
  • Utils – I started using a smaller room for hanging out and the air conditioning bill went down. Also, we made fewer international calls since we were traveling for 10 days.

See the expenses between November, 2010 – May, 2011

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Gurgaon, India – An introduction to daily life

Many of you think that Meenal and I are having a great time in India. You won’t understand a city until you live in it and after 6 months in Delhi, we identified with this article in the New York Times: In India, Dynamism Wrestles With Dysfunction, June 8, 2011.

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Buy furniture in India or Ship from USA before R2I?

Furniture shopping in IndiaFurniture shopping in India: Study Table for $225/Rs.9,900Furniture shopping in India: Bed frame for $850/Rs.38,000

I don’t actually know that if there is a ‘furniture mafia’ but how else can you explain such astronomical prices? Furniture costs roughly twice as much as they do in the U.S. and are half as good in quality. If I had known, I would have shipped the big items from America (except the mattress).

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Drinking water in India

After R2I, we found 3 choices for drinking water in India. We chose the 3rd option in this list.

1. Tap water with Reverse Osmosis (RO) filter

This is the most cost effective of the 3 drinking water choices and is widely used in India. Most households, restaurants, bars and hotels claim to have working RO systems. RO technology relies on a membrane filter that should have no cracks for the system to be effective. Worst of all, there is no way of knowing if the membrane develops a crack except repeatedly testing the water. Since workmanship and maintenance is frequently suspect, we’ve chosen NOT to use this system.

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Making new friends in India after R2I

Making new friends in India PHOTO: Party at our place for friends of friends we’ve met after moving to Delhi and Gurgaon. July, 2011.

No, it’s not like your grandmother told you. You can’t just drop by anyone’s house at any time. People work, tend to kids, go shopping, do household chores, catch up on Bollywood movies, travel for work, get stuck in traffic and have family obligations like any other place in the world. Organizing a party or a meet up with friends isn’t much different than America – you have to set a date and let people know in advance (texting is preferred). In some respects meeting up can be harder – people work longer hours, have really long commutes and have many family obligations. Additionally, the city either doesn’t offer many activities to do (outdoors, walking paths, etc.) or we don’t know Delhi well enough. Still, we have started having regular parties …

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Bad things about India and what I miss about America after R2I

Prashant in Smoky Mountains in the deep south, 2006
1. Earth

Life should be oozing from every nook in the Indian subcontinent with it’s rich soil, warm temperatures and yearly monsoons. But cities, towns and villages in India have long defaced this natural order. I miss tree lined streets, the daily walk home from the subway station and the state parks of Massachusetts.

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Delhi in pictures – summer, kids and a fountain

IMG_0344-1IMG_0345-2IMG_0346-3
As we drove around a rotary/roundabout, this scene put a smile on our face. The pictures scream FUN!

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Signs of progress – Delhi Police towed and ticketed us

Traffic in India is not pretty. However, there are some instances when the Police actually do their job. Never before have I been overjoyed at being towed or ticketed.

R2I - Getting towed in Lajpat Nagar
PHOTO: Our ‘tourist taxi’ getting towed in Lajpat Nagar in December – one of the few places where parking rules are enforced. They let us go after we paid $9 (Rs.400) on the spot and got an official ticket (no bribe).

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Quality of life after returning to India is challenging outside our bubble

Quality of life in India after R2IPHOTO: Driving in India’s capital after R2I Delhi. Usually, there is no caution tape.

Today is Sunday. That means that the driver is off and we need to drive everywhere. The romance of the great quality of life after moving to India seems naïve today, even foolish. What if that guy had run into me? What if I hadn’t seen that pile of concrete in the middle of the highway? We can’t dial 911. The rawness of the Delhi experience outside of our bubble is dangerous and I am feeling scared. I miss safety. After re-entering the bubble of our new Gurgaon home, I sought intellectual solace on the New York Times – where wise people talk about wise things. And I found Mr. Joseph.

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Delhi Winters – sunny and balmy or cold and foggy

Sunny and balmy

  • Show some skin while sitting in the sun (guys only please)
  • Sun yourself some more
  • Feel guilty about the giddy happiness and drag yourself to work

Delhi Winters: When there is no fog, the sun is beautiful

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Work culture in India is weak compared to America

Cyber city in DLF Phase 2, Gurgaon, Haryana where many MNCs in India have officesPHOTO: Cyber city in DLF Phase 2, Gurgaon, Haryana where many MNCs in India have offices

I had heard that employees in India change jobs very often. Having been here for a month, I’m beginning to see some of the reasons for all the job hopping.

My opinions below are derived from conversations and experiences with several professionals across various MNCs in India.

The Employee Perspective

At the entry/mid-management level, a 2-year career with the same company is considered long. Employees are constantly on the lookout for another job and are sometimes actively poached by competitors. I’m told this is because there are substantially fewer “qualified” people than there are jobs. And with more and more MNCs growing their operations in India, this problem is expected to get worse.

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Playing Ultimate Frisbee in New Delhi, India

Returning to India makes you miss public facilities like the Boston Commons and the State Parks. Parks in Delhi, where available, aren’t well maintained. You can’t walk (let alone run looking up for a disk) without looking down all the time to avoid bricks, dogs, debris, etc.

Thankfully, Saumya Kanoria organizes Ultimate Frisbee on Sundays in his beautiful farm – green everywhere you look, 6-10 players, and a lot of running. It’s my favorite afternoon of the week!

Sunday Frisbee at Saumya'sSunday Frisbee at Saumya'sSunday Frisbee at Saumya'sSunday Frisbee at Saumya'sSunday Frisbee at Saumya'sSunday Frisbee at Saumya'sSunday Frisbee at Saumya's

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Delhi Ledger R2I blog is No. 1 on Google!

RANKED Number 1  ON GOOGLE!


I’m apparently the best person in THE WHOLE WIDE INTERNET to answer this question today: Do you get comforters in Gurgaon, Delhi?

My grandkids will hear about my day in Google sun!Comorters SEO

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Ship mattress, comforter from USA or buy in India? Our story…

20101023-IMG_6574PHOTO: Meenal trying out mattresses in Sikandarpur Market, Gurgaon, India

Mattress

Surprisingly, buying a mattress after returning to India was quite straight forward. All of the major brands- Kurl-On, Sleepwell, etc.- can easily be found in most major markets with same day pedal-rickshaw-delivery and cash-on-delivery payment terms. This was a pleasant surprise after our mattress shopping experience in Boston (the entire industry is shady and worse than used car dealers).

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Defeating the rats of Mahabharata

A few years ago, Surya of New Hampshire had done a business out of India. He had many tales, one of which included an army of rats, his cables and Surya shouting with such frustration that you could see his blood red esophagus (Surya likes to use fancy words). Such a tale would have awed anyone, and it made me fear for my internet kingdom.

Since I am softer spoken than Surya and too modest to show my esophagus in public, I have encased my internet in 2000 pounds of pure stainless steel. If the rat armies manage to break my defenses, it will be the crowning achievement of their civilization and deserve a movie to celebrate it: The Rats of Mahabharata versus the cunning defenses of Jeloka ji.

A new stainless steel boxMy equipment and the perforated boxThe equipment insideOnly rats with balls of steel beyond this point

See BIG pictures of my kingdom’s defenses

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Cost of living in India – setup expenses for 2BR apartment after R2I

Last updated: December 6, 2010January 17, 2011 | US$1 = Rs.47

Setup expenses in India

$12,000

(Rs.5,65,000)
2 bedrooms used in a larger apartment in Gurgaon, India

Setup expenses
Our apartment came with an exhaust over stove $150 (Rs. 7000) and water heaters (Geyser): $160-$225 each (Rs. 7700-Rs.10,000).
Your landlord may or may not provide these.

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Momos (Tibetan Dumplings) are everywhere

Aah, Momos. Brings back memories of my childhood.

Every kid was served a fixed amount of food in my boarding school in Darjeeling. If a kid didn’t want to east something, he’d trade it with another kid – I’ll give you 3 bananas if you give me a mango next week. The king of all food items were Momos – Each kid got 8 momos for dinner on Saturday night. The going rate for a single piece of Momo on Saturday night?

1 Momo = 8 bananas or equivalent!

Now Momos are everywhere in Delhi and I’m loving it! The best I’ve had so far are from the Big Bazaar (local equivalent of Wal-Mart) stall in Gurgaon.

PHOTO: Big Bazaar Momo stand
CJ's Big Bazaar Momo stand

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