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Meenal and Prashant were on NPR!

Sounds from this India experiment were aired on public radio in the US! Sangar ki sabzi, noisy kitchen, our opinion on renting vs. buying – it’s all there.
Read the 2012 article on WBUR and Listen to the 2012 story on WBUR.

Meenal's parent's place, Delhi, 2012. Meenal's mom is center left in Red Sari.Celebrating Meenal’s 2 week old niece. Delhi, 2012.

2 years ago, NPR (Morning Edition) had done a story on couples who were choosing to rent instead of buying a place. See 2010 pictures of our Boston apartment on WBUR and Listen to the 2010 story on WBUR.

Thanks to the very talented storyteller Curt Nickisch for seeking our wise words.

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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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Speed and reliability of internet after R2I, moving to India – broadband cable and mobile data card

20101225-IMG_7551PHOTO: Airtel is a major telecom provider in India. Advertisement in a ‘dhaba’ (street fast food joint).

Update April 26, 2011

Very slow internet – tech, customer and email support. 5 days of pain. Airtel sucks but internet providers run monopolies in most areas. Details

Update March 11, 2011

Slow internet, tech support, speed returns. Details

Original article

Given internet’s crucial place in the continuity of civilization, you can imagine my internet concerns before moving to India. Is broadband going to be fast enough? Will the connection in Gurgaon be reliable or will I spend all my time on the phone with Bob from Bangalore? Do they sell data cards so I can get my fix when I’m on the move?

Worry not. All your fan mail will reach me at lightning speed…

Continue reading: Speed and reliability of internet after R2I, moving to India – broadband cable and mobile data card

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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).

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

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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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We painted our walls green and caffeine for $100

20101120-IMG_685718 YouTube videos later, we felt that we were ready. So off we went to the paint store. That’s when we got caught.

Shopkeeper: Which paint do you want?

Us: Umm..um..which ones do you have?

Shopkeeper: [confused look]. Asian Paints Royale, Premium and the cheapest distemper.

Us: [thinking we should come clean since the YouTube videos weren’t making us look like pros] Ok. So we’ve never painted before. Can you help us choose? What’s the difference?

Shopkeeper: [smirks that we came clean and just rewords his last comment] The luxury is the most expensive, the premium is less, the distemper is the cheapest.

Continue reading: We painted our walls green and caffeine for $100

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We are moving to a our own place in Gurgaon, India!

My mother in law can’t keep feeding us. We will be moving to our own place on November 1st. The breakfasts will be slightly more modest in a few days.

Breakfast at Tiffany'sBreakfast at Tiffany'sBreakfast at Tiffany'sBreakfast at Tiffany's

Loosing your vision? Enlarge these pictures!

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The mother of all moving to India (R2I) checklist

Meenal and I moved to India at the end of October, 2010 and into our apartment in Gurgaon on November 1, 2010. Divided into 5 sections, this post will be a guided tour of Delhi Ledger R2I blog.

PART I     Long ago – September, 2010

Before moving to India or Returning to India

July 4th in Washington DC

  1. Emotional – what’s the point of moving to India or R2I?
    • Why and when we moved to India
    • The heart-to-heart with the spouse before moving to India
    • The talk with family about returning to India
  2. Immigration – Uncle Sam, can I come back to USA if I hate living in India?
    • US Citizenship before moving to India
    • US permanent residency/green card – maintenance requirements while living in India, I-131 re-entry permit BEFORE moving to India
    • Indian permanent residency – Overseas citizen of India visa before R2I
  3. Emotional – What will it take to make us like India?
    • Money and personal finance in India
    • Material things in India
    • Health and sports while living in India
    • Relationships after moving to India
    • Working in India after R2I
    • Intellectual stuff and hobbies after moving to India
    • Emotions and wisdom (touchy feely stuff) after moving to India
  4. Your stuff – sell them before moving to India
  5. Financial – taking care of personal finance before moving to India
    • Banking – U.S. bank accounts, Indian bank accounts – NRE and NRO, linking accounts
    • Credit and Debit cards – charges, exchange rates, setup for international transactions before moving to India
    • 401 K – Adjust deductions, move to IRA after quitting work
    • Vacation balances – using them or cashing out before moving to India
  6. Work
    • Talk to your current employer – pending promotions, yearly salary increase, etc. before setting a date to move to India
    • Moving to India with your current employer
    • Network with Indian employers even before you move to India
  7. Healthcare
    • U.S. health insurance and coverage after moving to India
    • Physical and dental exams before moving to India
    • Local health insurance in India
  8. Other
    • Get an international driving license before moving to India (AAA)

Continue reading: The mother of all moving to India (R2I) checklist

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