For one month now, I have been in Mumbai and settled
down a little bit.
Slowly, I had time to build a social network within
and outside BCG and to understand better my environment.
MUMBAI IS A CITY OF CONTRAST
- People sleep in the street just beside the best hotels
in the best quarters of Mumbai, you will be confronted with the
consequences of tremendous incomes difference. Where some live in an
apartment costing several thousands USD a month, you will find poor
“untouchable” sleeping right on the ground with a unique tissue on their
face to shelter them.
Daily, I take the taxi for going at work that costs me only 20 Rs (almost
0.6 CHF). But for some Indians, this represents the salary of a whole day
of hard work.
- Most women dress traditionally but young girls tend to
wear tight jeans
of Indian women still dress traditionally. At work, on the street,
everywhere you see them in those wonderful and colourful sarees. Younger
girls however, influenced by Bollywood (the Indian movie industry) and
western videos on MTV, tend to wear tight jeans and more provocative
blouses. On the other hand, most men were just normal trousers and long
sleeves shirts (despite the temperature).
- Prices for a full lunch range from 18 to 1000 Rs (0.6
to 30.0 CHF)
is a paradise if you like Asian food. You can find everything in every
quality; it is just a question of price. A Thali (traditional dish with
rice, lenses and some vegetables) costs only 18 Rs and fills your stomach
for a while. For this price however, you will be served in a small
restaurant with steel tables and neon lights. You are there to feed
yourself, not for spending a romantic candle light dinner.
On the other hand, you can eat in very pleasant but exclusive restaurant,
with excellent service and delicious seafood nicely presented. In the
background, you will hear music from Café Del Mar and if you are lucky,
you can even have a veritable cappuccino for desert.
SOME VERY BUT ALSO MANY ABSOLUTELY NOT EFFICIENT PROCESSES
- Employees of bank and telephone companies come to your
place with the required forms (if they come…)
was quite surprising. Within three days, different people came to the
office to present me the various advantages of their products, brought
along all the required forms to enable me having rapidly a mobile phone
number and a new bank account. The drawback of this system is that once
you signed, it gets almost impossible to fetch that guy anymore if you
have any complaints. He will always promise you to come tomorrow, but that
can easily mean one week.
- I had to provide a 2cm thick file and to go through
interviews to get my apartment
into my apartment was a Sisyphus work. Although there was an informal
agreement that we would get the place, the landlord was asking every
second day for additional documents (including my CV, copies of official
documents, recommendation letters from BCG, etc). Once they obviously
could not think of anything else to ask, I had to go and present myself in
front of five people representing the landlord. Basically, I had to
comment my CV and assure them that I will behave nicely. I somehow
convinced them but had to wait one more day to be able to move in. Click
here if you want to have a look at it.
- Every basic repair required four people: one to assess
the work to be done, a second for reassessing the work to be done and a
third one to tell the fourth one what to do J
might sound funny, but this clearly the impression I get. It is probably
very difficult to find qualified workers. So people just come, kind of all
rounder, give it a try and realise that it won’t work. So they call in the
next one, who again will follow the same procedure… As a result, I am
still waiting for my stove to be properly installed, to get hot water in
the kitchen and the A/C in the bedroom to be repaired.
Last updated: 3/2/2003 4:32 PM
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