[If you are considering moving to India, also read my earlier post India Calling? A few things to keep in mind for your BIG move back.]
You’re back to the homeland and it feels both exciting and daunting at the same time. This piece talks about some common settling-in questions and experiential advice on navigating the wonder that is India!
Spend category Rupees (’000) (per month)
3BHK apartment in modern community with amenities 45–75 (based on location)
Domestic help (full time) 9–15
Personal driver 12–16
Groceries (family of four) 12–18
30Mbps broadband 1.2–1.6
Other expenses Rupees (’000)
Lunch for two at a mid-range café 0.8–1.5
Dinner for two at high-end bar/restaurant (with alcohol) 4–7
2 movie tickets 0.7–1.6
Black Label whiskey (1 litre) 6
Hits: Cheap haircuts, variety of food, domestic help, festivals.
Misses: Service standards, dust and cleanliness, queues, law and order.
Finally, while cash is still king in India, digital payments have grown significantly to allow for easier cashless transaction at least in major cities and towns.
You’ll come full circle when you find yourself sitting at a Government office for a drivers license, gas connection or the like, reminding you of your days growing up. Some things never change! But many have and with increasing technology both in Government and private services alike, daily life is certainly getting better. In Bengaluru, you can even pay your traffic violations online!
Be prepared to face some inefficiency, delays and promises broken and make contingency plans for non-negotiables. Here’s my ‘Up Guide’ to surviving in India:
Get used to the ‘F-word’. Follow-up. Getting things done in India just needs persistence, patience, and constant FOLLOW-UP. If you’re the fastidious kinds, you might have to do a meditation course before getting to India. Probably explains why we have so much religion, meditation, and faith in India; because without it’s hard to explain some things here!
Make contingency plans for anything you can’t live without! I have two broadband connections, two providers for any essential service, and DIY tools for odd jobs at home.
Sacrifice the battles for the war! You can’t change culture, literacy or manners overnight, don’t make it an ego issue or a principle to teach, fix or report everything for your own peace of mind! Pick your battles.
Where you do wish to make a difference, or uphold your principles, for example, corruption or littering, by all means stand up for it! Many returning Indians/Foreign nationals have been crusaders for change and that in the long-term is what we can bring back to the eco-system.
A tip on planning: Plan the big stuff; let the little stuff just fall into place. Over-planning in some areas is a waste in India since there are too many moving parts. Deliveries, dry cleaning, repairs are all subject to the whims of the workers and the vagaries of nature! Don’t fret these; just accept some delays or missteps.
Life in India can certainly seem overwhelming on days and a breeze on others and once you’re doing your routines, it will seem just like anywhere else. What makes India unique is its range of diversity, perspectives, religions, and even chaos. There’s a lot to like here and a lot to be changed, but one thing is for certain, there’s never a dull moment here! Good luck.
(This is just a perspective, please share yours!)
(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)