Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Moving To Bangalore as an Expat: Questions and Concerns

Over the past few months I've received many e-mails from people planning to or thinking about moving to Bangalore from other countries. Most of them have the same questions and concerns. So here is a list of the most frequently asked questions and my responses. I hope that this information is useful to you, but I request that you verify the information and visit the places I've mentioned (such as schools and hospitals) and assess them yourself before arriving at a decision about them.

If you have further questions or have information about any of the topics mentioned here, please feel free to leave a comment. Thank you.

1. SCHOOLS - THE BIG DOOZIE:


By far, the issue that expats-to-be are worried about the most is schools. Here are my three articles on it and here's my post on our experiences with Greenwood High. Please take time to read the comments.

Some general information about schools in Bangalore that are not covered in those articles:

  • School year (term dates): International schools start in August and end in June (with Christmas, Thanksgiving, Spring and Diwali breaks). Indian schools start in June and end in March (with Diwali, Dussera and Christmas breaks).
  • Uniforms: Most schools mandate uniforms from first grade onwards.
  • School timings: Preschoolers and kindergartners attend school from 9:00 am to 12:30 pm (there may be exceptions), from first grade onwards school starts at 9:00 am and ends at 3:30 pm.
  • Lunches: Most of the international schools provide lunches to the kids, at others you will have to pack lunch.
  • Transportation: Most schools have transportation, but there is no requirement that you must use school-provided transportation. You can arrange your own.
  • Languages: Unless your child has a foreign passport, s/he must learn an Indian language. If the child has a foreign passport, then French (not aware of other language choices) is an option.
  • Terminology: Children attend "nursery" from 3 years to 4 years, LKG (lower kindergarten) from 4 to 5 and UKG (upper kindergarten) from 5 to 6 years old. Nursery and LKG are what we call "pre-school" in the US, and UKG is plain old Kindergarten. At 6, everyone goes to first grade (some schools call it first standard).
2. HAVING A BABY IN BANGALORE - HOSPITALS, PRE-NATAL CLASSES:

Here are some notes about the childbirth experience in Bangalore and about the growing prevalence of C-Sections in India and abroad. Prenatal classes were not easily accessible here when I was preparing to have my second child, but I've received a couple of comments to this post with information about newly opened classes.

I should let you know that I had a very good experience with my obstetrician and gynecologist when I had my daughter and with my children's current paediatrician.

3. BABY NECESSITIES (BABY FOOD, DIAPERS, FORMULA, BABY FURNITURE, ETC.):

There is nothing that you need to specially pack for your baby (unless he or she has very specific, unique dietary or other needs). Diapers (Huggies, Pampers), Gerber's baby food jars, juices and cereal boxes are available here as are cereals made by Heinz (which I haven't noticed in the US, but is prevalent in Australia). Cereals made in India are also available, but you should know that they all contain added sugar.

You will also find Enfamil's baby formula in some of the stores. There's a shop called the Baby Shop on Ulsoor Road (behind Taj Residency - contact info at the bottom of this post) that stocks mostly American and European baby products (including baby furniture such as cribs, high chairs, car seats and strollers). There's also a store called Mothercare which mostly sells British products and expensive as hell, but you're most likely to find the things you want if you prefer to stick to the imported products.

Of course, the best option, especially if you are planning to stay here for a year or two, is to get yourself and your baby used to the Indian food, including the brands of baby food that are manufactured here (Nestle). That way you will not have to keep going to the one or two shops that sell imported goods and you will not face the problem of those stores suddenly running out of the one thing that your baby has gotten used to.

Stores suddenly running out of certain products is an oft-occurring problem here.

For older children who have not been exposed to Indian cuisine at all, there are all sorts of pastas (and the sauces, olive oils, etc.), cereals, cheeses, etc. available.

4. TRAFFIC AND POLLUTION:

Yes, there is traffic and plenty of it, and yes, there is pollution, but not much.

The best way to deal with the traffic is to find a home that is close to your place of work and your kids' school. Eliminating a long commute should be the key. No matter where you decide to live, there will always be markets, grocery shops, restaurants etc. So the main factor dictating the location will be the workplace and schools.

With respect to pollution, one of the things I've noticed is that the children cough the first few months until they get used to the stuff in the air and then they settle down. Doctors recommend that you boil filtered water the first few weeks (or longer).

5. SHOPPING:

Here's a detailed post on that topic.

6. HOUSING:

The real estate market (both for buying and renting) is a little bit nuts right now in Bangalore. Houses are being built like crazy and they are all sold out even before they dig the first clump of mud to lay the foundation.

As you can imagine, rents are going through the roof and there are certain localities, such as the Whitefield area near ITPL (where are all the big Bangalore-based IT companies are) that are getting expensive by the minute. Of course, the real estate agents are having a field day in this scenario.

The best bet for you to locate a good home for your stay would be to tap into your firm's relocation service resources. They can usually guide you to a competent relocation service.

7. HOSPITALS IN BANGALORE:

Here's a map of Bangalore that shows the location of some of the hospitals. There are newer hospitals now, such as Wockhardt and Apollo on Bannerghatta Road. Here are the names of some of the hospitals:

Bangalore Hospital
Sagar Apollo Hospital, Jayanagar
Vittal Mallya Hospital
Manipal Hospital
Wockhardt Hospital
Apollo Hospital, Bannerghatta Road
St. Philomena's Hospital
St. Martha's Hospital
M.S. Ramaiah Hospital
National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences
Kidwai Institute of Oncology

Apart from these, there are many, many more smaller nursing homes and hospitals all over the city.

8. RINA MEHTA'S Bangalore Mum's Guide:

From what I hear, this book has not been available at the book shops for a while now. I would try contacting the publisher (Navneet) directly or try purchasing it online.

All in all, moving to Bangalore and living here has been a wonderful experience. Your kids will love the weather and Bollywood music, you will love the exposure they will get to an entirely different and vibrant culture (if you're not originally from India and you've never been to India before) or you will love the fact that they are getting a good look at their roots (if you are from India originally).

Of course, all this is in addition to the huge strides you will make in your career after having a couple of years of work experience in India, no?

And most importantly, where else can you live and learn to shake your head (sideways for "no", up and down for "yes" and vigorously in all directions if you agree heartily with someone) like the Hawaiin Luau dolls?

Good luck with the move.

Update 1: The Baby Shop:

The Baby Shop
7/1 Ulsoor Road (behind the Taj Residency), Bangalore - 42
Ph: 080-25596104 or 080-25596105

Update 2: Documents to carry before you move:

1. If you have children that will be enrolled in school here, you will need their birth certificates and letters from the previous school regarding the work done there.

2. If you plan to have a baby in India and you are a US citizen and would like your newborn child to be a US citizen, then you will need the following documents to obtain the baby's US birth certificate and passport (which you can do through the US consulates in India):

  • all of your hospital records (if you were already pregnant before you got here) along with the ultrasound scans;
  • your marriage certificate or, if divorced, the divorce decree;
  • proof of US citizenship;
  • proof of residence in the US.

The above list is for you to plan to bring before you move so that you don't scramble for them after you've already moved here. There are other requirements (such as the baby's birth certificate) that you can only obtain in India.

Here's a post on how to go about getting the US birth certificate and passport.

[Will keep updating this post as and when new info comes up or new topics occur to me.]

~


Update (June 16, 2010): After School Care in Bangalore - http://blogpourri.blogspot.com/2010/06/after-school-care-in-bangalore.html

82 comments:

Srividya Ganesh said...

Sujatha,

Thanks for this info. I truly appreciate your efforts in collating this data. A lot of parents will find this really useful. I bet.

Would you be able to help me with one more information?

A friend of mine in U.S is planning to relocate to Bangalore. She has a 5 year old boy diagnosed for autism. The boy is exceptionally good in mathematics and reading. My frient wants to put him in a regular, mainstream school that includes children with special needs.

Would you know of any good inclusive schools in Bangalore? If yes, can you give me those details?

Thanks,
Srividya Ganesh

mumbaigirl said...

Thanks for this, it keeps me hoping and dreaming of an eventual return!

Lakshmi said...

Thank you so much...This was what I was looking for :-)

Sujatha Bagal said...

Hi Srividya, I'll check around and leave a comment here either today or tomorrow. Thank you for your comment and the very best to your friend.

MG, you're welcome!

Lakshmi, I'm really glad this is useful.

Sujatha Bagal said...

Srividya, I spoke to NAFL and the Administrator there told me that they've had kids with autism in the lower classes before (up to the 3rd or 4th grade). They are willing to work with the family to include the child and help him/her in the school, although they don't have specially trained personnel to deal with autistic children. They do look for active support and understanding from the families of the children and will need to talk to the family before taking a decision about the child.

I was really pleasantly surprised that they were at least willing to talk to the families and had a "can do" attitude.

Your friend can call the administrator or principal at +91-80-23239281 or write to them at nafl@blr.vsnl.net.in

I plan to talk to a couple more schools that I think might work for your friend and will let you know.

Deepa Krishnan said...

Now you've gone and inspired me to compile something similar for Bombay!

Srividya Ganesh said...

Thanks a lot Sujatha. This information is going to make a world of difference to my friend and her son. :))). God bless you.

Thanks once again.

Srividya

Sujatha Bagal said...

Deepa, cool! Looking forward to reading it. :)

Srividya, you're welcome.

Latha Srinivasan said...

Work-life balance for working moms?
Hi Sujatha,
I've been following your blogs fairly regularly over the past several months mainly because we are considering moving back from the US to Bangalore ourselves in the not too distant future. However, my main concern is around telecommuting and other flex-time options for working moms. Do such options exist? I work in the IT field.

Thanks!

Sujatha Bagal said...

Hi Latha, that's a good question, one that I had not particularly considered because the work that I do here is on a freelance basis. I'll talk to a few of my friends in the IT industry and leave a comment here.

Thanks for reading my blog. I'm glad it's useful.

Sujatha Bagal said...

Hi Latha, I asked around and the prevailing wisdom seems to be that there is a lot of demand for IT professionals now and companies are willing to work with their employees' special situations. I know of people who work four days in the office and one day at home. I think it bears investigating, though, at the particular company you wish to apply to.

To answer your question, the special arrangements are not unheard of.

Latha Srinivasan said...

Hi Sujatha,
Thanks. It is encouraging to hear that there is some amount of flexibility. These are certainly positive steps in the right direction.

Have a good weekend,
Latha

Celina Jones, Real Estate Consultant said...

This is an interesting post and was quite informative.

Thanks for Sharing.

Anonymous said...

This was one of the sites that I had used as well and found it useful. By sharing my experiences, I think people relocating or intending to relocate, can benefit. It is however advised that they have to make their own choices. This is only my experience/


I must have spent practically every day at-least an hour or two surfing on the net for atleast 4 months prior to visiting schools in Bangalore in January this year.


To give those of you who are considering relocating to Bangalore, there is Good News and Not So Good News….

Good News First…

Schools, Hospitals, Shops exist in almost every direction be it North, East, West or South of Bangalore. Some schools admit at any time of the year..

International Schools following IGCSE/ IB

such as Inventure/ TISB/ Indus are is about an hours drive from Koramangala or JP Nagar or Jay Nagar ( between 20 & 25 kms);

The distance to Whitefield is also the same. Most of these schools provide good buses and pick up on almost all the main roads and some of these schools also have air-conditioned buses.

On south of Bangalore in Bannerghatta is Sarla Birla Academy an IGCSE / IB School.

The roads are being relaid would be a fair comment, expect a lot of bumps and pot-holes when you go for atleast 10 kilometres of your journey that’s why it takes so much time.

It is like a triangle. The schools are about 10 -12 kilometres before Hosur. It is like a triangle either you can take the Sarjapur Road which is traffic free but roads are bad or take the Hosur Road, road is excellent and 4 lane but traffic is high especially between 9 and 11 am and 5 and 7 pm, but can go at good speeds. The distance would be marginally different but if you are used to Traffic jams then well may like this.

On Hosur Road while going to the above schools, will pass through Infosys, Electronic City, Biocon layouts, before entering into the lanes toget across.

If you are planning to work in any of these places, you can look at choosing accommodation either at Electtronic City or Biocon etc., and it will be less than half an hour.

If you are planning to work in Whitefield choose whitefield .

If you are planning to work in Bangalore , Marathahalli or Sarjapur Road, choose Koramangala or nearabouts.



On the North of Bangalore, totally opposite direction is Canadian International School. It is just over a kilometer on the Hyderabad Highway ,about 10 kilometers from City limits

Some international schools provide breakfast, lunch and snack as part of the total fees, whilst some try to charge it separately. Fees vary between 3 to 6 lacs per year.

These campuses are good and provide a good opportunity for personal development , extra curricular activities,

ICSE Schools.

Turn left, Turn right, you will find an ICSE School; these seem to be opening and you have plenty of choices… You will find an ICSE School within 2 kilometers in most places of Bangalore. Some ICSE Schools also provide breakfast and lunch. Fees are upto 1 lakh per annum.

CBSE Schools
Havent done much research, but also quite a few in number around Bangalore city.

Language Options

Most of these schools offer foreign language option of either French or German, if your Child has not studied it and is already in Standard 6 or more. Sanskrit could be a good language to learn besides Hindi

Private Tuitions
These are available. There are few Tuition coordinators, you ring them and they arrange to send to your home. Expect tuition costs between Rs.200 to Rs. 500 per hour, yes per hour.

Autos 50:50
If you can speak good Hindi or Kannada there is a good likely hood meters will be put.
If not flat rates prepaid. You may be paying about 50 % - 100%more.
Also speak less is what I learnt

Call Taxis
Weighing the options, it may be better to get hold of travels for half a day or full day use as these costs are better than call Taxis at times, more important is call taxis have the problem of sometime not keeping up the time, they are late by as much as an hour at times, which is frustrating, especially when you are ready to go…

Water : Boil and drink water or drink mineral water.

Cable TV and channels: You get over 80 channels and cost is about 250 rupees per month.



Rentals: The sites are good, the simple approach we made was to go to the company offices where apartments are being built and check if apartments are available for sale or rental. Most of the apartment owners mention if they have an apartment for rent and indicate the rent and give contact numbers. There are no middle men. You may be able to negotiate with owners and also inspect the apartment. It is in your interest to atleast check atleast 6 to 10 apartments in the locality prior to zeroing in.

Electronics, Furniture ; Every area has it; visit atleast 3 shops and check prices prior to buying these. Prices vary by as high as 50% for similar items.

Provisions, restaurants, milk, vegetables etc., available in plenty every where and most of them do home delivery as well,

If you can get a proof of address with a lease or purchase agreement, gas, phone and internet connections are a phone call away. A phone call will trigger action, but expect response time of 3- 5 days. For this you may need to do a few calls… City is booming, simple economics – time is limited, resources are in short supply, demand is high

About not so good:

As to Gas and Phones its only the private vendors who act swiftly. Note of caution, if you are buying a phone read the fine print to verify if it supports phone and internet. Shops being crowded and the seller stating it is supported is not good enough, people are busy selling they really don’t have the time to read… You go to customer care on phone ( they are call centers) , don’t know where they are located and confirm your identity and for your question, get a reply that will only make you realize that you just wasted another 20 minutes of your time. My simple belief in retailers has led to us having a collection of phones in our house… Word of caution… hang your mobiles, strap them, don’t feel embarrassed; there are mobile thieves… If you cant get proof of address forget it, eat out and use public telephone booths… International activation is done only after one month, though you may have a prepaid card. You can receive calls though. Calls from India are very reasonable.

Indications:

2 bedroom apartment : Expect to pay between 12 K and 16 K per month
3 Bedroom apartment Expect to pay between 18 K and 25 K per month.

House Hold help: These can be available and vary depending on the services requested of them mopping, sweeping, washing , cooking and approx 500 rupees for each task.

Shopping: You will be flanked by Super markets, Big Bazaars, Malls and trade stores within a 5 km radius, your wallets get attracted and cash and bank balances disappear as you will be baffled by discounts, offers, gifts and what not… So think twice before you open the wallet..

Sujatha Bagal said...

Anon, thank you taking the time to put up this detailed information. It's really helpful.

Hope you are enjoying your time in Bangalore.

Suja said...

Hi Sujatha,
Interesting blog. Would you also be interested in contributing to GaramChai.com ? We already have a similar section on Return2India

http://www.garamchai.com/Return2India.htm

Sujatha said...

Hi Suja, thanks for the comment and for the offer. Unfortunately, I'm not in a position to take on more commitments right now. If the situation changes, I'll surely let you know. Thanks again.

Anonymous said...

Hi Sujatha,

You might have heard this umpteen times yet you still deserve to be praised for putting in time and effort to help us have a smooth (?) transition from one country to another! We are palnning to move to B'lore in January of 2008. I've visited the city once before and that's it! My husband's work is at Kadubeesanahalli village, Outer ring road, Varthur Hobli, Bangalore – 560087 and my work is at Biocon Park, 20th KM Hosur Road, Electronics City, Bangalore 560100. Where do you think we should rent a house/apartment that is conducive for a short commute for the both of us? Our older daughter will be continuing her first grade/standard. What will be the best school for her that will be on our commute?

Thanks
Vasanthi

Sujatha said...

Hi Vasanthi,

Thanks and you're welcome. I'm just glad all this stuff is useful to readers.

Most schools have school buses that will pick up the kids close to home, so I wouldn't expect to have to drop off your child before heading to work.

There are many residential localities between your husband's work and your work (the distance between the two is about an hour to an hour and a half during rush hour). There are literally hundreds of apartments coming up on Outer Ring Road. From there your husband would head in one direction and you would in another, but it is sort of half-way. As for schools there are many of them on Sarjapur Road. Here are a few names to start you off with in that area:

Inventure Academy
Greenwood High
TISB (International School)
Indus (International School)
Ryan International (but Indian school year and syllabus)
Deccan International (but Indian school year and syllabus)
Deen's Academy
Delhi Public School

Since you plan to be here in Jan, you should check with the schools straight away because schools typically close admissions by December of the previous school year.

Also consider if you want an International school (very expensive and doesn't make sense if you familiar with the Indian schools and can handle guiding your child through it - mostly meant for expats who will be going back) or an Indian school.

Good luck and let me know if you have other questions.

Anonymous said...

Hi Sujatha,

I write this from London, and have been an avid reader of your blog the past few months. I think the quality of information that you provide is fabulous. Am very impressed.

I have a six year old who currently does Year 1 at London. We plan to move to Bangalore for a year or two. We expect to move in June-end 2007.

Since we have started the school-checking process very late (mid-April), I guess our options are limited.

I am looking at the schools in the Whitefield area, and currently am considering Inventure, Greenwood High, Gopalan, Concorde and DEENS in that order. I read your experiences on G.High - since G.High is less expensive than Inventure, we were sort of setting our sights on G.High. But now I am not too sure.

Since I need to decide quickly in the next couple of weeks, could you please tell me:

* What made you choose G.High over say Inventure which I understand is a neighbour? Was it only the cost or any other factors?

* Would you have any inputs on Gopalan / Concorde / DEENS?

* If we convince ourselves about the cost, would Inventure justify the extra spending in your opinion?

Thank you ever so much.

Looking forward to hearing from you.

Geetha

Sujatha said...

Hi Geetha, welcome to my blog.

I reason we picked Greenwood is that my main concern was that my son should get a rounded curriculum. It's the approach to education that I was after. You can tell very clearly which schools emphasize academics and which schools look beyond. Once I found that Greenwood integrated non-academic activities into the curriculum, I stopped looking. Apart from not getting the piano classes we were offered and the individualized lesson plans we were promised, I was willing to wait for the other stuff. As I mentioned, the school is new and it does take time to get things ready. I also found that (contrary to how a lot of the other school administrations behave) Greenwood was willing to talk to the parents, actively encouraged them to form an association and to volunteer at school. This was very refreshing. The Principal had an open door policy. So my thought was that if there were problems (which I assure you there will be no matter what school you pick) at least there will be someone to listen to you.

Also, once I liked a school I saw no point in continuing to look. I wanted to make a quick decision and work with what I got.

That said, an acquaintance and a friend did like Inventure a lot. The friend ended up sending her son to Vidya Shilp (it was closer to her house) and the acquaintance still sends her son to Inventure.

A couple of readers have left comments on Concorde and DEEN's in on of my three posts on Schools. Please look at the comments section there. I don't know much about Gopalan at all.

But I should say that over all, we (most importantly my son) are happy with Greenwood.

Good luck and I do hope you find what you need.

Sujatha said...

Hi Geetha, a friend of mine in London is in the same boat as you are. She's looking to move here with her family in June and will be in Bangalore to explore schooling and housing in early May. She asked if you could please provide her your e-mail address so you guys could exchange notes during this process. If it's OK with you, please send me your e-mail address to blogpourriATgmailDOTcom and I'll pass it on to her. Thanks in advance.

T.R.Rao said...

Hi.
Just came across this city-based site called www.metromela.com. It gave me a lot of information not just on schools ,kids Shopping and extracurricular, family recreation. But also on Shopping outlets and restaurants in Bangalore (India).It's a good source of information especially if you want the best.
I have been using it for 3 months now.
The access to site is only through Invitation, as a user i can send you an invitation.Any body interested can just drop in a mail to me and get the invitation.

email:tankasalaraghu@gmail.com

Regards,
T.R.Rao

Anonymous said...

I'm not so sure that the pollution is not that bad. It's horrendous. Someone with respiratory problems will not find it pleasant. One can see smoke at ground level and it also makes you very tired just going about your business. It takes a lot of getting used to. I would suggest an air cleaner in your home if you are concerned (which you should be).

Also, I certainly don't know any apartments that are up to western standards for 25K!! It's more like 1-2 lakh if you want to live in something that one is used to back home. If you are looking in Whitefield or Palm Meadows, you can double those prices. Staff prices have also increased. A driver is 8,000 rupees a month and a maid is on average 3,000 to 4,000 rupees a month (NRI and expat prices).

All said though, Bangalore is a wonderful place, even though its charm is quickly erroding from the pollution and the traffic.

Meena said...

Hi, I'm a Chennaiite and own a house at Bangalore. This blog came up when I was searching for Kadubeesanahalli as a prospective tenant wanted to know the distance to my place. BTW, if I'm not crossing the limits of the blog purpose, please feel free to contact me if you need a hosue on rent adjacent to Outer Ring Rd.
Details are given below, and the rent is negotiable. I'll try and make the place as comfy as I can, and have put in furniture and a fridge.
Regards,
Meena

Spacious house 3000 sq ft. with garden on a plot of 4800 sq.ft;
3 BHK with attached bathrooms plus study, central high roofed atrium and dining cum drawing
and airy verandah along the northern and eastern sides of the house.
Servants quarters and garage.

Just vacated by European couple.

Location: Stone's throw from Outer Ring Road, at Banaswadi. Within 20 mins drive from/to MG Road, Koramangala
Address:
47 & 48 13th Main
Nisarga Colony, Banaswadi
Bangalore

Let me know if you are interested by email or tel: 04428363119. Mob: 09380929780.
Email: akokaneem@yahoo.com
Or get in touch with Mr.Naidu at 98457 04104 to see the house

Pics can be viewed at http://bangalore.craigslist.org/vac/339078532.html

Meena Koka

pallavi said...

hi sujhata,

must say it must have taken a lot of hard work and time for such elaborate posts which are so helpful....

we are in mumbai currently and my husband has a very good offer in bangalore..its in bannerghatta...my son is in ryan internationla school in mumbai in ICSE board in MONT 3 ...

we are evaluating taking up a house on rent near bannerghatta snce my husbands office is also there and also ryan international school i believe is close by...

can u pls guide in terms of the rentals / EMI (house purchase)that we will have to cough up for taking a place near bannerghatta and what areas should v look at also taking into account the distance of ryan international bannerghatta school...

also will my son face any problems in terms of language adjustments...he is used to hndi and picking up english..

would highly appreciate your detailed response...

Sujatha said...

Pallavi, rents are a bit crazy in Bangalore and they are probably going up as you are reading this. It really depends on what you are looking for - how many bedrooms, whether apartment or stand alone, furnished or not, etc. You should expect to pay anywhere from 10,000 to 50,000 near Bannerghatta Road. From there, I would say it's about 30 to 45 minutes each way to Ryan International.

About the languages, I think there was a requirement that all schools teach Kannada. Please call Ryan International in Bangalore and find out. Good luck.

pallavi said...

thanks sujatha...
can u suggest areas near IBM office in bannerghatta that we could look at for purchasing a flat (1 BHK), not too much for amenities, budget around say 15- 20 lacs ...it pains me to give so much amount in rent and not have anything to show for at the end of the day...

also by bangalore standards is a 30-45 mins ride to school considered normal?? what are the alternatives

Sujatha said...

Pallavi, these really are questions that you should direct to a real estate agent. I only have general information about life in Bangalore and am willing to share that, but beyond that, I'm sorry to say I can't help.

And yes, 30-45 minutes is normal. Some kids as young as 6 sit in school buses for more than two hours a day on their way to school and back.

Tarun said...

Hello Sujatha,

My wife and I moved from US to India very recently. We were looking for a house, my wife -- a job, planning to have kids and it was complete a nightmare for my wife.

She was so fed up with everything that she was looking for an online community of working mothers, so she ended up creating a community for working moms:
www.imom.in.

Since, she has put in a lot of hardwork in developing this community, I am trying to help here with popularizing it. Since, you maintain a blog on single moms. I was hoping if you could suggest some ways to promote it.

Thanks,
Tarun

tarun.bhalla@buildingblocks.in

Priya said...

AUTISTIC AND SPECIAL SCHOOL AT INDIRNAGAR BANGALORE TO OPEN IN OCT, 2007

The school will address the needs of children with autism and learning disabilities( LD,SLD).


We feature an educational environment that nurtures your child's as well as our own' lives

For more details and application forms please contact
PRIYA: priya.srinivas@ashafoundation.org or 98862 24560 or Daynidhi - dayanidhi@ashafoundation.org or 9980077845

Anonymous said...

Hi Sujatha,

Thank you very much for an informative blog. I also belong to the category of apprehensive moms about to move to Bangalore. I have never lived in Bangalore and I never liked the big city life with traffic congestion, pollution and all. But my husband comes from Bangalore and his parents live there, so it is inevitable that we go and live there. The fear is for my little kids - how will their health be affected by this major change? What about their school? Will they have to travel for 30-45 minutes on a car or a bus to go to school? Looks like we will be living in my in-laws house due the high cost of real estate. This house is right in the middle of a main road where buses, scooters, autos, lorries, you name it zooms by. For the people who have lived there, it will be easy to say that they live there, so what should be our problem? I am really scared and nervous. Everytime, we went to Bangalore, me and my kids have suffered with allergies resulting in cough, headache etc.
Sorry to be telling a sob story here, just thought I would share my feelings as I cannot share it with anyone without evoking anger or sorrow.
Are there any places which are not very expensive and yet livable. Even good schools seem to be extraordinarily higly priced. Are there any good schools which do not ask for 100,000 or more as annual fees?

Thanks in advance for your response.

Sujatha said...

Anon, I'm sorry you feel like you are in a bind and can't talk to anyone.

Initially I would be prepared for an adjustment period, but the allergies do go away. My son coughed for a while, but then he got adjusted to the environment. Also, no matter what society we live in, there is no escaping the fact that we will have to face problems or issues in bringing up children. If you go with that frame of mind, you will find that the problems Bangalore has are different problems than other places, perhaps, but by no means insurmountable. Plus you will have family close by and that is a definite advantage.

The older neighborhoods are less expensive - Jayanagar, Malleswaram, Basavanagudi, etc. Please look at the schools posts (they are listed on the right side of the page under Bangalore Life) for information on schools.

Good luck and best wishes for a smooth transition.

Sujatha.

G.N. Pratiba said...

Dear Sujatha,

Impressed with your information and can offer the house for rent which is very close (300mts) to NIMHANS and also close to Bannerghata Raod.

01. 3 Bed Room
02. 2 Bathrooms (one attached)
03. 1 Hall
04. 1 Kitchen cum Dining Hall
05. One 2 Wheeler Parking facility
06. Main Door South facing
07. Kitchen East facing
08. Newly built
09. Address - No 2, Sheetal, 2nd Cross, 8th Main,
Byrasandra Layout, Jayanagar I Block East, ( Near NIMHANS),
Bangalore - 560 011
10. Contact Number :

G.N. Pratiba - 99452 93219

Aparna said...

Hello Sujatha,

What an incredible site you have created! A great "seva" project!

My company is considering sending me over to Bangalore (from Boston, US) for 2 years starting in January 2008. I will be located at this site:
Manyata Embassy Business Park:
Outer Ring Road (Hebbal – Krishnarajpuram Section)
Opp. BEL Corporate Office
Bangalore 560 045

My daughter will be 5 1/2 when we get their. Currently she goes to a Montessorie acedemy here (for past 3 years, this is her 4th year).

What are my best options in terms of her schooling. My highest priority for the remainder of this school year is not what she will learn acedemically (she is very well ahead in her her math and reading and I dont think she will struggle with that), but on HOW WELL SHE ADJUSTS and how comfortable/confident she feels in her first few months in school in India.

So if you can tell me my options:

1. Good transition school for the Jan-June/august 2008 time frame for UKG.

2. International or other good school in that area for 1st grade.

Thanks for all your help.

PS: Just curious, are you back in US? if so, do you miss your life back in India?

Sujatha said...

Aparna, thanks. :)

I don't know where exactly that location is on Outer Ring Road - I can't picture it in my head, but I would try Inventure for as soon as you move there and for first grade as well. One of my expat friends from Britain really loved Inventure but did not choose it only because their school year does not match the UK or US school year (it ends in March and starts in June). An Indian school year will be good for you so you can have a short remainder to get adjusted and then start a new one fresh, but having already adjusted.

The international schools in that area are TISB (the best of all the ones in that neighborhood) and Indus International. Another Indian school you should check into is Greenwood (please do read my post on Greenwood for some idea about that school).

From what I hear, Inventure's model is very different from the traditional Indian school - the teachers are not too pushy, class sizes are limited and they cater to a growing expat and returning Indian population.

Yes, I am back in the US and loving it. I do miss my family in India (and, on a facetious
note, chancing upon Bollywood songs while channel surfing) though.

Feel free to write to me if you have other questions. Good luck with your move. It'll be a wonderful experience for you and your daughter.

Aparna said...

Thanks so much Sujatha. If you dont mind would like to email you and get some more input. Here is mine: akarr_group@yahoo.com.

Thanks!

Sujatha said...

Aparna,

Have sent you mail.

sujesh said...

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English,Kannada,Tamil,Hind..voiceover artists who can lend their voice
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in Bangalore forward the message to them.......
Regards
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Anonymous said...

Dear Sujata,
We have been following your blog since the beginning of the year .we are planning to R2I in April 2008. I just wanted to warn would be R2I parents not to form impressions totally on the basis of website, speaking to school authorities etc.
Here's our experience. having searched the web we came across TREAMIS world school, new,and fantastic website. Called them up and were impressed, coz they said they would accomodate second language french( for son in 6Th) and fine art/commerce for daughter in 11th. We landed in B'lore and Treamis was the first school we visited.
Near Wipro-is what they said about location. in reality it was a long winding country lane past Wipro took 20 min to reach from there.
The buildings were half completed and the school wore a deserted air. Very obliging Principal seemed to be direly understaffed. We were taken around courteously, but had to write off our hopes definitely, becoz, they had only 50 students enrolled,and we were definite our son will be in a class of say 5 to 10, as well as no hope for 11th grade to open in 2008(they themeselves said)
What about the competitive edge,in secondary level it would be impossible to take a risk with the kids at that stage anyway. maybe treamis when it is complete and functioning may catch on, but would advise parents of 5th and above students to go in for an established schooland not be misled by fab websites (or sloppy ones)
Thanks,
Sreelatha, dubai

Sujatha said...

Sreelatha, thank you for this word of caution. I really appreciate you taking the time to leave this comment. Good luck with your move.

Sujatha said...

Sreelatha, thank you for this word of caution. I really appreciate you taking the time to leave this comment. Good luck with your move.

Anonymous said...

Hi Sujatha,

we started seeing your blog recently, very useful information for those who are looking for relocation to bangalore,
We too one such family.

We are planning to move to Bangalore from US in feb/March 2008. Mostly we will be shifting to Bangalore East.
My daughter will be in First Grade and Son will be in LKG.

We would like to know your opinion about DPS East also information about class size and fee structure.

It would be great if you can tell us the fees for greenwood high.

Thanks

Anonymous said...

Hi Sujatha,

I forgot to put my Name in the last comment.

Thanks
Mahalingam

Sujatha said...

Mahalingam, you're welcome! I'm glad you found this information useful. The fees for Greenwood are in the post on Greenwood High (all of the schools posts are under the Bangalore Schools label). A friend of mine sends her child to DPS East and she is happy with them. You may also want to look into Inventure. If you read the other school posts you might get an idea for what kind of a school might be most appropriate for your children. Good luck with the move.

Sujatha said...

All, thank you for reading my posts on Bangalore schools. At this point, I'm unable to answer specific questions about the schools. Things are changing rapidly in Bangalore, new schools are coming up and since I'm not there anymore, it's difficult to keep track. I sincerely hope the posts have helped you thus far and that they will continue to serve as a good starting point for your research. Good luck and best wishes to you.

Sujatha.

Lucky said...

Can you please brief about JSS public school/Institutions. what are the good and bad things on the same

anisha said...

i m shiftd to bangalore recently m working at electronic city and my husband is working at marathalli can u guide a perfect location where we can stay a centrally located area which would reduce travelling time of both presently m staying at airport road

Mukesh-Sharma said...

Hi, my newly built home will be ready in April 2008. It is a 2 storied, 3 bedroom independent bunglow in a gated community with facilities like swimming pool, tennis etc. It is located near Marathahalli on the ring road. I work with Wipro Technologies. If any of you is interested, pls send me a mail at mukesh65@gmail.com. I can custom add any facilities that you might require.

Thanks Sujatha for such an informative blog. I hope I am not intruding with my little advertisement. :)

regards

Mukesh Sharma
9845324341

Mukesh-Sharma said...

Anisha,

You can look at Sarjapur Road/Ring road junction area or around HSR Layout area. HSR I think will be more mid-way. There are plenty of Apartments available in both these areas.

Best wishes

Mukesh

new house dc said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Mr.Clean said...

We are thinking for relocating from dubai to bangalore, highly thinking of starting a business...any comments of what to start in bangalore..????? all ideas are welcome, will consider joint ventures....many thanks

samuel said...

Dear Sujatha

Well I feel terrible asking for more information i have kept track of your blogg and i am sure you have your hands full but I am so desparate i have searched the net called the embassy and i am not able to get the info maybe you can help before i accept my job offer, i have been offered a job in Bangalore, I intend to move there in Feb 2008, working in Electronics city, i would like to know what are the work permit rules, if i am on a work permit can my fiancee have a right to live in bangalore with me, what visa would he need to get, would he be able to work legally, we are currently working on wedding plans, do the rules only apply when you are married and have a wedding certificate.Do i need the company to help me apply for him I am not sure they are that keen since we are not married yet, I have not asked them i was trying to do some research.
for the work permit, do i need to have a medical, can i have that done here or it is done there. I know for some countries this can be a ver expensive exersise so they encourage expats to have them in country of origin.

medical insurance, what must i ask for from my company, I want to be able to include doctors visits and hosipitalization.

He is a personnal trainer by profession, do a lot of people go to gyms or would they prefer one on one personal training, he is also looking for work do you know of any upmarket gyms.

could you give some ideas of nice residential areas near electronics city. do the apartments come with a land line phone if not how long does it take to apply and get connected. how do mobile phones work, contracted pay as you go.

please help me my email is samkags@gmail.com

Thank you

Samatha

manju said...

can some one give a list of international schools and fees etc... in bangalore. since i am planning to put my son to 6th grade in bangalore from june 2008. give me what ever you have or know.

Sujatha said...

Samantha, I would ask for the company that's made you an offer for some help. It can make the transition a lot smoother. Writer Relocations (http://www.writercorporation.com/html/relocation/index.asp) is a very good company and they will most likely have the answers to your questions.

Quite a few upscale gyms are popping up these days. Many of the gated communities have their own gyms as well.

There are many apartments on Outer Ring Road (Sobha, Mantri) that you can investigate. Again, a relocation company will help.

Don't have specific info about medical insurance, best to check with your company.

You will have to get your own landline connection once you move in, but you can get a SIM card for a cell phone (if you have that kind) or buy a phone with that facility when you get there. Cell phone connections are super quick and they can either be pre-paid or post-paid (although the latter will take a little longer - best to get the pre-paid first to tide you over until you get an address and employer verification, etc.).

Hope this helps. Good luck with your move.

Manju, look at all the schools posts (and the comments) mentioned in point number 1 of the post above.

manju said...

i am currently researching couple schools including BGS international on Mysore road. seems to be o.k. TISB on sarjapura road is also looking good. any way any one knows or sending kids to these schools please let me know i would love to talk to them and get more info....thanks.

Anonymous said...

Hi,
I am planning to move to Bangalore. I have a son with special needs ( slow mental development). What are the available options for me to arrange a purely dedicated special needs school in Bangalore.
Regards

Sujatha said...

Anon (Feb 26), please check with the Asha Foundation. I'm not sure if they have exactly what you are looking for, but because they are in the special needs field, they might be at least able to point you in the right direction. Here's the contact information:

PRIYA: priya.srinivas@ashafoundation.org or 98862 24560 or Daynidhi - dayanidhi@ashafoundation.org or 9980077845

Anonymous said...

Sujatha, Thnaks a lot.

Rohan said...

Hi Sujatha,
Thoughtful and resourceful blog! Well done. I'm the editor of a residential realty magazine in bangalore and can offer advise / assistance to people on b'lore in general as well as the realty market so if anyone's looking for related info, pls feel free to leave a post for me here, or write to me at rohan@abipl.com
Cheers!

Sujatha said...

A magazine called New Global Indian is planning a feature on those who have returned to India and are settled there. If you have returned to India or are planning to, and would like to be part of the feature, please send an e-mail to karmacom@hotmail.com and address it to Kiran. She will send back a questionnaire with questions about "reasons for returning, expectations vis a vis reality, challenges, etc."

thin hair said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Sridevi Koneru said...

Sujatha
this has been a great resource for me. I am very nervous about making a move to B'lore. What would be the best way to get in touch with senior women executives or the like in the city?
what is the best way to meet other parents?
thanks
-S

claudia said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
claudia said...

I am so grateful to you your blog is FANTASTIC, the best infomation I have found and I have spent hours trawling the net!!!

We are moving to Bangalore from London in the summer. My husband will be working at Panatoor Gram Panchayat, outer Ring Road.

Do you have any advise on where to live and which schools are suitable.

I'm sorry to bother you but you seem to be such a mine of information.

Thanks

lieske said...

Very thankful for your blogspot! I would like to ask you a question. Since there are many residential areas in Bangalore i'm slightly lost were to settle in. I
ll be moving out to Bangalore end of June. I will set up office in my house and am single - no children. I basically have a wide choice where to locate myself. What would you recommend? I would like to live somewhere with character and not in a inpersonal new appartment building where every floor resembles the other. Would be of great help if you could map out the different areas of interest. Thanks! lieske_oostveen@hotmail.com

Sujatha said...

Claudia, please read the schools posts on the blog, especially the comments that people have been kind enough to leave on the schools. There are many options on or near Outer Ring Road - you may consider the international schools - TISB, Indus - and others such as Inventure, Greenwood High, Ryan, Gopalan, Deen's Academy, etc. There are many apartments and homes as well - Sobha, Adarsh Palm Meadows, Prestige Ozone, etc.

Lieske, you should consider Malleswaram and Palace Orchards in north Bangalore; Ashok Nagar, Cox Town, Benson Town, and Frazer Town near M.G. Road, and Basavanagudi, Jayanagar, J.P. Nagar in south Bangalore.

Good luck.

Sujatha said...

Sridevi, hmmm, am not really sure of any networking groups for senior women executives. But the thing is, people are very open in Bangalore and very accessible. I would not hesitate to pick up the phone and call them and see if you can meet up with them. Of course, you need to have a valid reason (!). The women that come to mind are Rohini Nilekani, Sudha Murthy, Kiran Mazumdar. A networking group sounds like a great idea, perhaps you could start one when you move there! I'm sure a lot of other women are looking for that as well.

If you do start one, please let me know!

BK said...

Hello friends,

I am currently based in UK and planning to move back next year (2009). My son will be in Year-3 when we relocate.
I am trying to reach to people who have relocated from London and would like to learn from their experiences.
I will be relocating to North Bangalore. Any good schools in that region?
Can you all pls help me in making a successful relocation.
Many thanks in advance.

Regards,
BK

Hao said...

Great blog! lots of information. thanks for the effort.

I have a question about buying/leasing cars in Bangalore along with getting a driver, how does that work?

Sujatha said...

Hao, there are lots of dealerships in Bangalore that sell/lease cars. If you are going to Bangalore on a short-term assignment then your company typically would do it for you (i.e., the purchase/lease will be in your company's name). Hiring a driver is mostly by word of mouth. Check with your prospective colleagues if they can recommend someone. It's better if the driver comes recommended. There are also companies that farm out drivers on an as-needed basis - you would call them if you needed a driver for a few days, a few months, etc. But you are not assured that you will get the same driver every day. I'll put up the contact info here if I can find it.

Hope this helps. Good luck.

Vikas said...

If you are looking for school options for expat community in Bangalore then head over to http://blog.bangaloreschools.net/2008/05/24/moving-to-bangalore-expat-school-options-in-bangalore/ for a list of schools.

Rsinghal said...

Hi Sujatha,

Do you have some information to share about Prakriya on Sarajapur Road?

TIA,
Ruchi

Mallika said...

Hi Sujatha,

I am planning to visit India in the month of January. I need help at home just for that month, I have two little kids, so I will need someone who can help with them and some household chores(need not stay with us). Do you know of any maid service numbers that I can call?I know it mostly works by word of mouth. I have family there also, but I am told that its very hard to get help just for 1 month. I am using all avenues possible to secure help since I do need it. Thanks in advance.

Divs said...

Hey Sujatha,

When I read your blog yest, I did not notice all the Bangalore specific posts somehow! Maybe I was blind. So are you in Bangalore now or have you moved back to the US? I am new to Bangalore - returned to India after 11 years in the US. So absorbing all I can from all your posts - very well written I must say! Thanks for such useful info. I am linking to your blog on mine if you don't mind.

Sujatha said...

Divs, we moved back to DC about a year and a half ago. I'm glad you find the information useful. Thanks for linking me on your blog.

Anonymous said...

Hi, just another tip FYI everyone. I found (after a few bad experiences) that the best dentist clinic in Bangalore was run by an Expat Australian. David has a website here www.expatdental.com

Anuradha Srinivasan said...

Anuradha Srinivasan...
Hi Sujatha, I am now a very regular reader of the really useful and interesting articles on your blog. It's amazing how you could do all this, and we are all truly thankful to you. I would contribute to this blog of yours in whatever way possible, and I would be delighted too, since, having been born and brought up in our Bengaluru, it is very fulfilling to give back something to our Bangaloreans. Presently, I'm based in the United Kingdom.
I have this question for you, now that I have been away from sometime, I know that you are the best person to help me out:
A couple who have recently moved to India, are on the look out for a really good, committed, experienced nanny to take care of their 2 month old child( a boy). They are very well known to us, and since both of them are in high profile jobs, they are in need of a real good nanny who would take care of the child the whole day. They are both Doctors as well. Could you please throw some light on this and let me know if there is any reliable nanny available and how to approach or contact her? It would certainly be a great help if you could tell me about this. This requirement is in the Malleshwaram area.

Sujatha said...

Anuradha, thank you for your kind words. I'm glad these posts are helpful.

Nanny searches in Bangalore happen mostly by word-of-mouth. There are a couple of agencies that have opened up that assist in nanny and house-help searches, but I have no personal experience with them so I cannot express an opinion one way or the other. I would suggest that your friends get to Bangalore first, settle down and then try to find nannies through neighbors and friends.

Anuradha Srinivasan said...

Anuradha Srinivasan....
Thank you again, Sujatha, for your sincere and immediate attempt at helping me find any information about the availability of reliable nannies in Bangalore. I do value your suggestion and so do my friend's family, that they should settle down and then, try looking out for a suitable lady to take care of their 2 month old son.
Once again, I must appreciate the choice of articles on your blog, and each time I read one of those, whenever I am able to, believe me, Sujatha, I'm totally enthralled at the varied interests and needs of people that these write-ups could cater to. Whether it is the one on nri parents, or the one on the preparation of 'sakkare acchu', and et al, the comments that are received are all very interesting, enlightening and make very good reading. Also, as always, they are very useful and handy, for all of us, who are away from our home, but, nevertheless, are concerned with every issue, event or development back home. It gives us a complete update. It's really an amazing achievement.

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Ritu said...

Congratulations on having one of the most sophisticated blogs Ive come across in some time! Its just incredible how much you can take away from something simply because of how visually beautiful it is. This is definitely a must-see blog!

Thanks for writing!

I am definitely going to come around very often.

Regards
Ritu Mathur

www.appleofmyi.in

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