Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Life in Palm Meadows, Bangalore: A View From the Inside

On the day we headed back to the US, we had lived in Palm Meadows exactly one year. For a year and a half before that, we lived in one of Adarsh's other developments, Adarsh Palace, an apartment community in Jayanagar. We had heard a lot of good things about Palm Meadows and the quality of life and amenities, but the biggest attraction for us was that it would be close to our son's new school, Greenwood High.

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Palm Meadows is on Airport-Varthur Road close to Whitefield and Sarjapur, about 45 minutes away from MG Road and Jayanagar, and about 20 minutes away from The International School of Bangalore, Indus International School, Inventure Academy and Greenwood High. It is also close to Ryan International, Gopalan International School, Deccan International, GEAR Academy and India International.

It is a gated community of about 600 single family homes, with 10 or more security guards manning the gates at any given time. Some houses are big and some are small, but most houses have at least three bedrooms each. Residents of Palm Meadows are a mix of original owners, returning Indians and expats.

In terms of amenities, it has a club house (with three swimming pools including an indoor pool and a kiddie pool, two restaurants, a full-size gym, sauna, spa, salon, library, and indoor and outdoor children's play areas), three grocery stores (a convenience store and 24-Letter Mantra and Namdhari's, two organic food stores), two gift shops and a tea/coffee/juice shop. The community has 24-hour water and electricity supply.

The layout is beautifully conceived, each house has its own lawn areas, the roads are neatly paved with footpaths, landscaping in the common areas is lovely and the residents' association has hired a veritable army of gardeners and landscapers who painstakingly work every day to preserve the vibrant trees, flowers and plants that are local to the area. There are at least 12 varieties of palm trees within the community and the lawns are manicured - literally - at the hands of day laborers wielding scissors and squatting on their haunches on the grass.

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The clubhouse is a hub of activity in the community. There are swimming coaches on staff, tennis lessons, aerobics classes and Bollywood dance lessons are available. The community also has an arts center run by one of the residents that offers Indian classical dance lessons, piano/keyboard lessons and lessons in various other Indian musical instruments.

The streets within the community are filled with kids playing cricket or biking in the evening, mothers going for a walk with babies in strollers and with people walking or jogging in the early morning hours.

The main issues about life in Palm Meadows have to do with the rents and home prices, and cost and difficulty of hiring and retaining reliable, trustworthy domestic help.

When the community was first built close to 10 years ago, the original owners apparently bought the houses for around 80 lakhs. A few months before we left one of the houses had an asking price of 4.5 crores. Although there are many communities now coming up that are similar to Palm Meadows (Prestige Developers' Ozone, about five minutes away is one), the demand for housing and for the lifestyle Palm Meadows promises is mind-boggling.

The rents are not very far behind in terms of the shock factor. There are three resident real estate agents that have all the houses sewn up between them and manage to jack up rents to stratospheric levels. The rents are totally arbitrary (whatever the agent feels like quoting at that moment based on how desperate he or she thinks the renter is). The quote for the same house may have gone up by a few thousand rupees within a span of a few days. Most of their clients are expats, some of whom have no clue as to what is reasonable and what's not and will shell out whatever rent is demanded because they are in India for only a few days before they have to settle housing, schools, work-related issues, etc.

In fact, the situation is so good for home owners that many of them rent their houses out and they themselves go rent a house somewhere else in Bangalore because they make more money that way.

This air of a feeding frenzy pervades the domestic help market as well. The average drivers make is about Rs. 7,000/month. Some drivers make as much as Rs. 10,000/month, mostly working for expat employers. The situation is similar with the ladies that help with household chores. The minimum salary is about Rs. 2,000/month and sometimes as much as Rs. 6,000/month. It is not uncommon to find groups of drivers and other domestic helpers standing around discussing who's paying what and who's looking for helpers.

The section of the Palm Meadows population that is at the raw end of the deal is the group of returning Indians, most of them having purchased a house in Palm Meadows years ago and now are returning to an untenable situation.

Most residents feel that the problem is not with paying the domestic help the money (the economy is rewarding the high-tech sector, so why should the prosperity not trickle down?), but the fact that there is no assurance that you are getting reliable help. We discovered that our driver was making money on the side by using our car as a taxi service whenever the car was empty. And the way we discovered it was the police caught him and impounded the car for using a private car as a taxi. We also discovered later that he had come to us asking for a job although he was employed by one of the other residents. One day he just decided he wanted to make more money and started asking around and ditched his previous employer. They kept calling him for a week, they told me later, before one of their friends saw him at our house and they figured out what happened.

There are scores of similar stories. The issue is that there is a limited pool of helpers and now with Ozone already open for occupation, the situation is only going to get worse.

If you are aware of this issue and are prepared to stand your ground and deal with it and you are prepared to deal with traffic (especially over the Marathahalli Bridge, the only viable entrance to the Whitefield area from the rest of the city), Palm Meadows is a great place to live. It's a breath of fresh air, literally. I like to call it the bubble because it's so different from the rest of the city, but it's a very nice bubble.

Update:

1. Boo's comment to this post reminded me that I'd forgotten all about the service apartments and rooms in the clubhouse. Many companies have rented rooms (of which more were being built as we left) in the clubhouse for employees who transfer into their Bangalore offices for the short term.

2. One of the cons of living in a gated community like Palm Meadows, as a chat with Firang Squirrel, a friend and an expat from the US, reminded me, you totally miss out on the quintessential Bangalore - street hawkers selling fruits and veggies, kadle puri, the umbrella repair man and the knife grinder selling their services, etc. Of course, you also miss out on power cuts and water shortages. For now. Even Palm Meadows and other gated communities might not be able to avoid these in the near future if the expansion of the city keeps going at the current rate.

34 comments:

Tharini said...

Wow Suj...that looks like an awesome place. Love the neat landscaping. But seems terribly intimidating...

B o o said...

I was awed by Palm Meadows when I went to visit my BIL who was staying at the hotel there. And Im not surprised by the Driver and househelp salaries and their incompetence. I know maids who charge Rs.1500 even in the "ordinary" apartments and dont do much of a job. I have nt heard so many Maid complaints in Chennai as much as I have heard and experienced in Bangalore. Wonder why!

Mohan said...

Nice write up. Like Boo, I am not surprised by driver and maid salaries either. We pay Rs. 2,000 per month to our domestic help at JP Nagar and she is not that efficient or reliable either. For drivers, 5-6k is the minimum.

Terri said...

With the cookie cutter homes, palm trees and minivan parked in the driveway, this place looks like a neighborhood straight out of Calif.
I hope more of these master planned communities with strict HOAs crop up, and I hope all my relatives move into them before we visit.

Anonymous said...

sujatha:

so inviting, and yet so out of reach!

until i saw photos of the well-manicured infy campus a couple of years ago, i did not think that grass like that could be grown in india - no kidding!

would it not be inexpensive for the multinationals to build master planned communities in, say, poorer northern karnataka (bhalki maybe), and ferry employees both ways - daily - by helicopters or turbo-props?

- s.b. (i am only half joking!)

Anonymous said...

US $ 1.2 million for Bangalore real-estate is insane. Especially since all you get is a small sliver of green lawns, expensive help, and a pretend western lifestyle.

It doesn't add up :-)

Praba said...

I am not surprised by the maid salaries. But, what's shocking - the price tag on the homes - 4.5 crores for production homes with smallish lots - insane! Well, it's a package I guess - the amenities are amazing!

Sujatha said...

Tharini, more than intimidating, it was a royal pain in all the wrong places. :( Just so glad not to have to deal with all that stuff any more. :)

Boo, I think it's the explosion in lifestyles, salaries, etc. that is causing is dysfunction. Chennai hasn't seen nearly as much growth as B'lore has in the past few years.

Mohan, thanks for sharing the info.

Terri, good plan. :))

S.B. you might have hit upon an idea. If Bangalore keeps growing the way it has, the companies won't have a choice. Employees spend an hour to two hours in traffic each way any way.

Anon, agree.

Praba, that might have been for one of the larger houses, but it still does not add up.

Anonymous said...

It could be a suburb anywhere in the US. Its sad that India is losing it Indianess .....no cookie cutter houses for me !!!

Gopi said...

Enjoyed your Blog; just returned from Whitefield, Bangalore Oct. l0; saw India for the very fist time; LOVED most of the people there, so gentle, serene, open and warm hearted, loving. I felt really appreciated, cared about seen and heard for who I really was; I've always felt a stranger in a strange land in my country of origin, Canada! Naturally, then, I've been seriously wondering about MOVING to India - maily due to the very Indian consciousness itself, so spiritually attuned - I could feel in even in the AIR. Still, I am trying to dig up what the UNDERbelly of India is like - and finding out about colossal rental situations sounds like a part of it...surely there must be other rental or purchase housing situations that are very REASONABLE...love to have feedback. Thanks, Gopi

1112112-2456 said...

Trust me Gopi - don't move.As long as you are a visitor- everthing's cool.You miss this place- visit often. This is my suggestion.

Anonymous said...

Hi Gopi,
As a fellow canadian who's grown up there, I must say, I am where you may want to be in a year or two. After visiting India last year (not for the first time though but after four years) and travelling the country on my own I decided to pack my bags, leave my family in Canada and move down to Bangalore. And its been a year since then I'm loving it. Its always nice knowing that eventually I will go back to Canada but so far the experience has been great. Although I have felt at times that traffic and life is a bit of a pain compared to the nice and pampered life that I was used to, its nice to know that I can get out of the comfort zone and try new things. Wish you the best. I'd definitely recommend comign here and working for some time. But I'm still not sold on whether I want to live here for the rest of my life.

Anonymous said...

Hi Sujatha,
Yes, Palm meadows is a great place to live and chill out. I stayed there for a month last summer and could not have asked for anything better. The gym is superb and on a busy day there are only about 50-60 people using the facilities. And you get personal trainers at zero cost. However I found the tennis lessons a bit too xpensive. The spa is fantastic and the service grt. I just forgot all about my diet and ate a good breakfast every morning , reading with 2 news papers, uninterruptd for 2 hrs sitting in a quiet corner in the restaurant. But I had no salutes from the security guards as I was a poor little girl on the rich block, who walked about from home to club house, took BTS bus[it was really amazing] to reach the Coffee Day on the otherside[if not autos demanded rs 30 for less than a mile] You have brought out an interesting issue about the 3 ladies who would shed blood for a renter..I was lucky I guess, I found a renter in the club house and I quoted the most reasonable rent, based on the investment we have made, who were not too sure if I was okay, as I did not take any token advance. I must say, they are great and have done up the remaining fixtures and fittings for us under good supervision and ofcourse I managed to run from the scene before..I could get killed :) by the 3 agents...just joking.
However you need to consider living there only if
1. You have no relatives in other parts of bangalore
2. You really want to live undisturbed
3. enjoy good food in 5 star setting
4. Workout in unintruding environment
5. Enjoy the spa like a royal
All at reasonable rates, when you convert into your earning currency.

BangaloreBlues said...

But why the comments that everything is cool as long as I only visit? please can you leave me a lot more detail re: moving to Banglare, please do not leave me guessing! Remember, I was only there ONCE...

BangaloreBlues said...

I am getting the strong impression that asking people in India what India is really like is like asking my Canadian friends what I needed to pack for Bangalore - no two people said the same thing, most could NOT answer! And I am talking about those that were THERE for at least 6 months. I have not been really happy here back in Canada since my visit to India! I just have NO idea how to rent safely from this kind of a distance - I'd want a house in a gated community for safety - I wanted to rent ideally, in Whitefield as it is away from the crowds and cars...but maybe Bangalore IS the best place to rent - someone remarked about the unreliable maids who didn't even to a decent job - yes, that was MY experience, PLUS they seemed so nice at first, but all were not totally honest and did whatever they wanted, in spite of my clear and polite requests and instructions. REASON?? Maybe the zero education levels? Thanks.

dubaigod said...

It looks more like the place we live in dubai, emirtes hills, anyone interested to rent out any villa for one month from june...I am pretty sure, it will be less expensive than staying at Leela's where we usually stay...any comments welcome...thanks for the time...its a great site...cheers

Sujatha said...

The Palm Meadows Resort, which is inside the gates of Palm Meadows, has corporate apartments for rent. You should check them out.

Good luck.

Ravi/Usha said...

This has been a very useful blog.
Like you have rightly said - rents in Palm Meadows are just unbelievable. Ozone has some houses within our budget. Was wondering how Ozone stacks up against Palm Meadows?
Thanks for your time!!

madhavi said...

I accidentally found your blog when searching for some info on whitefield,bangalore.I have to say I have enjoyed reading it so far and thanks for sharing it with us. Like U I have born and brought up in Jayanagar. Last 14 or so years been living in London and planning to move back to India in the near future. We have been browing the net for for some projects and there are some really nice developments coming up in whitefield. Having stayed there recently what has been your exp... what is hard for people to come and visit u and vice versa.. I really would like both my kids to know their immediate and extended family well.. If you can give me any info that would be great... Thanks once again

Madhavi

ranibee said...

I found your blog when looking for housing in Bangalore. Could someone tell me what the average rent is at Palm Meadows? An agent has quoted me $2500.

Sujatha said...

Madhavi, the issues would be traffic and distance. Although Marathahalli is fast becoming as central a location as any especially if work at ITPL or on the Outer Ring Road, it is still a long way away from the more established neighborhoods of Bangalore, like Basavanagudi, Malleswaram (although they are building a bypass road from Malleswaram), Jayanagar, etc. So if you are willing to put up with the distance and the traffic, then there is no reason not to live around the Whitefield area. Good luck with the move.


Ranibee, that seems to be the lower end of the range. Does not mean you cannot bargain and negotiate the price down, though. Perhaps you can also ask for the Club House membership, which is a hefty monthly expense in itself.

V said...

My India!



Hi Friends,

Good day to all of you.

I want to share my thoughts on ‘returning to India’ topic. I am a ‘Gulfie’ having lived in Muscat and Dubai since 1987, so I am qualified to enter the discussions. I want to contribute my thoughts for both people who want to go to India for a change and who want to consider seriously going back for good. I am also qualified to write from one more angle, I own a villa in the paradise on earth – Palm Meadows.

In this topic of going to India, the Gulf Indian and the USA/Canada Indians are not in the same field. All reference to Gulf in this paper is to the Arabian Gulf. Gulf Indians have been in touch with India and have made their properties there, always wanting to return back ‘home’; they go to India once, twice or even more number of times every year. The ladies have the luxury of going back home for child birth and getting back much later when their mind asks them to. But Gulf Indians also crib a lot about everything Indian; they live in frozen state of India when they left; now a days, the cribbing is somewhat less once India starting ‘shining’ and the general image of Indians outside went on a high tide.

Western Expatriates in Canada, when they went, they closed their doors to become Canadians. First generation Indians still hold on to India with a hope of returning; many first generation families split with one branch staying back and one coming back, with a pendulum approach to family life. U.S. Indians stayed back mostly because they grew into what they are in challenging situations. They make U.S. their home; their ‘thought honeymoon’ with India is mostly a sweet nostalgia, better left intact. U.S. Indians are probably more realistic and less fantasizing or fearing India. Many Canadian Indians probably did not migrate to Canada to become Canadians; they went to live in Canada with an Indian expatriate’s mind set. This is true of many Gulfie expats who migrated from Middle East.

So experiences of Indians in general getting back for short time or permanently is likely to be different depending on the world they come from.

For all of us, a positive mind set and acceptance of brutal facts will help be happy in India. India is a great place; it is a place of people with such endurance, such positive vibrancy, such festivity amongst statistically absurd chances for success and survival. I have always wondered and asked people in India - what makes them laugh and smile so much sitting where they are! You can enjoy India if you go with a sensitive mind. Imagine this – you live in a 30 apartment building, all 30 have cars, children, friends, outing, et all of best life; you laugh and return boisterously every night at 12 o clock – and the security man has to watch all of you 12 hours a day, with not an Indian dime in his pocket, does not know when his next tea will come from, his total take home of $ 72 a month vanishing in 7 days flat; he cannot touch with his money, what you can afford to throw, he has an orbit of rice and sambhar day in and day out. Can you be sensitive to him or do you habitually sermonize on how these incompetent security people sleep in duty? You will enjoy India if you are able to sensitive to lives. Otherwise, my advise will be, don’t go. Enjoy South of France. Remember one thing, no one is waiting with bated breath in India, they have their little lives to battle with.

I am not sermonizing and am not lecturing morality or social consciousness. Vital for you to enjoy – can you love people as they are? I think the arithmetic percentage of good people to the total population will be the highest in India – absolute numbers we win hands down, except for China anyway. Of course, myself having interacted with at least 40 nationalities, I can say, humans are humans, basic traits are the same. Am I contradicting myself? No; due to many cultural differences, the general comfort levels when you go to India are much higher than most countries – one good competitor could be Japan.

It will help your psychology very much if you remember simply this fact – India is not living there to make your life comfortable. India has 1 billion people and majority is poor. India is trying hard to make lives of that majority better and is striving for the same. Every year there is improvement there. India is busy with itself, making its life better, its life tolerable; your comforts and Palm Meadows are immaterial to India. The main point is, can you make yourselves comfortable in what is India? It is a place where abject poverty interacts with Palm Meadows residents; the poverty goes back to T.V. and sees serials where people laugh and eat and do things which seems out of reach eternally for them. In an aggressive country, probably Palm Meadows residents routinely will get their throats cut; in India maids short change them for 2 dollars. I was amazed when a Palm Meadows resident was passionately out pouring about how a patch of grass has not grown properly due to bad maintenance and the unfairness of the same.

This is a good place to address the issue of a maid cheating; firstly, I have not been exposed to blatant theft; yes they try to make little money here and there – they have to survive. Mostly maids cheat, because we have no long term commitment to their lives; because we will pay a Rs. 2000/- bill at Pizza Hut or Baskin Robins, but negotiate the salary with the maid. If I approach a maid with a mentality that I am here to make one Indian family live well, you will see a long term relationship. None of us would have survived their lives, believe me and kept up the ethical and moral standards they have kept. The beauty of India is that moral and ethical standards are indirectly proportional to the social status. Why does a driver change jobs with no commitment? Because there is no commitment from the employer; what they pay is an immaterial small sum to the driver; his downsides of losing the job are not enormous. If he get a 40% raise with the neighbor, what is wrong in shifting? You did it in your career, didn’t you?

In India you will live happily and comfortably, if you treat all your servants and maids as you treat them in New York. We expatriate Indians want to have the cake and eat it too. We want the service and commitment levels of the advanced societies at the costs of ‘old’ India. A driver gets Rs. 6000/- - exorbitant and prohibitive? It is US$ 120 for the whole month of 12 hour duty for God’s sake!

I have a home in India and my maid has a key. Trust them; also give them long term solutions to their miserable lives, see how comfortable you are! It makes perfect business sense for you to pay the school fees for one year for your drivers’ child. Do it and see how loyal he is. Saying I am there for a short time is an excuse. You get committed to the country; the country gets committed to you. Otherwise, please you are there as an extravagant attachment, India is busy with its life. Approach your trip from this mental get up and I guarantee you a comfortable and lovely stay. What these small people need is not even what your money w ill do in their unsafe lives; the reality - a generous person like you is such an enormous comfort; such a lovable safety net. Like belief in God, it is not important whether you live up to that belief or not – you are a great psychological comfort; remember this, you will enjoy India.

Someone raised the issue of safety. Safely is no issue in Bangalore or Chennai or Bombay or any other parts of India. I can personally vouch about interiors of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, West Bengal, Kerala and Maharashtra. I have a belief that other places will be as safe. Individual experiences are bad luck, it could happen in NY. It is like I hear about some students in USA getting shot by a horrible monster and I cancel my trip to USA. India plods along. However unfair it is to the poor masses there, the well to do have an organized life. They are well taken care of. Go there in the safe thinking that there are two Indias inside one – one India of you and me enjoying life and another India of maids and drivers and security men, taking good care of us; and a Police system which protects you and me well, not them please. Interiors of India are heaven to enjoy, but with that special mental make-up; go to the streets of Ahmadabad and talk to the auto rickshawallahs; visit the temples of Tirunelveli; come back and tell me I am right! Wow, India is great man.

Majority of the poor people in India are – surprisingly - taking their lives with dignity and strength. This is the training of centuries of our culture. Put the burden on God and carry on. Majority are honest. Globalization has its own impact by disturbing their minds. There are too many things and life styles beyond their means. This is opening a new unnecessary struggle in their small lives. But you must treat them with the respect and dignity they deserve. Enjoy that little flower vendor who cannot go home even if she has a wet day and has a splitting headache – get her an aspirin and hold her hands. You want to enjoy India to the hilt? This is where a treasure lies. You will never be disappointed. No other country (talking from a position of pride and not literally, I do not have statistics) has such majority of helpful and well intentioned people. No other country has so many numbers of people spending their lives helping others (here I am statistically correct, we are huge in anything).

Depending on your budget and comfort levels you expect, choose your apartment or community. There are plenty. Are you ok with a pent house near Palm Meadows? There is Purva Fountain Square, you get a three bed apartment, with an open terrace total 2800 sq ft for Rs. 18,000/- pm. Convert again, it is US$.360/-. This is a good time - too many properties too cheap. Again safety is no issue; having said that, if you are unlucky you could get robbed in your country too. No one is after your money; all you need to be is to be generous to the poor people servicing you.

Now for comforts – well, internalize a few facts:

- India is noisy; you can do nothing about it. Get some nice ear plugs; get an apartment in the 11th floor. India is not going to change for you and me, it will remain noisy.
- India is congested, it is horrible traffic, it is completely undisciplined, and on the street it is rule of the Tarzan.
- India is dirty; it is horribly dirty in some places; have you seen slum dog millionaire? Erase the filmy aspects of the movie and see the slum scenes, you think it is exaggerated, please do visit Dharavi. People live like that, it is a fact. If you are going to Bangalore, remember you will live on the streets, if you have to go to places. You cannot imagine how terrible it is, unless you go there.
- For personal living comfort it is dusty, you can’t walk without chappal inside home too.
- It is polluted like hell in some cities and places. Nothing will change in a hurry.
- If you are going to Chennai – 8 out of 12 months, it is horribly sticky and impossible to enjoy living even under a fan; love for Chennai makes people like us blind to this fact.
- It is greatly unsophisticated; most times you have intruders and you have nosy millers.

You can do nothing about the above – like you can do nothing about street robbery when you go to Rome. Then how do I make myself comfortable?

Well, when I go to London, I spend well for my comforts, my sightseeing, my visits; where I don’t mind spending is the common infrastructure, the rail and bus, which are very comfortable and far cheaper for the quality. But then remember, if you want quality in a country which does not have quality common infrastructure, you are ordering quality custom made. So you need to pay like the West; in West you pay for different things and in India you pay for different things. Once you pay about half of what you spend in the west, you get almost the same quality, with which you can cocoon yourselves. Cocoon yourselves is the concept.

You need to cocoon yourselves; have a driver, if necessary have two maids, have a car at your disposal. If you are ok, then hire a chauffeur driven car every time – it is cheap; remember to use only the modern cars with air conditioning. Ambassador, niyet. Have a good accommodation, free from all ills above – not noisy, not dirty, dusty and not hot – or enough air-conditioning around.

Power is a problem sometime, so have inverters.

Food is the best part of India; you have food and food and food at unbelievable prices. You can go to any level you want, idli dosa camps to vegetarian authentic Italian joints – bars, wow, you can’t get enough. But what is lacking again? There is no great entertainment and places to go to daily inside the city, like what you have in each city in the West; you have to go to eating joints and bars with company, you can go to movies, some malls. Having said that, this is not entirely true too; do you have interest in traditional visiting places, culture, history, temples, and authentic food, you have enough to do. You can go short distances to great places. Socializing in India can occupy your whole life time.

You must be having relatives and friends who opted to stay back and make a career there, when you wandered out. Have you seen them enjoy their lives? It is fascinating to watch how they permanently cocooned themselves to be comfortable. They have big enough cocoons to be butter flies and fly around. To be comfortable, follow their model.

Summarize –

a. Nothing like going to India, whether short stay or permanently.
b. Be a people person when you go. Small pleasures come from being sensitive to small people dealing with problems of existence with no tools in hand. Try this, surprise an old lady (I hate to call her a beggar) by giving her a 100 re note – see the pleasure and gratitude – see the karma credit you get by giving 50 Rs – you get 50 $ worth.
c. Pay international level to servicing lot of people, after all they need to make lives out of this.
d. Get committed long term with small people.
e. Safety is no issue at all.
f. Accept brutal facts and cocoon yourselves; organize well before you go; get your own comfort universe, insulated from the mayhem around you.
g. Enjoy the food.
h. Enjoy your social circles – you make friends easy in India.
i. Remember – India plods along right! Finally it plods right!
j. Also tell yourselves, India is there for the Indians there, they are busy trying to survive; they need not create a world to suit me. Don’t expect the India you left behind.
k. Budget well; don’t cut your budget because it is India, but surprisingly Rupee goes much longer than what it is worth in US$.
l. Relax and enjoy.


Cheers friends. Finally, this issue of whether I will be happy in India is not an external question, it is an internal one. I have to be happy where ever I am. If I am completely happy in where I am now, why should I be asking questions about returning to India? Go to India from a happy position of being happy where you are and go to India to be happy. Happiness is in the mind. Really!

BangaloreBlues said...

Please accept my immense gratitude for your posting; this was also the India I discovered, though you did speak of things I had not thought of which will be valuable when I return to my beautiful Mother India.

Sujatha said...

V, I agree with Bangalore Blues. Your perspective is fantastic and absolutely invaluable to anyone plotting their move back home. Thank you for this detailed posting. I suggest you set up a blog and give a daily blow by blow account. I'm sure a lot of prospective returness would apprecite it a lot. All the best.

Bangalore Blues, all the best to you too for a speedy return home, which is what it seems you want to do. Cheers!

V said...

Thank you Friends for your comments. I found a great way to get things done in India sitting where you are. The TTK group has an organization named yourmaninindia.com - they organize anything for you in India, at reasonable prices. They are professional and they are quick to respond. They get things done in a giffy.

Taurus said...

V - your detailed comments were really good and refreshing. Thankfully there are people like you who look at places and people with an open mind...and express their experience so well. Please let me know if you start a blog. I am sure it will be as interesting as this "article".

Daniel said...

I returned to India last year for good after a Ph.D., and living 14 years in the USA.

It seems to me that if you ignore / find ways around the dirt, pollution, crowded lines, and hot weather (I live in Chennai) ... then India may indeed be your land of opportunity.

I mean opportunity to make a huge difference in someones life with easy small sacrifices (like paying tuition for my maid's son), helping an orphanage (we help with educating some girls), re-thatch my drivers roof, and numerous other such daily opportunities ...

I also mean opportunity to start a business, lead a team, impart your western thinking, etc. to improve the processes and systems that we so lack in India.

All in all ... yes hapiness, and contentment is in the mind ... but if you think you can make a bigger positive difference by moving back to India - wait for the right opportunity ... and then JUST DO IT.

Cheers!

fickle philosopher said...

Hi Daniel,

I fully suscribe to your views. I am from Chennai too. We are from India and God has been little kinder to us. To forget our beginings is a sin.

The reward of helping small lives is the happiness you see in their faces. You just keep helping and keep going, in fact without any expectations. I somehow feel fullfilled in life when I do that.

I wish I have the large mind of a Gandiji who said he will not wear a shirt till every Indian wears one. However, we can all be sporadic Gandhijis when a single occassion to help stares at us.

India has probably the highest ratio of helpers in the world. Once you get back and observe, you are amazed by the number of silent helpers - my friend has a driver for whom my friend not only provides complete livelyhood but also committed to make his driver's children professionals. The issue is the cost of doing so is so little and it just does not affect us.

I try to do this - totally helpless old street people, you just hold their hands for a few seconds - see the impact of that support on them, wow nothing can give you more happiness.

If you enjoy people and humanicy, nothing like India - it is rich, richest in the world in humanity per capita.

So happy to have read your comment.

Love all,
Krishnan

vinesh said...

Your blog is very nice... i like your blog ....

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Anonymous said...

Very nice blog.
Rentals at Adarsh Palm Meadows starts from Rs. 1 Laks a month to 10 Lakhs a month for various sized bunglow. Sale at Adarsh Palm Meadows vary between INR 3Cr to INR 15Cr but availability is very low.

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Rishi Raj said...

Frankly it surprises me that a house costing 4.5 crore and people are buying it...
Why the hell are they paying so high...
There are other better things that can be done by 4.5 crore....

DivSu said...

Hi Sujatha

With your permission I'd like to re-post V's comment on my blog. I keep getting asked questions on return to India and this is absolutely god stuff :)

Anonymous said...

I am not sure what is the 'wow' factor leaving in Palm Meadows when just outside the gates you see the real 'Bangalore'. Yes I am a Indian (Bangalorean) settled in US and for about half the 4 crore or something price I have a bigger home in LA.

I did rent a house in Palm Meadows for a few months to try out and I got tired of the suddenly 'rich' people who only talk how much value their houses have gone up. I moved out and bought a nice/cute 3 bed apt for about 45 lakhs in Koramangala and I enjoy this immensely when I visit Blore. I am in the real company of average Bangaloreans and not some snobbish NRI's who care less about anything else.

I really dont care about all the ameniities at Palm Meadows since there is no need for all that since I have all this in LA.

Cheers...Arvind

Anonymous said...

Why do you anyway need a driver or 2 or 3 maids? and if you really need it, it shouldn't be a problem to make just a little step outside of that stupid gates and look for somebody reliable. There will be plenty... I dont know, why people living in such bubbles are having important jobs (wit important decision-marking processes) have to come to India.... it is just not even touching reality or the needs of the country. I am living here for over a year in a normal neighbor hood, without any guards and its not dangerous and I have much more shops and parks around... and I can get in touch with the society on different levels.

However,

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