Today I think it is three months since I arrived in Mumbai!
It really does not feel like that. So many things have happened, so the time has just been flying. I have met a tone of new people and done a lot of things. Since it is three months now, I decided to do a top three and bottom three of what I have experienced so far.
1. Ganesh Chaturi at Lal Baugh
I do this has to be at the top of my list. On the days leading up to the Ganesh festival I read quite a bit of the festival and also got some input from my colleagues. My plan was then to go to the biggest place of worship and just to see the queue. Then an American colleague who speaks Gujrati (one of the local languages) appeared, and we were even able to get into this place! Usually people had to be standing up to 18 hours in a queue, but we managed to come inside in a few minutes. This was also my first real experience with the Hindu religion and the whole day was quite cool.
2. Driving in India!
This one might seems a bit out of place, but I still think it deserves a place on the list. One of the things you as a foreigner are told NOT to do in India is to drive. The traffic is like crazy and people are driving at the left (wrong) side of the road. So when I really managed it, even if the owner of the car might not agree that I did, it was a huge relief.
And one more thing that was nice by being able to drive was surely the freedom it brings. Back in Norway I can usually just walk or take a short drive to get to everywhere. Here I feel a bit more, I don’t know how to say it, but jailed or something like that? Not the same freedom to go and do everything I would like. So with a car it was just fantastic to go. I’m really considering buying a vehicle, but let’s see…
3. Friendly people
Maybe this should have come at the top of the list? I do think so, but it is so generic that I think it could maybe not be on the top. But Indians are generally very extremely friendly people. Everyone from my colleagues to the people you meet at the streets. Even the auto drivers have started to (mostly) be friendly to me.
It is maybe not fair to complain about the traffic in Mumbai, but even the locals do so, so why not? Some days it can be just horrible to get from place to place.
19. Customer service
When I started to write this post earlier today, this one was third last. But during the day, and some more quarreling with some company that have promised me three times to deliver Internet connection at home, I had to put it one place down…
When I moved to India, I did expect it to take some time and be not so nice at public offices, but that has been much easier than what I expected. But the service I have got at some companies here is just awful! And the worst thing is probably that it is not me, but common in India. One of my colleagues recently moved to Capgemini from another company and the phone provider could not even manage to transfer his bill, so that it should be paid by the new company. And this phone company is not a small one. They even used to sponsor some not so good football team with red shirts from Manchester… I have been fighting with one company for more than a month to get my internet at home. Three different people have promised me that they will deliver the day after! Today the manager one level up told me that I have to sign one more paper indicating that if this does not work at home the company will not be responsible for that! What a shit! He called me about one hour ago and promised that I should have that document in 45 mins. Do you think I have it? Surely not. And why should I sign anything like that? I already have a contract with that company. As this company is part of a corporation that includes the biggest IT consultancy company in India and then is a competitor to my company I’m not allowed to mention their name. Their chairman will resign next year I think, so maybe I should write to him directly and get him to do something about this?
20. First night at guest house
This just has to go down at the worst thing. I remember that day so vey well. It was raining like crazy when I took the taxi from the nice hotel to the guest house. When I get there, I found out that I had to share room with three people who actually run the house. That could have been ok, but they did speak almost no English. When they offered me dinner and I could see that it was rice that was just heated in the micro wave oven I started to get worry. And it was true. That evening/night I had my “Delhi belly”. For those of you who don’t know what that is, I can promise you that it is not nice, and that it means being at the toilet, or close to it, for most of the time. And this was the same day as when I had the snake in my bathroom… Not a nice day at all.
Talk to you soon!