Wednesday, February 01, 2006

One year in Bombay

One year in Bombay today. Wow, we had serious doubts about us lasting even 6 months and here we are a year later, finally enjoying the city. Last year this time, we were on a plane from Bangalore, the city we loved and still do, the first Indian city we set up home in after moving back from the States, the city where one can find a good greek salad and an amazing variety of garlic bread on every corner.

Bombay was a world apart, a city of "vegetarian restaurants", where sometimes it has almost impossible to get hold of a decent wine or cheese, a city where the bulk of ones waking hours is spent in vehicles, trying to get to someplace to do something. Rush, rush, rush. People, people, people everywhere. The first time I saw the sea of people at Andheri station, I was claustrophobic and terrified that I would have to become part of the crowd to get from anywhere to anywhere.

Travelling on the A2 was the start of my accepting and eventually liking the city. Little by little we have found our own spots of the city to identify and grow with. It has not been an easy or smooth ride, but in retrospect, it has been educative and enjoyable.


Anonymous said...

would like to know how you compare bangalore vs bombay. I always thought bombay would be a better place to stay. (from the perspective of arts and culture scene). Also, isnt the traffic in mumbai much better organized than bangalore?

Shalini said...

Meera, in my opinion, Bangalore is the best place in India to move to from the States. Yes, the traffic is chaotic, but because it is still a relatively small city, it is managable. In Bombay, the public transportation is good but being a large city, almost half your day can be spent commuting. The arts and culture scene is great if you live in south Bombay. We live in Lokhandwala and find 2 hours commuting each way..aside from Prithvi Theatre in Juhu..for seeing a play too much to tackle most evenings. Things to look out for when finding an apt in Bangalore: power backup--electricity goes almost everyday...(its a good idea to invest in an inverter); water pressure, if you live in an higher floor, and most importantly the locality. We absolutly loved Defence Colony in Indira Nagar, as it was close to the airport, MG Road, Commercial street, quick access to the ring road, lots of grocery stores and still very green. Coming from San Francisco, you're going to find it easy to love Bangalore. There is an easy, friendly feel to the city with lots of cafe's and bookstores around every corner. Good Luck on your move!

Anonymous said...

i grew up in blore and remember the garden city, hence the distress on what it has become.

Can u tell me if the moves you made from the states to india and back were self-initiated? Did you do the move yourself or did you have the company relocate you? If u did it yourself, i'd be interested to know if u went abt disposing off stuff (like furniture etc) to make the moving simpler?

Shalini said...

Anon: My first move back to India was after completing college and practical training and I used a TR (Transfer of Residence) to ship my stuff back. The second move was because we wanted to make our life here. It was a personal decision and we did not transfer with any company. We came back only with our four suitcases. We sold our car and gave all our household belongings to friends and neighbours. We could not part with our collection of books and music so we shipped them to India by sea mail, which took about 3 months.

If you can qualify for a TR, then that is the best way to bring your belongings home. You will need a forwarding agent to deal with all the paperwork and clearance from customs once it reaches India though. You can bring anything that is used, including vehicles, but be sure to keep all your receipts to show proof of cost and purchase date.