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tell me about india

post #1 of 58
Thread Starter 
i currently live in canada - i'm a student. my mother, the primary earner of the family, was offered a two-year-long posting in india to represent the interests of bell canada, a telecom company. she wants to accept it because it will allow her to save about CDN $45,000 per annum in taxes.

this would mean i'd have to live in india for two years. i'm not really concerned or anything, but i do have a couple of questions. for one thing, what's the technological climate like? i know it's sort of a mishmash between ultra-high-tech and third-world, but is there enough of the former to negate the latter, or do i have to get ready to "rough it?"

i'm also very concerned about my educational career. i don't think i'm going to be there long enough to specialize in anything, so i'm not going to bother with that... however, there seem to be a lot of MBA programs, and a million "institutes of technology." how relevant are these in the western world? i mean, i am coming back to north america eventually. i don't want to piss away two years of my life on a diploma/degree that isn't accepted here. WHAT SHOULD I DO

finally, i'd be grateful for any random nuggets of coolness about the country. i definitely want to soak up the culture and the uniqueness the country offers. what should i do while i am there?
post #2 of 58
hoy boy..... this could be a long post.


1. let me start off by saying that you are on the recieving end of a wonderful gift, not unlike a genie telling you to bend over and filling your rectum up with gold - it might be a little unpleasant or difficult at first, but in the end you will have a great deal of valuable assets (although you might have to dig around in some shit to find them)

2. I was wisked away to a foreign country as a teenager by my father's work. I ended up coming back 25 years later, after having lived in 5 countries, traveled in more than 60, and done a bunch of cool stuff. play your cards right, and something similar may happen to you.

3. India is the place to be today, with the possible exception of china. more importantly, due to your age, in 5 years india will definatly be the place, while china will probrably not be. this is encredible luck for you. if you take the time to learn about the culture and the people, you can leverage that when you go home to make yourself an excellent career. I know this seems like crazy talk to you now - but it is entirely possible that you will be financing your children's educations on skills and connections that you pick up over the next 2 years.

4. where will you be stationed? there are advantages in several places, but they are different.

5. it will be next to impossible to find a job that pays well- there are millions of young indians who are smarter than you, better educated, will work harder and longer hours for the kind of money that you are used to spending on video games. but, as a foregner, a person with native English, you may very well be able to get a very low paying job with one of the large indian companies. they will not want you for what ever skills you think that you posses - believe me, no matter how good your computer skills are, there are people out there much better and cheaper - but they may very well want you for their marketing departments and may want to leverage your english. I would try very hard to get a possition, even if it pays $300 a month or so, with one of the half dozen largest indian companies. the potential for connections and for experience is huge.

6. learn about india. go to the university library, get everything that you can about the religions of india, castes, cultures. don't bother with books written by indians called "how to do business in india" they aren't worth anything. indians are very influenced by religion, if you understand the religion, you will understand them. also, if you respect and understand their religion, they will like you. any chance that any indian ever invites you to anything religious, go, and do what ever you are asked to do. you will learn a huge amount, and have fun. some of the best times I have had in my life have been at indian religious festivals.

7. there are a large number of courses available in india, including by some of the best business schools in the world. some of these are very cheap, becuase they are aimed at indians. I would take as many of these as possible. a few years ago, you could take seminars by INSEAD for about 1/10th the price that the course would cost in Europe. I would take as many of these as possible. meet everyone you can - some of these guys will be very important in the future, and you want to have them as your friends. others will take you drinking, also important. but, if you go back home and say that your worked 2 years in the marketing department of Reliance Industries (one of the 3 biggest corporations in India) and you took the "young leadership management developement" course at the university of hydrabad, you are going to be in excellent shape back home.

8. there are plenty of non-career related things to do. a friend of mine's wife studied yoga for 4 years. I know people who have studied meditation, martial arts, and other things. if you are willing to live like an indian, people will be thrilled to have you as part of their social groups.

9. here's the catch - living like an indian is not that easy. india is very dirty, noisy, hot, smelly. most indians, even the middle class, live spartan lives. they eat less than you would think, very often the same food day after day. many, many indians do not have plumbing, and many spend hours every day on public transportation. if you are going to have indian friends, you will have to get used to the sensory overload, and the hygine issues. but it is worth it.

10. I think that you will find it difficult to find young people who "party" like canadians. I don't think that many indian students smoke pot, or have casual sex. they study very hard, or work. many, many people don't ever date, they have arranged marridges. yes, even today. and a girl who dates you, may have a problem explaining this to friends and family, and it may kill her chances of getting married later. let me point out, however, that I wasn't really dating when I was in india, so on this I am going from what my friends told me. they may have been lying, and it may be a big frat party. I don't know, but I kind of doubt it.

11. the tech side depend where you are. I am guessing if your mother is with the telecom industry, you will be in Mumbai, but I don't know. the big cities have good internet and phone connections. I don't know about TV - I didn't really watch when I was there.

12. if you can, travel a lot. see the country. I have a friend who basically traveled by train for 6 months and saw as much of the country as possible. you should be able to find cheap flights to other parts of asia, as well.

13. india is very cool - you will see, every day for two years, stuff that blows your mind, stuff that is unlike anythat that you have seen before. soak up the art, the music, the food. enjoy.


if you have specific questions, let me know. on the thread is find

one question - what ethnicity are you? indians are a little sensitive to skin tone.
post #3 of 58
Thread Starter 
beautiful, i was kinda hoping that you'd see this thread - i remember reading a lot of stuff you said about india, from a sociological standpoint (castes and such) in the current events forum several months ago

the economic boom definitely excites me. i would love to do a little preemptive "independent self-sovereignty" while i am there - contacts, networking, and so on.

i am painfully aware of the bleeding-edge workforce willing to work for pennies a day. i study with some of those kids (the ones that migrated to canada), and yeah, they're academic giants. scary stuff to a dude like me. i suppose i will have to rely on my strengths, which are command of the english language, and the knowledge of what i am outclassed at.

i will be staying in chennai/madras, in the far south. we do have extended family scattered all over the country (mumbai, new delhi, probably a few other places as well), so i should probably be able to shack up with them if an opportunity presents itself.

travel is also going to happen. some of the tourist attractions i have been reading about are incredible. how can i not visit six-thousand-year-old temples to long-dead religions? that's almost older than civilization itself

i can't tell you how happy i am at your praise of educational institutions over there. i'm definitely going to try to get into some kind of business-related program, although the locals will probably beat me to it.

the lack of party animals is no problem. ditto tv. i've been wasting too much of my life glued to that thing anyway. the internet is sort of a replacement, but i'm gonna try to moderate that too. i do not plan on wasting a second while i am there. that said, i hear very good things about indian hash.

ethnicity-wise, i am mixed african, so my skin tone is very similar to that of an indian. this is a good thing, right?

man you know what, this is starting to look better and better. i'm looking forward to this immensely. thanks a lot
post #4 of 58
Going by train, I recall India got rid of the dining cars and such on the first-class trains back in the '50s. That might have changed.

India also has a fair amount of bizzare palaces, which are quite interesting. They are like a camp version of Buckingham Palace situated in the jungle.
post #5 of 58
itll drive you nuts. itll frustrate the hell out of you. you will hate more days than you will love. you will spend every day walking the fine line between laugh or cry. and yet it will be the best thing you ever do for yourself.
post #6 of 58
Trains don't have dining cars, and are *painfully* slow. But I still recommend it, at least for shorter distances. They stop and feed the monkeys from Hyderabad to Goa.

A word of warning--Chennai is HOT. Very hot.
post #7 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by oman
i will be staying in chennai/madras, in the far south. we do have extended family scattered all over the country (mumbai, new delhi, probably a few other places as well), so i should probably be able to shack up with them if an opportunity presents itself.



ethnicity-wise, i am mixed african, so my skin tone is very similar to that of an indian. this is a good thing, right?



sorry - here is the bad news: your value will encrease the more you seem to be less indian. I knew a guy in india who was a consultant for a large corporation who was american of indian descent who actually used a different name in india (he had an indian name, raj, but used the name paul in india) and denied being indian, in order to have a better status. the indians will try and place you in their caste system as soon as possible, and typically if you are a lilly white european then they can't do this and put you on the top of the heap. many indians are prejudiced against dark skin - as often the lower castes have darker skin. what you need to do (and I am sorry to say this) is make sure that you don't make yourself look too indian, make it clear from looking at you that you are a north american of mixed african heritage. I can't tell you, off the top of my head, how exactly to do this, but if you can this will help you. I have seen many times how people of indian descent from america were not given the status I was, basically because they were treated as though they were local.
post #8 of 58
Thread Starter 
globetrotter, thanks a ton for the candid advice

Quote:
Originally Posted by m@T
itll drive you nuts. itll frustrate the hell out of you. you will hate more days than you will love. you will spend every day walking the fine line between laugh or cry. and yet it will be the best thing you ever do for yourself.
beautiful

sounds like something i once read about the peace corps

Quote:
Originally Posted by LabelKing
Going by train, I recall India got rid of the dining cars and such on the first-class trains back in the '50s. That might have changed.

India also has a fair amount of bizzare palaces, which are quite interesting. They are like a camp version of Buckingham Palace situated in the jungle.
yeah i've been reading a lonely planet book about it, and there are a ton of historical monuments i plan on visiting. like i said, a six-thousand-year old temple... mind-blowing

Quote:
Originally Posted by operationexpat
Trains don't have dining cars, and are *painfully* slow. But I still recommend it, at least for shorter distances. They stop and feed the monkeys from Hyderabad to Goa.

A word of warning--Chennai is HOT. Very hot.
yeah the heat is one thing that i'm gonna have to watch. does it rain often, or anything? what kind of clothing is the most temperature-friendly?

the feeding monkeys thing sounds cool. and who needs dining cars anyway

have any of you guys ever dived there? apparently chennai has one of the longest beaches in the world (12km)... should be some amazing snorkeling there
post #9 of 58
I think the guys here have covered the work aspect pretty well; take heed to Globe's advice regarding education, and work.
I can give you a bit of info on the 'young-person's life' there, as when I was 20 (5 years ago), doing an internship with the largest South Asian merchant bank, I spent 6 months in New Delhi, and 6 in Mumbai.
Now let me tell you, it is not as dry as you might think, things were changing very fast in the time that I was there. You just have to be prepared to know that it works very differently from Europe (I assume N. America is similar to Europe for young people). One thing I need to flag up is the fact that it is not easy to get into the social scene, there are elite social circles, (Indian film stars, Indian fashion industry, etc.) and being a westerner, it is very easy to get caught up into these circles. Be aware, that although things are changing, if you have money, or you can help those with money, there is nothing you cannot do, and I'm talking cocaine raves in 5 star hotels, that last over 12 hours.
If you are expecting beer keg parties with pot, you're going to be disappointed. If you enjoy Scotch whisky, with cigars, and a bit of coke, along with some 'loose' dusky beauties (the richer ones tend to be more loose!), in 5 star hotels and people's farm houses, then this is the right place.
I don't think you are going to find that kind of life down south, but I'm sure its all fun and games when you go up to Delhi and Mumbai.
Seriously, get involved, the girls are the fash.
If you take a western mentality, and mix with the middle classes, you are going to get board. Mix with politician's children for sure; just make sure their mentality does not affect your work ethic!
post #10 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by oman
globetrotter, thanks a ton for the candid advice


beautiful

sounds like something i once read about the peace corps


yeah i've been reading a lonely planet book about it, and there are a ton of historical monuments i plan on visiting. like i said, a six-thousand-year old temple... mind-blowing


yeah the heat is one thing that i'm gonna have to watch. does it rain often, or anything? what kind of clothing is the most temperature-friendly?

the feeding monkeys thing sounds cool. and who needs dining cars anyway

have any of you guys ever dived there? apparently chennai has one of the longest beaches in the world (12km)... should be some amazing snorkeling there

a couple quick answers - it rains in the rainy season - google monsoon map - but that is basically june-sept in india. it gets very rainy. most of the year it simply won't rain aside from the rainy season.

watch the fucking monkies - they bite. they have deseases, they steal watches. they are cute, but keep your eye on them.

when you dive in developing markets, watch the people who fill your tanks. you want to be very carefull about what is in the intake of the air.
post #11 of 58
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bouji
I think the guys here have covered the work aspect pretty well; take heed to Globe's advice regarding education, and work.
I can give you a bit of info on the 'young-person's life' there, as when I was 20 (5 years ago), doing an internship with the largest South Asian merchant bank, I spent 6 months in New Delhi, and 6 in Mumbai.
Now let me tell you, it is not as dry as you might think, things were changing very fast in the time that I was there. You just have to be prepared to know that it works very differently from Europe (I assume N. America is similar to Europe for young people). One thing I need to flag up is the fact that it is not easy to get into the social scene, there are elite social circles, (Indian film stars, Indian fashion industry, etc.) and being a westerner, it is very easy to get caught up into these circles. Be aware, that although things are changing, if you have money, or you can help those with money, there is nothing you cannot do, and I'm talking cocaine raves in 5 star hotels, that last over 12 hours.
If you are expecting beer keg parties with pot, you're going to be disappointed. If you enjoy Scotch whisky, with cigars, and a bit of coke, along with some 'loose' dusky beauties (the richer ones tend to be more loose!), in 5 star hotels and people's farm houses, then this is the right place.
I don't think you are going to find that kind of life down south, but I'm sure its all fun and games when you go up to Delhi and Mumbai.
Seriously, get involved, the girls are the fash.
If you take a western mentality, and mix with the middle classes, you are going to get board. Mix with politician's children for sure; just make sure their mentality does not affect your work ethic!
man, you make it sound amazing

i was expecting some pretty depressing information, but this thread turned into "if you enjoy scotch, cigars, cocaine and women, you're gonna love india!"

in your opinion, what's the best city for me to be located in? right now chennai, mumbai and new delhi are all options.
post #12 of 58
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by globetrotter
a couple quick answers - it rains in the rainy season - google monsoon map - but that is basically june-sept in india. it gets very rainy. most of the year it simply won't rain aside from the rainy season.

watch the fucking monkies - they bite. they have deseases, they steal watches. they are cute, but keep your eye on them.

when you dive in developing markets, watch the people who fill your tanks. you want to be very carefull about what is in the intake of the air.
yes, DISEASES! are there any precautions that i can take? will vitamin dailies and whatnot help? are there any inoculations that i can take?
post #13 of 58
go to the doctor, tell him you will be spending two years in india. he will produce a small barrel of various needles and whack you up with them. a couple of them (hepatitis i think) require you to go back 2 or 3 times.
post #14 of 58
Wait, that's how they define party? Love that colonial mindset!
I'll graduate school in a couple of weeks...

How long does it take until one gets an invitation to that kind of parties?
Honestly, I'll be in the military first but have plenty of time afterwards and thought about spending a few months in an interesting place of the world doing an internship (some connections *cough*). I thought about India and China, but for some reason I don't really like the Chinese (though the hygiene issue is a real downturn, but in those social circles that shouldn't really happen). In other words: Man, I envy you for going to some foreign place for that long (have spend some time in central america and a year in the states but that's got to be entirely different). Have some serious fun as that is often where you meet the coolest people and from what I figure helps a lot with learning and one's later career.
post #15 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by oman
man, you make it sound amazing

i was expecting some pretty depressing information, but this thread turned into "if you enjoy scotch, cigars, cocaine and women, you're gonna love india!"

in your opinion, what's the best city for me to be located in? right now chennai, mumbai and new delhi are all options.

In my opinion, New Delhi, but that is because of the social scene there, (and the lax work ethic ).
When I was in ND, I stayed in an area called Westend, which suffice to say, when you move to India, you are going to find out how different the South Delhi colonies are from the rest of the country.
As I was saying in my last post, mix with the politician's children, they are your easiest route into what the Delhiites call, 'Page 3' (its noting like what page 3 is here in the UK!) and 'High Society'
Mumbai is actually a much nicer city, more developed, better work ethic (in Delhi it was not unheard of that my boss would come into the office at one in the afternoon, and leave by 4pm. I knew for a fact, because my father is a good friend of his, that he had company at his home every evening, involving a lot of whisky, and usually concluding at around 4 am).
Mumbai has its drawbacks too, in Delhi you get a nice winter period, Mumbai is hot all year round, and can get humid. Pollution is bad in both cities, most people say Mumbai is worse, I disagree, I think the pollution in Delhi is worse. The people are very, very, different in both cities. In Delhi, people are very showy; it has a very new money feel to it, whilst in Mumbai people are more, solid, for lack of a better word. That said Delhiites are more traditional in terms of Indian culture.
There was a phrase that many people from Mumbai would say when I lived there, "Delhi is about who you know, Bombay is about who you are" which is actually quite true.
Chennai is totally different, as I said before, it is unlikely that you are going to have any good social scene there, I have never lived in Madras (Chennai) but I have visited, so I cannot say for sure, suffice to say that Indian film stars, or any of my friends in India at the time never went to Madras for a night out. Madras does have its advantages though; it is much cleaner than Delhi and Bombay. It's a place that is moving quickly, and if you are in business, it is probably the place to be. When I think of India, I think of places like Delhi, Bombay, Rajasthan, and Punjab. Madras somehow never felt like I was in India, which is neither a good nor a bad thing.
One thing I would say, to help you make your decision, if you think you are going to become part of an elite social circle (I had links before I moved, so it might not be as easy as I think it is just because one is European) then the best option is Delhi, hands down. If you like what you hear from the others, and are not fussed about living in a small/medium sized apartment, at relatively high prices, along with the other disadvantages I mentioned, then go for Mumbai. In Mumbai, you can just go out to a club/bar (in a hotel of course, this is India, after all) with friends, in Delhi you can't really do that. Well, you can, but you are going to be pretty board, pretty soon.
As far as which part of the city you live in, which in my opinion is more important than which city in India. In Delhi you really have to go for one of the colonies in South Delhi, Westend, where I lived is wonderful, centrally located, no power cuts. It has three manned gates into the colony, which is good from a security perspective, and has colonial style houses, which is a nice touch.
Other colonies, which I would live in Delhi, are: Anand Niketan, Chanakiya Puri, Golf Links, Jor Bagh, Shanti Niketan, Sunder Nagar. If you can afford it Lutyens Delhi is the best. If you don't mind being a bit further out, Vasant Vihar, Panchshill Park, Hauz Khaz, and Greater Kailash, are also decent colonies.
In Mumbai, I would only really suggest Bandra and Marine Drive.
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