3-Month Anniversary in Bengaluru …

Finished 3 months in Bengaluru and fast approaching the 100-day anniversary. Thought it is a good time to Blog about some of the experiences.

(A) Health

Overall, we have been doing quite okay. Each of us have had a minor ailment, with varying degrees of recovery speed. I got the worst of it. I had a 5-day stretch of cough/fever/throat-ache/cold and my cough still has not subsided, after almost 1 month! Hope it is not the precursor to some long-term ailment. The weather, though much better than most of the Indian cities, is tarnished by the ever-present dust and pollution. Pollution is one thing, why, even San Francisco Bay Area is suffering from it, but all the dust from the crazy construction adds another dimension. Though real-estate is supposed to be in a lull, it does not seem that way from all the construction.

(B) Security

Once, I noticed a Guard who had a bit too much to eat at lunch and was snoring away at his desk. His comrades, instead of waking him up, were standing around and laughing at him. Though it was funny to see, it wont really be that funny when some incident happens. But then, whom to blame here? Just random guys, with minimal training, and who barely look strong enough to talk, let alone physically overcome criminals and thieves, are being paraded as Security. The “Sign-In Procedure” at all complexes is a joke. A couple of days back, I signed in with total random data (Name, Phone Number etc.) in totally illegible handwriting (I myself could not read it!) and I was let in with a warm welcoming smile! So much for the security.

(C) Ease of life

When we decided to move back, one common theme within the comments we received from friends (outside of India) was that “Life will be so easy”. Now when I look back at the 3 months gone by, yes, there are many elements of life in India which is easy. Full-time maids, drivers, cooks etc. are readily available. The problem is with the “quality of work” and “work ethics”. It is almost non-exisistent. I had earlier blogged about our driver experience. We had a similar bad experience with a cook. The talkative lady (a Tamilian), bargained for as high a salary as she could get. The negotiations went on for a week. Finally when the terms were all settled and she started to come for work, she started bargaining for a higher wage the very 1st day. To boot, she picked a fight with our Kannadiga maid by passing unnecessary comments. I.e. She wont do quality work and wont allow others to do so as well 🙂 The entire crowd has a basic mantra “IT == High-Tech == Unlimited Funds”. No longer are products priced as per the cost of services/development. Products are priced as per the deemed buying capacity of the buyer. For example, if the cost of making a bed-sheet is 100 Rupees and the price a well-earning buyer can afford is 1000 Rupees, the bed-sheet price is closer to 1000 than 100.

Services like Car Wash, Milk/Newspaper Delivery, At-Home Repairs etc. does make life quite easy.

Hey, we have my Bank’s ATM right in the Complex!

(On a different note: I love vitrified tiles!)

(D) Newspaper

Hah! I never imagined that I will take a step back (from “Digital Age”) and start enjoying newspaper again. Well, that is exactly what has happened. I have been poring through the Times Of India every single day. I am still catching up on the local landscape, politics etc. Though Times Of India (TOI) does have an element of “Tabloid” to it, it does have serious opinion pieces and articles. The summary is that it has something for everyone. I would think that “The Hindu”, “Deccan Herald” are all similar …

(E) Young Brigade

Lot of the 18-25 year olds work in various stores and the services industry. The positive is that they are very energetic and speak English quite well. The negative is that occasionally, you come across people not really trained for the job. I have grappled with enough jokers in AT&T, Comcast, BofA etc. to complain much 🙂

(F) A very bad day

A month back, I had a double-whammy when my 3-month-old car started giving engine trouble (Engine light!) and my 1-week-old GPS conked out, on the very same trip (Which was a “dangerous and spine-tingling” ride to IIM from Marathahalli). Luckily, the Pratham Motors guys, who have a very efficient Lead Manager, made the fixes quickly and now it is quite okay. But overall, it doesnt look like Indian companies have cracked the Automatic puzzle a 100%. But then, when only 2-3% buyers opt for Automatic, it is understandable.

(G) Customer Service

As I have mentioned elsewhere in my Social World, so far, I have not had any real bad experiences. The only glitch was my interactions with MapMyIndia guys regarding the GPS trouble mentioned above. But there again, Bimal Autos, who also had a very efficient and responsible Lead Manager, helped me out and convinced the MapMyIndia guys that when a product with 1-year Warranty conks out in the very 1st week, it is best not to hassle the customer with all the “couriering of the system to Delhi” and other such logistics.

(H) Restaurants

By now, I have this huge (and still developing) list of restaurants to try over here. We managed to try out a few and are quite happy with the experiences. I will Blog about Cuisine/Food/Restaurants separately. Though the food is much pricier than before, most of the recommendations have been good.

(I) First traffic violation

Got my first “ticket” a few weeks back, when I supposedly took an illegal U-turn. I thought I had decent eyesight and could detect a “No U-Turn” sign pretty well. Well, apparently not. The “Cop” (not sure if I can call that 16-year-old kid a “Cop” with a straight face) asked for 100 Rupees. When I did not have the entire money (Now you all know how much of a pauper I really am) and when I gave him all my coins and 5/10 Rupee notes, he got pissed and asked me to go and meet his “Boss”. What really saved me was one other 10 Rupee note which I had deep in my pocket. Apparently, the “Boss” allows drivers to go scot-free if you can hit the minimum bench-mark of 57 Rupees. Remember the number: Minimum Bench-Mark = 57 Rupees, in Bengaluru …

Adios …

Kolar Gold Fields (KGF)

We went for a really enjoyable weekend trip to Bangarapet in May. We stayed at a place called Morrit Farms. Since the trip was right after the driver fiasco, I was real glad that my friend offered a ride to KGF. The road we took was quite bad, though the area was quite beautiful, with a lot of farms on the way. Also, his vehicle, an SUV, was made for such a journey. A point to note as and when I buy my vehicle. (During the ride, we had our first taste of Karachi Bakery biscuits and it was amazing. Note to self: Next time you visit Hyderabad, but a truck-load!).

Morrit package includes food, which made it convenient and the staff tried to accommodate our various requests as much as possible. There were glitches, like A/Cs not working. But after an eventful day, I didnt care much about the A/C and anyway, I am not a fan of A/Cs. My friends had packed enough beer to feed entire Bangarapet (!) and I am not kidding when I say that the only fluids (well, almost) we had during the trip was Beer. No wonder KingFisher brand is doing so well.

While playing cricket in their cricket nets, I made the mistake of attempting a caught & bowled and jammed my finger pretty hard. It was pure agony. The pain hasnt gone, after 1 month. No more fielding heroics while playing cricket. I had it checked by a Doctor who claims it is a micro-fracture and should heal by itself. Well, I sure hope so. I also managed to squeeze in a little bit of Badminton with the girls. I havent touched a Badminton racket since B-Tech days and it sure felt strange. I did start feeling more and more comfortable and if only I was interested in the game, I could work on improving it. But Badminton is not my thing nowadays.

Since all of us have daughters of roughly the same age, they had a blast. My friends happened to know a former resident of Bangarapet and he even gave us a guided tour of the place. It was great to get some insights from a person who actually grew up in the place. We visited a few of the mines, his former home (almost in the same condition they left it!), a local school etc.

In the evening, we visited Kotilingeswara Temple, the one with 1 Crore (almost) Shiva Lingams. No photos are allowed inside the temple and my clandestine efforts at snapping some pictures were futile as the poor lighting required flash and I dared not use the flash. All the pictures look like some UFO pictures. It was amazing to see rows and rows of Shiva Lingams and it seems the Temple already has 90 Lakhs of them!

Once we get our feet under us, we plan to do more such trips in the future. Looks like the Bengaluru crowd has given a shot in the arm to Karnataka Tourism.