Reality Bytes: One Week Later
Everyone I know is very curious to know how we have fared in one week. How is the office working environment? What is the work culture like? How was the move? Do people show up on time? Whats the maid story like? How are we adjusting? What about heat, pollution and traffic?
Well, this is how things are a week since our move and week into the first work week:
Working at IDC:
It’s largely the same as in Redmond. Work culture, meetings, push back on work items, deadlines, pressure etc seems to be the same. In fact once inside the campus, past the security checkpoints, and if you ignore regional accents, it’s very easy to forget you are in IDC and not in Redmond.
Information is shared very transparently and I am encouraged to run with my areas without worrying about making mistakes. People seem vested in helping each other succeed – whether it’s a feature decision or its a presentation to external team.
Vipul’s team seems to be more ‘agile’ and has a lot of impromptu meetings that go on late in the evening and again early mornings but I have yet to experience that. My team has strict guidelines on meetings, agenda and all meetings I have attended this week have begun on time ( within a 1-2 min mark) – which is a refreshing change from my previous team 😉
It seems like Hyderabad is a decent place to move to. It’s not as big as Mumbai or crowded as Banglore, making commutes easier but is not very small either – so there are all restaurants, concerts, pubs, shopping that’s within driving distance and doesn’t take hours to get to.
We havent ventured out much beyond the Madhapur (where we live) – Gachibowli ( MS campus) area during weekday, but traffic seems manageable when we leave around 9:00 am and come back around 6:00 pm. It takes about 15 mins to drive about 7-8 km. On weekend, the drive to Banjara Hills was decent ( less than 20 mins). We saw heavy traffic post 7:00 pm once we were late but it kept moving along and didn’t stretch the commute into hours.
The streets are dusty; especially in these summer days. But since our complex is not right off the main street, and we keep the doors closed, there isn’t much dust in the house. I don’t feel the need to dust/sweep twice a day – which is a relief.
Our move has been ill-timed given that it’s the beginning of summer. Temperatures are already hovering around 40 C and rise up to 45 C in April May. Localites joke that they are not as bad as Warrangal (interior AP ) where its hotter/drier and go up to 50 C. We don’t venture out after 10 am or before 4 pm. In the evenings, around 6 pm, when I take Varun to the garden , the air is still and you can feel the heat embrace you as you walk around. I carry a water bottle with me when I go out. Varun’s cheeks turn a deeper shade of pink/red by the time we return. I wish we had deferred the move till post summer so we would have had some time to acclimatize better.
Restaurants, Pubs and NightLife
we are yet to experience any nightlife, but the two restaurants (Ohri’s – Tansen and Chutneys ) we have been to so far have been really good. We haven’t tried the buffet in either places but the ambience, food and live music was really awesome. Next we have Calcutta Cabin and Prego on the list.
BTW, Hyderabadi’s are crazy about movies. Apparently, they get up and start dancing in the movie theatre – which I think will be fun to experience at least once ;).
The relocation experience in India could definitely have been better. It definitely did not meet our expectations as they were set during the interview and offer stages.
Housing: The final house was not in a move-in ready state. Things like AC and washing machine were not working. Kitchen was not fully equipped. Some of the built-in furniture is not in the best state or broken. The manager and staff here are responsive and try to fix all the problems that we report – but we would rather have not had these problems in the first place. We really expected the property was move- in ready. Surely, an inspection would have been a stretch, but at least ensuring daily needed things are functional was an expectation.
Cook Service: So far this has been a disaster. We have had 2 cooks in less than a week and neither of them have been reliable. They cannot come at times that we want because they have other commitments. So we agreed to waking up at 6am to accommodate their times and they just don’t show up. Every morning as soon as we wake up and after we come back from work we have to spend time calling up the various cooks and other staff to figure out who is going to come today if at all. To make matters worse, the person who we were engaging with to get cook was out due to a personal family tragedy and there was no backup for her. We escalated matters to the relocation contact and since then we have a cook who has been coming for past 2 days. Punctuality is not her forte but at least she has been showing up twice a day and makes pretty good food.
Driver: This has been the silver lining. So far this has been the most reliable and punctual of all. I really hope we get a driver that is as reliable even afterwards.
Maid Service: This has been another reliable service. They come on time and sweep, mop , dust etc, change linens, make beds, clean bathrooms etc. I feel so pampered to come home to a well made bed 😉
Destination Services: As part of the relocation, we will be assisted in finding a house and negotiating a lease, get driving and Telugu language lessons, help with shopping for appliances etc. We met with the primary contact this week and will begin our housing search next week onwards. We want to at least narrow down the areas where we want to live soon so we can enroll Varun in a daycare there and not transition him again when we move. the daycare search is still ongoing. Hopefully, we will have something worked out by end of next week.
Bank, Cell phone, PAN card
Opening a bank account was seamless, thanks to the folks who came on campus. Getting a cellphone, prepaid account was easy – once you have either a PAN Card copy or address proof. But since the guy from the shop didn’t submit the papers on time to the telecom company, so the account got deactivated.
Luckily, we have an Airtel and Vodafone kiosk on campus. You have to submit a photo,Microsoft ID copy and passport copy and you get a postpaid phone account immediately. The SIM takes 12 hours to activate – but its pretty straight forward. We got Airtel 3GS plan which has special rates for MS employees.
The interesting things is that for both bank account and cell phone, they made us fill only the address and designation and sign on the form. They take care of filling rest of the form ( like name, plan selected, etc) afterwards so you are there only for a few mins. I still think this is a workaround for the bureaucratic process that is followed in India and wish that they would simplify the process itself.
Vipul has a PAN Card but I still need to apply for one. I am dreading filling that form and providing all necessary details.
In the one week that we have been here, we have realized one thing: Living in India requires a lot of patience. Whether its following up with service providers or asking for stuff in a store – people just tell you what they think you want to hear and not necessarily the truth.
Are we wishing we were back in Redmond – sometimes. When the maid doesn’t show up, I wish we had our reliable dishwasher here! I miss our cars – having to wait for the driver or asking him to stay back till 11:00 doesn’t seem right.
But mostly, we are looking forward to settling into our apartment and in a routine here!
Image Source Page: http://www.savagechickens.com/2008/05/patience.html