Reality Bytes: Almost a month later

Its more than 4 weeks since we left home! Last month at this time we were put up in Four Seasons and spending every spare moment with our friends. All our worldly possessions were wrapped and packed and loaded either in air shipment ( 4′ x 4′ container) or put in a 40′ shipping container.

The day 1 of packing was the hardest day of the move. It made everything real! Home, comfort, security,routine, were all packed that day, waiting for a long journey half way across the world so that they could be restored in a new context and setting.

Four weeks later, here we are in Hyderabad trying to put our lives back together. The journey so far has been interesting.

Working at IDC

It’s still more or less the same as Redmond. Microsoft keeps us busy – which is a good thing 😉 – as we used to say. Days are filled with meetings, there are several things due every week, the scope is larger than resources, PM’s dream up bigger work items than feasible, estimates are padded,devs and test push back- the same drill.

The day starts late around 10:30 am and goes on till 9:00 pm or even into wee hours at night. I leave at 5:45 to pick up Varun and by the time I log back in at 9:00, my inbox is overflowing.

People are very informal and meetings are held with very short notice – though at least they begin on time. At the same time, they are all very friendly. Be it from recommendations on rentals that will fit our NRI requirements, daycare, doctors, pubs to giving a ride home, helping ramp up on work etc.

Not many people eat alone or at their desks as folks go down to cafeteria and eat by the side or pool side windows. But many meals are punctuated by impromptu phone calls from team mates asking follow-up clarifying questions or are blocked by something that needs immediate clarification.

Also, I am officially tired of café food here. Everything tastes the same. There, I said it.

And, dare I say it, I miss Advanta café food. I dream of the salad bar there every time I go down for lunch. Can someone please take a picture for me and send it to me?? Pretty please 🙂

Is work – life balance worse than it was in Redmond? I wouldn’t say just yet. Some of our acquaintances in IT have 3-4 meetings every evening, I think IDC folks are better off ! It’s almost in the same state but, here since I don’t spend time on chores and mom/dad are around, I do get some me time which I didn’t get in Redmond.

Hyderabad Life

Hyderabad is a very interesting city. The city seems to be built-in waves and as you drive from Hi-Tech city area to the old city, you weave in an out of affluent neighborhoods and ‘basti’ type neighborhoods. There are very few slums that I have seen – though there is one right next to where we live; but that looks pretty clean. I haven’t seen open drains, pot-holed roads, overflowing garbage cans etc yet – maybe we are sticking to only better parts of town?

Oh, and it seems to be a safe city. I don’t see security doors and bars on windows. But on the flip side, the news of baby/kids stealing and kidnapping ; especially from one of friends who has a brush with this but was saved in nick of time, has shocked me to no end.  This had happened several years ago, and number of incidents have apparently declined – so we are not running back. Just being careful in public places.

Traffic

Still not bad. We have started leaving around 9:30 ish as Varun now wakes up around 8:30 and drive to office is still under 20 mins.
Heat

Shel Silverstein’s poem ‘Its Hot’ is the best way to describe heat here.Its not sticky but its hot. We began our house search since last week – more about that later.We met the broker at 10:00 am and we were checking out flats of different sizes and layout in one complex, so were mostly indoors. But by the time we were done at noon, we both had massive headache and Vipul went home to sleep it off.

Since then, no more stepping out post 10 am and before 4 pm!

Luckily we had a couple of rounds of light rain (and thunder!) to cool things off. Hope that continues through June 🙂

Restaurants, Pubs and Nightlife

Although Hyderabad doesn’t have the famous Bangalore’s pub scene, it has a lots of lounges  and restaurants which are within 15-20 min driving distance of where we live. We went to Spoil lounge for a team event and it seems to be a nice place. Music was mix of latest hits, Bhangra and Trance and drinks were strong. I want to try Oyster lounge next and many of the concept restaurants like Sahib Sultan.

Relocation Experience

The basics of housing, driver, maids have been sorted out and we have a routine – it largely involves this understanding that if things don’t happen on time, you call the manager. The manager probably yells at them but gets us a replacement – and when they do show up we get to hear the most innovative excuses ever!

Finally our air shipment has arrived as well, so we now have basic stuff than what we came with. Mainly Varuns toys and clothes. We are missing a few things – including all our shoes so have to figure out reimbursement process etc. I love to shop so I can’t complain on that front but I really loved a few pairs that are lost – so am a bit sad 😦

Inefficiencies

Living in India requires lots of buffer as things are not streamlined. Simple things that I didn’t think about in US need attention. Milk man leaves milk bags on the doorstep. They need to be picked up before it gets warm. Milk needs to be boiled or it spoils. You do get toned milk that doesn’t need to be refrigerated but I question its nutrient value.

Service providers wanting to validate anything (like address proof, employment proof etc) will practically send no heads up but instead will expect you to drop everything to go meet them ; else you risk getting the service discontinued.

Checkout lanes in grocery stores don’t have integrated scales, so you have to take groceries to another line for weighing and getting a price sticker and then stand in another line to get it scanned and paid.

On the other hand, there are 3-4 people behind checkout counter doing nothing but gossiping. Literally they will stand there and if you ask them a question they will defer it to the one person who is working with a customer. It annoys me to no end – so much so that I refuse to do groceries or any other shopping on weekdays. It’s just futile to think you can zip in and out of any place.

Plug switches need to be turned ON. The maids turn OFF the switches so many a days my cell phone is not charged as I simply connect the phone to the dongle.

Yes, we are still FOB. Still green and still learning our way around here.

Its frustrating and funny at the same time and many an evening, Vipul and I discuss the latest thing we ‘discovered’ and shrug it off as ‘its happens only in India’.

But as we have been told by many others who walked this path before, we will soon learn to adapt and not notice these things. Give or take another 11 months before we become fully Indianised in our ways and then make fun of US ways 😉

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About rutujak

A travel addict, self confessed foodie and a mom trying to make SFO my home after a decade in Seattle and a stint in Hyderabad, India.

Posted on April 4, 2012, in India Relocation. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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