ATM line in India

Banking Problems and Government Corruption in India

The Cause

There is a run on cash in India and it is creating huge lines at banks along with growing anxiety and hostility among the people. India is primarily a cash based culture. Only the upper classes have credit or debit cards. Foreign cards often don’t work at all. In a bold and unprecedented move, the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, announced late on November 8th that Rs 500 notes and Rs 1,000 notes would be illegal. The idea behind the ruling is to curb crime, corruption and the funding of terrorism that runs deep within India. They are giving everyone until December 30th to deposit or exchange their old bills. In the meantime ATMs have been closed for days and people are only able to withdraw a maximum of 10,000 per day or 20,000 in one week, assuming the bank has the cash to dispense.

I have witnessed the corruption here first hand. It is a common practice to bribe a policeman with a 500 rupee note when pulled over for a traffic violation. Once an ATM swallowed my debit card which left me in a world of hurt with no access to cash. The ATM guard told my assistant it was impossible to get my card back. He changed his story when she bribed him with a 500 note. I then got it back instantly. So you can see how common corruption is. Now imagine all these officials, criminals and terrorists with STACKS of cash that have been rendered useless. It may very well help stop corruption, but in the meantime it is causing sheer chaos on the economy and its people. 

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View from my apartment in India

Living and Working in India: The Hassle Factor

After living and working in India for 6 months now, I can tell you that much of the time I feel like everything is just a big hassle here. Getting things accomplished in India requires a lot of patience, and those that know me best, know that is not one of my best traits.  Nothing, even the simplest things, are ever easy!  Here are some of many examples.

Buying data for for corporate use

We opened a corporate account with a local telecom carrier so that we could more easily make changes to our plans.  This would give us the option for “post paid”, versus pre paid, meaning they would bill us for our data usage instead of having to pay up front. Initially they asked for about 10 documents, such as articles of incorporation, a letter of explanation on company letterhead, copy of the directors passport, etc.  Each page of every document had to be stamped and signed.  After jumping through all these hoops we finally successfully opened an account. A few days later I went into the store to make some changes to our data plans only to find out that I have to provide originals of all those documents EVERY time we want to make any changes.

You see everything on the roads in India

Interesting Random Facts & Observations About India

It is called “Incredible India” for a reason. Every day I learn something new about this place, or see something fascinating. Sometimes it’s entertaining, other times disturbing, but it always interesting!

Hindi Language

1.  The Hindi language is beautiful and much easier to learn to speak than it is to read and write.  There are many English words that don’t have a corresponding Hindi word, so they often mix the two languages.  For example, the phrase “Good idea” is “Acha idea hay” in Hindi.

Healthcare

2. Healthcare is ridiculously cheap over here. I was having some abdomen pains so they did an ultra sound of all my organs. The total cost was $35 USD!  And they sent me out the door with the physical X Ray films.

Human Resources

3.  It is standard practice to give 2 to 3 months notice when leaving a current employer, and often they will buy them back.  It makes hiring over here a real challenge.

Unmarried Couples

4. Unmarried Indian couples often have a difficult time renting a room in a hotel or resort due to the conservative beliefs of society. Sometimes they are even harassed or harmed for trying. Rarely do people live together before marriage.

My apartment complex in Gurgaon, India

The Process of Renting a Full Service Apartment in India

I’ve been staying at the Courtyard Marriott for the last 4 months and as much as I love that hotel and their wonderful staff, it was time to get my own place. I missed cooking, having the ability to entertain and I needed more space, so I decided to look at furnished apartments. I was pleasantly surprised to find some lovely apartment, nicely furnished, in a safe and self-contained community. So after filling out a long contract and providing all the necessary paperwork, I spent the weekend moving into my apartment in a beautiful complex called Palm Springs!

Things to know

Here are some interesting facts. The smallest one I could find is 3 bedrooms and they go up to 6 bedrooms. Mine also has 3 1/2 baths plus a maids quarters. Each bedroom has its own washroom, like a master suite in the states.The maids washroom is outside by the washing machine.The service staff even have their own elevator! They don’t have clothes dryers here and instead provided me with a clothes rack, so I guess all the neighbors will get to look at my delicates out drying in the hot sun.

Getting my hair done in India

My Crazy Hair Salon Experience in India

First of all, my apologies to my wonderful hair stylist back home in the states!  Unfortunately it had been way too long since I got my hair colored, cut and styled and I knew I had to do something about it. So I visited a few salons and decided on one owned by a young hip looking Asian fellow just a couple blocks away from our hotel. He wears his blond hair in a man bun and looks pretty progressive, so I decided to give him a try.

My appointment was at 10:00 and I arrived 5 minutes early to find him and his staff outside smoking. Most people smoke here. Since the smog is so bad I think they figure there’s nothing to lose. Obviously he and his staff were on “Indian time.”  Everyone is consistently late here for everything. He finished his cigarette and then unlocked the front door and asked me to take a seat.

 

The first thing I noticed was that he had 8 guys (all very young) working in about a 300 square foot space. One started sweeping, one started looking through my hair, one brought me bottled water and the rest stood there and stared at me. The owner brought me a book of hair colors and I pointed to the one I wanted. Then Ramm (the guy touching my hair) asked me to sit in one of the stylist chairs. I could feel myself sweating already as the tension took over. I mean it’s my hair!!! What if they screwed it up!?

Commute in India

What is it Like to Live and Work in India? 7 More Things You Should Know

Working in India has many similarities to working in the U.S.  It also has many differences. I can only speak of my experiences so far and it includes working with one of the largest companies in India.

Working Conditions Vary

The building we are in has nearly 4,000 workers. It’s quite modern with lots of glass. It even has a glass elevator, large fountain in the lobby, a huge open courtyard with palm trees in the center, cafeteria and daycare. The bathrooms have bathroom attendants. Directly across the street is a huge pile of garbage and homeless people. It is quite a contrast. The street vendors argue for the best spaces out front and dozens of tuck-tucks await their eager passengers ready to commute home after a long day of work.