Experience Across the Golden Quadrilateral
India is a land of different cultures, languages, cuisines, clothing,however, her unity in diversity is one of its own kinds. All the European countries are separated by language borders. However that is not the case in India.
We Indians speak more than 700 languages and numerous dialects. We always try to pick up a new language when we go to a new state and try to interact with the inhabitants of that place. Owing to my dad’s occupation as a civil engineer, I got a chance to travel a lot and stay in a lot of states in India. I would like to talk about my experience in staying in four metropolitan cities Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Bangalore.
Mumbai – A City that never sleeps
The first experience which I remember properly was in Mumbai in 1982 when my dad got posted there. We used to live in the company provided quarters in Navi Mumbai and it was almost like a village in those days. Every month once we used to take the launch and go to the main Mumbai city to do grocery shopping in Akbarali.
I got the real taste of Mumbai when I chose to work in Mumbai in 2002. Even this time my dad got posted to Mumbai and I wanted to stay with him and spend some quality time with him as I was out of home since 1994 to do my further studies. I joined a company called Integreon as a customer service representative. Their office was in Andheri (East) and we used to live in Airoli in Navi Mumbai. I had to change three modes of transport- bus, local train and then company provided cab to reach to my workplace every day.
The local trains are the lifeline of Mumbai and they ply for 22 hours every day. Each train is on-time and they operate this entire function seamlessly in a six sigma fashion. The safety for women aspect of Mumbai makes it one of the most sought after cities in India and the plethora of opportunities in media, financial domains, banking and service industries makes the city the financial capital of India.
Delhi- The capital of India
My next stint in my school life came when my father got posted to Delhi in 1989 and our family chose to stay in NOIDA which is adjoining to Delhi. I did my class VIII and IX from KV NOIDA, Sector 23. Living in NOIDA was peaceful as it was well-planned and was equipped with all the modern amenities those days.
My second stint in Delhi started in 1994 when I chose to do my graduation from Lady Shriram College, New Delhi. Those three years were truly the golden period of my life as I was a hosteller and I got an opportunity to live with 300 girls who came from different parts of India. There were a few students from Mauritius too. Along with studies I participated in NCC (National Cadet Corps), creative writing competitions and attended the annual fests of various other colleges.
We used to go to Delhi Haat, Sarojini Nagar and Lajpat Nagar for shopping and used to pick up clothes from the local shops. They were export rejects and if you have the art of bargaining, then you could pick up inexpensive stuffs which are excellent in quality.
I continued with my post-graduation from Delhi University and took up my first field sales job in the year 2000 in an agency of Citibank. I used to stay in a paying guest accommodation when I started working as the college and university hostels were available only when we were students.
My first big break in my career came in the form of joining General Electric Capital International Services (GE) in their call center in March 2001. My life changed 360 degrees as we had to do night shifts and speak with American customers to collect their default payments on credit cards.
By that time I took up a small single room apartment on rent and shifted on my own. I used to cook and clean as the little salary was not enough for any other luxuries. I had very little furniture and staying alone in Delhi was not easy. It was not safe and the streets were filled with eve-teasers. That was the time I chose to move to Mumbai as my father was posted there and I was looking for some sense of security and warmth.
Kolkata- The city of joy
Kolkata is my birthplace; however I have not stayed there much. During my childhood days I had visited Kolkata during my summer vacations, however for the first time I stayed there was in 1984 when my father was posted to Iraq and my mother chose to stay in India. My mom and I stayed in our small flat in Karunamoyee, Salt Lake and I did my Class III, IV and V from KV Salt Lake, No.1.
My next stint came in 1991 when my dad got posted from Delhi to Kolkata and I did my class X, XI and XII from the same school. The school days were fun with friends and later attending tuition classes for engineering entrance exams were taxing on one hand and fun on the other hand.
The Durga pujas of Kolkata are the most exciting times and visiting various pandals with the idols made of clay is a unique experience. All the other festivals like Kali Puja (Diwali), Saraswati Puja, Jagaddhatri Puja too are celebrated with a lot of vigour and zest.
Bangalore- The Silicon valley of India
I got a great opportunity to work with Accenture, Bangalore in 2003 and that marked my beginning of my stay in Bangalore. I had visited Bangalore in 1990 with my family for a vacation and the great weather of the city had drawn me towards it. I always wanted to stay here and the IT boom which started in the 2000s gave me that opportunity.
Among all the cities in India, I like Bangalore the most and hence have been living here since 2003. I have got good professional growth in Accenture and then Infosys and then after a few stints in 3 start-ups, I chose to be a freelance content writer now. Since now my work does not require me to stay in one place, I can shift to any other city, however I managed to purchase some properties here and I would love to stay here.
My support system is in Bangalore and my friends have become like family over the years. Many of my school and college friends are settled in Bangalore and we have formed a great gang here. All the festivals of Northern India and Southern India are celebrated with great enthusiasm.
Since the work culture in Call Centers is fun, we celebrate all the festivals at our work places. Be it secret Santa during the Christmas time or getting a small ganpati idol and worshipping it during the ganpati festival. The cost of living here is lower than that of Mumbai and job opportunities in the IT and ITeS sectors are ample.
People are very co-operative and friendly and welcome you to their city. The safety factor has taken a negative curve in the last few years; however it is still a lot safer than Delhi. There are many recreation facilities like stage theatre, go-carting, mountaineering classes, dance classes etc. and there are many weekend destinations in and around Bangalore which frees you from the monotony of day to day work life.
I have also lived and worked in Pune and Chennai and every city has its own flavour. I always believe in the fact that nothing is perfect in life. Always look at the positive side of any city and try to do the things which the city has to offer instead of cribbing for what it does not have.