Moving to Gurgaon
My job change, effective on March 1st, led to further upheavals. Like moving to… Gurgaon! And this is not nothing... To tell you, I even almost did not go to the interview when I saw that the job was there. Gurgaon.
Gurgaon is on the outskirts of Delhi. Already living in Delhi is not easy when you come from Mumbai: the freezing cold winter, sweltering summer, power cuts, lack of neighborhood life – others would add pollution and insecurity but I have not experienced any of them personally during my year there.
But the suburbs... Especially for a girl born and brought up in Paris... It’s a bit of a stretch...
But hey, you have to put a little water in your wine. And as my husband was game, we packed our suitcases! A few weeks before the big day, we went on a small expedition looking for a place. During which I discovered that Gurgaon was not a suburb as a Parisian would understand it. It is a city by itself.
It’s a new and ‘young’ town that came out of the ground ten years ago. It has managed to attract multinational corporations, malls and bars that brew their own beer (there are dozens of them).
But hey, it's still paradise either. First of all, there are these towers of flats which are really upscale with their swimming pools, sport grounds etc., but remind me of hives. Also you have to take your car to run any errand. And especially this mushroom sprung in the desert so cuts (water and electricity) are common.
That said, Gurgaon offers friendly enough housing options, for instance villas with private pool in a complex, which ensures safety and continuity of water and electricity supply and offers play areas for children and sport grounds. We have seen worse! Gurgaon thus became much sexier after visiting one of these villas!
A few weeks later we moved in...
And we immediately got into the difficulties of managing house staff. Especially in a society where watchmen-cleaning ladies-cooks-drivers-etc. are organized into a mafia and take advantage of the “isolation” to impose their will.
We are far from Mumbai! First maids. Here one cleans the floor, another one comes to dust, another one to cook. Beyond the cost, it becomes a lot to manage... Especially when you always have had one person to do everything! Fortunately, when you want you can, and we found a way. Beside this whole cleaning lady thing, there was the nanny thing. Being a little prejudiced, I brought my nanny Mumbai! I had tried to find a local one before moving, but whoever I asked only warned me, against nanny agencies, against leaving a baby alone with a nanny. I didn’t hesitate long… (in Mumbai there are a lot of Christian (hence English speaking) ladies who do a great job but this ‘species’ does not exist in Delhi and the best option seems to hire a Nepali girl).
Then the driver. When you ask for a contact, you are again warned: “first, before hiring him, you need to check his police record and register him with the police”, “it’s hard to find someone you trust”. Moreover, as recently as last week a driver burgled the house of his mega-millionaires employers. So, I saved myself the headache for later and I’m driving. And you should know that in Gurgaon, people drive like PIGS. If you think that Indians in general have an archaic driving behaviour, you have not seen anything until you’ve come to Gurgaon. Pigs I tell you.
Then there are all these little joys of moving in: running after the carpenter to barricade the pool, after the air conditioning guy, the plumber to fix the leaking toilets or insulate a wall. Even if you don’t pay them until the job is finished, they just take weeks before coming back to finish the job and get their money! This is madness…