However, I will focus on hiccups in startups in a new blog I plan to co-author with my partner and other interested startup bloggers. I would rather focus on Mumbai - The city of dreams and potholes!
I've been in Mumbai for a month now and I can't help but notice the following:
1. People are in such a hurry that they literally and figuratively step over other people's toes
2. It just rains like there's no end
3. The crazy pot-holes
4. The nicest of people here are the auto-rickshaw drivers!
5. The CRAZY property prices
6. It's almost impossible to find a house if you're single. Even more difficult for single girls
7. It's almost impossible to get a postpaid/prepaid mobile connection or an internet connection without a house or some sort of local address proof
8. Autos are actually cheap! (I'm from Chennai where auto guys charge you fares to take you to the moon and drop you in the next street)
9. I've seen more fist fights here in a month here than in Chennai for years!
10. There is a lot of bread consumed here - As Vada Pav, Samosa Pav, Maska Pav and what not!
A month gone and I can't help wonder why the government is not making the efforts required to improve the choked state of infrastructure in this city! One of the most densely populated regions in the world, Mumbai is filled with traffic and the fastest mode of transport in the city is the local trains. Travelling in the local trains is an experience of its own. It's only when I stand watching the train arrive that I wish I was born a girl. There's a separate compartment for ladies in the train that generally has some space for breathing. The guy's compartment is more packed than a tin of sardines. And in all this crowd, people are still able to fight and throw a punch. The other day I was in the train and I could hardly stand. Two guys got into an argument and one guy actually threw a punch!
For all the noise that is made about immigrants into this city, I now believe that the immigrants are actually the nice and polite people. Most Marathis have a tone that comes of as rude and they are so many swear words flying around the place that you would start believing that people haven't grown up after those high school days when swearing with friends was actually considered cool!
Ok, here's some advise for single folks coming into Mumbai looking for accommodation:
Remember, it's going to be very difficult for you to find a place and you should give yourself a good one month time to find a place. You may want to make arrangements with family or friends to stay for that one month. Getting a place here involves giving your resume to the society, getting an approval certificate from the society, getting a police clearance and then you have to register the lease! It's very difficult to find a place without an agent (for single folks) and hence you will have to plan on paying brokerage too (1 month's rent). Some brokers would tell you to just lie to the society that your folks will be staying with you etc, but I would advise against it as I have heard that some single folks have actually been evicted after taking possession of the flat. You would have already paid the brokerage then and you may be back to square one.
As you begin settling in Mumbai, its wise to look around and get the numbers of all the shops around you. They deliver anything and everything to your house here! Right from medicines, groceries to tea and coffee! Also, Mumbai is open pretty late - you could probably find a decent number of shops open even at 10pm and after. Accordingly, work also begins relatively later - at around 9:30am or 10am.
Getting a 3G connection - If you are like me and have to have a fast 3G connection on your phone at all times, you may want to get a Vodafone connection. I've been using it for about ten days now and have been very impressed with the download speeds. I did a speed test and at most places I see speeds above 3mbps which is impressive (I used to get around 200kbps with my "3G" connection in Manila). However, all 3G connections are capped at this stage. The highest plan with Vodafone is around 1200 Rs a month with a 5GB cap on data usage. I'm sure this will change as competition increases. However, to get your connection, you must have address proof and hence I would advise that you get a prepaid SIM card from whichever place you are coming from (in India) and use it on roaming (Roaming charges aren't that high in India). It's easier to probably get a prepaid from your place in India. Rules are pretty strict in Mumbai coz of the terrorist strikes etc!
If you are going to be working with the media and advertising industry, you way want to start your day late, coz most of these folks come into office really late and leave pretty late too.
Will update more in my next posts! Stay posted for some awesome stuff in the mobile marketing arena!