Most expats are unaccustomed to having help around the house—unless we have children, or as we used to call our kids, “little indentured servants.” Indian drivers, housekeepers, nannies, and cooks are foreign concepts—no pun intended. But in India, most of the places you’ll consider living have servant’s quarters, a separate servant’s entrance, and potentially a separate elevator. What is a normal part of affluent Indian life seems quite absurd to many of us.
House hunting in India is an exhausting mix of sightseeing, assessment, and ultimately, decision-making. Some organizations provide guidance in the form of a handler to ensure the would-be expat doesn’t cause an international incident, while other people will arrive with nothing more than an outdated map and best wishes. Both use-cases provide an opportunity to share some hopefully beneficial information.
It was silly early in India. At 5:00 AM the sun hid beyond the horizon, reflected light casting shadows over a dusty landscape dotted with multistory flats and makeshift tenements. There are few sounds, save a crow’s piercing squawk, a cow’s soulful moo, and the hum of the nearby concrete manufacturing facility. The unmistakable smell of burning plastic, wet wood, and cow dung permeate the dining room—a recurring beginning on a Newbie writer’s journey.
The average Facebook user has about 300 friends. That’s enough people to almost defend Thermopylae from the Persians—provided they are willing to fight. Therein lies the rub: Facebook friends may not be the friends of days past?
This short article was published several months ago in My Times, a special Times of India edition dedicated to cities. It is shared here for anyone who missed the hard copy edition or just wants another perspective on Hyderabad life.