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the would-be expat doesn’t cause an international incident, while other people will arrive with nothing more than an outdated map and best wishes.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.
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.
The 2017 Hyderabad half-marathon is two days away and guess who’s running. That’s right! I am throwing my hat, legs, and will power into plodding the 21 kilometers from Hussain Sagar Lake to the Gachibowli Stadium—13.1 miles of treacherous, urban Indian roadway in the middle of monsoon, the steamiest, wettest, smelliest time of year. This seems like less of a good idea with each passing day.
The ant wars are over. It’s been over a week since we saw our last ant. It is impossible to describe just how pleasant it is to be able to leave dishes in our sink again for our maid to wash. We’ve been spoiled over the last 18 months and doing dishes was a serious downer. But here we are a week later, a sink full of dishes, and not a single ant in sight. What happened?