A driver is not just a driver, he is an expat’s Indian ambassador. Finding a good driver takes effort and a fair bit of luck, but it’s worth every minute spent preparing, interviewing, evaluating, and praying on the off chance Ganesha will remove any obstacles to hiring the best of the best. Unfortunately, even the most diligent expat can end up with a dud that is far more trouble than he’s worth. But once the right driver is hired, everything India is easier.
If you decide not to read any further than this paragraph, at least…Do not click on links in emails to “shared Dropbox files” if (1) you are not expecting to receive a shared file, and (2) the link doesn’t resolve to Dropbox.
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the would-be expat doesn’t cause an international incident, while other people will arrive with nothing more than an outdated map and best wishes.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.