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Moving to Mumbai-Need Advice


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My husband has been asked to manage an IT division in Mumbai, India. We are excited and intrigued by the possibility of living in a very different country and culture for a few years. The two of us would be going along with our 8 year old son.

Maybe folks here could help us with a few questions:

1. What would be the best approach to providing for our son's education? Home school? English speaking Indian schools? US Embassy school? Private?

2. I now work as a freelance food stylist. Would it be possible for me to work/teach the vocation in Mumbai? Who should I contact?

3. What are the preferrable districts around the city to find a place to live?

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Pyewacket,

1) Congratulations, you're going to one of the greatest, richest, most unique cities in the world. Particularly as an expat, particularly at this period in time, you will be poised to take advantage of something quite remarkable.

2) It's also a maddening, unbelievably crowded, polluted city. Where you live should be somewhat predicated by where your husband works. Give us some details (the area his office will be) and we'll be better set to advise on residential localities. If at all possible, living in South Bombay is advisable.

3) Your son has been going to American school for a few years already. Unless he's really game to be being challenged, you should send him to one of the two Yank expat schools in Mumbai. Eight year olds in the other good schools in India are already a few years into a very demanding curricular program including far more advanced math, science (and national languages) than is usual in the USA. Still, depending on where you're going to be staying, there may be suitable local options.

4) I've found the India volume in the 'Culture Shock' series to be quite useful in setting expats up with some of the info they will need to adjust to India.

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Finally. After a whole bunch of people who seemed intent on going to that awful city in the north, someone with the sense to come to Bombay. As Bhelpuri says you're going to have a blast and I'm sure you can count on the resident eGulleters like Rushin and me to help you, though Episure's defection to Bangalore has left a huge gay in the ranks of the food obsessed in this city.

Bhelpuri is also right in saying that this isn't, in some ways, an easy city to live in. Its got many things going for it - people get things done, there's a live and let live attitude, crime is low and so on, but it can't be denied that the extreme crowding of this mega city into a narrow peninsula of land does make things tough.

Traffic, for example, can really be insane, so all your decisions about where to live are dependent on how far your husband is willing to commute to work or your kids to school. The latter is probably even more important than the former - I know families who settle for living closer to the school, even if it means the parents have to commute forever to work. No real point giving random advice on this here - your husband's office will probably be giving him specialised help on this.

I'd disagree with Bhelpuri though on living in South Bombay - though as someone who till as recently as a year back was a South Bombayite to the core I can understand where he's coming from. But having finally made the shift to the suburbs, to Bandra, I can't imagine why anyone would live anywhere else! The suburbs are now the really happening places, as people and companies slowly start abandoning South Bombay. (The American school has also shifted to this area, I think).

As regards food styling, you should definitely be able to pick up work. This is a discipline that's been growing by fits and starts and there is still a dearth of really good food stylists - but lots of demand for their work. It should be quite easy to do a round of the major ad photographers, ad agencies, magazines that write on food and get some opportunities. (PM me closer to your time of arrival, and I'll send you some contacts of this kind).

The problem I think you'll face is in actually doing the job. Styling, to the limited extent I've been involved with it, seems to require a pretty good knowledge of local ingredients and products, what's available, where to get it, how to get props (since that often becomes part of the stylist's job as well), etc. and this might be hard to learn at first. But its not an unsurmountable problem, and there are probably ways of getting round this.

Any more info you need, just get in touch with me directly,

best

Vikram

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Pyewacket,

Everything depends on your husband's place of work. Where is it going to be?

My fashion designer/stylist/coordinator niece lives in North Bombay and when her schedule permits does food styling for me. I don't see any conflict and will ask her to contact you when you have settled in. She will connect you to the right people. I know three other food stylists but that wont work out.

Expats especially as couples or families will find socialising easier in South Bombay( Breach Candy Club, Consulate parties) otherwise as Vikram says the burbs are much more fun.

Could you please send me some samples of your work?

Edited by Episure (log)

I fry by the heat of my pans. ~ Suresh Hinduja

http://www.gourmetindia.com

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Thank you, all of you, for your enthusiastic responses.

We are still very much in the planning stages, but it looks like the move is going to happen. My husband will be going over for a 6 week introductory stint-it's actually unclear which company he'll be working for-the investment firm he works for now that is outsourcing it's presentation production to Mumbai, or the company that facilitates groups of firms doing such outsourcing. The trial period will answer these questions.

Of course, politically, I have a few problems with all of this, but self-interest, job and income security seem to take precedence over political views these days.

It's exciting to know that I might continue my work as a stylist in India. Thank you for your offers to introduce me around. I'll be in touch with further developments.

Meanwhile, I'll try to send some images.

My hubby is the IT expert, I just cook and arrange the food.

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These guys are just great with their intimate knowledge of Mumbai and we are lucky to have them posting here.

I just wanted to say how envious I am of you.. I would give anything to get a posting there..I am an outsider to the place, alas, but thought I would share my naive perspective.

Mumbai is an awesome city.. NYC on steroids almost. It never sleeps.. you can grow old standing on the sidewalk.. life goes by so fast. The people are friendly (as evidenced by the posts here!) Folks who live there LOVE it..its like New Yorkers.. they dont ever want to live anywhere else. Mumbai has the best shopping for clothes and jewelry. The best.

Its going to be an experience that you will, I hope, treasure. Each time I visit, I feel like a part of me stays behind in the city somewhere.. somewhere in the fast food stalls on the beach.. somwhere in the five star hotels and their charming interiors.. somewhere in the heart of this bustling city.

Sorry.. my information is not practical! I have a husband with a practical side.. if you need any information please PM me and I will be happy to get back to you with anything

Good luck!

Monica Bhide

A Life of Spice

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Of course, politically, I have a few problems with all of this, but self-interest, job and income security seem to take precedence over political views these days.

Haven't they always?

But, in any case, "politically", what are the problems you have with "all of this"?

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Of course, politically, I have a few problems with all of this, but self-interest, job and income security seem to take precedence over political views these days.

Haven't they always?

But, in any case, "politically", what are the problems you have with "all of this"?

I would guess she meant 'outsourcing' or BPO as the Gartnerspeak would have it termed :biggrin:

anil

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Hi

I think everyone has most things covered but if there is anything else you need in terms of informations etc on day to day living please do not hesitate to ask. i grew up in South Bombay and now live in the "Burbs". Know a bit about both worlds though not half as much as Vikram. I also have a little boy so might be able to assist with that part.

Rushina

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