Sunday, January 11, 2009

Gurgaon Totally Sucks

I can't stand Gurgaon. It's such a wannabe Western city without any infrastructure. The only way to get a cab is to call on the phone and reserve one. There is no information on any possible public transportation, the roads all look alike and have no signage, and there are these hideous malls everywhere. I can't figure out the buses, and I'm not sure how to catch an autorickshaw. None of them speak English so I can't ask them if I can hire them to take me from point A to point B like they do in Mumbai, or if they have specific routes like they do in Kolkata. It's just not a friendly place. Even the beggars here are nasty. They'll bang on your windows and spit at you if you don't give them money. Very aggressive. And I thought the beggars in Kolkata were bad... The ones here are like gangbangers on crack compared to Kolkata.

There's a ton of construction going on, a metro being built, and the roads are in terrible condition. The frameworks of buildings under construction are on every street, the access roads torn up for new drainage pipes. I have no idea where a post office is. No idea where to buy packing materials to send out a package. Everything has to be done with a local accompanying you - you'll never find the place even if you have the address.

Whenever I want to spend time with friends we end up in South Delhi or somewhere around CP. There's nothing to do out here except shop or go to the movies, and there's no green spaces to let the dog run.

I've lived here since June and I STILL don't have proper cooking gas installed in my home. My electricity goes out at least ten times a day, even with a backup generator. The building complex where I live is poorly built and barely maintained. My landlord and his local representative are completely unresponsive. My apartment has two bathrooms and both of them are never working at the same time.

The servants hired by the company I work for haven't lasted more than a month at a time. One of them was responsible for letting a large piece of wallboard fall out of his window and it crashed through the back window of a car fourteen floors below. It could have killed someone. The owner of the car wanted 20,000 rupess to pay for the window. My go-to guy at the office came over and negotiated it down to 4,500. He kept saying that I was an American and I could certainly afford to pay. I think this same servant is responsible for the death of my cat as well. He kept leaving the door to the flat open, and my cat got loose and was killed by stray dogs that roam outside the building. The servant that I found through another expat was hired at an exhorbitant price. (Rs. 18,000/mo - more than twice the amount I pay in salary for link builders in my office.) She just gave her notice today because she wanted another 2,000 rupees for conveyance - that was on top of her uniform fees, holidays, two weeks paid vacation, and medical bills.

We get complaints from our neighbors all the time. They claim we throw our garbage out the windows, we make a lot of noise, that our dog causes a lot damage, they're always gossiping about us. I told someone that I lived at Princeton Estates and he said, doesn't that place remind you of the movie "The Grudge"? Yeah, it does. There's a weird vibe to the place. Another expat said he doesn't like coming to visit me because Gurgaon feels like it "isn't supposed to be there... looks out of place". Even the security guards are nasty.

My son says "Gurgaon is a city in denial about itself". My parents thought it was awful too, when they came to visit. They never even bothered to leave the house because there was nothing of interest to them here. Though many residents think it's paradise but I'm still searching for an oasis in this desert.

23 comments:

  1. So...do you miss Kolkata?

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  2. Absolutely. I don't miss the humid weather, I don't miss the diesel fueled air pollution, but everything else. It's a vibrant place, with plenty of things to do ans places you can go where not everyone is hassling you.

    I plan to return if at all possible.

    -- Jeanne

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  3. Just like United States sucks for Indians who are treated as third class citizens over there.
    Just like US sucks for every Muslim who is and will be branded as a terrorist, no matter what.

    Fair deal, eh?

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    Replies
    1. Do not give titi for tat reply. Accept the reality as is.

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  4. Bit of a generalization, wouldn't you say? I worked with plenty of professional Indians in the high tech industry. Many India-trained architects are prized in the U.S. because they're trained not only as architects but also as structural engineers.

    I don't think India sucks, I love India. It's just Gurgaon that sucks. I've lived in three cities now, Mumbai, Kolkata and now Gurgaon and Gurgaon is, by far, the worst.

    If you move as an Indian to the U.S., and live in an urban center, you'll find internet access to information for all your utilities, public transportation routes, google maps & directions. You can review typical apartment rentals and real estate properties with contact information. There are literally thousands of groups you can join to meet other Indians.

    It's usually easier for Indians because they typically aren't moving to the U.S. without understanding English. Here every state is a new language.

    Don't lump all Americans as racists. True, there are uneducated masses who listen to and believe Bush' war mongering and propaganda, but there's been a huge backlash. Many people are involved at the grass roots level and that's why Obama won the presidency. I'm hoping his presidency can bring about significant change and bring cultures together.

    If you look at Europe, there's a much more vocal attitude against immigrants. The Repatriation Movements in countries like the U.K., France and Germany are growing in strength every day. Even the U.S. is suffering from anti-immigration groups, but the pro-immigration groups are just as strong. It was a huge point of debate during this past presidential election.

    Not all Americans are racist. Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world. It's a beautiful religion that preaches peace. It's the fanatics of ALL religions that preach hate, death and war against all non-believers. Maybe we should just ban organized religion? :-)

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  5. As i am Indian and very familiar with NCR but i don't like Gurgaon any more because here everywhere is construction is going on, dust is everywhere, auto riksha is not in good condition, Driver fill the riksha as many they can. It's totally Untolerable condition but after 4 or 5 years this city going to beat other top cities of India.

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  6. Kapilver:

    I'm glad to hear that Gurgaon will improve in 4 to 5 years, but I'm not willing to wait that long. Life's too short. :-)

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  7. This place is full of piss, spit and shit.. This place kills me.. what the fuck am i doing here... when will the cat race end.. why are these people so freakin selfish..

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  8. Rouf:

    I'm a big fan of Eminem's music and the first thing I thought of when I read your post was, "word to yo mutha, beyotch." (urban American for I agree.)

    I'm hoping things are better here in 2009. I really, really do.

    later.

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  9. Come back to Kolkata, there's a great startup scene happening here. I think the grassroots tech folks are just waking up, they're not going to leave it to the big boy old fart club anymore. Plus there's a new young generation of engineers, coders, programmers who are going to be rocking the scene. And bitching about Kolkata otherwise known as adda is a must, everyone does it, and everyone love the city. There's some collective bonding thing that happens in India when you bitch and gossip, I'm starting to understand that. And we have horse races! :-) There's more social and cultural events happening here than I can handle, that says a LOT!

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  10. How do I get in touch with these young turks and would they be willing to pay me for my background? Startups are my specialty, girlfriend, and I love the chaos. where on line do they go to hire someone? Monster, Naukri, & TimesJobs are all so over...

    Later.

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  11. last sunday one freind of mine witnessed a grusome incident.... Sunday morning 6 A.M., a woman-labourer was mowed down on the toll expressway and 5 vehicles after the culprit vehicle made mincemeat of her body in quick succession... like a dog on the road.
    Such development, a 32 lane expressway without an overbridge or underpass to cross over!!! Such an incident has not seen any heads roll.Sigh!!

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  12. hi Jeanne, a friend forwarded your blog to me. We used to live in Gurgoan for 3 years, and now just on our way out. I totally share your frustrations. If you are still looking for a maid, I shall highly recommend our maid who we hired after having a dozen maid changed. She is very good comparing to the others. You can call me at 011-2611 2233 room3202. We're leaving tomorrow. Good Luck. Laura Ford

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  13. Thanks, Laura. My maid and I had a heart-to-heart, and now she'll be hiring a second person herself to do all the hard work while she does the shopping and cooking and won't be raising her fees for now. Thanks for the information. :-)

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  14. Jeanne...sorry to hear that you hat Gurgaon. We at Global Adjustments actually work to make expats' lives eaier. Our office is in Gurgaon ...and we have several courses which can help you familiarise with Delhi / Gurgaon. (0124-4107113) Or else, just drop in for a chat. Our staff has lived overseas and we can empathise !
    Cheers
    Paru

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  15. Global Adjustments:
    This is typical of what I expect in India. I clicked on your name to visit your blog - no profile. You don't list a web site, just a phone number, local at that - no +91 for those still in process who could really use your services. If you ARE truly global, you would have a web site (preferably in multiple languages) SEO'd for proper search engines, a blog with case studies or basically examples of client requests and how you helped them, perhaps testimonials as well.

    I'd have sections on how to move kids, how to move pets, how to order utlities, do's and taboo's in your new location, day trip partners that enable new families to see Delhi, Agra and Jaipur, etc.

    To be a leader in the industry, I would also enable users of your service to host their blogs in your site and you marketing their blogs as well. Major traffic and PR rank on search engines that is extremely targeted for your market.

    Internet marketing is the cheapest form of marketing. Get with the program. You could grow your company so quickly. I could send you a quote on what it would cost to make this happen. Depending on your costs for services, you could make back your investment with two or three customers.

    Good luck! :-)

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  16. Hey Jeanne,

    I feel your Gurgaon anguish.

    Having stayed in Mumbai for most part of life,the 18 months spent in Gurgaon felt like living in a war zone.
    Daily power cuts,lack of water,lack of quality transportation,high rent and many other features that Gurgaon is so famous for apart from the wonderful natives ;)

    God,it feels great to be back in Mumbai!

    Cheers,
    AVP
    www.avp-blogs.com

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  17. As an Indian, I would have loved to stick my neck out and say that you are wrong, but even with sentiments and emotions set aside, even factually Gurgaon is most neglected city in state of Haryana. I have lived here for about 6 months now and it really sucks!! I moved here from Delhi's Dwarka suburb and that was probably a bad decision. About inconveniences you had, I would say you would have been better off in Delhi. Although most people praise Gurgaon, its in shambles and falling off piece by piece even as new structures are being erected!! And although my comment is about 2 years late on your blog...but I had to say this..

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  18. It's still bad, but there have been some improvements. My son uses the metro nearly every day to go visit friends in Delhi. HOWEVER, there's no parking areas around the stations for you to park your car, so you still have to find a cab or a rickshaw to take you to the station. Water and electricity is still hell to get and expensive when you have it, especially in the hot summer months (this past summer, we got an electricity bill for 36,000 rupees!!!!).

    We're closer to a shopping mall (out third place in Gurgaon in as many years), and have found our way around a bit better, but we still have transport issues, housing issues (any one know how to get a rat out of a kitchen?), and the traffic and roads are still as bad as ever...

    Gurgaon is hell. I don't care what anyone says - I feel that we're just surviving, that there is no joy in this city, that people merely stay here for a job and never seem to make enough to feel comfortable. I'm not saying just expats, there are many Indians who feel the same way I do. I haven't met anyone who has lived here for more than six months who says unequivocally that they love it here. Most of the expats that live in Delhi like it (if they're inclined to India in the first place). Just not Gurgaon.

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  19. @Jeanne: I cannot believe you paid 36000 for electricity. That's almost 10 times my bill!! About parking, I am not so sure. My dad worked with Delhi metro and it was never supposed to support personnel transport by providing parking space, except at major stations...but you can still park in Delhi and still pay only Rs10 for 4 hours..I remember paying an obscene amount at ambience mall for about 5-6 hours..thats one bollywood movie and one large meal in Nawabganj Safari. But in any case, anyone who has spent certain amount of time in any of India's big 5 will tell you that Delhi is best one to live in...

    P.S: Delhi doesn't include Gurgaon, as we are made to believe.

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  20. Gurgaon sucks to the core. Being a guy from the South it feels like moving from heaven to hell. Gosh, I have been to Iraq and I suppose ppl treat u better than what they do here. All wannabe westerners from the Indian community ...u guys are just shit heads...just cant believe ppl laughing at u even if u sweat after a work out. What a pity......

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  21. Hi Jeanne,
    I totally agree with you, i have lived in shimla, chandigarh and delhi before i came to Gurgaon for work, it totally sucks here, the most pathetic city, even people here are so unhelpful and materialistic, they would even charge you for breathing if they can, i so wanna move back to delhi, wish i could get a job there...

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  22. Jeanne,

    I work myself into a silent rage every time I have to visit Gurgaon (which, thankfully, is not very often). The sheer arrogance of this city - "we'll build a huge ugly building in the middle of nowhere and expect you to pay half a million dollars for an apartment in it".

    I've lived in Delhi for five years and even this city gets to me at times (exorbitant rents for substandard apartments), but nothing gets me riled up like Gurgaon. Gurgaon is, what we Indians call, "loot" - a gigantic plot to suck every penny from hardworking Indians who can't afford places in Delhi. I hate this city with the kind of vengeance usually reserved for ousted dictators. There's nothing organic about this Gurgaon. It's such a crass, cheap imitation of America (and not the good parts of America) propped with some of the worst infrastructure anywhere. Roads? Non existent. Water supply? Nope. Electricity? Doesn't exist.

    I'm happy that you moved to Pune. Way better city than Gurgaon.

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