Tomorrow morning marks the end of our first week here in Bangalore. To say the least, this week seems more like a year. Perhaps because I don’t have to go to the office, or because we have simply been doing a ton of stuff, but it does seem like a long, long time ago that we landed here. A random set of notes from our first week:
Bangalore is a much nicer city, weather-wise, compared to Bombay. It has remained overcast (bummer) but because of that, and intermittent drizzles, the temperature has stayed in the upper-60s in the cooler times of the day and lower-80s in the warmer times of the day. Besides, pollution is way lower than Bombay, and as a result, knock on wood, the kids have not fallen sick in the first week after coming to India.
However, Bangalore has killed us with the mosquitoes. It is not like there are too many, not where we are currently staying, but that one stupid mosquito in the room is enough to bite us up and down the exposed body. The kids especially have been eaten up very badly. They have been good sports about it and after reminding them over and over, they have stopped scratching too much when they do get bit. We have got better mosquito repellants to try out, and we are applying various creams on their body. We may end up getting the tennis racquet-shaped mosquito-killer (just wave in the air and zap!).
We arrived over the weekend, so we ended up driving around town to get acquainted with the geography/landmarks and since it was the weekend, the traffic was not terrible. But since then, driving across town in peak traffic has introduced us to “crazy Bangalore traffic”. It is not just the volume of vehicles on the roads, it is also the gross indiscipline among the drivers (including ours, of course) which causes the nightmares.
First order of business was locking down the school. We had looked up and started a conversation with one of the many international schools in Bangalore so we decided to visit them first. We liked the school and instantly completed the kids’ “interaction”. This was essentially an interview with one of the teachers to ensure the kids meet the standards they portrayed in the application form. Both the kids passed that interaction with flying colors. The next step was to talk with the kindergarten coordinator but she was busy so we could not close the deal that day itself.
Most of the international schools are located in the same area, and that is not close to any residential complexes. “Close” being a few minutes drive. As a result we had to start looking for residences where the kids would have to travel about 30 minutes in the school bus. Not ideal, but that seemed like it was going to be the new normal.
In the past few days we have seen several places in the Koramangala area, Sarjapur Road area and Whitefield. We like one place in Whitefield and another in Koramangala. There is a backup third option in Sarjapur Road. The Whitefield place is fantastic because it is in a tall tower at the top, and the Koramangala place is great because it is minutes away from stores/restaurants/etc. It is not going to be an easy decision to choose between the two. We have a lot of thinking to do.
We have started getting acquainted with some of the major roads, some of the major intersections and landmarks but we are of course not in a position to navigate ourselves from scratch. I believe as we drive more we will get more and more familiar.
Another thought that struck me last night: we have never, ever bought “white goods” (as they call those here), i.e., appliances. Refrigerator, washing machine, dryer. In my 16 years in the US, we moved 4-5 times and all the houses had basic appliances in place when we moved. So we have that decision to make as well, and since there is such a huge disposable income here in India, the choice is amazingly huge. We have to start looking and narrowing down on some models so that we can then shop around for that model.
I have one more week off and then I start work. Hope to lock down the housing situation before then, and especially be ready to move in by mid-October, when our stuff comes. (Meanwhile, we did meet with the coordinator at school and have paid our fees, the kids start on October 1!)