The white city-Udaipur

It has been long time I didn’t travel with companions. Two months back we planned to spend few days of Chinese New Year somewhere in India. Udaipur seems to be a good choice since it is not far from Mumbai(1.5 hours for flight). Luckily we reserved cheap flight tickets of Air India and also found a guest house with very fair price. In February, it is a pleasant season in Udaipur where the temperature is maximum at 30 degrees in day time and 18 degrees during night time.

We expected the flight might delay for some time but it delayed for 3 hours which was out of our expectation. More disappointing is that it also delayed for 3  hours in returning.  But still there is one benefit of choosing Air India that we got boarding in the international airport instead of domestic one which is very local, crowded and very few shops and restaurants.

In 2 days we visited city palace, amrai ghat, kani mata(cable car on the hill), monsoon palace, and Shri Rishabh Dev Digambar Jain Atishaya Kshetra temple, rest of time we were just roaming nearby the guest house among many different shopping stores.

Good food always brings us much joy of travel. Over there we found very nice places such like Millet Mewar, Sun and Moon rooftop restaurant, and good coffee at a cozy place cafesatori. Meanwhile, there are few fail items which didn’t meet our expectation such like: White Terrace Restaurant, and a very horrible breakfast at Hotel Amet Haveli.

The thing made me extremly happy is being with my campanions: two young boys Derrick and Steve. Derrick has lot of ideas of acting and photography, Steve has extraordinary sense in taking shots. The combination came out a role for me to be an actor in front of the camera. Thus we had lot of fun in it.

3 people, 2 cameras and lot of laughter in the journey. I love you boys. 🙂

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Good time in a tiny café

It is a very tiny café hidden between flats at a small alley.

By coincidence I noticed this café on an advertising page, then I decided to visit it with my Taiwanese friends on Saturday. It was a good idea that we chose to take Ola instead of the local train since this tiny café is not located on the main road.

Simply lists several kinds of coffee on the menu…nothing else. Very commits to offering a cup of qualified coffee. And truly it was the best coffee we have ever tasted in Mumbai.

Next time I will take the local train. Drop at Khar station and walk for 20 minutes to get over there.

 

Photo credit: Steve Chen

An expat in Mumbai_Anniversary

I was reminded this morning in the bed by an email from company that it is my anniversary day of working in Mumbai.

There is nothing special except that email today. But actually there has been something in my mind and I am writing it down as a special note for my anniversary.

I started my journey in India since 15 years back. The first Indian person I met is the most special one in my life during the past 15 years: loved, fighted, separated, struggled, ….., so much had happened in our lives. Now we are in different cities, living our own life.

I fell in love with India at the first time I visited India. The color, the smell, the people, the food, the dirt, the easiness, the noise……it is an extremely mixed country. This huge land contains so various cultures, languages, religions, arts, sceneries.

After the last long travel in southern India in 2016, I got a job in Mumbai where is the first city I landed in 2002. Living and working in India is just like a dream turning to be true. Without surprise traveling and working are different, traveling is so romantic while working is the the reality, a real life. It has become a very normal life which is like a resident, 5 working day and 2 holidays weekly.

I didn’t find difficulty with living in India, on the contrary, I feel quite easy in many aspects such like environment, people, inconvenience, inefficiency, pollution, noise, crazy traffic….I had a conversation with Korean colleagues regarding my anniversary. We questioned with each other that “How do we survive in India for one year?”, here is an answer we all agree with:

“Forget every bad thing happened on you, let it go. Live hard, work hard, for now and here”.

 

 

An expat in Mumbai Memo 2

In Mumbai, the most popular transportation is the train. Of course there are some other choices like: Uber, Ola, private cars, rickshaws….., however if we don’t want to stuck in the traffic train is always the first choice.

It is just like the lifeline of Mumbai residents. From my location, I usually take Western Line which is one of four lines of Mumbai Suburban Railway.

The Western Line is about 100 kilometers and supports with 35 stops, from northern to southern.

Recently I found something interesting with the Western Line, the reason is just like pushing someone out of the comfort-room and go toward the living in Mumbai. That person is myself only, since I decided not to stay in the room or just be active around my apartment on every weekend, instead I want to hug this wild place, join the crowd, sweating, smelling….

I recorded every stops of Western Line. Every weekend I select one stop randomly, put it on google map, see what’s new or fun around this station. Walk to the train station, get into the train, drop at that station, open facebook check in function….then find the most popularly check in place and…. go.

I found lot of fun through it. And every place is new for me. Usually there is a market close to station, many stuff I can find and of course including side road food stalls which I can find cheap but yammy Indian daily food.

There is a station Lower Parel, 21 kilometers away from my place. In one side there are traditional market, food stalls, poor people lives on the roadside of flyover; on the other side there are luxury malls, hotel, bars, restaurants, movie theater.

It was very nice to spend Saturday night time among those places. See what I had found this weekend:

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The sweet shop, on the sideroad near Lower Parel station. Sweet exists in the soul of Indian.
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I took this picture on the flyover, after I passed the slum area. It looks so old.
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@Blindspot, the rock band.
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The traditional market. I always love those stalls and people.
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The live show. Very impressive.
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The mall, it is much smaller than Palladium mall.
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Way to Palladium mall. The luxury hotel St. Regis is just next to the mall.
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Walk down from the flyover there are modern buildings. The slum area is just behind of me.
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It is late at around 23:00 in the night, in the first class cabinet for ladies, thus it is quite empty. But I don’t understand why this lady is sitting rather on the ground than on the seat.
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The babar shop. Such kind of shop is very popular in India. Simple.

孟買工作雜記之二

印度有一個網站,專供上班族評價自己的公司。今天收到這個網站的郵件,有兩則新的評價,針對我工作的公司,很可惜這兩個評價都是「差勁」,只給一顆星。

平心而論,他們說得沒錯,這公司的確在很多地方很差勁,不過,今天我不講差勁的話題。

換個角度看,這家公司營運了14年,客戶遍及全世界,每天都有源源不絕的稿件來自世界各地,上傳,報價,收款,交付,除卻它差勁的地方,它生存的關鍵在哪裡?我認為,在一個企業裡工作,其重點不在窮其力去追究它差勁的地方,因為我們無力改變它,然而,我們卻有機會去觀察,是取法它成功的關鍵,成為一個學習的過程。

有時候我會幫HR跟在台灣遠端面試的新人聊聊,通常我會問他們:「你來這兒工作,圖的是什麼?」,若這個答案是現實合乎現況的,那麼我絕對鼓勵這些目標明確的人來這裡鍛鍊,而我接觸過的,大約有一半的人最終放棄,起因於工作環境的差異,薪資水平的差異,稅制的不明確,制度不夠完善….等。

對我而言,這個工作的內容,遠遠較之前的經歷,簡單太多,不忙,不煩,不急….之於我游刃有餘; 但是,行銷資源不足,無法與客戶面對面溝通,銷售模式難以改變…等因素,是困難也是挑戰,就業務面而言,將現有資源極大化,進而擴大市場,創造營業額,成為我最棒的功課。

在這一家被評「差勁」的公司工作,活的順順的,並不是等著資源被奉上,而是以實際行動去爭取,這是我認為這家公司很棒的地方,只要你開口,去溝通,去計畫,去行動,去驗證,去說服,沒有人會反對或是不支持,這是一個練功的好地方。

「你圖的是什麼?」這個答案在我心裡也很合乎現實跟明確,所以目前為止我還活得順順的。

未來我也會給這家公司一個公允的評價。

 

 

孟買工作雜記之一

今天我想隨性寫寫我工作所在的印度公司,一些雜記。

這已經是第十個月,在幾乎全是印度人的環境工作,該怎麼述說我的感受呢?其實我想寫這個雜記想了一段時間,但是一直不知道該怎麼下筆。

我想引發我今晚著手寫的起因,是今天早上我進到辦公室,發現靠近我的一整排同事都搬走了,當下我好Sad,因為好不容易上週跟坐在我正後方的男生建立起友誼,結果這週他就搬走了。

我要先說這男生有一個非常好聽的名字:伽譚雅,在印度文是快樂的意思。

在公司裡,要建立同事間的情誼不容易,首先是在管理上,對於員工的工時控管很嚴謹,而業務部門尤其冷酷無情(我們有一套專門管理業務的系統,所有工作績效一覽無遺,每天打幾通電話,發幾封信,建立多少客戶,開幾場會議,發出多少報價,成交多少訂單,簽了幾張合約,輸了幾個案子….全部攤開),因此沒有太多時間交流情感。另外,也許是印度文化使然,公司的印度同事對於外國人的接受度普遍不高,當同事可以,當朋友需要很下功夫…,而我特別懶特別挑也特別沒時間,因此結交的印度朋友不多。於是,當伽譚雅搬走,我真的很Sad,他教我印度話才教了兩天,而且我挺喜歡他的說。

目前為止,在工作上對我衝擊最大的,應該是普遍存在的「光說不練」。印度人很會講話,長篇大論,遠大理想目標很多,但是時間一久,就發現其實聽聽就好,真正重要的事,還是得自己盯緊。管理階級,政治把戲的技巧不少,如何讓自己居功諉過,這藝術是這裡生存最高指導原則。外國人呢,抱歉,主管位置不會給外國人,我不清楚其他印度公司的文化,至少這裡是這樣。

即便如此,我還是說一下開心的事,嗯…我想一下,大概是同事教我印度話吧?我曾經自己利用線上的印度語學習網站,我發現單方的練習很難有動機,進步很慢。然而同事教我,經由對話跟糾錯,並且隨便找人都可以練習,學習的速度很快; 有時候我也教印度同事一些有的沒的台灣話或是國語(例如北七跟肖誒)。另外,大概就是喝到飽的咖啡跟茶; 還有我的印度英語聽力進步神速啦。

這裡還有一個特別的地方,就是辦公室不能吃東西,所有的早午晚餐或是下午茶,都在Pantry進行,Pantry位置不多,但是由於工時控管很嚴,大家普遍都是吃完就走,因此「翻桌率」很快。有時候遇到Pantry搶搶滾的時候,其實也挺有趣的,可以跟不少人打打招呼,或是坐下來一起吃飯。印度人的吃飯時間很不一樣,早餐11點,午餐下午3點,奶茶時間上午11點/下午5點,晚餐通常都是晚上8~9點以後的事。(難怪印度人普遍大肚子,因為他們吃飽就睡了)。跟西方人一樣,他們晚上不洗澡,早上才洗澡。

再來就是無止境的零食跟甜食,最近公司擴增了一部零食飲料販賣機,生意興隆,販賣機公司的人,幾乎每天都來補貨。

還有一件事,印度女生不太重視公共衛生….這一點從公司洗手間髒亂的程度可以應證。

最後,我一定要說我練就了對於小蟑螂視而不見的功夫,即便咖啡機總是有小蟑螂竄來竄去,本人照喝不誤,這也算是一種修養上的收穫嗎?哈哈哈….

-待續-

Lady in Pink

We met R in the area “Kamathipura”, she wore a beautiful Kurti and said hello to us nicely.

V and I visited “Kamathipura” for our curiosity and V would like to have some interview with workers there. After more than 1 hour of train time and expensive cab charge we arrived “Kamathipura” where sexual workers earn, drug, and live there with their life long stories.

R met her lover in Bangal at the most pretty age of eighteen, embraced her dream and was so innocent that she believed her lover was her whole world till she was sold to another person with 25 rupees.

“What??!!!” I was shocked when I knew she was sold with ONLY 25 rupees.

It was 30 years ago, in Mumbai, a place her dream had been broken and then she started a life of being a prostitute under the control of a drug, sex faction. I don’t know how she managed her life during the passed 30 years, but I do believe her most painful of the heart broken.

When we met R on the street, in front of her “work place” which is a 3 floors flat. Looks old, narrow, helpless…, she was so nice,  without hesitate or shyness, talked with V and I and invited us to her “room” which is a very small place contains one single bad on the 3rd floor. Initially V and I were bit concerned because We were not sure if she took misunderstood that she would invited us for “sex” deal…, however we decided to go and see what would happen next. The stairs up to her room were so narrow and it was bit dark inside except a small window where the sun light came in, and for me that small window made me kind of special feeling that it was just like the only hope made the way bright.

As soon as we came in her room, we even didn’t feel uncomfortable or smelly, on the contrary, her room is clean. And at the same time we realised that she wanted to “rent her room” to us with 300 rupees.

“Ohhh….she thought that V and I needed a room for some purposes”.

Lucky us that we met another guy who knows “Malayalam” which is the local language of southern India(V is from Kerala). V and I don’t know Hindi, thus it was so difficult to communicate with R since she only knows Hindi and very less English.

According to that guy, R has been working there for several decades, she has a child lives in another place(Nobody knows who is the father of that child). She earned money for her child and families. But both her families and child don’t want her because of her job, it is a shameful job in their eyes. R is one of the few workers who is healthy and far aways from drug, alcohols and HIV. But it seems that there is no end of her bitter life since she owes money to the guy and she needs to support her families. More worse, the polices ask for 1000 rupees of commission from every workers  weekly, but R only earn 250 rupees~500 rupees by every sexual deal and it is not easy for her to make much money since she is old compare with other young workers. (Young girls can make a deal up to 1000 rupees).

V and I left “Kamathipura” with the same bitter mind. R sent us downstairs and V gave her 100 rupees, thanked for her time. She was so happy and it seemed that she met 2 more friends in her life. I will never ever forget her smile and the moment I hold her hand saying good-bye.

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