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.

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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-

An expat in Mumbai Memo 1

There must be some reason behind that we left our place and be the resident in an unfamiliar city. For me it is kind of romantic adventure, to live in a city which is extremely on the opposite of my homeland. Yes, it is my reason and sounds bit crazy. More than that,  I work for a company which 90% of staffs are Indian….I tell you, it is really crazy.

Here crazy is not a bad word, on the contrary, I defined it as a mood of challenge, positive and alteration. With the mood I started my crazy life in Mumbai from 11th of  July in 2016.

The first challenge is monsoon. Usually monsoon starts in June and stops in September. That means there are at least 4 months of rain. Personally I hate rain, not to mention it happens in summer. The wet and hot…humid. It doesn’t keep raining but usually rains suddenly and heavily. Thus the traffic becomes terrible and the road is sometimes flooded. And if at that moment there is no single vehicle you can call for giving you a ride, it would make you feel like in the hell.

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The best solution is wearing rain boots.

Honking is the unique one on the streets. Drivers honk the horn no matter it is hurry, alert, pushing or noticing. For me it became kind of meditation whenever I was walking on the road, just ignore all the mess and noise, only focus on my steps. And crossing the road which is without signals is always like a competition. There is no such word “courtesy” on the road, everything and every one are competing with speed and spunk.

Dust, Dust and Dust….it is everywhere: floor, bed, desk and of course including my body. I think it is because the condition of roads. Majority of the roads in Mumbai are not well maintained and dust fly with the running of vehicles.

It is worth to talk about the train, the most important part of the life of Mumbai residents. Most of the staffs take trains every day between home and office. There is no gate for checking the tickets and even no guards because there are very huge numbers of passenger in and out in the train station every day. The rate of tickets are cheap and affordable. And as the same, there is no such word of “courtesy” in the train. While getting on and off the train I feel like the competition again. Just be ready for fighting…stand stable and hold your bag tightly…and go go go!!!

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It is good that female have their own carriage.
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Passengers are always hurry to get on and off the train.

Well, so far you may only read my crazy life of challenge. And there are still many, interesting or not, Let me tell you next time.

-To Be Continued-

Wedding in Varanasi

I met the girl Shriya two years back in Varanasi. It was the first time I went to Varanasi.

December, 12 is her sister Shristy’s wedding. After two years I made my word true that I promised I will attend the wedding. After more than 30 hours of train travel and bit struggled with applying personal leave to my supervisor.

Shristy is a beautiful girl, but it is not enough. She is smart and lovely as well. Always at the first of her class. At her age of 21, traditionally she married to a boy whom was chosen by her parents. I only saw that boy in the wedding and never talked with him. But I believe they are made to each other.

In the past I could not image how two persons can get married without the procedure of “fall in love”. However, now I believe there is kind of rational concept behind “the arranged marriage”, and I even don’t know why and how I was convinced to believe it. Moreover I feel there is kind of beauty behind “the arranged marriage”. They met each other may be once or twice just before the marriage, and start to know each other after the marriage, then be together for the rest of lives.

For the limitation of time, actually I was not one of the witnesses of the ceremony. But it was more special for me that I was in the room where females got themselves ready for the ceremony: dressing up, making up. And the bride, the most beautiful one, I was so proud that I saw how she “was prepared to be a bride”.  The luxury dress, the various accessaries, the flowers….all of them are just stunning.

I was the only foreigner in the wedding. It was my first experience of Indian wedding. And definitely I will reserve at least two days for an Indian wedding in the future because traditionally the wedding will be continued for all night.

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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One day I was in Varanasi-The ghats

We will never miss the ghats in Varanasi no matter how many time we had visited this historical, busy city.

For me, the best time in a day to visit the ghats is early morning and evening. Especially I love to walk along the ghats in the early morning. At this moment we can have a holy and wonderful experience with the sunrise. Although, in the early morning it is always busy at the ghats because there are many boats(both paddling boats and auto boats) on the Ganga river, many pilgrimages having the rituals, and other activities such like: washing and handing cloths dry, bathing….still we can find the peaceful essence which appears in our heart.

This time, I lived nearby Dashashwamegh ghat at Marigold P. Guest House which presents a perfect location for both Ganga river and shopping, food at those small alleys.

Usually I took 40 minutes walking from Dashashwamegh ghat to Assi ghat in the early morning. Whatever I saw along this walking was just perfect and I will never be bored with it.

Apart from this, those small alleys definitely bought me lot of confusion: 100% you will lost your way in it. :), and fun of discovering: food, groceries, drinks, sweets, sari, cloths, vegetable, fruit…and it is the most attractive in Varanasi.

I met few friends and exchanged our experience of life with each other. That was fantastic, and was the essence of travel as well.

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