Monday, September 8, 2014

Living standards going down from Mumbai to Noida

Life takes us to many places, but very few places stay in our heart for life!

I was born in Kanpur, a mid-size town in India, and have traveled over 100 cities in my half-life. Mostly it has been for my work related to training and workshops in colleges, and some time for touring, family etc. As for home, I call India my home, but for last few years, I have stayed in 3 cities mostly - Mumbai, Gurgaon and now in Noida. And here is a very strong feeling that I am getting for last few days - that my living standards are going down as I move :-)

So lets start with Mumbai - if you enjoy the rains, and your office is near to your home, it is the best city to stay in. Traffic is organized and disciplined, 24 hours electricity, security for self and family at all hours, cheap as well as expensive eating out options, and multiple options for recreation - from malls to movies to beaches to hill stations an hour away - it is a dream place. From a professional point of view, it is a great place. Nurture Talent, my company, does workshops in colleges across India whether north, south, east or west. Mumbai, compared to any other metros is the best connected with all - Hyderabad is an hour away, while Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi, Kolkata, Kerala etc. in a couple of hours distance by flight. Most of Maharashtra can be covered by bus or train in a night's journey. Well, well, well - I had some good time personally and professionally between 2006 to 2012 in Mumbai.

Cut to Gurgaon - where I shifted to in early 2013 for family reasons. Traffic is half as decent in Gurgaon than Mumbai, and every 1-2 months the police changes the one-way directions. Bus and train connectivity is next to nothing, and for everything you need to go to Delhi as far as travel is concerned. Power situation is ok, and if you have inverter at home, then you can still survive. Of course, the roads are far broader than Mumbai but they cannot take the rains, and start flooding within 10 minutes of rains. But we took a comfortable home, and adjusted well to the surroundings. Gurgaon is much smaller compared to Mumbai, so you kind of feel cosy in the setup.

And then there is Noida - supposedly the jewel of Uttar Pradesh. 5 minute drive away from Delhi (that is what the real estate guys sell in their advertisements). And then you start realizing how your living standards are gradually going down - people do not care for red lights, power cuts 15 times a day and by 9-10 pm, the shops are all practically closed. Apart from an ISKCON temple and a bird sanctuary (with no birds), there is hardly a place to visit. And the cows own the roads anyways. Surprisingly, rentals are not cheap, and almost comparable to Mumbai and Gurgaon, despite the quality of life. There is a lot of potential to make it a great place to live, and I am sure Akhilesh Singh, the Chief Minister of UP will be thinking of something.

Let us hope Noida moves to a Mumbai standard fast, till then, just stay awesome.