Keep on Rickshawing in the FRRO World

February 4, 2014 at 19:37

Allright! So here we are. We’ve passed the one week mark of our stay here in Mumbai. The city is treating us good and we have closed a deal on an apartment, and are just waiting for the money transfer before we can move in. The apartment is in the Verona building in Hiranandani. We’ll be staying on the 28th floor, so we can expect quite the view.

This week started out with me going to the FRRO (Foreign Regional Registration Office). It is about an hour and a half drive (with heavy traffic) from where we live, next to the Victoria Terminus train station. That is sort of familiar land for us as we stayed at a hotel close by last time we were here, and we even took the train a few times. It was fun to be back! The FRRO is the office where all foreign nationals who have visa for more than 180 days need to register, or it will not be possible to open a bank account, get a post-paid phone plan and several other details.

 

Victoria Terminus shot on mobile camera in passing.

Victoria Terminus shot on mobile camera in passing.

The office itself is dreaded by all foreigners and you can read a million blog posts on it if you care to Google it. My trip there was rather problem free. Capgemini has an agent who handles expats going to FRRO, and he made sure all my papers were in order before I got there, and met me outside and pointed me in the right direction. He even knew a girl on the inside who fast tracked me a bit, and I was out before I knew it. So no horror story from me about the FRRO – almost. It turns out I didn’t need to register, as my visa is exactly 180 days. So I got a stamp on a piece of paper stating I don’t need to register. Now, here’s the thing: The apartment’s owner is waiting for me to open a bank account, so I can transfer funds there and he can cash the checks. I had gotten a check book from my bank, pending my account opening after I returned from FRRO, so I had already written up the checks for the owner and all was to be well. Only problem is, the trip to FRRO went so well that I didn’t even need to register – meaning – I could not open a bank acccount.

So now we are doing an online transfer of the funds, which it seems Indians are quite skeptical of. Well, I’m skeptical of checks, so I guess we’ll have to agree on having different views there. DnB (my bank) is saying I should expect the funds to be transferred within three days, but saying it could take about fifteen days at most. The owner of the flat, however, is saying no way on earth will it take more than two days. We’ll see. Hopefully he is right. We have to stay in a hotel until he gets the money, so if you are reading this, cross your fingers, and pray to whatever deity you have that he is right! :-)

This is getting to be a rather long post. I initially wanted to say something about working at Capgemini India, but I’ll wait for another day. Currently I haven’t actually started working, since Andrea and I are both doing an introductory program here. It is quite interesting to see how the Indian consultants are inaugurated here. It’s not really much different to how they do it in Norway. I will say this about Capgemini India before the next post, though: My colleagues are absolutely wonderful! They are always smiling, always helping and so warm and friendly that walking into the doors of the office, I feel really like I am at home.

Best regards, Marius

Here we go!

January 25, 2014 at 21:55

All right!

The people at the visa application center now know us by name after we have called and called again to enquire the status of our applications.

Truth be told, I got my visa approved a long time ago, it’s only Andrea’s approval that we’ve been waiting for. Her visa-type took a while longer than mine.

IMG_20140124_143547

 

I waited outside the application center while Andrea went inside to pick up her passport. I took this amazingly boring picture to have something other than text in this post. :-)

So we’re leaving this Monday. Tickets and a week at hotel Ramada ordered in Powai. We are very happy that everything is sorted – and very nervous.

I’ll be posting more on Monday/Tuesday after we arrive in Mumbai, hopefully with more interesting pictures:-)

Beat regards, Marius

 

And so we wait.

January 12, 2014 at 18:10

Today we are one day overdue from the day we were supposed to go to India. We had some issues with the documentation for my visa. It was quite a lot of paperwork we needed, it turned out. It will be right around another week before we can leave, I think.

It is really just as well that we are a few days overdue. Andrea has fallen really sick with Streptococcus and have been unable to get out of bed for a while, and you don’t really understand how much it is that you have to do before the day of departure. We have hardly gotten a chance to say goodbye to any of our friends and there are so many things we need to pack and pack away before we leave. Another thing is that we haven’t secured an apartment yet.  Andrea is a little anxious about it, but for me, it’s just another page in the book of “No worries”. It’s worked out pretty well for me for the last 26 years, but I’m guessing someday I will be rather disappointed. Let’s just hope it’s not on this one.

We are looking at a few places to live. We have been recommended the Powai area in Mumbai, more specifically Hiranandani Gardens or Lake Homes, which, in my opinion, look pretty great.

Powai, Mumbai

Powai, Mumbai

Hiranandani Gardens

Lake homes

It is quite expensive to live there, though. It will run at a little less than 1 lacs rupees per month (1 lac is 100 000, so it translates to about 10.000 NOK a month – 10 NOK ~ 1 Rupee). That means most of my salary will be eaten up  by this. Luckily, Andrea gets a pretty nice scholarship, and I can work extra remotely for Capgemini in Norway to supply our bank accounts with a little extra cash. We’ll be all right though, the cost of living isn’t that high overall. It’s fairly close to where we will be working, as well as the airport, so that is great.

I’ve gotten in touch with a few real estate agents in Mumbai, who all live in the area, and they have told me that it is a little difficult to get less that 11 months lease, because of a set “lock period” on that amount of time that is standard in Mumbai when you want to rent an apartment. They have said that they will be able to work it out, however, so we put our faith in that.

So for now, we wait. And are grateful for the extra opportunity to prepare and say goodbye to our friends, at the same time that we are very anxious to go.

Best regards, Marius