Saturday, February 18, 2012

Vandy relocates to Gurgaon

This is probably going to be the first of a series of posts on Delhi and Gurgaon. I recently relocated to Gurgaon from Chennai, for a job role within my company, more suited to my interests and aspirations. At least that’s what I tell most people, so that they stop questioning my sanity. Why would a non-Hindi speaking tamilian girl relocate to Gurgaon/Delhi, an ostensibly unsafe city with ‘bad people’ lurking around?  Actually, I don’t really have any sensible answer to it. I just decided to move, because I could. Maybe my travel feet were just getting antsy, from being grounded in Chennai for the past 1.5 years. Earlier to that I was travelling a lot to Europe for company work, and my travel fix was sated by that.

Coming down to the reality…it’s been early days in Gurgaon and Delhi.12 days to be exact. I’m staying in company accommodation in Gurgaon, with my mother till the end of the month. I get a cab drop to and from office to my hotel. I could have an insulated existence if I chose to. But when has that ever been my way? My mom and I have been stepping out of Gurgaon, quite a lot, thanks to the excellent services of the Delhi Metro.

On Dilli…
We’ve been tripping along the popular shopping joints in Delhi...Karol Bagh, Chandni Chowk, Janpath, Pallika Bazaar, Connaught place,Dilli Haat and Lajpat Nagar. I’ve been learning Hindi numbers by bargaining with the shopkeepers and the rickshaw chaps. And astonished at the range you can bargain with. They reduce the price to 10-25 % of the initial asking price, if you just walk away. Sometimes, I think that here that may even try to sell you the world for ‘ek sou’ rupees!
And I’m totally amazed that the puny rickshaw wallahs here. They seem to be able to tow some mighty bulky looking aunties without any machine horsepower. Possibly one of the healthiest residents in this city of foodies, with all that exercise.
The food …’s simply amazing! I went crazy on all the street food I could lay my hands on, and ended up with Delhi belly. But totally worth it …kachoris,pani puris, lassi, sindhi chicken ..Endless varieties. Yummy!

On Gurgaon
The best part about Gurgaon, according to me is my new team. Early days, but I do seem to fit in pretty well there. Cross my fingers, and hope for the bestJ
Gurgaon has plenty of malls and plenty of construction dust. A friend refers to it as ‘MudGaon’. The good part is I’ve managed to find accommodation at walk able distance from office, which reduces shitty commute time. And good roommates. Believe me that matters a lot.

As I mentioned earlier, these are early days. I’m still not yet over the fact, that I did such a thing. I can still feel the excitement over experiencing a change. Will this feeling also change? Definitely. But for now, I’m just going to go along with the flow.

Vandy’s Tips for anybody new to Delhi and Gurgaon

  • Delhi has an excellent metro system that connects with Gurgaon. Buy a metro card, which saves you 10 % of the fare, and standing in queues to buy tickets. You can recharge your card, at any station which has a working recharge machine. If you’re a female, enjoy skipping the mad rush with the first compartment of the train, reserved for women.
  • Delhi is a beautiful city with several historical monuments.A metro pass should suffice to visit most of them. 
  • Gurgaon is a city for the mall addict, with several malls near the MG Road Metro station, and along the NH8 road.
  • You need to speak at least broken Hindi, to communicate with shopkeepers, rickshaw wallahs and people on the street. They do not understand English, leave alone speak it. Of course, within offices and malls you should be able to get by easily with English.
  • Street food in Delhi markets is simply amazing. Totally worth any resultant Delhi belly!
  • The Delhi shopkeepers are very generous with all their didi and beti talk with women. Do keep a watch over them, as this does not mean that they won’t try to sneak in some casual groping whenever they can.
  • Shopping in delhi markets is a bargainer’s paradise. Feel free to quote upto  10-15 % of the initial price the shopkeeper quotes. If he disagrees, just walk away. Usually, they reduce the price after that. Try this at a couple of shops to discover the bargaining range of the product.
  • Safety issues for women. Statistics,news channels and several of the city's long time residents point out that Delhi is one of the most unsafe cities for women. So be careful, and try to limit solo trips to before 8 pm. Buy a pepper spray.
  • You can search for accommodation on,,, etc.
  • Read  Shooting Star's excellent delhi guide.
  • Be open to the place. Especially if you’re from South India, things will be different for you here. Forget all your prejudices and make your opinions based on your own experiences.
  • Delhi's location makes trips to several parts of North India a weekend affair.Happy travelling! Read