Saturday, February 20, 2010

More Mumbai

The reason for my second trip to India was to find a job in Mumbai. I knew that it would be hard and it would take much persistence on my part. I have been here in Mumbai for 18 days and counting, I have had many job interviews and many meetings with little success up to this point.

This is the longest I have ever lived in a city outside Canada. The temperature hovers around 27, 28 degrees everyday. It’s always beautiful and I just think to how the weather is in Montreal.... and I smile!

Most of my meetings/interviews are in Bandra which is 1.5 hours from Coloba (where I’m staying in Mumbai). To get to Bandra I have to go to Churchgate station which is a 25 rupee taxi, and from there I hop on the city train to my destination. I usually get the oddest stares because I am in my suit on the train; I find it extremely funny. All businessmen and women have drivers and that how they get from their house to their work (unlike me who is on the local train). The train is 4 rupees and I never pay, the line to buy the tickets takes way too long. It’s incredible how Indians are so frantic getting on and off the train. You need to cover your face getting off the train because people are trying to get on and off while rushing like a heard of bulls.

Once I arrive in Bandra I have to find an honest rickshaw driver. HAHAHA....There are none to be found ever! I am like a walking gold token for all the drivers waiting. I have a method which I think is very clever. The rickshaw drivers say a price which is 100 times the real price. I tell them yes I will pay that, but when I arrive I pay them what I think they deserve. The drivers are in heaven wondering what they will buy while they’re driving me to the location but when I give them what the fare is actually worth they become very very angry.

The new complexes in Bandra would make Dubai blush. The buildings are magnificent and very elegant with all the newest amenities. It is truly incredible; you forget you’re in India for awhile. As well the security to enter the buildings would make Fort Knox proud.

I have met with RBC, KOTAK, CNBC, UBS and several Consulting Firms. They all tell me the same thing; that they are all walking on egg shells right now. They will be hiring in April and I need to call them then. The positive thing is that I am meeting face to face with the firms which are important in India. I have a follow up meeting with CNBC, they want me to do an internship for a month to see if I fit in well with their team. They want me to go on TV and stuff which is crazy because I have never been very good at public speaking but I guess I can learn.

I realize now that my initial diagnosis of the Indian market may have been false. I thought that within 5 years India would be following China's economy. The more I stay in India and the more that I have meetings I realize that it may take 15 years for India to have the necessary infrastructure in all facets of life to be as powerful as China.

1) The corruption in India is ingrained in the people. It’s incredible how you have to pay people off to do anything. This is a side story that may describe to you the corruption in India. I was playing basketball with two Iranians one of them has a business in exporting. He tells me wild stories how he has to pay around every corner in order for his business to run well. We were getting kicked off the court and the Iranian who has to pay everyone off runs to the security guard and puts a 100 rupee note in his pocket. The security officer then turns around and it was like nothing has happened.

2) You will see the separation between China and India this October at the Commonwealth games in Delhi. Remember the Olympics in 08 in Beijing? I remember amazing structures and a flawless ceremony. I don’t think India can come close to what China did. We will see soon enough!

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