Mumbai Chronicles, Part 2

October 02, 2008

As I was saying, I recently relocated to Mumbai and in the middle of settling down here. Continuing with the part about looking for accommodation, one of the first things you would notice is the amount of rentals you have to pay. It is no different from London at half the wages and 1/10th the quality of life. In fact, what bewilders me is why anyone from other cities in India would ever want to trade their relatively comfortable lives with this one. Anyway, I digress. One of the common things I noticed is that the kind of rentals desired by some landlords has no correlation with the quality of the property. I donot think this is a Mumbai thing but really, if you want to rent out your property, atleast clear up the bird shit. Just because your property is in one of most well known buildings in Mumbai does not mean people want to live in shit.

As I said before, rentals in Mumbai are not rational and as much as I wish I am wrong, I can only see it going one way and that is downwards. As one agent says, there is nothing in the world that will go up all the way all the time, Mumbai property is a good example. I think at some point businesses will look to set up HQs elsewhere as they have when financial capitals have become expensive in other countries. Anyway, rentals quoted and finally negotiated are quite different. A few years ago, bargaining in Mumbai unlike Delhi did not work (atleast that was my experience). Now, things have changed, one guy dropped rentals by 25k a month in a matter of 24 hours, another by 10 K and this was after adding all sorts of furniture to the home. Anyway, we liked this really nice property overlooking a 'lake' and into other buildings :-). We promptly booked it and the landlord was kind enough to move from hotel to the building in a matter of days. I think it also helped because me and him were from the same community. As much as we hate this, rentals being a dicey thing, landords and tenants develop a whole host of irrational criteria to rent a home. I recall having been rejected in Delhi because i was not Bong and in Bangalore because I was not punjabi. You lose some and win some. Anyway, to be honest, we had very low expectations and we are thankful that we did manage to lay our hands at a decent property at a reasonable price. Let us see how this pans out.

One thing that I sensed during this transaction is is how property agents change their attitude when you start pushing for a deal. Suddenly they were calling you, picking you up, saying nice things etc etc. As a customer I would always like to be treated well, not such when I was interested in a property. Atleast this is what we would do in our business, go out of our way to swing business in our favor.

With the critical task of property done, the next task was to buy durables and a car. My wife was hating every bit of the traffic and pollution and therefore the car became very critical. Our first visit to a dealer was excellent. One of the things that you would notice as a difference between Mumbai and Bangalore is the sheer number of people who speak English or are comfortable conversing in the language. Nevertheless, our first visit to the dealership was a disaster. Our sales guy spent 30 minutes with us of which 28 minutes were on the phone. Decency forced us to leave the dealership with some choicest words to the staff there. This is not uniquely Mumbai, some salespeople are idiots and their survival is completely dependent on the fact that many customers walk into a dealership after having decided to buy a specific model.

When I moved to Mumbai, I was told about its fast life and professionalism. My experience with the traffic and the people shows that Mumbai is no exception to how we operate across the country. But then I have been here for 8 days.

Chandra is a marketing consultant based out of Mumbai
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Chaitanya S
October 3, 2008
01:54 AM


"why anyone from other cities in India would ever want to trade their relatively comfortable lives with this one".

You are the outsider so I feel you are more qualified to answer, rather than question.

For those who wish to blend in and enjoy the experience, my response is, "Congratulations on finally waking up from your slumber and welcome aboard. Hope you enjoy the step up".

For cribbers it's a simple, "Love it or leave it" :-)

-A jingoistic Mumbaikar

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