Well, as I alluded to yesterday, I have taken up a job in Mumbai, India. Indeed, I’m doing this update from the Sub-Continent with Monsoon rains going on outside. I guess I should go through the story of how I got the job in the first place…
… a couple of months ago, I received an email from the office of the Managing Director of my area of the bank. The email said that as I was just coming off the Grad Programme that the MD would like to talk through our Career Aspirations & some Opportunities with us. Now, the first thing I noticed was that the MD thought I was just about to roll off the Grad programme… well, he was close, about 20 months close, hehe. Anyways, it was a bolt form the blue & offered a great opportunity to spell out my vision of my career to the MD. So the meeting came about in May, shortly after I got back from my holiday around the Slavic countries.
The meeting before overran into my half hour, so with 22 minutes on the clock when I walked in the MD got straight to the point:
MD: What do you want to do next?
Finbar: I’d like to be an Ops Manager & have been having discussions to that end.
MD: Would you like to do that role in India?
MD: Would you like to do it in Mumbai?
At that point, the MD turned around to the head of HR for our division & said she was to speak to the Chief Operating Officer for India to sort out the detail!! It was a good job I was sitting down!! And that’s pretty much how I’ve ended up changing jobs. So the last six weeks have been a manic attempt to get my affairs in order. I’ve handed in notice, hired a van to bring my earthly belongings back to my parents’ house, I’ve driven JIL back to my parents’ place, I’ve got jabbed, ECG’ed & Medicaled, Visaed and even a bit of dinner to celebrate and commiserate on my move & leaving of England.
So yesterday, my four bags in tow (42KG in my hold luggage & whatever in my hand luggage) I made it to Heathrow for the flight (business class). A quick shop to get a new shirt & a shower in the Business Lounge (I kid ye not) and I was ready to go… I met up with Paula (who already works out in Mumbai) and we jumped our plane.
Now BA have done their repuation the world of damage this past year or so… Terminal 5 wasn’t exactly the joy it could have been. So I was a bit iffy about the choice of carrier. It wasn’t too bad a flight… the crew were OK, without being terribly welcoming or friendly. But my biggest gripe is these new "flat bed" seats they’ve got. Good idea, but when you cram them in so that you’ve got to climb over other sleeping passengers, it doesn’t quite work. I did OK in sleep mind, with about 4-5 hours of poor kip, but the loo runs were an obstacle course!! Hopefully I can get upgraded to First next time!! hehe.
Anyways, flying into the airport, you can see the shanty towns… like a lake all over the city, with their blue tarpullin rooftops. The Mumbai airport wasn’t too bad despite the warnings & we skipped through quite quickly. We were met by Paula’s driver & I met my first beggar. He wanted to push my trolley for me for return… saying "No" didn’t cut too much ice to start with… but eventually as you become more agressive (no, don’t read that as I threatened or hit anyone) he backed off.
The car ride from the Airport to the hotel was relatively quick, and the attention to lights & signs appears to follow the "see no evil, hear no evil" ethic… but nothing to get too worried about – the speeds are low enough that a junt probably just give you a sore neck. We did pass through some interesting areas though, with lots of street vendors selling all sorts of bits & bobs and some of the shanty towns on the side of the street. I guess the hardest thing was when we stopped at a set of traffic lights (the only set we seemed to stop at) and a beggar woman came up to my window & started scratching it looking to get my attention so that I’d give her food or money. We’re told to ignore them, but my stomach & heart were sinking at the thought of this elderly lady working over cars in a busy junction like that for scraps. Part of me will have to toughen up to that, but part of my humanity may never get used to it… which is no bad thing I think in the long run.
It is monsoon season here, which means frequent showers, but so far with one exception they’ve been light showers. And they seem to last for no more than 10 – 15 minutes each. The humidity was palpable earlier, but it didn’t seem as repressive as I was expecting… perhaps today is a light day… but I think I will adjust to that better than perhaps the poverty.
And so I’m in my hotel room, just catching up on email & updating my blog. Hopefully I’ll be better at keeping this sorted & updated. Take care, use the Guestbook & catch you soon.