(But please tone down the spice level on my food ;P)
On my 6th year anniversary with my wife, I flew from Toronto to Mumbai. A mere 14-hour flight… We left at 9:10pm and landed at 9:10pm. Let me tell you, that messes a brain real good!
Definitely not our most romantic one.
We did a similar thing 2 years ago when we took a 13-hour overnight train from Xian to Ba Da Ling, close to Beijing. We were cramped in a tiny section with 4 other people sitting on a flat hard bench.
So hey, compared to that one, it’s this one wasn’t that bad!
Our Airbnb host was nice enough to let us check in late in our Andheri West apartment. We had a nice chat with her and went to bed.
We were thinking of taking it slow for a few days, but Audrey ended doing a business meeting and I ran around doing some SIM card and food shopping.
Classic Danny and Audrey.
In Search Of A Co-Working Space
When we were done with our mini-vacation, I contacted WeWork Marol for a place to work. That place looks great! Unfortunately, they were full, and they had just opened 3 months ago. I inquired about the one in Koramangala in Bangalore, because I would be staying there. Full again. And same thing, it had been opened only 3 months ago.
Obviously, I was quite disappointed since I really needed a place to work from and WeWork seemed great.
But that made me realize one thing:
The Startup scene in India, and especially in Bangalore, is incredible!
I did a quick Google Maps search after hearing the Koramangala was full, because we had booked our lodging for the month there and wanted to walk to work.
Turns out there were about 20 co-working spaces there!
We didn’t settle on one until we arrived in Bangalore later.
We currently work from WeWork EGL. It’s awesome. The people working there, and from there, are great. They make my stay there very enjoyable.
I love you India.
Nice Landscapes And Smiles
5 days after we landed in Mumbai, we went to a very small village north of Mumbai called Ashte. It’s a quiet village with really nice landscapes. It’s where I got started with my photography assignment for Sundara.
It took me at least two days to get back to it. I was quite rusty.
But this all changed 3 days after when I went to shoot at the Z.P. Urdu school near Palghar.
The kids were the most amazing in the world. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many beautiful smiles all at once.
They were genuinely happy. I don’t see that back at home. Kids in Canada are too concerned with getting toys. More toys. Always more toys. These kids played with each other and didn’t anything to have fun, smile and laugh.
It was the most fun I’ve had during a photo shoot.
I love you India.
When we landed and arrived at our apartment in Bangalore, the first thing we did was look for a pub. We had heard Koramangala had a few.
We stumbled upon Brooks and Bonds, which had just opened recently.
It was nice!!
It had a really amazing 2-floor rooftop patio, and great pub food and beer.
The temperature in Bangalore is so nice. That pub night was one of the nicest we had in a while. That was a proper Danny-and-Audrey-style anniversary dinner!
Oh, and that was at least 3 times cheaper than Canada. So yea to that!
Yesterday we went to a place called Prost and had a delicious Red Ale and Steak. For $10 CAD. Beef is rare in India, so that was a real treat at a bargain!
I love you India.
There’s An App For That
India took Apple’s iPhone’s slogan very seriously. Especially in Bangalore. There’s an app for everything!
I haven’t cooked anything since I’m here. I’ve used Order by Zomato quite extensively, but there’s a bunch of other local apps. I have a list of 5 at least. It’s cheap, it’s good, it’s fast(ish), and there’s a lot of variety!
The PayTM app is accepted everywhere. Almost no one pays with cash. You scan the QR code and your payment is done. Simple and quick!
Ola and Uber greatly simplify transportation. I get picked up from my apartment and get dropped near my office for anywhere between $0.50 to $0.80. The return is more tricky because of traffic (which is quite insane…), but an Uber Pool costs me $0.80, door to door. Sometimes it takes 30 minutes.
Dunzo.in is something I really want to use. You have things you’d like to get done by someone else? Just pay them to do it for you for insanely cheap. It works for repairs, shipping, buying, home services, etc.
India, your use of technology is probably the best I’ve seen in the world. Your innovations never cease to amaze me.
I love you India.
Staying Long Term
Initially, I was thinking of staying about 3 months in India. I strongly considering changing my mind and staying longer.
I initially wanted to go to New York City after. I wanted a vibrant, hectic city where everything is fast-paced and everyone works hard.
And that’s what I found here in Bangalore.
Excellent startup vibe, great food, great prices, nice people, nice co-working spaces, perfect use of technology and innovation.
India, especially Bangalore, you’ve won my heart and beat NYC as the place I want to stay most currently.
So India, I love you!
Thanks for reading and sharing! :)
First published here: https://theascent.pub/i-love-you-india-582fb9fd2c96