June 10th, 2006
Rani and I have moved into our new place in India. It’s on the roof of an apartment block, with nothing between us and the airport. At the weekend we sit on the roof on charpais (low-budget beds) planespotting, getting rained on, and stargazing at night. There are pictures here. The place costs us Rs 10,000 per month, with a Rs 60,000 deposit – quite reasonable considering 11 months in advance is the usual deposit here. We paid the agent who found us the place one month’s rent as her fee. The place came unfurnished, with only wardrobes provided. We’re renting a fridge and a TV, and have bought everything else.
Getting this far has involved lots of running around to get residence permits from the police and bank accounts, and we are still pursuing an elusive gas “connection” which will allow us to buy gas cylinders from one of the three state-owned gas companies. This requires us to obtain a ration card from the Food and Civil Supplies department. We have had arguments with the landlord and builders to fix our doors and windows which leaked during the monsoon rains, and connect us to the block’s backup generator so we get power when the electricity goes off on Sunday afternoons.
Our neighbours and my colleagues at work have been wonderfully kind and friendly. Special thanks go to Suresh and Mohan in the admin department who are experts at navigating the license raj, KK Rajan in finance, Manish who lent me his cooker, and Nila who sorted me out with a gas cylinder.
We love our new place. It’s small, but it’s got the biggest sky I’ve had for a long time. Outside the luminous moon is shining from high up amongst star-encrusted clouds, and it’s nearly full. In your face, Camberwell.