Bangalore was like ‘home’ and staying there I had setup a nice routine for myself. There was that perfect blend of work and play, an ideal mix of friends and relatives, and a wonderful combination of relaxed days and days that were studded with activities. Apart from the so called ‘work’, there were badminton outings combined with weekly parties with my colleagues, parties and get-togethers with my other friends, daily gymming, numerous marathons, biking, trekking and music concerts…I mean you get the flow right? It was never boring. In fact I really don’t know how the last few years flew by…Didn’t even have the time to think about it and I was not complaining!
But then here I am today at Singapore, which is in many ways poles apart compared to Bangalore. And combine that with my non-existent social circle here and living like an alien in a foreign place. ‘Why’ - is a standard question that many have asked and which infact I too have brooded over.
This was not something that happened because of my initiation. But when the opportunity presented itself and when I was asked whether I would like to move to Singapore it got me thinking. After some digging, the next question that kept cropping up was as to ‘Why’ I hadn’t thought of this myself and given it a shot before? There are so many reasons as to why this seemed perfect and it somehow felt the right step forward given all my aspirations and ambitions. The whole process of resigning at Bangalore and joining here hardly took anytime. I got my first taste of Singaporean efficiency at Bangalore when I got my work entry/visa done within 3 days and that too without even submitting my passport in original! These guys are so efficient, methodical and automated that they know you can’t do anything wrong coming here and if you do you cannot get away with it!
As my last post elaborately explained, February was a very hectic month and I hardly had time to think about anything. Thankfully I had couple of good friends here who said they will help me out with everything. Generally before landing at any new place I read up on a city and do some basic research, but because of the lack of time and also because my friends being here I didn’t go through the usual motions for Singapore.
I landed at Singapore around 8AM Sunday 6th of March. There was no problem with the immigration. It went very smooth. I was not quizzed about anything. All they asked was for my passport and the IPA letter (In Principal Approval letter – A letter with which you can enter Singapore to work and then get the actual work permit later). Everything went fine. My first thoughts were on the infrastructure. It is so good that it talks volumes on the amount of planning and hardwork the government puts in here. They are continuing to build and improve and it’s done so neatly that you wouldn’t even notice if there was a huge construction project underway right next to you. Stark contrast to the way the Metro construction is happening all around Bangalore.
I hired a cab to go to my place. The cab gave me a peek of things to come. Some of the busiest streets, but hardly any haphazard traffic, such disciplined driving! Huge buildings but lots of free space everywhere, with trees and greenery all around. Just loved the surroundings!
The first shock came in the form of my apartment...It really didn’t look one bit like a 'home'..:( After all these years of being at Bangalore it was quite a fright..:) The amount of rent that I am paying is insane for this place. But that’s Singapore for you. There was one room, a small kitchen and a so called bathroom (luxury only for ultra thin people). There was of course a living room with a sofa and a glass table (which I broke when I kept my laptop bag on it. The entire thing shattered to pieces and the post-mortem revealed that the legs on which the table stood had completely rusted). My friend who was staying there had just shifted to a new house the previous night and so the entire house was quite dirty. Had to so some initial cleaning, but it still is quite dirty and i dont think i can clean it any further. But it atleast looks livable now.
After couple of days, nothing looks as bad as it had seemed…Life is like that, isn’t it? :)
Went around Singapore in the afternoon with my friends. Had a nice lunch treat in one of the Indian restaurants. Shopped at Mustafa (supposed to be a famous outlet in Singapore located at Little India. Its almost like an infamous landmark here) for groceries, fruits etc..Was back at home in the evening. Without the laptop I was extremely bored and had all the time in the world to feel homesick!
Landed at office the next day. Travelling in the MRT and public busses is quite an experience. It’s kind of very amusing and never boring. Will talk about it in my next few posts. The HP office felt like home and as soon as I entered I felt its going to be good out here :). It’s a different office atmosphere compared to Bangalore. But definitely nothing to complain about. More on office in another post.:)
Later in the day I got my broadband, landline, TV connection and the best of all my brand new iPhone 4. All this put together took like 1.5 hours. Ridiculous isn’t it? I mean it would have taken me atleast a month to setup all of this back home. I also got my Employment Pass done the same week and it was issued with the same level of efficiency (that I now expected of them..:) ).
First impression had been pretty even. Mixed feelings actually. Missed many things - my family, friends, my various activities, my colleagues, the work atmosphere, and the rest of the things that I was comfortable with back home..:)
But after that, the journey has been pretty great. Feels right to be here and more importantly I feel good. Have now setup a routine for myself here. Joined the health club at office. So I getup at 5.30 and go all the way to office for the gym, have a nice workout, freshen up and go to work directly. Reach office by 9. Have found good company here for lunch and there are quite a few food courts with an Indian outlet (which serves pretty good food). By evening I am all set to take the MRT and explore Singapore. Just waiting for my first salary here to make it a bigger exploration. Singapore is like a door to entire south-east Asia. And its waiting to be explored. I am sure this will be a very good experience for me and that I would love the time that I spend in Singapore.
Will keep my blog updated on all my experiences here, both good and not so good ones..:)