Friday, December 24, 2010

My Bangalore Experience

Background

This post is like a retrospective of my stay in Bangalore and how I felt about living in this city. I was feeling sad about leaving Bangalore and just wanted to highlight some of the things which made me feel so. I’ll try to keep this very short but its quite possible that this might be one of my longest post.

A bit of professional history

I first came to Bangalore in the year 2000 for a training. I was working with NIIT as a faculty then and within couple of weeks of joining I was asked to attend a training for a MIS system called Encore. I was the only person from Goa in that training. It was the first time I had been to a metro outside of Goa. The trip lasted for about 2 weeks. I did not  get much chance to explore the city but whatever I visited it all looked very extravagant and big to me. A brief visit to M G Road and Brigade road was good enough to differentiate it from a visit to Miramar beach in Goa.

My second visit was as a student of NIIT one year later for my final semester of GNIIT program. This is the first time me and my best friend for last one decade Mr. Vishal Naik came together to Bangalore. We experience many of the things for the first time. Getting an accommodation with the help of an agent, staying in a PG with the landlord who coul speak only Kannada language and we did not understand a single word of what she was saying. It was all sign language then.

After few months we moved into an apartment with few other guys sharing the same. I had also started working in a company called Netgalactic Internet Solutions Pvt Ltd. I started my professional career here. This was the time when finding a job in a city like Bangalore was very difficult. People with far better educational qualifications from me and good grades compared to that of mine were finding it difficult to get a job. Some of the people who were selected in campus interviews had to face delays in joining and some were even unfortunate to have their offers taken back by the companies.

I had enrolled for the placement program of NIIT and I clearly remember the placement officer telling me that I should try for customer support and call centre based jobs. But somewhere deep inside me I knew that my heart lies in being a developer and in the profession of Software Engineering. I remember the words I told that person “I am willing to wait for the opportunity but I’ll not join call centre”. It was just a metter of getting one opportunity to show the world that I belong to this genre of software engineer. I am really thankful to Netgalactic which was later rebranded as the Skelta. If it was not for them I don’t know where I would have been today.

That was the beginning of my journey in Software industry. I learnt some of the very good things in a short span of time here. After about 18 months I joined Thomson Financials which was my first multi national company. The colleagues here were really fantastic. Even today after leaving this company after almost 3 years I remember the good times I had with some of the most wonderful people I have ever met. I got to attend many professional trainings while I was there with Thomson for about 3 years. Whenever I meet people from this company I still feel as if I am part of a family. I miss the work culture of this place very badly. I am yet to come across a better workplace than Thomson in my professional life so far.

In December 2007 I joined Tesco. I had an opportunity to travel to UK within 2 months and a short stay there helped me in many ways. This was beginning of a new journey for me. This is where I started with my exposure to Agile. If I can talk and write a little bit about Agile it all started here. I was the first member of the new Instore team that was getting formed in the Bangalore office of Tesco. I always took a lot of pride in introducing myself to almost everyone saying “ I am the first member of this team”. I am still proud of being associated with some of the best people I have worked with during my tenure in Tesco. These include both the people in Bangalore as well as UK offices. It would be hard to name individuals but I have made some of the best friends here and I value their contribution in helping me in becoming a better person in whatever I am right now at this moment in my life.

Some of my experiences in Bangalore

Apart from working in 4 different companies in the span starting from June 2003 to December 2010 I also tried participating in user groups and stuff like that. I was a member of Bangalore DotNet (BDotNet) group.

From my personal experience I can say that Bangalore is one of the best city to live in India. There are positives and negatives about each city wherever you go in this world. Instead of looking at the negatives I would like to highlight the positives that I feel are working in favor of Bangalore.

The climate is one of the best I have ever experienced in India. Coming from a hot and humid part of Goa, I found Bangalore to be very pleasant. Although off late with all the constructions going around in every corner of the city, it has lost most of its green cover. Compared tow hen I first came to Bangalore I hardly find any resemblance now. But still I would prefer it anytime compared to other places.

If you are in IT industry I doubt any other city in India can boast of so much opportunities. And this is yet to reach the saturation level. I am sure the IT expansion will continue for some more time in Bangalore. You’ll get opportunity to work with some of the best brains in the world if you are in IT industry.

I find the traffic very irritating factor. But then as I read once in an email, you can always take alternatives like coming in early before peak hours if you travel by your own vehicle to beat the traffic. Hopefully once the Bangalore metro starts operating we can see some difference in traffic conditions. Although I have not travelled much in the Volvo busses, whatever little I did I personally liked them. Tell me which other city in India has this facility?

Accommodation is slightly on the higher side but I don’t think anybody in IT industry gets paid so less that they can’t afford a reasonable living in Bangalore. With so many shopping malls coming up in every part of the city, entertainment and shopping are going to be easier.

Earlier when I came to Bangalore for the first time there was problem with the language. In some areas people did not understand Hindi or English. But now a days I find everyone right from auto drivers to maid servants communicating in Hindi. At least they understand  the language. If you know any one of the South Indian languages you can always manage in a city like Bangalore.

When I decided to relocate to Singapore and give my apartment for rent, I sent a mail to the mail group of the apartment residents. Within 2 minutes I got a call from someone asking me about the house details. Within 12 hours of shooting that mail I had already finalized the deal for renting the house. Even for selling the household items and my vehicle I could do it without taking help from any broker or agent just by posting online adds. Half of the items that I managed to sell were just through emails to my friends and ex colleagues.  This was the time I realized the true power of networking Smile. I can safely stake a claim that Bangalore has got the highest Internet penetration in India based on the number of queries I got for my bike and sofa set.

Conclusion

While I spent more than 9 years in Bangalore never did I feel anything bad about it. Right from the time when I was just a collage pass out with hardly any clarity about my future until recently where I could make certain decisions for myself and my family this city has always been wonderful to me. I liked the people, the environment. I don’t know what I liked so much about the place the first time I landed here. But from that time onwards somewhere deep inside my heart I wanted to make this place a place of my work. I never realized when I started saying Our Bangalore from their or your Bangalore. This city became the integral part of my life in a very short span of time. I learnt the tricks of my trade here. At this moment Bangalore is the city I love the most.

It was a very difficult decision to take to move out of Bangalore. Those who know me well would know that I don’t like to show emotions. Even in the worst situations, I have never felt so emotional anytime in my life before. But on the Sunday morning when I was about to leave from Bangalore I felt very sad. I felt I was leaving something which was very close to my heart. I am sure as and when I decide to relocate to India, it will be none other city than namma Bangalore. Thanks once again to all the wonderful people of this city who helped me achieve some of my dearest dreams and also in helping me to become a better individual at what I do.

Until next time wish you all a very happy Merry Christmas!!!

1 comment:

  1. Hey Nilesh,

    Nice write up about your feeling for leaving the Silicon Valley of India i.e. Bangalore.

    I know you for about lets say from Oct 2003 to Feb 2004 - my brief stay at Netgalactic. I still remember that we were on Night shift dude...very dreading 4 months in my life... but you had become a very good friend of mine and that is proved by the fact that we both caught up again thro the wonderful social media i.e. facebook and twitter.

    One thing i can ask you for now is to - start writing your experiences about the intial days at Singapore i.e. finding house, finding transporttion to reach office, grocery etc etc...let it be a Singapore Diary

    Best wishes and good luck dude

    ReplyDelete

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