Tag Shopping

Buy furniture in India or Ship from USA before R2I?

Furniture shopping in IndiaFurniture shopping in India: Study Table for $225/Rs.9,900Furniture shopping in India: Bed frame for $850/Rs.38,000

I don’t actually know that if there is a ‘furniture mafia’ but how else can you explain such astronomical prices? Furniture costs roughly twice as much as they do in the U.S. and are half as good in quality. If I had known, I would have shipped the big items from America (except the mattress).

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Signs of progress – Delhi Police towed and ticketed us

Traffic in India is not pretty. However, there are some instances when the Police actually do their job. Never before have I been overjoyed at being towed or ticketed.

R2I - Getting towed in Lajpat Nagar
PHOTO: Our ‘tourist taxi’ getting towed in Lajpat Nagar in December – one of the few places where parking rules are enforced. They let us go after we paid $9 (Rs.400) on the spot and got an official ticket (no bribe).

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Ship mattress, comforter from USA or buy in India? Our story…

20101023-IMG_6574PHOTO: Meenal trying out mattresses in Sikandarpur Market, Gurgaon, India


Surprisingly, buying a mattress after returning to India was quite straight forward. All of the major brands- Kurl-On, Sleepwell, etc.- can easily be found in most major markets with same day pedal-rickshaw-delivery and cash-on-delivery payment terms. This was a pleasant surprise after our mattress shopping experience in Boston (the entire industry is shady and worse than used car dealers).

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Defeating the rats of Mahabharata

A few years ago, Surya of New Hampshire had done a business out of India. He had many tales, one of which included an army of rats, his cables and Surya shouting with such frustration that you could see his blood red esophagus (Surya likes to use fancy words). Such a tale would have awed anyone, and it made me fear for my internet kingdom.

Since I am softer spoken than Surya and too modest to show my esophagus in public, I have encased my internet in 2000 pounds of pure stainless steel. If the rat armies manage to break my defenses, it will be the crowning achievement of their civilization and deserve a movie to celebrate it: The Rats of Mahabharata versus the cunning defenses of Jeloka ji.

A new stainless steel boxMy equipment and the perforated boxThe equipment insideOnly rats with balls of steel beyond this point

See BIG pictures of my kingdom’s defenses

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Momos (Tibetan Dumplings) are everywhere

Aah, Momos. Brings back memories of my childhood.

Every kid was served a fixed amount of food in my boarding school in Darjeeling. If a kid didn’t want to east something, he’d trade it with another kid – I’ll give you 3 bananas if you give me a mango next week. The king of all food items were Momos – Each kid got 8 momos for dinner on Saturday night. The going rate for a single piece of Momo on Saturday night?

1 Momo = 8 bananas or equivalent!

Now Momos are everywhere in Delhi and I’m loving it! The best I’ve had so far are from the Big Bazaar (local equivalent of Wal-Mart) stall in Gurgaon.

PHOTO: Big Bazaar Momo stand
CJ's Big Bazaar Momo stand

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Nonstop repairs at home after R2I India

Things break all the time in India. Things come out of their factory boxes broken, or are found to be faulty on first use. Things break that you’ve never seen broken. Things that you couldn’t even fathom had anything to break in it will break. We Sherlock Holmed this and found 2 obvious reasons. First, the stuff itself is of a lower quality – This is understandable in a poorer country. We’ll make peace with this. Second, the workmanship is very irresponsible. I’m not sure why people don’t take pride in their work but the constant repairs are frustrating.


Example 1: Faulty light wiring

The ceiling light was installed 2 weeks ago. This was the first time I tried to position it according to my taste and it short circuited blowing the main house fuse. Lesson learned: If it works in any respect, thank your stars and don’t touch it.

PHOTO: I’m up on a 30 pound workman’s ladder shit scared of getting electrocuted:Prashant fixing a new light fixture

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Barbecuing UNsuccessfully after returning to India (1st try)

You suburban residents of Boston thought that you’d be the only ones to have it all – a big house, a wooden deck and a barbecue grill. You were mostly right. No big house on a cul-de-sac or the visits from deers on my deck yet. But barbecue I can!

I found something called a Gas Tandoor which seems to do the job, somewhat. It’s a metal apparatus that goes over your existing gas stove in the kitchen. Its got a base with a grill that lets the heat of the gas stove come through. The cover with the black handle keeps the heat in.

Pictures from the first test:


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We painted our walls green and caffeine for $100

20101120-IMG_685718 YouTube videos later, we felt that we were ready. So off we went to the paint store. That’s when we got caught.

Shopkeeper: Which paint do you want?

Us: Umm..um..which ones do you have?

Shopkeeper: [confused look]. Asian Paints Royale, Premium and the cheapest distemper.

Us: [thinking we should come clean since the YouTube videos weren’t making us look like pros] Ok. So we’ve never painted before. Can you help us choose? What’s the difference?

Shopkeeper: [smirks that we came clean and just rewords his last comment] The luxury is the most expensive, the premium is less, the distemper is the cheapest.

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Sudbury, MA cushions for sale in Gurgaon, India!

When did Sudbury, MA become fashionable in the malls of Gurgaon? I drove through Sudbury every week to visit Harry and Manny in Marlborough, MA. and seeing the cushion made me smile AND grab my camera.IMG_6577

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Which alcohol should you buy in duty free before moving to India?

Family in Delhi think that I’m not much of a drinker. Shocking as that may sound to my yuppie drinking friends, the accusation is largely true. And I desperately want a drink. Yes, bolded. So, why the wannabe Gandhian stance?

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