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Moving to India? Expect a Contrast of Sorts

Posted: 28/05/2015              Author: Vani Gehani

When you visit India for the first time, it can be hard to know what to make of it. You have probably heard a lot about India before making your first trip to the country. You have no doubt read about the poverty and hunger in India, the constant struggle people face just to get by. You have also read about the Indian billionaires as well, about how wealth and poverty coexist in India.

While India is poor, it is not a uniformly poor country. There is a flourishing middle class in India-- numbering in the hundreds of millions -- that have everything that their counterparts in the West enjoy. The best modern gadgets, smart phones, fast internet, cars and more are all available, and posh apartments, beautiful townhouses and gigantic shopping malls exist peacefully with slums and poverty. BMWs, Mercedes and SUVs share the same roads as “tuk-tuks” and crowded public buses.

You don’t have to look far to see the contrasts in India. Old Delhi can be said to have indescribable poverty and grime, and then, just a few miles away is New Delhi – clean wide roads, flashy cars, gorgeous houses, parks and greenery, luxurious shopping malls, bookstores and multiplexes. The contrasts here are mindboggling. India is full of contrasts!

And the contrasts are not just limited to wealth and poverty coexisting together, but also in the landscape. The Indian landscape is very diverse, with deserts in the West, snowy mountains in the North, beautiful beaches in the South, and thick jungles in the North-East.

The people are different too. They speak over 22 languages and 1600 dialects. Religions practiced include Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, Sikhism, Buddhism and Jainism, among others. 

While English is an official language in India, it is spoken by just 5 to 10% of the people. Learning English helps people from disadvantaged sections to achieve a breakthrough in their careers, get jobs in cities and transform the lives of their families.

The divide between the cities and villages is also quite visible in India. In cities, while not everyone is rich, people are considered more ambitious and hopeful about the future. In the villages, the people enjoy a less stressful existence, but life moves along slowly, with less money-making opportunities.

Sometimes the contrasts in India come to a boil, leading to tensions in society, clashes and violence. But generally everyone coexists peacefully – the rich with the poor, the Hindus with the Muslims, the Hindi speakers with the Marathi or Tamil speakers. There is a strong unity amid all the diversity, which has held through despite attempts to break the peace in the country.

India is hardly a perfect country – far from it. But there is much to admire about India – the fact that it is a democracy, where everyone is equal before the law, and free to practice any faith of his or her choice or to speak their mind. While life in India isn’t great for everyone, things are changing fast with millions breaking the shackles of poverty every year. India is a country on the up and Indians are deeply optimistic people, who truly believe that the best is ahead of them.

Therefore, moving to a country like India can mean a strange mix of emotions akin to riding a roller coaster. New residents not familiar with the country often need help with this transition.

Major multinationals with offices in the India trust Santa Fe to assist their employees with visa applications, home and school search, foreign regional registration, cultural training, settling in and ongoing tenancy management. Our goal is to assist individuals and their families to cut through the red tape and efficiently setle-in with minimum stress.

Kim Becker, Managing Director of Santa Fe India, moved to India two and a half years ago.

He says" I found that my first six months in Bangalore to be quite eye opening. The traffic is probably the worst I have experienced in the world. But you work around this, most businesses begin work at 10:00 am which is much later than most places in the west.... The registration at the Foreign Regional Offices to get your residence visa normally issued for one year is very intimidating. But India has the best service I have ever experienced in the hospitality industry. They also have one of the most efficient and profitable privately owned airlines. Their banks too are leaders in their field.”  

Moving to India? We have offices around the country and would love to help you get settled and enjoy our fascinating culture. We offer packing and moving services, visa and immigration, home and school search, cultural training and more!

Contact our Santa Fe India team at:

Photo courtesy of Anil Vohra