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While I lived in Gurgaon I never wanted to leave India
My wife and I moved to India in May 2008 for work. I had a lot of preconceived notions about India, most of them outdated or simply wrong. For the first couple of months we were overwhelmed with culture shock and didn't even realize it.

NOT REALIZING it made it worse. After we settled down I was able to manoeuvre my way around, literally and figuratively, quite easily. My wife and I were working while we were in India and benefitted from the experience - as it is of great value to be able to show that you can interact professionally across borders and cultures. It is also good to have multinational experience in your CV.

The people I interacted with at work while in Gurgaon were quite professional in their demeanour and apart from some minor scheduling cultural differences the method of working was typical of what one would find in business culture in the US. The only problem we had insofar as language and culture goes is that we spoke very limited Hindi.

The infrastructure of Gurgaon is akin to any boom town and in this sense it has its limits and its growing pains as a result of the fact that it was continually in flux when we were living there. We were quite comfortable where we were living and working but we had some friends who had to deal with problems. Something that I think could be improved in Gurgaon is the infrastructure as regards to the streets. The lack of drainage when water builds up on roads as a result of rains is something that needs addressing. Driving can be pretty dicey everywhere in India as it was in Gurgaon.

While we were living in Gurgaon, we dined mostly at home but there were a multitude of restaurants and the nightlife was varied and available any time we wanted to go out. The food that was available was every bit as diverse as the food in the US but we generally stuck to Indian food because of the array of choices - given all the different cultures in India - was enormous, delicious, and quite healthy relative to the typical American diet.

A lasting experience for me occurred when I first arrived in India. I was taking a walking tour of Chandni Chowk when a stranger came up to me and tapped me on the shoulder. He said something to me in Hindi and scared the heck out of me. I was in a very defensive posture when I looked at his hand. He was offering me the hat that I had been carrying in my back pocket, which had dropped. He had seen me drop the hat and had kindly picked it up and chased after me. As I took the hat and ashamedly said dhanyavad (with a terrible accent I am sure), the fellow smiled at me. As I walked away I looked back at the guy and he smiled again. I keep that in mind to this day when I meet new people or have an opportunity to do a stranger a favor.

We were in Gurgaon for one year but I feel like I will never truly leave India because it is now part of me. From my home office, which has old Bollywood movie posters of ‘Kashmiri Ki Kali’ and ‘Mother India’, and looks like a shrine to India, to the spices that I still grind myself and keep in a Masala Dabba - India is never far away from my day to day activity, and I look forward to going there again and again in the future. I have already been back since we left!

CJ: Joseph McGann, a US citizen, while in India, worked as a consultant for the Learning & Development team of a Fortune 500 multinational company.

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