Rakhee is an Australian expat of Indian origin. She moved to India for a life change, and after nine months backpacking around the country, decided to settle in Mumbai. She enjoys the cosmopolitan nature of Mumbai, which brings a new adventure every day.
Q: Where are you originally from?
A: Melbourne, Australia
Q: Where are you living now?
A: Bandra, Mumbai, India
Q: How long have you lived here?
A: In Mumbai for two months, in India for ten months.
Q: Did you move. with a spouse/children?
Q: Why did you move to India; what do you do?
A: I moved for a life change, and spent my first nine months backpacking around India before settling in Mumbai.
Q: What do you enjoy most about Mumbai, how’s the quality of life?
A: It’s such a cosmopolitan city, every day is a new adventure. Life is good, and I feel like I can do anything here.
Q: Any negatives? What do you miss most about home?
A: I miss my bathtub, but other than that I am enjoying my new life.
Q: Is Mumbai safe?
A: I feel safe, particularly in Bandra. There are many parts of India where I didn’t feel so comfortable as a single woman, but Mumbai is a very welcoming one.
About living in Mumbai
Q: Which are the best places/suburbs to live in Mumbai as an expat?
A: Bandra is certainly a good place for an expat with a diverse population, both local and expats. Mumbai is a big city and there are many new pockets that I am still exploring.
Q: How do you rate the standard of accommodation in Mumbai?
A: Quality accommodation can be expensive, particularly for those on a local income. I am sharing an apartment that has been recently renovated and it is modern and comfortable.
Q: What’s the cost of living compared to home? What is cheap or expensive in particular?
A: Accommodation is expensive, relative to income. Otherwise, India can be as cheap or as expensive as you want it to be. Fresh fruit and vegetables are inexpensive if you stick to local produce, but speciality or imported groceries can be very expensive.
Q: What are the locals like; do you mix mainly with other expats?
A: I am still quite new and just starting to make friends. I meet a mix of locals and expats and enjoy meeting people from quite a varied range of backgrounds.
Q: Was it easy meeting people and making friends in Mumbai?
A: I have found social networking sites to be the easiest way to meet people. I have met many people through Twitter and various Facebook groups.
About working in India
Q: Did you have a problem getting a work visa/permit for India?
A: I have Overseas Citizenship of India so I do not need a work visa.
Q: What’s the economic climate like in Mumbai, is there plenty of work?
A: It feels like there is a buzz around Mumbai and that anything is possible. I am currently freelancing as a business consultant and writer, and am starting to get myself networked and build up clientele.
Q: How does the work culture in India differ from home?
A: As a freelancer I can work at my own pace, but I do find things tend to be done more at the last minute here and in a rush.
Q: Is there any other advice you like to offer new expat arrivals?
A: Get out and see the country and get involved and mix with a variety of people. India is such a diverse country with so much to experience, don’t be afraid to get out there.
~ Interviewed July 2012