In 50 years’ time, a massive proportion of KPMG’s business in the UK may be coming from India, and I’m currently working with a number of Indian subsidiaries of UK businesses.
There are definitely adjustments you have to make as an ex-pat coming here. For example, language: India may be English-speaking within the work environment, but outside I’ve found I need to learn Hindi to be able to talk in shops and with drivers.
Also, with things like finding somewhere to live, I needed to learn who to ask, what to ask and how to ask it — then suddenly you find everything you’re looking for, and I had 100 properties to choose from.
In the ex-pat community it may be hard to meet the first person, but once you do they introduce you to five people, and each of them to another five, so very soon you’ve met plenty of people. I’m also developing networks all over the world by meeting other professionals from the US, Canada, Japan, and Korea.
Around where I live in Gurgaon, near Delhi, there are amazing changes going on all around me — new buildings are rocketing up, new roads being built, shops opening. This is one of the fastest-growing cities in the whole of India.
All of this is in stark contrast to the shocking poverty that exists. I do what I can, for example by employing people such as a driver and leaving tips, but it’s on a very small scale. You just have to get used to things like people sleeping rough in between the huge buildings that are going up.
Overall, I’m really enjoying it here. People are very friendly and everyone tries to help. It’s hard to appreciate until you get here, but India is huge and there is vast diversity and great differences between north and south, east and west.
It’s hard to talk generally about the country as a whole, but it is fantastic – one of the very best places to see in the world.