Friday, March 28, 2008

Broker vs Broker

I was checking with a colleague who has just moved from Mumbai to Kolkata and this is what he had to say about Mumbai and Kolkata brokers. I hope you all find this entertaining and in the meanwhile let me rack my brains how to rid myself of this darned writers block. I seem to be having rather long continous spells these days or was my 'writing' phase just a passing phase I wonder...

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Just an example of the difference I am finding between the two places –

“I met my broker for house hunting today. He is a 70 year young man with big black spectacles, dressed in dhoti and a kurta and greets me as “Kaimon ache babu?” and takes me around tree lined lanes of lake garden in a cycle rickshaw humming a old Bengali tune. He shows me 6 houses within 1 hour and manages to sit for tea with one of the landlord, a ‘bhadralok’, who forces me to have a cup too even if I am not keen to rent his house and discusses about the working culture in banks nowadays and whether Obama or Clinton will win.”

“When I met my broker in Mumbai, he was a 25-26 year old man who was wearing an ordinary tee-shirt and trousers, chewing gutka and greeted me “Time nahi hain boss, bolo kitna budget hain tumhara”. This is the first sentence he speaks! And then he curses the fact that I have no car and takes me in a taxi to andheri all the time yelling in his phone and punctuating with expletives which could make a goonda blush. It takes us an hour to reach the house over cramped and congested roads. The landlord shows us the door within 5 minutes when I try to negotiate the rent saying I like the apartment and would move in soon if we could reach a better price. He also warns the broker to not waste his time like this in future”

So, I think Calcutta is treating me really nice.

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