Saturday, March 17, 2007

R2I - What to take and what not to take?

If you are planning on an R2I, one of the things you will find yourself wondering about is what to take back and what not to take back. Though I may not be able to provide a comprehensive list, I can paint a picture of what is available here and what is not.

What to take
  1. Definitely toys. The same toys here cost you double of what it would cost you in USD there. For example, a Fisher Price magno-doodle board costs about $15 (Rs. 690) in Calif, but costs about Rs. 1500 here! So, I really put toys over and above everything else! Really, it is a great deal for you to shop there and ship, than to buy them here! I would also recommend getting Ryan's Room's toys only because they would be very unique here, and I have not seen anything like that here.
  2. Stuff from Ikea, if you like Ikea things. Please limit it to smaller things, like useful things around the kitchen (place mats, heat pads, spice racks etc) or for the bathroom. Some knick-knacks maybe. As for furniture pieces, you can get them custom made from an Ikea catalogue!! It is sad, but true. You get lots of Ikea furniture replicas here.
  3. If you like and use the reusable kitchen towels, then definitely those because I haven't seen any of those here. I find those VERY useful to keep all the counter surfaces clean.
  4. Branded clothes for the whole family, if you want. The same stuff is more expensive here. You do get Dockers, Levis, and the like, here. However, you are so much better off shopping at an outlet mall there.
  5. Good quality children's clothes are expensive here, compared to the US. You can consider buying a few bigger sizes of clothes for the kids from Mervyn's, The Children's Place etc when they have a sale going on. Clothes here are cheaper compared to Gymboree. :) Just trying to give an idea about the pricing here. But the quality of clothes there is definitely so much better for children.
  6. You do get varieties of microwavable and air-tight box containers here for the kitchen. However, just for style, maybe you can get a few from there.
  7. Branded perfumes. I have seen some malls carry branded perfumes here. In fact, I have seen Hugo Boss here. However, I have not seen Chanel, Burberry, Prada, etc.
  8. If you have cell phones that will work in India, definitely do not leave them behind.
  9. If you like anything in particular from Bed, Bath and Beyond, Cost Plus, Discovery Channel store, or any of those specialty stores.
  10. Bedding sets. We liked the comforters and fitted sheets, so we got a few of those. But otherwise, you do get some lovely bedding sets here. However, I am yet to see any fitted sheets anywhere here.
  11. Medical and dental records. Typically, you will have to apply for them at your doc's office. The offices will need about a week or so to process your request.
  12. Consider taking back with you a US phone number. It will be especially useful for the first few months after coming to India. You can get a VoIP service such as Vonage, which works with any broadband service in India. You get a US telephone number and calls to any number in the US are free. Calls to Canada, UK, Italy, Spain and a few more countries are free too. This helps you "feel" connected even after the move. The usage of such a service itself is in the grey, here. Some say it is illegal. So, please do it at your discretion.
  13. Lastly, all things that are close to your heart. If you are sentimental about anything, please pack 'em and don't think twice. You may not forgive yourself later. :)
What not to take
  1. Furniture. Bangalore has really come far in terms of style and variety. There are tons of fantastic furniture stores and you get tons of really good pieces. You can skip bringing furniture from the US. By skipping the furniture, you can keep the volume of your shipping down.
  2. Kitchen pots and pans. You get tons and truckloads here. You can skip the Corelle kinds of tableware, cause you do get those right here.
  3. Mattress - I wanted to very badly lug ours across the globe. But we didn't. I am glad, cause we got to choose from some very good ones here.
  4. If you are paying for the shipping, I would suggest you skip carrying back TV sets, refrigerators, washing machines, dish washers etc, because you do get all kinds and varieties here. If the shipping is paid for, then carry back anything you want. I must add though, you do get very good plasma and LCD televisions here.
Hope this helps. And if you are wondering about anything in particular, let me know and I will add it to this list.


Anonymous said...

Hi chitra,
Thanks for the prompt post. I appreciate it. It makes a lot of sense to me. I was wondering if you encountered any problem when shipping that you least expected in the United states or in Bangalore?
Same Anon.. thanks

Deeps said...

This is really good advice. I think I'll bookmark it fr "future" purposes :-D.

Preethy said...

And a sense of humour? (Get back with u)

Pradeep said...

Abbreviations can be funny, if you aren't tuned in.

I first read R2I as Right To Information. And, I couldn't make out what your post was about... Then of course very soon I understood... Return(ing) To India.

Chitra said...

Anon, welcome! Nope, no problems at all. Like you see in the pic here, Everything came in perfect condition. Not a thing had even moved in the boxes. It was also because of hub's meticulous packing. That reminds me I have to add how we packed. Let me do that.

Deeps, I am guessing this list will be valid for a few months, and then it has to change to keep pace with what is essential here and available here. :)

Preethy, good point! :) Welcome to my blog!

Pradeep, you are right. I thought the abbreviation was appropriate since I mention it in the title of the blog page. :)

Usha said...

Ikea knick knacks like tealights and reassemblable plastic containers for toys, pillows etc and fitted mattresses and kitchen towels are what I shop for when I go out too.
Am going in May - but have absolutely nothing to buy. what a shame!

Smitha said...

Chits, Few thing I can think of::

The Clean Air.
The Law and Order Enforcement.
The Infrastructure.


Chitra said...

Usha, isn't it wonderful that you have nothing to buy? That's like a Zen state. :)

Smitha, oh well!

Anonymous said...

The Zen state is kinda hard to achieve when you live in the United States. The major holidays and the seasonal changes just seem to make you want stuff and buy more and more. I know, because I am looking at tons of spring sales all around me and it's very tempting....With all the moving ahead of us , my impulsive shopping days have come to a standstill.
Same anon

Chitra said...

Same anon, :) Please indulge. I did too, hard not to. Especially since everything was getting shipped anyway!

Only if you don't mind, can you please email me? Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Can anyone tell me if the Vonage phone works in India? Does it have good quality? I need to know if anyone took it and if it is working good and what kind of internet service does it need? Thanks

Smitha said...

Another important thing to carry from here - W A T E R.
Shocking news our borewell in Koramnagala home has dried up. Taps are letting out sand dust.
Most of the borewells have dried up due to the spawming of apartments all around bangalore.
Kaveri water supply is only once in 3 days !!!!
God Save Bangalore !!!!! We should somehow stop the civilisation from mushrooming any further :-( I mean Bidadi should be bidadi and not Become Bangalore 56001001 :-(

Rahul said...

Great post, and very timely for my wife and I. We're leaving the Bay Area at the end of May to move to Bangalore. I had a couple of specific queries for you (and perhaps the other readers of the blog):

1)Are there moving services you'd recommend? Have the experiences with moving services typically been good? E.g. they're timely, handle all the customs stuff etc?

2) Did you keep a US phone number in India? if so, what would you recommend - a forwarding service, a VoIP phone etc. Would love to get some advice.

Thanks again - your blog is exactly what I need to help with the move!!

Chitra said...

Smitha, unfortunate but true! I have touched about the water plight here,

Chitra said...

Rahul, welcome to my blog. Thanks!

1)I have answered your question about moving/shipping services in the newest post. Hope that helps.

2)A VoIP would work well. I have included it as the 12th point in this post itself. Let me know if it helps you.

Anonymous said...

Hmm.. recreating a past world in a present world.. quite a challenge and quite a lot of unhappiness too.. Good luck.

Anonymous said...

In the blog, I could see that few things are available in bangalore,and suggestion was to not to bring them from US. I was wondering if you could tell the store names or location, it would be easy for us to buy after we land there. e.g the corelle tableware etc.

silkboard said...

Usha, agree with your zen state thing. Besides perhaps an impulse gadget buy at Fry's, there is nothing to buy at SF bay area on my trips now.

Trip to US after the R2I move, the first one - was an interesting one for me. If you have already done that Chitra, you may want to share that here as well.

Chitra said...

Anon, welcome to my blog. Regarding the stores, most of what I mention you do find them just about everywhere. Especially the Corelle stuff, you get them at any store that sells tableware.

SB, thanks for the pointer. I am yet to make a visit. We are considering one in May, lets see.

Anonymous said...

Hi Chitra,

I found several of your experiences in moving back to India given in your blog to be very useful in starting to plan my relocation to Banglore in December after more than 10 years in the US!!

A quick question though - my company will be paying for the that case is it wise to carry back my TV, DVD player and home theatre system?? How easy or hard is it to make the US electronics work in India given the voltage difference? I am also well aware of the frequent power do they pose a problem? Also do you know if the DVD player would still be able to read Indian DVD's(I ask this because UK made DVD's are not readable by the DVD Players configured for use in the USA since they have different formats? Will I have this problem with Indian DVD's??


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How this article relevant to 2010?It is better if you update with the present available items and the scneraio in bangalore

Nithya said...

Hi, what about the difference in price? My friends who r2ied a year back said that though everything is available(including sheet sets, serveware), they are expensive than US, is that right? If shipping is being paid to a limit should we get the bedding sets and other decor stuff from here?

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