Move to Lucknow, India from Michigan, USA

by Harsh28. October 2013 21:46

 My Recent Experience of moving my household goods from Michigan USA to Lucknow India

 

There are following main steps involved in the moving process:

 

1.       Pre-move steps

2.       Actual moving process

3.       Receiving goods at the destination.

a.       Customs clearance process

b.      Receiving items at the ‘Door’

 

1.     Pre-move Steps

I searched the web for companies that handle international moving and after receiving replies from a few companies I chose INTERNATIONAL SEA AND AIR SHIPPING (ISAS) based in Elmont, New York. I found that their quote was quite complete and they seem to understand my requirement. Other companies were asking me about how many bedrooms I have in the house to estimate the volume to be shipped. But ISAS quoted me the “Container Option” right from the start. After talking with the very knowledgeable sales person, I decided on a 20-ft container with full-packing and door-to-door option.

 

We fixed on a pick up day. I had some concerns about how much stuff I can take in a 20-ft container (20x8x8). I had made an Excel sheet of the major items with dimensions and sent it to the ISAS sales person. They got back to me quickly with their feedback.

 

2.     Actual Moving Process

 

2.1 Good job done by the packers

The packers were very courteous and did a nice job of packing most of the things carefully. It took them from 9AM to 4PM to finish the packing. Then they started loading the items on the container. The loading took another three hours.

 

2.2 Things packers could have done better

The packers did not do a good job of packing the large items like sofa, dining table, chairs, and other furniture items. They just wrapped these items with papers. At Delhi Customs facility when they unloaded the items from the container to the warehouse, the sofa was fully exposed with no paper around it; the main big seat cushions were also open…. These items were visible when I went to inspect the items with the local agent. When the final delivery took place at our flat in Lucknow, we found scratches on the dining table surface, dirty sofa and cushions, scratches in the other wooden furniture items, some tears on the sofa arms etc. I am not filing any insurance claim for these items as I don’t want the hassle of dealing with it. I am happy that my household items did arrive at my house. When I was walking in the New Delhi Customs facility, I saw many other shipments piled up there like mine. But some of them did have larger furniture items (including mattresses) that were fully covered by plastic. I WILL ADVISE ANY CLIENT THAT WILL USE INTERNATIONAL SEA AND AIR SHIPPING for move to India to insist on covering their furniture items properly. If you have to pay more for it, it is worth it.

So, as far as INTERNATIONAL SEA AND AIR SHIPPING is concerned, I am happy with their service except for the furniture packing issue. I do recommend them for move to India from USA.

3.     Receiving goods in India

3.1 Customs Clearance Process

INTERNATIONAL SEA AND AIR SHIPPING (ISAS) had assigned “LinkIndia Removals” as their local India agent for my shipment. The expected date of shipment arrival in New Delhi was October 6, 2013. Before I left USA, I had a nice email from Mr. Narender Singh of LinkIndia that he will be handling our shipment. It was very comforting to know this. I met Mr. Singh at my friend’s place in New Delhi on Oct 5 and he had all the necessary papers with him for me to sign and he explained to me the process of getting the goods cleared through the Customs. He explained to me the “Transfer of Residence” rule. One must not have been in India more than six months in the last two years to qualify for this. I had to pay some duty on my shipment. Fortunately, most of my stuff was old and I had no electronic items and major appliances. So, my duty was reasonable. The Customs inspector opened approximately 10 boxes and saw their contents personally and he sent another 15 boxes through the X-Ray machine to see their contents. All this was supervised by Mr. Sing and another staff from LinkIndia. Later they re-taped the boxes which were opened for inspection.

The warehouse is very large with a solid roof, but the doors are open and so dust goes in as the trucks are coming and going outside. Our open sofas and seats arrived in dusty and dirty condition. I was thankful that I did not ship any mattresses. They would really have gotten spoiled, unless covered properly.

3.2 Receiving items in Lucknow

LinkIndia handled all of the paperwork. Once the duty was paid, they also arranged for the truck to take the items to Lucknow. They sent one of their staff members with the truck to Lucknow and when the truck arrived in Lucknow, they found some local labor to unload the items and deliver to our flat. The whole process went very smoothly. We told them where each box and furniture items go and they were very helpful in following our instructions. We did not have them unpack all of the items. The whole unloading process took about 4-5 hours. All of the items arrived safely except for some minor damages noted above.

I was very happy and satisfied with LinkIndia’s support in India and highly recommend them for any such work. I am glad that INTERNATIONAL SEA AND AIR SHIPPING chose them for handling the shipment at destination.

Final Comments

The move from Michigan, USA to Lucknow, India went smoothly and successfully. I thank the staff of INTERNATIONAL SEA AND AIR SHIPPING and LINKINDIA REMOVALS to make it a trouble free experience.

If any NRI reads this and has any questions about moving to India, he/she can contact me at harshpande1@gmail.com.

 

Posted from:

Lucknow, India

October 29, 2013

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Banker To the Poor

by Harsh20. September 2013 10:07

Banker to the Poor – Micro-Lending And the Battle against World Poverty

It is a memoir of Mohammad Yunus of Bangladesh who developed and implemented the concept of Micro-finance (micro-credit, micro-lending) as a way to eliminate poverty. He is now a world celebrity wining many prestigious awards including the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006. He is the founder of the Grameen Bank and other supporting organization bearing the name “Grameen”.

His effort s can best be summarized by this favorite quote “If you give a man a fish, you feed him for a day. If you teach him how to fish, you feed him for life”.

He was a professor of Economics at Chittagong University in Bangladesh. He realized that the women of Bangladesh were really the poorest of the poor and they needed some help to first survive and then to lift themselves up from the shackles of poverty. Most of the institutional programs of helping the poor consist of giving them some type of training and then for them to get a job using the newly acquired skill. But it does not work. He discovered that the key problem these people have is that they don’t have access to money. If they need some money, they go to the local money lender and he gives them a loan at very high rates. They can never repay the loan and the money lender basically owns them.

It will take many paragraphs to explain his philosophy and how he created Grameen Bank and why it was (is) successful. It was not easy. Even the borrowers did not trust him initially and, of course, the village elders and most men opposed him. But he persisted almost like Gandhi Ji and started getting some results.  He has spread his micro-finance to other countries also – even the USA. He became a good friend to Clintons and helped some very poor in Arkansas to form a Grameen like bank. In an Illinois based work, they used the name Full Circle Fund…

Anyway, it is a serious non-fiction book on a topic that many will not be interested. But I found it very useful. It seems that at the present time (2013), Dr. Yunus seems to be having some trouble with the government of Bangladesh. He is being accused of many wrong doing. I am sure these are politically motivated. On the other hand, Dr. Yunus who is 73 years old, may want to give up some control and let others do what they want to do. After all, he will not live forever.

 

 

 

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Book Review

The Rise and Fall of Third Reich by William Shirer

by Harsh12. September 2013 06:56

Hoover, Alabama (August 2013)--I have finally finished this massive book. Having read this book completely when I was younger (may be around Roorkee days), this time I had a different view of this book. It is more about Hitler and Nazi Germany and Third Reich than about the World War II. Almost 75-80% of the book deals with the rise of Adolf Hitler and Germany after World War I and leading up to the World War II. Then the events happen quickly and book ends. But it does deal with the then British and French leaders and how they completely misunderstood Hitler and let him take over Austria, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Poland.. If they had taken any positive action to stop Hitler, the world would have been different now. Russia and Germany's relationship was a strange one. Initially, they were on one side when Germany attacked Poland. But then Hitler stabbed Stalin in the back and attacked Russia - to grab land in the East since there was not much land in the West and he could not defeat England. The harsh winter of Russia saved it because Germans were not prepared to deal with it. They did not have warm coats, their tanks did not work properly in the cold and Russian soldiers were also very tough. 

I want to read more about the history of World War II and understand what Churchill and Roosevelt were thinking. A whole new theater developed after Japan attacked Pearl Harbor. I also want to know what happened after the World War II ended and Cold War started. What happened in the Nuremburg trials etc.

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Emerging Market Funds

by Administrator11. July 2013 18:05

Kalamazoo July 11, 2013 - During the last few weeks, the Emerging Market stocks/funds have lost a lot of their value. People have been pulling their investments out of these. Emerging Market includes China, Brazil, Russia, India, Egypt and some other countries in Asia. If you owned any of these, it is a bad news for you. But if you don't then a good opportunity has presented itself. There have been many such crashes in the emerging markets in the past. But in the long term, all these just become a blip and countries get over these setbacks. The only way to make money in the market is to "buy low and sell high". So, we now have an opportunity to put some money in the emerging market at low valuations and hope to see them grow over time. But there are no guarantees and only calculated risks.

What can one do? Specific country funds or ETF's are too risky. We have to spread the risk. I personally favor No Load Emerging Market Mutual Funds. Why? Becasue they allow me to start an investmment plan with low initial capital and invest a fixed small amount regularly every month at no commission. Since we cannot know how this market will perform in the next few years, if we purchase shares in one of these funds at regular intervals, we benefit from the "Dollar Cost Averaging" principle. If the market is down, we get more shares from a given amount. If it goes up, we get fewer shares. So we take the short term market risk out or minimize it.

There are many such funds. How to choose one? At this time I like "Driehaus Emerging Markets Growth Fund (DREGX)". I think that it best to invest in it in your IRA account. You can invest in this fund with an initial investment of $2,000 and subsequent investment of $500. So, you must have a capital of $8,000 ($2,000 initial + 500/mo for 12 months = $6,000). In non-IRA account, the initial investment is $10,000 and subsequent is $2,000.

It is available from Schwab with no transaction fee. I just took a position in it and will do monthly investment of $500 for at least one year.


 

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Thoroughbred Horse Racing in USA

by Harsh19. May 2013 14:12

Yesterday (May 18, 2013), I watched Preakness Thoroughbred Horse Race on the TV. This is the second leg of the Triple Crown of US Thoroughbred Horse Racing (THR) - one of the big sporting event in USA. The three legs are:

1. Kentucky Derby - held in Louisville, Kentucky

2. Preakness - held in Baltimore, Maryland

3. Belmont Stakes - held in Belmont Park, New York

The horse that wins all three races is known as the Triple Crown Winner. The last time there was a Triple Crown winner was in 1978! Since I came to USA (1969), there have been three Triple Crown Winners:

1. Secretariat in 1973

2. Seattle Slew in 1977

3. Affirmed in 1978

The THR season starts around May every year. The horse that wins the Kentucky Derby becomes a hopeful for the Triple Crown. This year, the horse named Orb won the first leg. So, he was a favorite to win the Preakness (the second leg). But as the saying goes "the show is not over till the fat lady sings", it was not to be. So, there will not be a Triple Crown this year also. The drought continues. The horse that won is Oxbow. 

Belmont Stakes will run on June 8. I plan to watch it also.

It is my hope that there would be one more Triple Crown in my lifetime!

Harsh Pande

Kalamazoo, MI, USA

 

 

 

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Detroit Passport Agency

by Administrator17. May 2013 16:38

1. Detroit Passport Agency (Click here for the webpage)

We live in Kalamazoo (MI) which is almost halfway between Chicago and Detroit. So, to visit the nearest Passport agency office to apply for a passport in person, we had a choice between Chicago and Detroit. I am glad that we chose Detroit. This office does not require you to have a travel itinerary for getting the passport quickly. The website says that “you will not be admitted more than 15 minutes before the scheduled appointment time”. We got there almost one hour before our appointment time. We just went up to the second floor to check the setup. The girl at the security desk asked us “Do you want to go in?” I said, “Not yet. We have the appointment at 12:30”. She was very nice and told us that we can go in. The place was not crowded at all. The lady at the “Appointment Check-in counter” was also very friendly. She checked our papers and gave us a number. We were called in a very short time. The other lady was also very friendly. At the window, the fee schedule is clearly printed. It shows that you can even pick up the passport in person when ready or have it mailed to you either by regular mail (no charge) or by USPS Express mail ($12.72).

It was a very pleasant experience to visit this office (something you can’t say about many government offices). We received our passports in 2 days!

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