NRI Voice: Life in Clockwork City
Business professional Pratyush Gosain talks about his life in the orderly, multi-cultural city of Singapore.
Raised in Delhi, Mumbai and Kurnool, a small town south of Hyderabad, Pratyush Gosain earned his bachelors in information technology “as is the script for most kids in our country,” he says. He then moved to Singapore to pursue MBA at the country’s National University, and stayed on for work. Gosain, 29, talks to Little India about his life in the city:
The city country
Singapore is a convenient city. I live in Central Business District area, close to where I work as as a business value consultant. I also own a start-up. Things in this city happen like clockwork, so life is generally comfortable. People here like standing in queue. There is a running joke that if a Singaporean sees a queue, they would just join it without any idea about why the queue is there in the first place. It helps keep things orderly around here.
It is a vastly multicultural city with more than four native ethnic groups and many more settlers calling it home today. As a result, there is something for everyone. For someone from India, the city might seem a bit lifeless, or bland— but that is just the city’s vibe. For people looking for a fun Friday, there is always the right brewery, live music bars, and if you have something really crazy in mind, holiday destinations are 100 bucks away.
The rich here are really rich, and it is quite visible. Bankers, lawyers, consultants, young money, old money, doesn’t matter, you see opulence everywhere.
There is no language barrier as everyone speaks English as their preferred language.
However, I face racism all the time in casual conversation. In my circles, we take ourselves lightly and don’t shy away from using accents or facial features as material. On an odd free Friday, we do like going to club street or Haji lane for some open air drinks, music and conversations.
A start-up in Singapore
I have launched a start-up called Spark Toys, which is a shared-economy toy retail solution for kids. The idea for the start-up hit my co-founder and I when I was visiting his house. His niece was playing in the house and we noticed that while the house was cluttered with toys, she was ignoring most of them. We saw the issue with the toy retail model as it stands today — toys have short-term utility, are expensive and cannot be bought on trial. We sought to fix that with a subscription plan with clean and curated toys that you can return, depending on the model you choose. Within a few days, Toys”R”Us, a 65-year-old toy retailer in the United States, announced their bankruptcy. We knew we were in the right direction.
Since Singapore is focusing heavily on startups and emerging technology, setting this up was pretty easy. With the help of process consulting organizations (or incubators if you choose to go that route), one can set up their start-up (at least on paper) within a couple of days. Funding options are aplenty, start-up support ecosystem is well developed. Singapore is an amazing test market for new product ideas.
What I miss about India is the fact that I could walk 50 meters in any direction anytime and find a great place to eat. I do enjoy Singapore’s staple chicken rice and their local blend of tea and coffee. Sometimes I do miss the chaos, the madness in the streets of India.