Pooja Lal

Find office space…. Find husband… same story!

Posted by Pooja Lal on at

My goodness! How hard is it to find an office space in this country! Between words like ‘scare feet’ (aka Square feet) and ‘bare shell’ (aka unfurnished)…. I’ve had it!

You just cannot operate a new business in Gurgaon unless you have squillion rupees to splurge on things like a decent office. Yes, I don’t even mean ‘swanky’ or ‘plush’ – just ‘decent’. If you don’t have the squillion then I’m sorry you will be downgraded from ‘decent’ to ‘shady’ or ‘basic’.

Plush office space

I recall my ex-boss telling me to be careful not to waste money on the office and that I will need to ‘compromise’ for the first few years. Geez, I thought he meant instead of a Cyber City office I may need to look at a smaller building in Sector 32, you know somewhere close to the GM office or ITC office in Gurgaon. Ha! Was I wrong!

But how different is this really to finding a husband? I looked around for years and years ~ the choice was either you find someone who is doing very well in his career but doesn’t appeal looks wise or you find someone who is gorgeous but has no real ambition in life! Why must a woman compromise when she herself is the perfect combination of both intelligence and beauty! (I talk about most women I know). And please for those out there who profess that ‘looks don’t matter’…who are you fooling? Like they say ‘beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder’, i.e. what looks good to ME may not look good to you and vice versa. At the end of the day (literally) you have to like what you see right?

Anyway, coming back to office space let me tell you the real story. Start-ups have it bad. Unless you can spare INR 50-60K per month on an office you pretty much have to make do with either a dark and dingy basement or work out of your home guest bedroom. Offices are super expensive in Gurgaon and the alternatives are few. Here were my options:

Basic office in a market

- Large basic cheap office in the basement of a house in Gurgaon – this would not classify as ‘commercial’ space, hence could attract some legal issues. Not to mention the lack of fresh air!

- Small-kind of affordable office in the market area – where you are surrounded by commercial shops, this in no way gives you a feeling of being in a professional environment.

- Small not-so-affordable office in an office building – bottom line – super expensive.

- Work from home – not a good idea when you have a chatty, clingy toddler in the house!

Each time I looked at one of these basements or small offices in shady places I would remember my beautiful office in Dubai overlooking the beach or my breath-taking office in Sydney overlooking the Sydney Opera House. Depression would kick in very quickly…

My solution – to get me started I took a short term workstation at a Regus Business Centre. It was a good stepping stone for me actually. Moving from plush to basic in one go was too much of a stretch! I couldn’t wait for the ‘perfect’ office to come by so I took up this workstation which was just about affordable. Although I knew, the second I hire someone I would need to move out of here. Business Centres are amazing money making machines. They charge you for everything from scanning, printing, tea/coffee, and internet and even make money on any packet of biscuits you buy from their canteen! One day, when I hand over my Delight Gifts business to my daughter I will open a business centre!

So where are these short term solutions when you are finding a husband?! We looked and looked for Mr. Right when I was working in Dubai. Yes I know, there is no such thing as Mr Right – but all I wanted was a Mr Right For Me… someone to match ME, someone who understood ME, someone who could handle ME and make a good life partner. My parents introduced me to some characters over the years. Seriously I could write a book on my experiences! There was one in New York who would perspire profusely and then the one in Melbourne who took me out to dinner and ordered for me without asking!

Mr Right for ME!

My dear father registered on several matrimonial sites, put ads in newspapers and spread the word through family and friends. Profiles would come in and nothing would hit the chord unfortunately. A few months later, I was in the process of moving to Sydney from Dubai with my company. So my Dad revised my ‘shaadi requirements’ on www.shaadi.com to ‘looking for boy in Sydney’.

And there he was! Like magic! With a click of a button, a few profile changes from ‘Dubai’ to ‘Sydney’, and the chords hit! Everything clicked! In no time we were exchanging sms messages and long phone calls! ‘Good Morning Beautiful’ was a standard for many months! I was in love! It was possible to find a husband. It was destiny. I had to move to Syd to find my Sid. :)


Back to present day: Alas, my short term rental at the Business Centre is coming to an end this month and I had to search for a more permanent solution immediately. So the search started again, and I saw several office spaces; and again the problem was the same, i.e. nice office = more money. And then the day came! One morning after breakfast I was browsing through www.magicbricks.com and I received a phone call from a real estate agent called Navdeep.

That same afternoon Navdeep showed me the most beautiful office space there is! And guess what! The rent is beautiful too!! It is a first floor office in a commercial building with large windows and gorgeous trees…I was in love instantly. I wanted to sign the contract or the wall or something as soon as I saw it to leave my mark and my promise of ‘until death do us part’!

So you see, destiny plays a very important role – I was meant to move to Sydney just as I was meant to wait for my beautiful office. Good things come to those who wait…

I’m now very excited about decorating my new office. With some funky furniture, lick of paint and art on the walls we have the first official home for www.DelightGifts.in :)