Dear MxM by Jaisurya Das: I have a job offer in Mumbai, but the rentals are so damn high. Worthwhile moving?

06 Oct,2016

By Jaisurya Das


Ladies and Gentleman, Boys and Girls, a very warm welcome to Dear MxM; India’s only online counsellor for the media, advertising and marketing fraternity.

Traveling the pristine State of Kerala is nothing short of ograsmic for it offers the beauty of mountains, rivers, beaches, forests and the longest backwater stretch in the world. Beautiful , and much ‘God’s Own Country’.

I have been at this for the past few days now and it’s been amazingly rejuvenating this time around too. For a ‘Marunadan Malayali’ (non-resident

Keralite ), this experience is more often than once and yet memorable each time.

Succumbing to the heady aroma of chips being fried in virgin coconut oil in Kochi, to cruising quite aimlessly on a well-equipped ‘Kettuvallam’ (houseboat modelled on the famed snake boat ), this state lays it thick…

Almost like a lacquer finish being applied on your heart and soul. Indelible and eclectic.

Setting out from the hypnotic Kuttanad lake towards Thekkady (Periyar Tiger Reserve, Elephant Sanctuary) had its share of excitement in true Kerala style…  Enroute we were informed of a Hartal (Strike/Rasts Roko) agitation in the Idukki District (borders Tamil Nadu, and includes Thekkady) and possible agitations along the way.

Keeping in mind the Indian tradition of non-alignment, we ignored the news and drove ahead along with hundreds of other tourist cars till we noticed a huge traffic snarl a few hundred metres short of Idukki…

The rest is history. An eight-hour ride as against the normal 2.5 hours..

It takes guts to be like the resident ‘true-to-heart’ Malayali. You need patience, the spirit of revolution and the inimitable ability to do nothing for hours on end. It isn’t easy. Try it.

And yet, my Kerala will always be heaven… ‘Ente Keralam, Ente swargam!


Sir, I am have been offered a job by a company in Mumbai. While the raise is good, my current costs of living with the family in Kolkata has resulted in my being a loser given the steep costs of rentals in Mumbai. What do you think is a wise thing to do? How should I assess the benefits of moving to Mumbai versus the problems on the money front that I may face?

Ah! As is obvious, the wise thing for you would be to move to Hyderabad and ditch both Kolkata and Mumbai 🙂

Jokes apart, Hyderabad is a great place to work and offers fairly affordable rentals etc. It may be an option to explore in the future, if not now..

Honestly, a decision like this must be based on what you expect from your life and career. From a work perspective, Mumbai will offer you far more exposure as well as options for the future however it’s a grind. Long commutes, traffic, crowds and the filth of a city that houses more than it can take.

Real estate prices can test anyone’s math in the business capital of our

country and hence prepare to lose your sensibilities; Yet, Mumbai will continue to be the most enchanting career destinations with prospects dime a dozen  surviving alongside the hustle and bustle of this bursting metropolis…

‘Yeh hai Mumbai meri jaan’! The call is yours for I am no one to advise you on what’s the best for your life in general. However, do remember, there is life after work. Celebrate it.


My friend’s father is married to someone from Pakistan. The marriage happened over 20 years and the mother now has an Indian passport. Every time there is a crisis between the two countries, a lot of people keep teasing him. My boss is a media owner and nationalist and while he is a great boss, he is unhappy with my friend because he says he’s half-Pakistani. Sir, please help and advise?

I cringe when I hear educated professionals behaving like juveniles and all in the interest of hypocritical nationalism. It’s great to be patriotic and all that goes with it, but hatred for a country and its people is far from sensible. Doesn’t our own country house dreaded criminals and murderers?

Yes. terrorism is not acceptable and it must be weeded out at any cost surgically or otherwise. It’s however totally unacceptable to brand an entire country and its citizens enemies and in the process deal with them with suspicion and animosity. No, this is certainly not nationalism.

It’s however exceedingly tough to change perceptions and it’s going to take a lot to be able to convince your boss otherwise. The only way is to avoid getting into unnecessary discussion on the subject and allow your friend to prove his mettle through great work and natural affinity.

Time is a great healer. All will be well.


I am completing my master’s next year. Do you think I should pursue a PhD. Will it help get me a good job?

Thanks for writing in to Dear MxM. It’s indeed heartening to see more professionals pursuing their doctorates in media. No amount of learning will ever be wasted. There is always potential for great craft backed by solid academics.

Yes, your doctorate can certainly help you in securing senior level employment but essentially in the academic field. Most discerning academic institutions (especially the UGC-affiliated ones ) require their senior faculty (director/s etc ) to be equipped with PhDs as this is a prescribed requirement and cannot be contravened.

Hence it would be prudent for you to look at this stream for future employment. The corporate sector will also value your academics, however hiring at senior levels don’t happen too often. In the corporate segment, most academics would also need to be coupled with line experience etc in order to

blend in with the activity levels at a large media house.

I take this opportunity to wish you all success in your career ahead. Dear MxM would be happy to provide you with any other information that you may require on the industry. After all , this is our raison d’être.


It’s the last quarter of the year. What are your thoughts on the year now that it’s coming to a close? How can media improve?

I think it’s been a fairly disappointing year for media companies and advertising agencies. Robust predictions heralded the year thanks to the research god’s statistical prowess and yet things went wrong.

Stockmarkets tanking, governments under fire, surgical moves and all the rest added to the cutback in spending. I haven’t taken a detailed look at regional spends in Print and TV but I suspect they weren’t too great either.

Online and mobile media have seen very robust growth as expected and would have significantly contributed to a fair degree of cannibalisation of revenue. More so now with most media houses sporting an online arm.

The challenge seems more imminent now considering the clear shift to more cost effective and measurable media like online. OOH has seen some growth in a few markets as well thanks to retail. Personally I believe lots of thinking must be fuelled towards more focussed content. Happier editorial environments for the audiences of tomorrow.

I see more research and thinking assuming significance for audience acquisition and retention. New found intelligence in neuromarketing etc would

be put to better use by discerning marketers. India will clearly see more investment and activity in the audience research segment with a significant number of International firms entering the country.

Focus attention on understanding future audiences and keep brand salience top of mind. Do not lose sight of brand persona in the interest of higher numbers..


On that note of a promising year ahead, I take your leave for this week but only to see you next Thursday when we are back with yet another interesting edition of Dear MxM. Meanwhile, do take great care of yourself and have a fabulous weekend. And keep wiring to us on with ‘Dear MxM’ and your ‘City’ in the subject line. Sayonara and God bless!


Jaisurya Das, maverick and media evangelist, eats, sleeps and makes love to brands. His consulting interventions are aimed at making brands powerful and sustainable.

For more on his work visit He is also Contributing Editor of MxM India.

The views expressed in this column are his own.




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