December 23, 2006

In India, a boom that's bursting at the seams

NEW DELHI — An honest day's work took a good deal of subterfuge for Maneesh Mansingka.

Every morning for a month, he crept surreptitiously into the basement of a gated modern building, trying to dodge the authorities. He stayed holed up underground all day, calling clients and typing on his computer. At night, he slipped out the way he came in: through the back door, like a thief, not a successful professional.
If anyone asked, the ground floor where he normally worked was somebody's apartment. A helper even slept in his former office to keep up the ruse.

It was an embarrassing charade for Mansingka, the India director of a global commodities brokerage. But it was necessary to evade a recent government drive to shut down businesses operating in areas not officially zoned for commercial use. Mansingka's office is in a residential building he picked three years ago, after a futile search for decent commercial space in this teeming capital.


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