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WebLog India 2010. Working 7000+ km from home…

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Time flies when having fun. This is a fact. It has already been 4 weeks since I arrived in Pune, India. In that short time I have gained much experiences and impressions. To give a summary of all these impressions is a difficult task.

Only in Pune there are 7,2 to 7,3 million people. All of them living their own live in their own fashion. This is also why I cannot compare or make general statements about the people. I just take everything in and enjoy my observations.

Some of the nice moments of this past period:

Once again a big story, but compared to all the experiences I have gained this is just a small portion. See you on the next update!

The traffic is an experience which I will carry forever. It seems like one big Ant pile and the use of the horn will never be banished. Without the horn the people will not know how to deal with traffic. Despite all the high volume of traffic I do not see many accidents. Maybe this is because the speeds are less than back home or it is because of the horn :)

What I do notice are the smaller “stupid” accidents. It may happen that somebody drives by and just falls down with the bike… Loss of balance.

My biggest shock was the moment at the parking garage of Accenture. The customer and we visited one of the Accenture towers and were about to exit the car. I had just told some of my traffic experiences with the customer and how some people use high speeds in small areas… When opening my door a bike drove by with a lady on the back. The door flew out of my hands and the lady flew through the air landing in between the parked motorcycles. Crash… With the shock still in our legs we continued with the tour. I think the lady (who could walk again after taking some breath) will have experienced some difficulties after.

My finest moment in traffic was will driving the bike (Pulsar) of Safdar by myself. I drove from Magarpatta city to MG Road and back in the evening. What a rush! Now I am missing my own bike. Can we ship it to India? :P

The food here is different than home. Many herbs and people are mostly vegetarians’. To be a vegetarian means no meat, chicken, eggs, fish, etc. There are no degrees like back in the Netherlands.

The non-vegetarian meals are always chicken or fish. Also the chicken is prepared differently, so don’t expect some chicken-filet or something.

I also notice that the spicy meals are always combined with something sweet as desert. And with sweet I mean sweet.

After a big meal it is common to go to a small stand (shop) to get some Paan. This consist of herbs in a leave which is there in the taste of sweet or tobacco. The last one is not to my liking :) .

Ending this part with the observation that many foods are prepared by frying it. So many stands with big pans filled with hot oil which is then used for almost anything. From fried vegetables (broccoli for instance) to dough (kind of like the Dutch ‘oliebollen’) to chicken, etc.

One of the things I enjoy most are the people around me, but also the common people on the streets with all the diversity.

My colleagues are so friendly and will do everything to make my stay as comfortable as possible. This is not something I am used to and have had difficulties for the first two weeks with this situation. The intentions were so honest and sincere that I pulled it together and after showing them I could manage in this different world it became a great understanding.

One of the nicest comments I have received from my colleagues is that I am a fully integrated Indian. I pickup fast and learn more every day. I have found my rhythm in the second week, eating their foods and integrated in the team (also outside my own team).

The people at the apartment complex have come to know me and now even stop on the roads to say hello. Security of Magarpatta city knows me (no, I am behaving myself ;) ) and also the people at the Gym approach me often.

The people of India are so very curious and so now and then I will be approached by unknown people. One of the most remarkable questions I have received: “what is similar to your country (the Netherlands) and ours (India)?”. The differences are everywhere, but this question had my puzzled.
Besides this they will ask just about anything once they have the courage to.

In general I find the people kind and joint as one. A good example is the Festival Holi in which even the guys hug and dance like nothing I have seen before. The people truly celebrate as one and enjoy it as one.

After submitting to ABS sports in Magarpatta city I have really found my rhythm. I get so much energy from sports and a daily purpose/goal.

Just about every day I got the request to give a kickboxing training (I had mentioned during my submission that I exercise kickboxing). When I had agreed to give a course last Thursday it got canceled due to a double booking of the facility. No training, but the questions are still coming. So perhaps in the near future a second chance. Fun and exciting at the same time.

In the past four weeks I have seen many objects. The updates in this blog show the details and a full view on my experiences. I am not mentioning this a second time, but it is impressive to say the least!
Yes I do need to update all messages still… I am writing as fast as possible ;)

Customer visit
The client visit of Michelle and Bart together with Eddie have made a lasting impression on me. It was special to talk Dutch again in this country and making jokes in my own style.

When I left to India I had the idea I was making my own individual journey and facing my personal challenges. I did not have any regret or missed feelings of home till the departure of their visit. After their departure I felt left behind or more alone then before their visit. I was surprised about these feelings.
Don’t be alarmed, I found my rhythm and challenges again right after, but it did leave a lasting impression.

During the visit we have seen many things of which normally we would not take the time for. We had much one on one contact between the customer and the team members. Some nice diners in which people spoke openly about their experiences. The relation has grown to a new level not only on a business level, but we truly connected. There is a stronger relation now than before which is no longer only established via email or phone. A true advice for all who are involved with outsourcing!

Here are some images of the visit from our client in India, Pune!

Hier zijn enkele afbeeldingen van het bezoek van de klant aan India, Pune!

The visit of the customer had started on Sunday with a surprise visit of Safdar and I in Mumbai, but the official business started only on Tuesday. On request of the customer the week schedule was setup with lot of space to improvise, for activities and other business which could occur. This way we could all benifit optimal from the visit, schedule and improvisations. This brought a nice relaxed and a constructive etmosphere.

A small summary of the week:

For me the days started as previous weeks. A nice excersice, a good shower, some breakfast and then off to work. At first tensions were there in the office for some. The week was not suppose to be about high management talk and management meetings, but individual members were requested to prepare, present and initiate actions on diverent topics. Just before arrival of the customer some people requested last inputs on the topics. At that time the customer arrived and received a warm welcome.

The day started with introductions, some meetings, a real Indian lunch and the first team pictures were made. After a busy day full of impressions for the customer and the team we closed up at 06:00 pm. The customer left for the hotel.
Welkom met traditie Welkom met traditie Welkom heten klant Team intro

Due to project related commitments I stay in office for several hours.

A day full of nice activities. The customer arrives at 09:00 am and the take some time to pickup some work from the Netherlands. We also take our time for project engagements and return to the customer round 10:00. We leave for a second building of Accenture in Pune.

Remarkably I discussed during this drive my traffic observations. When we arrived at the parking garage and we wanted to exit I was shocked with what happened then. Just while I was opening my door a motorcycle drove by very vast with a girl on the back. We were driving a Toyota Innova which is quite big. While the motorcycle drove by the cardoor got ripped out of my hand and the firl was flying through the air. She landed between the parked motorcycles. The driver fell down with his motorcycle. Total chaos at that time.

The people remain calm, but I was in a bit of a shock. Several peopleassisted the girl and after 10 minutes she slowly rizes. Somewhat unstable she stumbles to the elivator and we start our tour. I think she will have had quite some difficulties and breuzes for some days.

Dispite the incident the customer had a good impression of the capabilities of Accenture and it was a fun tour.

Round 11:00 am we return to Tower 5 were we get our stuff and together with Manasi and Rupali we go for some sights in Pune.

  • We first go to my apartment so I can change and drop my belongings. Also I show them how I am currently living in this environment;
  • We drive to the hotel of Michelle, Bart and Eddie so they can also change and drop their belongings. A very impressive hotel Le Meridian Hotel!;
  • Because we already lost some time due to our pit stops we decide to go for lunch. We go to hotel … where Manasi orders typical Indian dishes. Nice!;
  • After a couple of pitstops we leave for Ghandi Memorial which is officially known as Aga Khan Palace.
    Some history: Sultan Mohammed Shah, Aga Khan III, got the palace constructed in the year 1892. The aim behind the construction of the Aga Khan Palace was to provide employment to the people of the nearby areas, who were hit by famine. Prince Karim El Husseni, Aga Khan IV, donated the palace to India in 1969, in the honor of Gandhiji and his philosophy. Aga Khan Palace is also known as Gandhi National Memorial because of its close association with Mahatma Gandhi.
    Aga Khan Palace Discussions Foto shoot :P Foto shoot again :P
  • After some nice pictures and a quick view of the museum we go to Snake Park Katrag (also known as Rajiv Gandhi Zoological Park). Once arrived ot seems the place is closed on Wednesday. A pitty but nothing to do about it.
  • To improvise for the next site we look across Snake Park were we see a moutain on which two temples are there. The first temple is where you enter (which is highest on the moutain). The temple is called Katraj Jain temple. The second temple seems part of the first, but it is situated a bit lower and is called Pavapuri Jain temple. Here we make sime pictures via a small fotoshoot. “Smile at the camera” :D ;
    Foto Bart
  • Na het bezoek aan de tempel gaan we naar het centrum van oude Pune. Hier zijn nauwe straatjes en veel winkels. We gaan hierheen om souvenirs te kopen en een Sari voor Michelle.
  • Nog even wat snoepgoed inslaan en we zijn klaar met winkelen.

Na dit alles hebben we een geweldig diner met het hele team in SIGRI aan Dhole Patil Road. Het feest duurde lang en was een geweldige afsluiting van de dag. Nadat ik Michelle, Bart, Eddie en Peter met de taxi thuis had gebracht kwam ik rond 01:30 thuis aan. Een lange dag, maar zeer voldaan.
Food Food Food Food

De donderdag even geen sport. Na een lange dag en korte nacht heb ik even een uurtje langer geslapen. Lekker ;) ! Vandaag staat niet veel bijzonders op het agenda. We nemen afscheid van Eddie aangezien die nog enkele andere verplichtingen heeft in Nederland.
In de avond gaan Michelle en Bart met mij mee uit eten in restaurant Deccan Harvest midden in Magarpatta city. Hier genieten we van een hele hete maaltijd (sisseling plate) van noodles en wat kip.
We kletsen over de diverse ervaringen en kijken even terug op de week. Wat een ervaring!

Vrijdag begint lekker. Weer even een zware training, een goed ontbijt en op naar kantoor. Hier stel ik Michelle en Bart voor aan Vaibhav. Wij hebben met zijn vieren lang samen gewerkt en zo hebben we even onze ervaringen kunnen delen. Erg leuk.
Zo rond 12:00 starten we met het opnemen van filmpjes voor de mensen in Nederland welke op kantoor zitten. Een leuke manier van contact leggen aangezien ook deze mensen nooit fysiek of visueel contact hebben gehad.
Aan het einde van de dag nemen Michelle en Bart afscheid van de teamleden. Wij informeren ze dat wij nog even gaan eten in restaurant Deccan Harvest en dat iedereen welkom is mochten ze dat willen.
Eenmaal aan het diner stromen de teamleden binnen en hebben we onverwachts een geweldig feestje!

Zo rond 22:00 gaan Michelle en Bart met mij mee om zich even op te frissen en daar staat ook de taxi te wachten.

Michelle en Bart, bedankt voor jullie bezoek! Het was een gezellige week.