India Part 1:
I came to India intentionally without any presuppositions or assumptions because I wanted to take in as much as I could without a filter. The only thing I was worried about was the food. I’d had (horrible) Indian food in the states, some bland curry with wet roti, and was expecting to slog along for two months eating as little as possible. Well, my only worry was completely misplaced, and I took in a lot more culture than I could have anticipated. (And now I LOVE India food. I’ll have to use the map below as a guideline for what to try the next time I’m there)
I spent most of my time in Bangalore (A) working in UB City on Vittal Mallya road during the week, while staying in a hotel five minutes away on St. Mark Road. My first impression of India, other than the lax security and the complete disregard for the metal detectors in place at the airport, was my ride from the airport to the hotel. My first Facebook status when I got online that day was:
“So, in India, if you see a sign on the side of the road that says “No Stopping” or “No Parking” what that actually means is “Park Here”. Also, don’t let the general flow of traffic on the left side of the road hold you back, go the other direction if you feel like it. Lanes are more, well, not even guidelines. And the horn: liberal use encouraged.”
The traffic never got any better, but by now I understand the method to the madness and surprisingly avoided seeing or being involved in an accident. And that’s despite accomplishing this task on my travel checklist “Drive a car and/or motorcycle in India (and survive).” Well here I am, alive, writing this post, and as you can see below, I drove a:
Kawasaki Ninja 250r
Harley Davidson 883N Iron
I also made some amazing friend in India. Indian people are now my favourite people in the world. They are so welcoming and seem like they feel obligated to show you a good time while you are in their country. I met so many people that I hope turn out to be lifelong friends who are, among others, detailed below:
Sandeep Maini put me in touch with a contact at E&Y who I reached out to in order to get an internship and also helped me get settled in India. I have met and fallen in love with his entire (extended!) family and will be seeing some of them in the states shortly in the future.
My Work Mates
Eating lunch, going out, playing cricket, and helping out on projects, working in the transaction advisory services department at Ernst & Young in India was one of the best working environments I have ever had the privilege to work.
Anjali Sosale (and her husband, friends and family!)
Anjali introduced me to her entire extended family as well, who I must say are pretty freaking awesome, invited me out with her group of friends and family her age, and showed me a great time in Bangalore. She even took me to an Indian Wedding where I went nuts on the dance floor!
Muralia was the direct manager for my major project on term sheets (detailed on my professional page) and had an interesting perspective on the work process, for a manager at least. “As long as you get the work done on time, it doesn’t matter how much time you spend in the office or when you show up.” I’m paraphrasing, but I learned to embrace this philosophy after my first two weeks at E&Y. (explained in Part 2) Murali gave me insight into much about Indian culture, such as the castes, religious beliefs (including astronomy and mathematics etc.), and took me on a trek to the Kudremukh Jungle (along with Abhijit Rao).
Parmesh Shahani and Nidhi Makhija
I was connected to these two through our mutual contact, Stephen Randall, CEO of LocaModa, after a conference call I had with Stephen and two Aussies about DOOH potential down-under. Parmesh is out of this world. A TED Fellow, MIT grad, and author of Gay Bombay, he showed me a fantastic time in Bombay while I was there and we discussed some weighty issues that I will forever appreciate his perspective on. He showed me about a third of Bombay in three days (more on this in Part 2). Nidhi, like me, is an ex-loca intern and we met up when she came to Bangalore as part of her social media job promoting Royal Challengers Bangalore, the Karnataka state cricket team.
Arjun was actually my roommate freshman year at Boston University. We hadn’t kept in contact very much before this summer, but when he heard I was going to India, he assured me that I had to come to Delhi so he could show me a good time. I’d have to say that I saw a only a little bit of Delhi, but despite the ridiculous heat (44-46 deg C or 115 F), I really enjoyed my two days there.
Well now the stage is set, I’ll detail more about my adventures in Part 2, coming soon (probably by the end of next week).