FieldTrip: Destination India

Bangalore Instalment

After touching down in Bangalore airport …we were finally here! We were in India. Land of the spices ( some had mischievously added ‘& Miss Worlds’. Well, No sign of Priyanka Chopra or Aishwarya Rai around as I had hoped. 🙂 By the time we had left the carpark, one thing was clear. Driving in India would be an interesting challenge, even for Michael Schumacher! I was amazed at the way the three wheelers zipped through traffic as if on a lone road in the middle of Arizona. Simply incredible!
Fortunately for us the rain had held back sufficiently for us to enjoy our stay. The hotel really raised the stakes on day one with its welcome party. As we travelled around, a few sights were to remain firmly ingrained in my memory:one of modern opulent buildings right next to slums, the three wheeler taxis out to prove the theory of chaos and the ‘family’ bike ride. The latter was really a sight to remember: a couple and two kids somehow all riding one scooter or motorbike and whizzing through traffic. No helmets in sight either! The traffic in India is like dodgem cars at a fun park. The requirement is simply to have good brakes and a horn. Fortunately the low speeds ensured accidents and resulting injuries were rare.

The Infosys set-up in Bangalore is truly impressive by any standard. I am one for modern steel and glass architecture and thus was blown away by what i saw. I think only set-ups(Microsoft, Google) in the US really rival their campuses. The underutilised pool complex was cause for concern: had they simply copied US corporate campus culture without taking into account the intricacies of swimming in public here in India? Our guide said he had yet to see one of the female staff in the pools since their construction. The workers preferred to sit in the shade whilst working away on their laptops.

I was not surprised that such developments had woken sleepy India from its slumber. The history of business in India had been pretty much based on the privildged class inheriting and running everything. Here was a good example of old money aeons old gradually overtaken by enterprising entrepreneurs claiming their stake in the world from steel, motorcycles, IT and the list goes on. Of course the Tata Group remain a formidable challenge even for modern day genuises! Lakshmi Mittal and his endeavours around the world are examples of the ‘new’ India at play.

I couldn’t help but notice the confidence amongst people in the street and in businesses. An papable optimism. SAP had a similar story, but being a major global player with experience, they had seen opportunity in India ( and other places) and positioned themselves accordingly.

As we left Bangalore occupting the entire business class of the local airline, being rather well looked, I could not help but say a thank you to the the admin back in Berlin.Yes, we are demanding lot but sometimes our best expectations are exceeded. Hurrah!


About bothwell mutingwende 0 Articles
Medical doctor, background in Ophthalmology