Saturday, July 26, 2008

Terror in Bangalore

Bangalore faced terror on Friday when seven bombs exploded in different parts of the city creating chaos and confusion. Fortunately, the explosives were low intensity bombs and the casualties were limited to one death and about a dozen injured. This followed earlier attacks on Jaipur and Hyderabad within the last year. Yesterday, one day after the blasts, another set of bombs exploded in the Gujarat city of Ahmedabad.

We were in Bombay when the Bangalore blasts happened. All friends, family and employees of our company were safe. Bangaloreans (and Indians) have demonstrated strong resilience and an ability to bounce back quickly from such events. It is unfortunate that the proponents of terror are attempting to disrupt the growth and progress being made through such cowardly acts. But I see strong resolve and an intensity of focus among Indians that will enable them to overcome such hurdles and continue undaunted down the path of progress.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Crouching Tiger?

I happened to visit the Bangalore campus of India's second largest IT services provider, Infosys last week and .... WOW! The India IT story really sunk in and I felt that I must recount the experience of my visit.

There is the usual check-in formality at the security at the gate with one exception. They actually take your picture, type in basic details into a computer and out pops a professional looking badge that you can wear during your visit. I was impressed!

We were told that the person we had come to see was located in building 48 (Building 48! As in buildings 1, 2, 3, ..... , 48, 49 ...????). A golf cart picked us up at the security gate and drove us to our destination. The place looks like a university campus - paved walkways, large buildings, well-manicured lawns, greenery, bicycle stands etc. Buildings range from old brick and cement buildings to new glass and steel structures. We passed by the food court that looked like it could seat a thousand people. Turns out, that this was one of several. Our escort pointed out that over 10,000 people worked at this campus.

There was a full-size Coffee Cafe Day (Indian version of a Starbucks), a huge basketball and volleyball court and a massive indoor gym.

Apparently, there is an identical size campus in Chennai and another one that is three times the size of this one in Mysore!

Next day, I was reading the financial results of Infosys for the second quarter - 21% YOY growth for the second quarter, $4B in annual revenue for year ending March 2008 etc. etc.

I get it. No, really, I get it now!

Sunday, July 06, 2008

What's for dinner?

Mona has finally succumbed to the luxuries afforded by India and has hired a cook! Our cook, Rani, was recommended by our housekeeper, Pushpa. She has past experience working for a catering outfit and claims to be an expert in a range of different cuisines. She can cook both vegetarian and non-vegetarian food and can cook food from all over India. Apparently, she can also cook Chinese and Italian!

This is her first week and while she is still in her probationary period, the verdict is already out. After polishing off a brunch of finger-licking good steaming hot idlis, the decision is unanimous. She is good! Tomorrow night is Chinese. If she aces that, she is confirmed!

Rani comes daily, spend a couple of hours and cooks dinner for us. On weekends, she will come in the mornings and cook a brunch. She is quick, efficient and clearly skilled at her craft.

Mona is already relishing her new found freedom from the kitchen.