Friday I made reservations to travel to India for the first time in over six years. My last trip to India occurred in November of 2005 as I finished the implementation of a major outsourcing project for a major utility client. For that project alone, I traveled to India 3 different times, becoming a regular on Lufthansa flights from Frankfurt to Bangalore. In the intervening 6.5 years my company's foot print in India has become ever larger and more diverse. Instead of now traveling to just Bangalore, my company has facilities in just about every single major city in India. As a result, this trip will take me to unfamiliar territory in the north and on the west coast of the country.
(The Flag of India)Given the pace of change within India and the length of time it has been since I was last there, I am not sure what to expect. I am sure the cities will be more crowded than before and that technology will be everywhere. During my trips in 2004 and 2005 it seemed that everyone had a cell phone and this was before everyone seemed to have a cell phone here in the United States.
I am sure I will be amazed at the pluckiness and determination of the Indian people. Though so many still live in poverty there is a determination in each and everyone of them to advance their station in life. While so many of us (me included mind you) are happy to be content (i.e. read that as stagnate) in our station in life, it seems that every one in India has a plan to make their lives better. It's an amazing feeling to step onto the streets and feel overwhelmed with this sense of purpose from everyone.
My trip is going to be a bit more wide ranging than how I traveled in the past. Instead of spending all of my time in Bangalore, I will be spend three days in Gurgaon and two days in Pune. Gurgaon is considered one of the four satellite cities of New Delhi - the capital of India. It is located approximately 30 kilometers to the south of New Delhi and ranks among the top cities in India in per capita income. Additionally, Gurgaon is also the only Indian city to have successfully distributed electricity connections to all its households. However the lack of transportation infrastructure has made Gurgaon only 11th on India's Life After Work index. The index developed by India's Business Today ranks Indian cities on their livability.
Pune is another very large city located close to the western coast and a short distance from India's largest city Mumbai. (Mumbai was formerly known as Bombay. Along with the neighboring urban areas, including the cities of Navi Mumbai, Thane and Pune, it is one of the most populous urban regions in the world.) Pune has a rich history that goes back for hundreds of years to approximately 800 AD.
My purpose for this trip is also much different than in the past. During my previous times in India I was always there working on behalf of one specific client. This time I am going to meeting with executives in my companies business process outsourcing unit and to spend time face-to-face with my delivery team. This is a marked change from how I have operated through out my career in the past. Previously, I was always assigned to a specific project that had a defined beginning and end. Now I am part of my company's overall management structure and I have teams of people who report to me in an ongoing permanent relationship. I am still getting used to this working arrangement as it is very different than what I am used to.
Due to the pace of my schedule and the itinerary of my travel to India I am not sure that I will have much time to see anything other than the inside of my hotel and the office. Working hours for me while in India will be between 1 or 2PM to midnight or so. Hopefully this will allow me to take some of the morning time and get out and see some things. Though Gurgaon is only 2 hours to the north of Agra and the Taj Mahal, my goal with any free time I have it to get into Delhi proper and see the Red Fort of Delhi.
Wikipedia describes the Red Fort in the following way. "The Red Fort (usually transcribed into English as Lal Qil'ah or Lal Qila) is a 17th century fort complex constructed by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in the walled city of Old Delhi (in present day Delhi, India) that served as the residence of the Mughal Emperors. It also served as the capital of the Mughals until 1857, when Mughal emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar was exiled by the British Indian government. It was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2007.[" And given I am a big person of lists, the Red Fort appears on the official list of "1001 Things to Do Before You Die". So if there is any free time accorded to me - there is where I will be heading.
(The Red Fort)
As for the rest of our lives, things are going well. Zack returns to school in two weeks on Monday, August 20th. He is somewhat looking forward to it as I think he is getting bored with summer. The greatest news of this summer is that his entire anxiety/OCD issue has continued to be at bay. He hasn't had one "fear monger" or OCD moment in months. For once I really feel like this battle with anxiety is behind us. He will continually have to be vigilant about anxiety and OCD as he gets older, but he can now manage these issues on his own. Truly I don't think there was going to be anything we could do to get him through his anxiety issues at an earlier age. The medication he takes does help with the issue, however it took the natural development of his intellect as he grew up to really provide him with the tools to overcome the anxiety.
The work on our kitchen is almost complete! The only major pieces of work yet to be completed are the installation of the back splash and the hood over the stove. After that it all comes down to punch list items. This weekend I bought the stools that we are using around the eating area of the island. They look great in conjunction with everything else. I'll be sure to post photos when everything is totally done.
I hope everyone has had a great weekend! Enjoy the week ahead.
Thanks and peace to all! ~J.
A few facts about India:
- It's the largest democracy in the world.
- Second most populous country in the world after China. There are currently an estimated 1.2 billion people who call India home.
- India is the largest English speaking country in the world.
- India has more post offices than any other country in the world.
- India has the world’s third largest road network at 1.9 million miles. It also has the world’s second largest rail network, which is the world’s largest civilian employer with 16 million workers.- Each day trains on India's railroads travel the equivalent distance of going to the moon 3.5 times
- India leads the world with the most murders (32,719), with Russia taking second at 28,904 murders per year (Though this is an interesting fact the per capita number of murders is low. For example in the US we have about 310 million people and yet we have approx. 17,000 murders. Our per capita murder rate is much higher than India's.)
- Every major world religion is represented in India. Additionally, Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism all originated in India.
- India has the world’s largest movie industry, based in the city of Mumbai (known as the “City of Dreams”). The B in “Bollywood” comes from Bombay, the former name for Mumbai. Almost all Bollywood movies are musicals