(Started writing this while I was India and I have only now gotten a chance to finish it.)
The adaptation of your body to a time zone 12.5 hours ahead of your home takes a toll upon your body. This toll reflects it’s in several different ways. First it seems all you want to do is sleep. Second, when you do sleep you tend to wake up at hours that are definitely not normal. This morning I found myself exhibiting this second condition as I awoke at 4:00AM this morning. Of course, I had fallen asleep at 8:30PM so I suppose my waking at that time wasn’t that unusual.
As a result of waking at 4:00 this morning I was able to watch the sunrise dawn upon the slowly waking city of Pune. My vantage spot to watch the transition from darkness to the golden light of dawn was superb as my hotel room is on the eighth floor of the Le Meridien. The Le Meridien Hotel is located exactly opposite the Pune Train Station and I had a perfect view onto the platforms from which the trains came and went.
Looking down into the train station as the night faded away, I could see dozens of people sleeping on the hard concrete of the platforms. They slept in groups huddle up against each other for protection and to ward off the night chill. Most at least had blanks but some lay on the ground without anything underneath them.
Even as the train station sprang to life with the coming masses of commuters the sleepers on the platforms remained in slumber. I guess after so long sleeping in these open areas they had become immune to the noises generated by the crowds and the passing trains.
As the sunlight grew brighter, my attention turned to the exotic looking cityscape of Pune. There were different shaped towers and building with unique steeples and domes on their roofs. It was a cityscape of different and alien features to me, but the foreignness of it drew my attention even more. I wondered of the different things that were going on throughout the city. What kind of breakfast were most of the people who lived in those buildings eating? What kind of work would these people get up to in the day? Was there some kind of version of the “Today Show” to which TV’s in this strange place were tuned? So many questions roiled through my brain – but there won’t be any answers just by standing by and looking.
I broke my gaze off the scene in front of me and I went and got a shower and prepared myself for the long work day ahead. After my shower I returned to the window to catch up on the happenings at the train station. Most of the sleepers had now arisen and cleared off the platforms. I wondered if they had just been sleeping there because they were waiting for trains or whether these train platforms were their homes. Sadness struck my heart as I watched a mother and her two children sitting on one of the platforms further from the hotel. It was difficult to see them clearly as they were far away but it certainly looked as through they were living there. One of the children appeared to be a young child – perhaps only 1 or 2 years old. Despite her age she was already living on the streets by all appears. That made me sad, but it is a reality about life in India. So many of the people live in poverty and have no homes that they can call their own. At least this young child had a parent and was not living on the street as an orphan.
Eventually I had to give up my voyeuristic viewing and start getting ready for the day. This would be my first full day that I would spend in Pune so I was feeling a little uncertain of the terrain around me and felt the need to add some extra time to my work commute. Arranging a ride to work for the day had been a hassle as the hotel did not seem to have many drivers on staff. At last I managed to get their transportation desk to return a call to my room and inform me that a driver would be available as I had requested at 10:30AM to take me to my company’s facilities.
My company’s offices in Pune are quite large. We occupy two entire 10+ story buildings. They are huge and house several thousand people. Finding my way to the specific location that my team is located in the Pune office definitely took a little bit of doing. First of, I did not say the last name of my contact point right and so it was kind of difficult to work with “Access Control” to get access to the right floor of the right building. Once I resolved that issue and made it to the 1st floor of Building A, I did manage to find where I was supposed to be sitting. (In the US we would call the Indian 1st floor as the 2nd floor. What we would call the 1st floor is actually floor zero in India.) My team member in Pune had reserved an office for me. Given the discussions that I was to be having it was definitely beneficial to have an actual office as opposed to sitting in the open cubicle area.
In general my trip to Pune was very good from a business perspective. I connected with all the people I needed to meet and held some very good discussions. Though the visit to Pune was brief – only 2 days, I came away with a positive feeling for our business in that location and I must say, I found the city to be nice and seemingly less crowded than other places in India.
My return trip from Pune to Delhi and then from Dehli back to the United States was little bit interesting. The Indira Gandhi Airport in Dehli is huge! Since I was coming in from a domestic location, I had to exit the domestic part of the terminal and change over to the International Terminal. To do this, I had to actually leave the airport building itself and then come back in through another entrance. Because of security the way it is in India, I was almost not able to get back into the building. I ended up having to run the length of the building and then jump through hoops to come back into the building. It was pretty crazy and for a while I thought I was going to miss my flight back to the US, but thankfully I managed to make it.
Once again I managed to get into business class for the flight home. In some ways it didn't make that much difference because I ended up sleeping for almost the entire time. I guess if I had been in coach I wouldn't have been able to sleep the way I did, so in the end run it was truly worth it.
At takeoff though I experienced a little problem that would haunt me the whole flight. I put my iPhone on the side of the seat right next to me. Unfortunately for me, there was a gap between the seat cushion and the frame of the seat. Of course you can imagine what happened - the phone fell down into the seat. This normally wouldn't be a big deal except it was the lay down flat business class seat and my phone literally disappeared into an abyss. I tried several times throughout the flight to retrieve it without any success. After landing I started ripping the seat apart as much as I could and still I couldn't get it. Enlisting the help of a copy of flight attendants we all tried to get it out and it just wasn't happening. There were two mechanics at the gate who one of the flight attendants called. They were able to take a few more things off the seat and within 2 minutes of their arrival it was back in my hands. I thanked everyone profusely as I had just gotten the phone 3 weeks before and I didn't want to have to pay $600 (the price without a contract) to get a new iPHone 4S from AT&T. A dodged a big bullet with that one.
Keeping the blog up to date has been suffering as a result of all the things going on in life. I hope to find more time to write in the coming weeks as I have so many different thoughts for great blog posts running through my head.
Additionally, with fall about ready to start in the mountains above Denver I will be starting my annual pilgrimages to some of my favorite spots to take pictures of the autumn foliage. I'll be sure to post the best pictures here. Speaking of photography - I believe later this fall I am finally going to start enrolling in photography classes. There are 2 different photography classes being offered at Arapahoe Community College I hope to take in November. Hopefully this will have some big impact on my photographic abilities.
I hope everyone has a great weekend ahead.
Thanks and peace to all! ~J.