Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Happy New Year from India

Yes, it has been some time since my last post but then things have been crazy here. Addition of a product to my suite of things-to-do has effectively trebled my work. Travel wise, I am on the plane most of the time these days. Right now, I am in India. Spent the last few weeks at Bangalore and now in Bombay before heading back to Mountain View. Then will be off again traveling coast to coast. This lifestyle is teetering on the edge of being dysfunctional.
Incidentally, it was the first time I ever worked in India per se. It was an interesting experience by all accounts. A few observations:
1. Bangalore is disgusting infrastructure-wise. All I could see was a tons of cars driving crazily, and a few non-Indian expats hopping/dodging trying not to get killed as they navigate their way on the streets of the IT city. Thankfully, I hadn't yet forgotten how to run across a street full of traffic! Though the weather rocked.
2. Larger cities like Bombay and Delhi are doing so much better in terms of infrastructure and life seemed like it was getting better here relative to where we were years ago
3. The Engineers in Google India office are unbelievably brilliant. Just awesome
4. I "felt" (and this is mere opinion and a gross generalization) while I worked here, that people interactions tend to be more personal in nature. I also felt that folks were a lot more nervous where it came to day to day work (risk averse). This actually makes sense given the cultural context. Now crucify me for stereotyping the whole country
5. The country is piping hot. Reliance Power IPO was gone literally in 60 seconds and oversubscribed multiple times in the time it takes to watch an average Indian soap. Love the excitement. You can see it literally everywhere!
6. It is exciting but harder to live here (still), but that has to be balanced by the tons of opportunities here currently.

Now time cometh to head back home to Mountain View. As usual, India is glorious in its contradictions. I can no longer figure out the right amounts to tip people, and what to haggle for with the rickshaw drivers, since the prices are so convoluted. Anything labor oriented is so cheap, it is silly. Everything else pricewise, might as well as be in US. Its gotten do expensive!

Enough about India. Back to US now.


Reader said...

Its interesting to note that
u graduated in India & then moved to the US to pursue higher studies there ,
but reading ur blog gives the impression as if u have never set foot in India & this country is as alien & amusing to u as it would be to an average white american born & brought up in the US.

Punit Soni's Adventures in VCland said...

Oh come on:)
Lets not get defensive. I have never really worked here, and hence my comments on my interactions with the folks. About the other stuff, it is relative. Relative to when I was here (the first 20 years of my life). The life was slower, less exciting, the differences did not hit me because I had no other reference points. I love the country and there is so much that is amazing here right now.
Alien? No. Amusing? Not at all. Different? Absolutely.

Anonymous said...

i agree with the different..India is changing so fast its getting hard to keep up..and expensive..hell is...

but they call Indian Americans 'confused' for some reason...

Punit Soni's Adventures in VCland said...

Everyone has limited visibility of what it is to be on the other side of the fence :)
Maybe people need to lower the fences...or grow taller :))

Anonymous said...

I see really short sighted views about Bangalore.

- Yes Bangalore might need a few classes in project management and managing growth, but yes we no longger live in a pseudo democratic country. India is the worlds most free country. Period. I think I have seen stayed for long periods in a spectrum of countries to say so.

- You need to understand the volume of change going on. The new airport, expressway corridors, the new underground system coupled with expanding buying power.

Punit Soni's Adventures in VCland said...

" India is the worlds most free country"
Thats just crap. Absolute crap.

Agree about the volume of change in Bangalore right now. I am sure by 2012 it will be awesome. And I hope to be a part of that change in my small way :)