Archive for the ‘Training’ Category

Top 5 Best and Worst Experiences In India

Monday, June 2nd, 2008

This will be the last post. Hope the following information helps anyone deciding to work/travel in India. Thanks for reading.



  1. Job Opportunities: Infosys definitely offered this. Not only is this for the IT training and the great facilities in Mysore, but also for being able to meet all the Indians, Brits and Americans. A student from Surrey also got in contact with me a few months back, he will be working for an Indian engineering company for his placement year.
  2. Traveling: Without doubt, India is a great place to go traveling, mainly because of the low expenses and has so much culture. Being located just near South-East Asia also opens up travel destinations.
  3. Scooters & Motorcycles: Most people would be petrified about driving in India, understandably so (YouTube). But if you start slow on a scooter and have a few years driving experience, it really isn’t that bad. Granted, the road conditions aren’t great with the unmarked bumps, cows, pot holes, black cows, the odd dangerous lorry driver and the almost impossible to see black cow at night; but there are plenty of people driving along as part of their daily routine in the organic, slow, chaotic traffic. Personally I’m really going to miss flooring Andrew’s Apache going up Chamudi hill. He never minded me revving it, and would say “Knock yourself out!”. The closest I got to crashing was to a black cow at night in a dimly lit road in Mysore. As it was crossing the road at right angles to me driving towards it, I was too late too countersteer around it (anything with two wheels  countersteers: Wikipedia, YouTube 1, YouTube 2) … but luckily the cow turned it’s head and I missed it by a whisker! It wouldn’t have been that bad anyway, I was only going about 15mph and I had my helmet on. But please note: avoid driving at night down dark roads, and if you do, make sure you know where the pot holes are in the dark (you can get used to it after a while).
  4. Food: The delicious food! Most of my Indian colleagues find battered fish and chips at work so bland, and rightely so when one compares it to Chicken 65, Butter Chicken, Mangalore Prawns or a mouth watering Hyderabadi Biryani.
  5. Weather: We really couldn’t complain about the weather. Very sunny and warm, it was perfect conditions to head out and scooter around. Part of me wants to put this bullet point in the worst section because it got too hot sometimes and I really hated the feeling of being dehydrated– it has definitely made me appreciate playing football in the warm rain the other day.


  1. Delhi Belly & Malnutrition: It did take some time for everyone’s digestive system to “adjust”. It wasn’t so bad I had to go to hospital but it was an annoyance. I really missed having a nice cold glass of milk there too, not as prevalent as it is here in the West.
  2. Dust, Dirt & Public Infrastructure. One thing that was visible was all the dirt on my clothes from the smog of the Bangalore traffic after being out of an hour or so. What was worse is the thickness of the air that you can feel at rush hour traffic. I’d advise buying a face mask.
  3. Internet Access: It is really annoying when one is unable to stay in touch over the internet which can be a challenge sometimes. I’d recommend buying a USB stick that can access high speed Internet over the mobile network as soon as you arrive.
  4. &   5.  I can’t really think of anything else, it really wasn’t that bad.

TVS Apache 160
Biking in the jungle: Andrew’s
old TVS Apache 160


Tuesday, March 18th, 2008

I was in Pune for a week meeting the offshore team. Pune is really hot and dry. The average midday temperature was at least 35 degrees Celsius while there. The city is laid back compared to Mumbai, which is about three hours drive away.

Pune Buildings
Some buildings at the Pune site

Short stay in Chandigarh

Tuesday, March 11th, 2008

I didn’t stay long in Chandigarh. The SAP training was intensive and weekends away made time fly by. For all the facilities the site didn’t have compared to Mysore, it definitely made up for with the Indian batch I worked with. They were upbeat, hardworking and generally very well natured.

There were enough little organized events too. There was a singing competition one evening, a few birthday parties another (with the ritual of cake cream going all over the face and rather painfull birthday kicks) and also an ‘ethnic day’ where everyone wore their state’s formal dress which was a nice change from office wear.

Chandigarh itself is a pretty good city, even by western standards. The local cinema is decent and there are plenty of places to dine and easy to get to using an auto rickshaw.

Birthday 1
Chetan’s birthday. Yep, this is what
happens to the birthday boy/girl!

Ethnic day
Ethnic day evening

Yep, even I didn’t escape the ‘cake on face’
ritual for an early birthday/farewell party!


Saturday, February 2nd, 2008

I’ve been posted to Chandigarh DC for a while. A flight, a four hour train journey and three taxis later I arrived at Chandigarh, a city in the Northern India state of Punjab. I’m currently undertaking business specific training.

Main building
The main building at the site

Wavy Rooftop
A wavy rooftop on
another building

My new room

Best and Worst Transportation

Wednesday, January 30th, 2008

J2EE training has finally drawn to a close. The last few sessions included some soft skill training and observing Infoscions in production. I think the 7.30pm teleconference I shadowed with a US client on a Friday evening shows how hard people work here.

Jason and Andrew have been placed in Chennai. Too late to book a flight on Friday evening, I caught an overnight train to Chennai (460 Km away) to see them. I originally wanted to buy an overnight sleeper seat, but since the train was fully booked, I ended up traveling third class all the way for £1.45! This included sleeping on the floor for a few hours. I really didn’t mind it; I predicated it would happen. I got to experience what it is like to travel third class: a lot of poor people crammed into a fully booked train; the angry ticket officer checking for tickets; the poorest people without tickets crying and pleading for forgiveness; poor people sleeping rough and utalising newspaper as bed sheets; the scenic misty morning view of the country and finally the slums next to the railway as we entered the heart of Chennai.

Typical express trains that run
between Mysore and Chennai

Chennai itself was a good city. The development centre (DC) was quite pretty like in Mysore but appeared tiny, though it wasn’t tiny, the Mysore campus is just a monster in comparison. The food court was air conditioned and the rooms were just like those in Mysore except they included wireless internet and a small fridge. In the evening we went out to an excellent Thai restaurant, easily £50 a head in London. There are also many bakeries, with deserts just like in Germany. They were surprisingly cheap too, without compromising on quality. We also went to Marina Beach. It was nice to have a stroll down the beach, but unfortunately the sand was heavily polluted with plastics and paper ice-cream wrappers.

Basketball & Volley Ball
courts at Chennai DC

Afternoon sun barely visible due
to the pollution in Chennai

It was republic day, hence
the artwork at the entrance

I took a flight back to Bangalore for £36.77 and experienced the best flight available, and it truly is the best flight I’ve taken. Firstly, the bus carrying us to the aircraft had leather seats and flat TV screens for advertisement. At 55min, I didn’t expect any food on board, but they served up a really nice ‘Singapore stir fried chicken with black bean & celery’ with a chocolate truffle cake as desert. It was immaculately presented with metal cutlery. They played Tom & Jerry on TV. The air hostesses were pretty attractive too! The flight safety, take-off and landing instructions were given through the TV screens by this model looking presenter (link).

In Bangalore I got to catch up with a few friends. I met a friend of a friend who is currently working night shifts for a US accountancy firm, from 7pm till 4am in the morning. Real-time communication is so imperative that work has to be conducted live. Even with all the western negative press of ‘back office operations’ in Bangalore, he really enjoys the job and the experience in the finance sector. I don’t think it’s that bad either: young Indians gaining knowledge in western white collar jobs and working with colleagues half a world away. I recently said goodbye to a friend working for a major client in Seattle. He worked for them off-shore for a while and is now over there working on-site. That is great to see, that today, young bright open minded people here have opportunities to earn jobs, live in enticing Western cities and become professionals just like aspiring yuppies back home.

Mangalore Prawns
Sambu and some delicious
‘Mangalore Prawns’

Hemant in Bagalore
Hemant in Bangalore

Training Update

Thursday, January 3rd, 2008

Due to training winding up in the J2EE stream we’ve not really had a chance to go traveling anywhere far. We’ve been learning about threads, RMI, JSP, advance JDBC and more. During weekends we’ve had time to enjoy Mysore. There are good places to eat, nice scenic hills to motorbike up, play Virtual Tennis on the PlayStation 3 on big LCD screens for 50 Rs. an hour, get clothes tailor made and make most of the facilities on campus.

Origami Building
A groovy software development building on campus,
known as the “Origami Building”. Click to Enlarge.

More Country Riding

Tuesday, November 6th, 2007

We had our first comprehensive test last Friday. We had to write a C program, SQL tables and queries which lasted 3.5 hours. After the test Jason, Andrew and I headed into the country on our two wheelers. Jason was determined to get to this big hill that can be seen from campus. After a few wrong turns and dead ends we made it there. We climbed the steps that were available half way up. The rest of the climbing was all up natural rocks, grass and dodging a beehive. I didn’t see the beehive, but Jason and Andrew did and said it was freakishly big, about 1m x 0.5m big! At the top of the mountain there were two large boulders with a gap in between. Andrew was the first to have the bottle to climb it. Jason and I followed. It was a fairly easy for what looked pretty tough. Photos courtesy of Jason. They can be enlarged if you click on them.

Preparing for another ride in the country
Preparing for another ride in the country

View from the top
View from the top

Andrew climbing
Andrew climbing

Andrew reaching the summit
Andrew reaching the summit

Jason on his way down
Jason on his way down

BBC Interview

Monday, October 22nd, 2007

Our batch member and sharp minded Marco got interviewed by the BBC. The clip contains many of the UK batch working hard in class and playing table tennis afterwards. I’m in the clip at 1 min 32 sec climbing the steps to the GEC with Marco.

Busy, intensive, slightly sleepless too …

Monday, October 8th, 2007

Stairs leading up to the
GEC (Global Education Centre)

Last week was pretty intensive due to a team project assignment and a class test. Some memorable analogies include, “It’s like being in finals week!”, and regarding the information intake, “It’s like drinking water out of a fire hosepipe!”. Both the test and the project went fine. This week should not be as hectic. We have moved onto learning about databases.

Pursuing Happiness

Thursday, September 27th, 2007


We’ve been kept busy past few days. We’ve had two tests, both went fine. Although writing 35 odd programs in 4 days might seem boring, I actually enjoyed the refresher because I learnt it about 2-3 years ago now. One of the lecturers we had the past few days really burnt a lot of calories while presenting slides! He was very eager to answer questions and was passionate about teaching algorithms.

I remember watching a BBC documentary on happiness once. There was one idea presented that a person would be less happy the greater the triangular distances between work, leisure and shelter. Bearing in mind all the greenery and grand shaped buildings here, I guess Infy aim to make their workers here happy and productive. Well, time is flying here and soon I’ll be joining friends back home with the long and expensive commute into London every morning. Good of luck to those of you who are about to start it, hope it isn’t as bad as people say it is!

Photo: The multiplex theatre on campus. There is usually a long line during the weekends when the tickets go on sale.