Archive for the ‘Mysore’ 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.

Alvida,
Ehsan

Best

  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.

Worst

  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

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.

Local Dam

Thursday, January 3rd, 2008

Thanks to Google maps, Jason found this dam nearby that was completely deserted. The route to the dam was really scenic, especially with the green/golden/sun burnt rice fields. Once arriving there I was a bit apprehensive to swim. Eventually I did, it was fresh water after all, and the massage from the waterfall was quite refreshing.

The Dam
The Dam

Enjoying a good water pounding shoulder massage!
Enjoying a good water pounding
shoulder massage!

Local Kids

Thursday, December 6th, 2007

Jason, Andrew and Johnny came across some kids playing cricket near the Infosys campus. I went over to visit them one afternoon. It was surprising to see how happy they were at the sight of foreigners.  It was too hot to play cricket though, it is around 28 C and the sun still beats down hard this side of the world in December. We played ‘it’/‘tag’ a bit … later they played ‘capture the flag’ but I was way too knackered.

Happy Indian Kids
Some happy local kids

Amphitheatre

Sunday, December 2nd, 2007

The amphitheatre was used a few weeks ago to celebrate the town we are currently living in, Mysore. There were some folk performances amongst other things, I didn’t stay that long. The whole of food court one was light up like Christmas lights.

A few days ago our current chief mentor and former CEO Narayan Murthy (or ‘NRN’ as he is known here) made a speech here too. I noticed a large proportion of his speech was emotional. I remember he talked about courage, persistence, working well in a team, working across cultures, dealing with people smarter than you and not as smart as you. We later saw NRN at a table a feet away from us at the floating restaurant for dinner.

Amphitheatre during Myforia evening
Amphitheatre during the
Myforia evening

The audience and lights during the Myforia evening
The audience and lights during
the Myforia evening

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

Dasara Parade

Tuesday, November 6th, 2007

Three weekends ago a bunch of us went to the yearly Dasara parade which was held at the centre of Mysore. The procession started at Mysore Palace. The parade itself had some elephants and a lot of dances as expected. We couldn’t work out the meaning behind some of the performances, but they were energetic and colorful. The entire vicinity was completely packed. There were many people climbing metal frames, trees and just about anything that was climbable! However, I would recommend being very careful at such an event. It is pretty dangerous if you get caught up at the wrong place at the wrong time. I definitely learnt my lesson in the need to avoid crowded areas, and predicting where those crowds might occur.

The view
Bit of a shame the fence
was obstructing the view

Brave spectators
Some brave spectators

Elephants marching along
Elephants marching along

Packed seating area
The packed seating area

Sonu Niigam

Monday, October 22nd, 2007

A week ago there was a 10 day Dasara festival here in Mysore. There was a buzz in the city centre. There were projected screens at busy roads and a lot of events going on in the evenings.

Last Wednesday we ventured into town to observe about 45,000 people at a free concert. Sonu Niigam is one of India’s most famous singers, and he was definitely entertaining the crowd. I thought he was the James Blunt of India: popular, pop, tall, handsome and with bags of charisma. Before his act there were these more traditional Indian dancing which included some of the dancers *warning* this will make you cringe *warning* bent their backs, grabbed their feet and then rolled over! They also constructed some impressive human pyramids.

Sonu Nigam performing on stage
Sonu Niigam performing on stage

Zooming in on Sonu Niigam
Zooming in on Sonu Niigam

Temples and Villages

Monday, October 22nd, 2007

Two weekends ago we went to several very old sites. At Belur and Halebid there were intricate decorative sculptures from some of the ‘most artistically exuberant periods of the Hindu cultural development’. At Sravanabelagola there where 614 steps which led up to a 17.5 metre statue of a Jain deity.

Sculptures at Belur
Sculptures at Belur

Inside a temple at Belur 
Inside a temple at Belur

Sculptures at Halebid
Sculptures at Halebid

Outside a Halebid temple
Outside a Halebid temple

Climbing up the hill at Sravanabelagola
Climbing up the hill at Sravanabelagola

Also, Jason and Andrew made friends with a welcoming and hospitable local farmer called Shwamee. It was an interesting experience to gain an insight into the life of a farmer. We met Shwamee’s family, had dinner with them and Jason bought some macaroni and cheese as well as lots of American candy and chocolate which the children really enjoyed. For living in a small hut it was spotlessly clean. They liked our music gadgets. The family only spoke Kannada and did not speak a word of English or Hindi (apart from a very few words like ‘rice’) so we had to play charades most of the time to communicate. Shwamee also showed us around his farm:

Shwamee’s rice field
Shwamee’s rice fields

Shwamee’s sugar canes
Shwamee’s sugar canes

More rice fields
Another rice field with Prakesh,
Andrew & Jason

We came back midday and I went to class again to finish off some work. After that I got to ride Andrew’s new sporty TVS Apache motorbike! It has a digital speedometer and the 160cc engine has a nice crunchy sound to it. I’m now riding Andrew’s scooter that he was renting.

Park Lane Hotel, 2

Wednesday, October 10th, 2007