Archive for the ‘Mysore’ Category

Brindavan gardens

Monday, October 8th, 2007

Last Tuesday is it was a national holiday as it was Mahatma Gandhi’s birthday. We decided to explore more around Mysore.

As we drove to the Brindavan gardens (19km NW from Mysore), we saw the Krishna Raja Sagar dam:

Andrew with the Dam in the background
Andrew with the Dam in the background

Other side of the dam
Other side of the dam, the water
pouring down the Kaveri River

We then arrived at the Brindavan gardens. It was a nice garden with a mansion that was left by the British which is now a hotel.

 Brindavan Gardens
Brindavan Gardens

The mansion
Outside view of the mansion

The dining hall
The dining hall

The chandelier in the dining hall. It’s got that
beautiful 20th Century touch to it.

There was a lightshow in the evening, but we didn’t stay that long. On the way back it rained and there were hundreds of moths in the air which we drove into, mainly near the dam. There were about five on me once back at the campus. It was okay though, they were harmless.

Yum for less

Monday, October 8th, 2007

It is so great to hop on a scooter, go to the nearest recommended restaurant and eat without worrying about the bill. Dining really is one of the best experiences so far. The other night we had a ‘sizzling chicken’ for 71p!

Andrew and Jason enjoying some desert
at this random restaurant we found on
the way to the Brindavan gardens

Floating petals
Some pretty floating petals

Mysore Palace

Tuesday, September 25th, 2007

Mysore Palace During the Day

Last Sunday at the very last moment I decided to tour Mysore with a few friends. We went to Subway (yum, with free wireless Internet too!), Mysore Palace, Chamundi Hill (there where some temples and a big bull statue), Mysore Palace again in the evening and finally to the Parke Lane restaurant to enjoy some live Indian music.

Mysore Palace was truly spectacular. We hired a guide who gave us intricate historic details. He proved his facts along the way by showing us visual examples of everything both inside and outside the palace. It was built by a British architect named Henry back in 1897 after the former wooden palace burnt down for the second time. Henry loved religions and traveled to many far reaches of the earth … and this is all evident with this palace he designed. On the outside one can notice the Arab/Islamic style rounded roofs, at the top a Hindu style monument and inside … oh inside there where just wonders from Europe and beyond including: chandlers from Scotland and Belgium; human figured lamps from Paris, white marble human sculptures from Italy, beautiful pots from China and there used to even be Rolls Royce’ parked in the garage back in 1912.

As for infrastructure: the man hole covers had molded ‘London’ markings to prove the British plumbing installed; British fire prevention pipes have been put around the palace to prevent another fire and there was also a basic but functional electrical lift inside. There were 3D paintings of what Mysore used to look like; cement sculptures that looked different from certain angles and very detailed railings, ceilings, grand doors, stairs, floors, etc. as one would expect in a palace.

I liked the peacock room the most. Apparently, for entertainment there would be lots of live dances and music for the Maharaja and family. It was interesting to note that a 118Kg golden elephant carriage had a red and green light on top that would be controlled by the Maharaja via a remote control!

The Sunday evening illumination was grand: 96,200 bulbs lighted the palace between 7-8pm costing 89,000 Rs (or £1,110) of electricity an hour!

Top photo: The Mysore Palace during the day.
Bottom photo: The Mysore Palace during the night.

Mysore Palace during the night

CEO’s Speech

Friday, September 21st, 2007

 Go Karting

The CEO gave a speech today to the Indian, US and UK trainees. He was a very good speaker as one would expect. I was pretty amazed a busy guy like him, effectively making decisions that are affecting over 75,000 employees of the company, even had the time! He talked about how the company started, where it is now, challenges for the future and answered questions put forward to him. The major points I remember was how the appreciating rupee was increasing costs; the possibility of a campus in the US; how Infy are working with about 300 colleges in India to improve standards and also how customer relationships and “emotional intelligence” was important when facing clients.

The evening was fun, HR arranged a night out with the US. The ticket was a bit expensive but I thought it was a good deal in the end with the food and venue. There was also a go karting track nearby. It was a decent track with good karts and only 120 Rs. for 10 laps, that’s like £1.50! It was nice to take some tight high speed corners. I managed to spin into the tyre barrier once though!

Photo: The go karting track. An overtaking maneuver in action too.

First Class Test

Wednesday, September 19th, 2007


Everyone I spoke to passed the first class test today. I got an A! But so did most people who did computer science. I think Infy has filtered the hardware concepts useful for industry quite well. I think the computer hardware and architecture course taught at Surrey was good but not as applicable to industry. I guess since Infy knows what industry knowledge is necessary (by being in the industry itself) and is a business relying on it’s intellectual expertise, it has far more of an incentive to teach the core applicable knowledge. In short, the training is good. However, the non-computer scientist graduates amongst us were a bit annoyed with the pace and quantity of information … but most of them passed (some did better than me) so I think the training has been balanced well so far.

So today news reached us of this and this. Quote from the Guardian:

“How did he find British graduates to deal with? Indians, he says diplomatically, tend to be a little more flexible.”

A friend who has been interviewed by the media and has been working hard to represent Infy well was understandably upset and requested an explanation from HR. A few hours later we were addressed by HR that the comments were misquoted surrounding the flexibity of locations. I should think so to be honest. The CEO only spoke to us for a 10 minute video conference on our first day in Mysore and we’ve only been here two and a half weeks! In my view, the very fact we are here in India for 6 months shows we are flexible. Once returning to London some will be likely to travel around Europe/Middle East/Africa and they are looking very forward to the prospect. Who wouldn’t? The chance to gain experience abroad, work on different projects, meet different people is not only beneficial but exciting too.

It was Mark’s birthday. He shared some good chocolate cake (yum!), the later we ate out and some went to High Octane (again!) but I felt tired and got back early. I rode the scooter in the night a bit too. Riding in Bangalore is easier than here in the outskirts of a smaller city. I feel this is because in Bangalore it is busy but predictable; here it is quiet and rather unpredictable with the bumps and the odd car or motorbike going by. Jason’s riding advice is handy too. It’s all good though.

Photo: The swimming pool on campus with the GEC (global education centre) in the background. We are training inside there at the moment.

Park Lane Hotel

Monday, September 17th, 2007

On Friday evening we went to this restaurant at the ‘Park Lane Hotel’ in just near Mysore Palace. The food was quite exquisite, especially the ‘Lamb 90’, a similar dish to the ‘Chicken 65’. It was just so good! Jason had an excellent sense of direction to get us there while a certain road was blocked and through the many one-way roads.

Video: Live music being played at the restaurant. There is another clip on Kevin’s blog too.

Pavement Plants

Tuesday, September 11th, 2007

 Pavement Plants

Today was the last day of induction training. We finished off with presentations on comparing the Indian and western cultures. In the evening we ate at a restaurant that cooked some excellent chicken roasts. It was also Gaurav’s birthday, so there was everyone from the UK batch and some from the US at High Octane. Gaurav seemed quite merry as expected. I rode the scooter in the evening for the first time too. It was fun as always but takes a lot of observation, especially at busy cross roads where there are no ‘Give Way’ or ‘Stop’ signs. There are also all these unexpected bumps that are visibly hard to see at night.

Photo: A view of a road on campus that has flowers every 50 cm. This is how literally all the pavements are here. They are groomed manually with scissors by the gardeners here. That’s Jason there.

Historic monument of the day

Monday, September 10th, 2007

historic monument

After work today Jason and I went riding on the scooter again. We didn’t have any specific direction and just wanted to see some countryside. We saw lots of the country: hills, greenery, winding roads with mountains in the distance. We then ended up coming across an ‘ancient historic monument’ according to a signpost just by a small temple which it was inside. It was about 5 meters tall. It was pretty impressive and surprising to be in the middle of nowhere too.

Photo: The upper body of the statue at the temple we came across.

Respecting the high commissioner

Friday, September 7th, 2007


Today we went to meet the high commissioner of the Mysore police department to settle our registration in Mysore. We had to stand up when he came into the room. He didn’t speak much … except to say “No, sit” as he saw us standing when he came in.

In the evening we went into town and after shopping around a bit. Friends from the American batch recommended to us a few places to eat for dinner. We went to this really nice Chinese/Thai restaurant called Tao. Jason knew everything good to eat, and boy did we eat! It’s great to be able to eat such delicious food and lots of it without worrying about the price.

Photo: Jason looking a bit thirsty outside the Tao restaurant.

Chicken 65

Thursday, September 6th, 2007


Today we discovered differences in cultures such as those that have monochronic or polychronic people; low power distances or high power distances between people; and individualist or collectivist societies. For example, countries like Germany, UK, US are generally contain high number of individualists (people tend to do things on their own) as opposed to Japan or India where people are generally more collectivists (people tend to do things in groups). I hope it helps in the workplace in understanding why different people from different cultures act in certain ways.

In the evening we went to a local restaurant. The food was really good again! I discovered a new Indian menu item: Chicken 65! Jason hyped it up before it arrived on the table … and yes, it did live up to expectations … though quite hot, but enjoyable to eat. Apparently 65 chilies are used to prepare one kg of chicken! However, this might not always be the case. 

Photo: Another shot of the Infosys Leadership Institute. The previous photo didn’t include the trees.