Archive for September, 2007

Morning View

Thursday, September 13th, 2007

 Morning View

Classes are getting into more or less of a routine now. Tomorrow we start a new course so should it be interesting. A few of from the American batch have informed us that there is a lot of breadth and depth in the training.

Photo: Morning view of the mass commute to classes.

Accommodation

Wednesday, September 12th, 2007

Room

The first day of software engineering training started today. I liked it: there were thoughts on what make a good software engineer and approaches to problem solving. Our lecturer used to work for the Indian space agency (ISRO) and gave us a real life example of how a software bug can be critical to a space rocket’s success or failure.

The rooms are really nice here. There are many TV channels but not the BBC unfortunately, however CNN will do. I’ve been getting good sleep thanks to the AC. The rooms are cleaned and tidied up for us during the day. Even my toiletries are order by height in the bathroom!

Photo: A view of my room.

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.

Weekend in Bangalore

Sunday, September 9th, 2007

 Vidhana Soudha

We went to Bangalore this weekend. Some of the Reebok, Adidas, Nike and even Marks and Spencer shops were just like back home except with air conditioning and a guard to open the door. It is like a stepping in and out of the western world. I bought a CK Euphoria cologne from the forum mall and saved £6 compared to back home for a 50ml bottle. Not much of a saving, but the service was much better, the sales assistant literally made me smell about 10 different bottles (with coffee beans in between) before finally choosing.

It has been fun hanging out with most of the UK batch and the US batch too. Everyone arrived and left at different times but we managed to see most of each other. A funny part was when Rizwan “felt” others when walking down a street (using his “spider-sense”?) and a moment later we saw some of the UK batch!

We also ate some excellent steak! The restaurant was called “The Only Place” since cows are sacred here. I also had McDonalds and the chicken “Maharaja” burger was quite good. KFC was an exact replica expect the till ladies who wore very presentable make-up.

Bangalore is a bustling city great for shopping and eating. There wasn’t time much sightseeing, will have to go back for that next time. Hats off to Rizwan for organising the trip for the group I was in!

Photo: Some of us with the colossal Vidhana Soudha in the background.

Respecting the high commissioner

Friday, September 7th, 2007

Tao

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

ILI

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.

Scooter hunting

Wednesday, September 5th, 2007

Scooter hunting 

Today we got the permission to head out of the campus, so nearly everyone in our batch went into the centre of Mysore after work.

Jason and I wanted to get a scooter. It was not recommended by Infy for any of us to be driving let alone ride a 2-wheeler in Mysore since Indian traffic is very hectic and not orderly like back home. However, Jason has ridden a scooter before in Bangalore and I’ve driven in Bangladesh.

It took us about an hour and a half to locate a shop that rents motorcycles and scooters. We decided that Jason will rent out the very popular Honda Activa scooter for 100 Rupees (or £1.21) a day while I practice on it. We then bought our good quality helmets straight away.

One can tell Jason was experienced from the backseat. I had a little ride and was surprised how easy (and fun) it is to ride a scooter. Btw, I don’t recommend this at all to anyone who has not driven/ridden in such a country!

We later met up with the UK/US batches at a restaurant and ‘High Octane’ in the evening. The restaurant was great, the butter chicken was 10 times better than campus, yum! The ‘High Octane’ club was also great: excellent music, very clean & decent lighting even by western standards. It was nice to meet more facebook friends in flesh.

Photo: Jason letting me have a short go on the scooter we rented. Thanks for the picture Jon!

Indoor greenery

Tuesday, September 4th, 2007

Indoor Greenery 

Today there was more induction training again and another good day overall.

During lunch we went to the food courts again and met more Indians. We met three women that went to IIT (this is India’s equivalent to the American Ivy league)! We asked kindly if it would be okay to join them of course … Jason and I were not sure how they would react, but they were very welcoming. They started a few days before us in a batch of 850 new freshers, one of Infy’s highest ever single intake apparently.

After work some of us played football except it was inside a track and field area which is still being built. It is just next to a futuristic ‘origami’ building and more like it … I keep pinching myself I’m in India here. The match was between ‘The West’ Vs ‘India’. The Indian Infoscions thrashed us Brits/Americans!

Later in the evening it was Peter’s birthday at the floating restaurant. There was a cake for him, a signed card by everyone and afterwards he got chucked into the outdoor swimming pool for kicks!

Photo: This was taken just outside the conference room our induction training has been taking place at. There are quite a few fountains and lots of greenery inside the Infosys Leadership Institute building. L->R: Kusum, Akhil, Jason, Rick, Ecta, Sanket, Sumit & Keval.

First day at work

Monday, September 3rd, 2007

First Day 

Well actually it was more of an induction day. We learnt about the company, had a team exercise (which included getting to know some Indian names by role playing family members – I was “Uncle Bottolanda” ), setting up bank accounts and last but by no means least we got to ask the CEO questions via a video conference!

For lunch Jason (a friend from Colorado) and I decided to eat what most Indians eat here instead of the really nice food at the “floating restaurant” (a restaurant that is on a moat) which costs four times the price of a meal at the food courts. We ate with our hands and sat next to some friendly Indians. It was nice meeting them and understanding what the South Indian food was, which tasted great, and learning where they are from in India. They are in production now and are working on a cheque processing system for a Canadian client.

Later we played badminton, table tennis and went bowling which cost 50p! There were high quality bowling lanes with couches, air conditioning (as are most buildings) and they played Ibiza music too. A friend, named Rizwan from the American batch, got lots of impressive strikes. The campus record here on the white board is 268 I think.

Oh, the UK batch here is great. Everyone comes across open mindedness, humorous and generally very friendly.

Photo: One of the team activities was to have one member of the role playing Indian family to be dressed up by only using newspapers, a stapler and sellotape. My team transformed me into a Roman soldier with sword, shield, a stylish skirt, toga, hat, a ring, necklace, shoulder pads all in 15 minutes. Thank you to Kusum for the picture!