Archive for December, 2007

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

Motorcycle Trip to Wayanad

Monday, December 3rd, 2007

Three weekends ago Jason, Andrew, Jimmy (Andrew’s dad) and I went to Wayanad, a district in the southern state of Kerala. All the pictures we took are available here, courtesy of Andrew.

Knowing the roads will by bumpy, I hired out a Hero Honda CBZ (which has a funny TV advert, like many adverts here in India). Andrew and Jason hired Jimmy a Royal Enfield Bullet which looked like it was from the 1940s (there is a reason for this, the old Royal Enfield company dissolved in the UK but continued production in India, even today). Here is Andrew filming us during our three hour ride to Wayanad, the sound has been muted because it was just wind noise.

The roads when entering Kerala were in excellent condition: no potholes, no bumps, just nice long winding roads through the forest. That was fun to ride through. We stayed at a tree house villa that overlooked a jungle.

Front of the tree house
Jason entering the
the tree house

Inside the tree house
Inside the tree house

Branch going through the bathroom
A tree branch going through
the shower section!

The balcony
The balcony

It was at an extremely welcoming home-stay called Tranquil and the hosts where very lovely people. At one point they called in a Royal Enfield specialist to fix Jimmy’s bike which in the end was fixed without too much inconvenience. Their home has so much attention to detail the place could honestly qualify to be in a Bollywood movie.

The bar area
The bar area

Swimming pool
Swimming pool

Next day we climbed up a hill, went for a swim in the pool and on a safari in the afternoon. We were false charged by an elephant which was pretty scary!

All on a rock
All on a rock

Jimmy & Andrew. There was a 20 feet steep drop to their right.
Jimmy & Andrew

Me on the edge
Me on the edge

This elephant that charged at us!
This elephant charged at us!

On the ride back we went through some scenic country routes and also some of the worst roads I’ve experienced in India so far that had huge potholes. It was actually still possible to go 15-20kph by standing on the motorcycle.

Jason taking the side of a pothole-ridden road
Jason taking the side of a
pothole-ridden road

We also spotted elephant on the way back
We also spotted elephant
on the way back

It was the most adventurous weekend so far, had a great time with the guys and was a good crash course in handling a motorcycle over tough terrains.

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

Mumbai

Sunday, December 2nd, 2007

About a month ago we went to Mumbai over the Diwali weekend. Formerly known as Bombay, it is the commercial and entertainment capital of India.

A few hours before our flight in Bangalore, we went to the Leela palace and saw this brand new Ferrari F430. The son of the owner of the Leela Palace was driving it. It was a little bizarre to see such a new Ferrari amongst the auto-rickshaws and bustling streets of Bangalore!

Side View of the Ferrari
Side view of the Ferrari

Rear view of the Ferrari
Rear view of the Ferrari

Our hotel in Mumbai was just by the Gateway of India. We visited the Taj Mahal Hotel, Bombay Stock Exchange, Marine drive and a few other sights of the city on the first day.

Fu-Wing and me at the Gateway of India
Fu-Wing and me at the Gateway of India.
Photo courtesy of Jeetandra.

Typical taxis we rode on
Typical taxis we rode on

Bombay Stock Exchange
Bombay Stock Exchange

A random flock of birds
A random flock of birds

The Victoria Terminus railway station
The Victoria Terminus railway station

Sunset at Marine Drive
Sunset at Marine Drive

We had dinner at “Tendulkar’s Restaurant”, a restaurant bowled up by India’s famous cricketer Sachin Tendulkar. As expected, the decor was heavily based around cricket and Mr Tendulkar. Even the menu had labels such as ‘Sachin’s favorite’. I had a delicious crab masala and Bombay duck, although it was not really a duck.

Tendulkar’s Restaruant
Tendulkar’s Restaruant

Next day we met up with my cousin Jamil and his work mates (all from the UK) who are currently working on an engineering project in Mumbai. Their client is Reliance Industries, India’s largest private sector company.

Infy group meeting up with Bechtel group
Infy group meeting up with
the Bechtel group

The Mumbai museum was interesting. I learnt a alot about India’s past. It was very hot though and water was prohibited.

Prince of Wales Museum
Prince of Wales Museum

Jamil and his workmates actually live in North Mumbai. It takes so long to get down to Colaba, South Mumbai, they actually stayed over at the Oberoi hotel. The promotional channel had this memorizing song by FC Kahuna – Hayling. Have a listen at exactly 2 minutes into the song.

View from the room with Jamil and Gary
View from the room with Jamil and Gary.
The curve of the street lamps is known
as the ‘Queen’s Necklace’

We later went to a beach bar/restaurant and then a jazz club called “Not just jazz by the bay”. The theme of the night was classic rock. The signer and guitarist were pretty good. I left early and missed out on a cover of ‘Black is Back’ by ACDC, nevermind!

Beach bar/restaurant
Beach bar/restaurant

The band at ‘Not Just Jazz by the Bay’
The band at ‘Not Just
Jazz by the Bay’

Next morning Marco dragged me out of bed (I promised to wake up!) to join in with the laughter yoga clubs around Mumbai that start around 7am, but we failed miserably. Instead we took photos with the golden morning sunlight.

Marco with the Gateway of India in the background
Marco with the Gateway of India
in the background

On the way to the airport to catch our flight back to Bangalore, I saw this taxi on the highway:

Maximising the load
Maximising the load

One more thing, being the Diwali weekend there were a lot of fireworks being set off that lit up the city at night. Some were set off right in the middle of roads! All in all Mumbai was a nice big city break.