Wednesday, December 20, 2006

12.19.06, 5:20pm – Navis India Offices, Chennai, India.

I’m still sick today. The good thing is I’m not worse, therefore lessening the chance of it being some strange bloodthirsty exotic Indian virus. I again woke up in a puddle of sweat this morning and now I have a stuffy/runny nose, but, really, it’s nothing to cause any undue alarm.

The medicines I got from the Doc yesterday are sort of strange. They’re over the counter drugs (so that wasn’t an actual prescription he wrote on the hotel notepad yesterday) but they’re not in boxes or anything. They’re just foil packets with the drug name on them. No dosages or even explanations of what they are. I googled some of the names but not much came up. I figured out one is a B-Complex vitamin, so I’ve been taking that one. The others I’ve decided to forgo injesting. I mean, there’s like 4 separate medicines. Am I really supposed to just down them all in some sort of a cocktail? I’m gonna pass.

The meds. They were delivered in a brown paper bag.

Last night Girish and I went to dinner at a restaurant in a hotel called Raj something or other (I’m so bad at remembering these crazy foreign names). It is in a building that used to be some sort of British palace or other type of high-falutin’ place. It really was a pretty cool place. Big and palace-y. The dinner accompaniment consisted of musicians playing traditional Indian songs on various unusual instruments. A young Indian lady joined them occasionally performing some sort of traditional Indian dance. For being so relatively young (early 20s maybe?) her performance was solid. These dances essentially told stories and were very complex and involved a long series of dance steps, complete with facial expressions that made it look like she was talking to people. She must study and practice a lot.

Girish and I talked about quite a few things; politics, including the sorry state of George W’s current position and how it mirrors Clinton’s 8 years ago (remember the impeachment and the Republican takeover of the House and Senate?), the new office, and various aspects of Indian life, such as:

- Learning English is considered essential to achieve a successful career. Even Indians who speak very little or no English send their children to schools where most, if not all, of the subjects are taught in English.

- Cramming an entire family on to a motorcycle is not something these people would prefer to do (not that I ever thought they were doing it just for kicks), it’s just that most of them don’t have a choice as the motorcycle is their only vehicle.

The family truckster.

- The reason there aren’t more accidents on the Indian roads is because, due to the unpredictability of the Indian traffic, Indians are very cautious, vigilant, and ready for anything while driving. He also verified my belief that they have an incredible amount of faith in the awareness and ability of their fellow drivers.

We also made fun of the Navis employees who have visited CTS in the past.

Today I’m working from the Navis India offices. I wish I could be here more on this trip and not for only the one day. It’s so nice to finally meet all of these people I’ve worked with over the past 3+ years. As I’ve been introduced to more and more people today I’ve realized I’ve forgotten that I’ve worked with a good number of these people on various projects at one point or another.

This trip in general has been very good for the relationship between me and my testers. It’s good to put faces and actual humans with the names and emails. It’s so easy to treat someone who is mostly an email presence with a sense of detachment. Being here has reinforced the human element of this relationship. I’m getting a very good sense of who these guys are, what’s important to them, and what they’d like to accomplish. All things I’d like to maintain.

Music I’ve heard at one point or another through the hotel’s PA:

- Peter Cetera. I think they played an entire album of his.

- Kris something or other…he sang that song “Saaaaail-ling, takes me awaaaaaay to where I’m going…”. More than once.

- I don’t know who sings it but that song, “’Cause I’m your laaaaay-daaaaay”. I’m pretty sure they played that whole album, too.

Joseph here at Navis India tells me the American popular music from the late 70s and early 80s is still very popular here in India. Ok then, to each his own I suppose. We can’t all be enlightened to the majesty of Slayer.

Coconuts for sale.

I am really starting to get used to the pace of life here and how things are done. It definitely helps that I’m not trying to actually LIVE here. No apartment to deal with, no grocery shopping, no day-to-day hassles. I have a frickin’ hired car that takes me everywhere and a hotel staff that is ridiculously doting. Not too hard to get used to, really. That said, I am REALLY starting to look forward to coming home. I want (in no particular order):

- To not have to choose between Indian food and poorly prepared “western” options for breakfast. A bowl of cereal would be kick ass.

- To eat some goddamn fresh fruit.

- To have more than 4 options for clothes in the morning.

- To eat a frickin’ sandwich (there are none here. None.)

- To grill some burgers on my BBQ.

- To watch SportsCenter in English.

- A latte from my espresso machine.

- To pet my cats.

- To use my own damn cell phone.

- To drink water from the tap.

- To be somewhere where there are smog regulations.

- To watch Tivo.

- To drink off my kegerator.

- To kiss my wife.


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