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Living in India

Wow, first blog post from India! I’ve been here for 3 days now and I’m still not dead. And as an added bonus I still haven’t caught any weird and wonderful tropical disease that turns your face inside out, makes your eyeballs boil and your skin fall off – but hey, there’s still time.

So far I haven’t seen too much of Chennai (the city where I’m staying), but my first impressions are that it is utter chaos and completely mad. Outside it is a whole world away from placid, surburban London. Inside you just completely forget that you are in India.

The second night I was here, I needed to get a mouse for my laptop. No problem, Aravind (the person with whom I’m staying with) said, we’ll go out to the computer shop now and get one. This was fine, hop in the car, buy mouse, drive home. Or so thought I.

What he had failed to mention was that we would take a motorbike to the shop. Oh, and don’t worry about little things like helmets and leathers. They are not much use anyway when you travel at 4 million mph on the wrong side of the road while looking the other way.

If anyone has ever been to Oxford Street in London over the Christmas period can begin to understand the volume of people that I’m talking about. But now put all those people in cars, motorbikes, pushbikes, and rickshaws. Everyone’s going different directions, there’s no right of way, no traffic lights and no roundabouts.

Right of way goes to whoever is biggest and which way the flow of traffic is going. This gets interesting at crossroads where the only way to get across is sometimes to weave between the traffic coming at you from the left to right.

To make it a little more interesting (so far it has been easy), you also have pedestrians wondering aimlessly through the traffic and even people taking cows through the streets of the city. Wonderful 🙂

So back to the motorbike journey. It’s an acquired skill to tailgate the vehicle infront of you by mere inches while cutting across various other vehicles. Don’t worry about using your indicators or checking the mirrors – they’re not there! Simply lean on your horn before you make any manoeuvre such as turning left, right, slowing down, speeding up, changing gear…actually whenever you start the engine, just lean on the horn until you have finished your journey.

Another thing about India is that it’s a fusion (not my choice of words!) of old and new. You can be driving through a really run down area and slap bang in the middle will be the most luxurious hotel you’ve ever come across. Or it might be a Ford car dealership or some corporate offices like FedEx or Citigroup.

I’m going to be setting up a new area on this site to start posting photo’s that I’m taking – just need to find time.

Finally, it might surprise some people to know that the food here is absolutely fantastic, really nice and very filling! And no meat in sight! It’s all vegatarian.

Having a great time in Chennai 🙂

An Englishman in Chennai, India

Hey, check this out. I’m on my way to India! Off to Chennai in the Madras region, which in on the South East coast.

OK, so everything isn’t confirmed yet. I have to go to the Indian Embassy in London to get a visa, get several different injections for diseases like Malaria, Yellow Fever and Diphtheria. The injections are going to cost a fortune!

Then I have to book a flight out there, not sure whether to go for a cheapo option and save money or pay that extra and go with British Airways.

The BA flights get in to the Chennai airport at 4am! It takes 10 hours, so better take a few books to read.

If all goes to plan, I should be leaving early September time.

While I’m out there, I hope to work closely with a couple of webmasters that I currently hire and train them in areas that’s difficult to explain over instant messenger.

I’ll also get to meet the programmers that have been working on my projects for the last year – which will be really fantastic to put some faces to names. I’ll get to see their working habits, and push them in the right direction (more work, less chatter! Just kidding!).

Finally, I think I’ll be doing a lot of stuff with the owners of Agriya, creating some joint ventures and projects.

I’ll be staying as a guest of one of the company owners…I haven’t found a good time to tell him yet that I don’t like spicy curry!

My biggest concern about going out there is catching what is affectionately referred to as “Delhi belly”. It’s where you vomit and have the runs near simultaneously for days on end. Probably not too bad if you are in a hotel and can lock yourself in the room, but in a house where others are living, maybe not a nice experience!

I’ll be taking my camera (that reminds, me, must ask parents if I can borrow their digital video camera, mine only takes stills) and hopefully will get to post some cool pictures of my trip. If everything goes well, I should be out there for 2 months, maybe longer. Or I might not last 2 days!

Current temperature in Chennai: 25°C and it’s only 5am in the morning!

Rain Rain Go Away

Rain. It was invented in the UK you know. But as with so many great British inventions in the past, other countries took our ideas and made them bigger and better.

Monsoon season has officially struck India, and we’ve gone from lazy sunny days to lazy rainy days. It’s been non-stop torrential rain for the last 72 hours. It’s like mother nature is attempting to dump the entire Indian Ocean over Chennai.

See, if I wanted rain – I’d have stayed back in the UK.

Chennai is now looking a lot like Venice with most of the roads being turned into great canels. For actual real life proof check chennai monsoon photos (opens in a new window).

Earlier on this month I told the world that I have a new love in my life. Now I know I caused distress and devistation to women around the world when I made these comments, so I thought it’s about time I put them out of their misery and come clean about this new love.

Coffee.

It’s amazing stuff. I drink it all the time now. Until I came to India I never touched it, ever. But now, being in India I decided to go a bit crazy and do things that I’ve never done before (such as eating that McChicken sandwich from McDonalds the other day), and drinking coffee is one of them.

Yeah, I know I’m being completely reckless, and some people are beginning to wonder where will all this crazyness will lead. A new hair style? Buying a T-shirt from a non-chain shop with a slightly edgy slogan on it? Buying a pair of non-branded trainers? Coming up with some jokes that don’t involve sex? Surely that will make me a changed man.

OK, I’ll pull my tongue out of my cheek now :~)

At the moment, I’m suffering (altogether now, Awww!) from a terrible cold. Once again, if I wanted a cold, I’d have stayed in the UK! Jeez.

A lot of the Agriya office is down with it at the moment, especially amongst the group of people that I work most closely with. All my freshers had it, my webmasters had/got it and Aravind has it too.

Thank God for paracetamol though! The worst thing about colds is the constant drip drip of mucus from your nose and coughing up all the phlegm as your body gets rid of all the nastiness. Yummy!

Finally, yesterday we had loads of candidates in the office as we gave a presentation on our newest business venture. The candidates are required to go out and about in Chennai and gather certain data and record it in digital format. The more data they collect the more they get paid. If they go all out, they can probably earn around Rs 4000 in a week – which is about £40. This is pretty good money in India though.

That’s enough rambling from me now. I just wrote this to put off some stuff that I really have to do but really don’t have the motivation to do. But I guess now it has to be done…

byeeeeeeeeeee