Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Far off lands

So, a wee business break. I have two projects at the moment that we’re partially building in India. I’ve been putting off going, mostly due to sheer workload. Last week, however, I finally got myself over there to audit the jobs.

I’ve done a lot of travelling over the years, and have seen a lot of the developing world. One place I have never been, up until now, is India. Also, I’d never been to such a country on business. I was really looking forward to it.

The trip did not disappoint. Of course, being on business, you are somewhat sheltered from the reality around you. Its only a short time, and you live in hotel, taxi and office. Yet the contrasts still reach out to grab hold.

On the business side I was impressed and pleased. The teams we have working for us are skilled, competent and dedicated. I wish some of my staff here would work as hard as what I saw. It was good too, to see business helping a country up, not by exploitation, but by honest sale of skilled, trained, dedicated people. Though not paid much by UK standards, in India they relative disparities in cost of living meant they had a very good life there. The facilities too, couldn’t be faulted. It was a modern, up to date environment. Perversely, that office could have been anywhere in the world.

Still, life has a way of making itself known. Walking from one office block to another you had to cross the street. There the third world sat up and made itself known. The pavement was in good condition, the road was in good condition, between the pavement and road was a broken down, rubbish filled ditch. Within the office environment the people I worked with were well dressed (not always to Western fashion, but well dressed), healthy and educated. Between the office blocks poverty couldn’t be missed.

It’s a sight I’ve seen before, but when travelling with a back pack and no money poverty is closer, doesn’t seem as stark. When you’ve walked out of a modern environment and you see a women with an emaciated child begging, poverty hits you in the face.

Still, it was a good trip, and I will go back shortly. The work was good, the people hospitable and warm, the environment exotic and the food excellent.

I just have to recover from having to go to the loo every five minutes…


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