On Oct 1, 2005, I was on a flight to India for a 6 month business trip. Fast forward to Oct 1, 2007, again I’ll be on a flight to India. Yup, two years in India where has the time gone. A lot has happened both on the personal and business front. Personally, I got married in Dec 2006 and getting settled in Bombay. Many of my previous blog postings have been about doing business in India but the one question I consistently hear is “How is India?” Most people are interested to know the day to day routine of being on the ground in the “motherland.” Below are some random observations that I see day to day in Mumbai:
– Media – reporting is abysmal at best, what they report is so superficial it makes me want to puke. Most of the reporting is about Bollywood.
– Bollywood – the overall population’s obsession is bewildering. More annoying is when ANY entertainer comes to India, they ask them the same stupid questions – “Do you like Bollywood movies?” or “Would you act in a Bollywood movie?”.
– Infrastructure – this has been talked about so much I hate to mention it. Roads, water, electricity and internet access are all lacking from every data point
– Telecom – calls are so cheap on mobiles phones its criminal. When John Chambers talked about voice calls being free, I’m sure he didn’t think it would happen in India first
– Aviation – Many new competitors coming into the market and driving the prices down, which is really good
– Use of technology – websites for many companies are horrible at best
– Ambani Syndrome – everyone thinks they are connected to some big guy, even my driver suffers from this. They throw out the famous “Do you know who i am?” line.
– Slow crime – You probably won’t get robbed at night, but you will slowly get robbed during the day such as the taxi driver or parking attendant. All these guys try to squeeze a couple more bucks from you
– Robots – many people lack critical thinking skills, which is good if you want people to do the same thing over and over. However sometimes that can be frustrating. An example is when I get my car washed every morning, it’s parked in spot #3. Sometimes, another car might be parked there and on cue the guy will wash whatever car is in #3 – he’s a robot.
– Customer service – very much lacking, their idea of customer service is to just say “inconvenience regretted” and shove a comment card in your face and expect only glowing comments.
– the one stat that still shocks me is in 2004-2005, 77% of the population had an income below Rs. 20 (50 cents) per day.
After a while, I realized the “motherland” is as foreign to me as Sweden. But, I guess that’s the reason I love it here (minus the Monsoons).