Inconvenience Caused Regrettably

Authored By Brian

I found myself back at the post-rave wasteland of New Friends Colony yesterday afternoon but this time the shops were open, people were bustling and the rats were suspiciously absent.

Sankar, head of business developent for an Indian offshore development company had just dropped me off after a nice meeting at their office (on a Saturday no less). Although I never respond to spam, it was hard to resist answering a ColdFusion-specific inquiry from a company in South Delhi while I was sitting in an Internet café just 5km away. It would be nice to have some extra development power when I come back home and resume work on Could it be fate? Or God simply providing a way to write off some of my travel expenses? :P

I have worked previously with India and Russia and have not been impressed. Aside from being smooth, Sankar and his associate Nick were honest about the realities of offshore development and the productivity of such an arrangement (estimated 60-70% at 1/3rd the cost for a net gain).

I tried unsuccessfully to hire a senior level person to run MSR and came up with several solid but overpriced candidates. If the company’s time and materials program can deliver a senior-ish person that I can work with one-on-one, and that is a big if, I think it will work to my benefit. A potential advantage of the 200+ person firm is the ability to tap into a specialist when needed without having to locate and manage a third party. Again, if it works.

We’re going to try a pilot project when I am back and see how things go.

I was back at New Friends colony because yesterday was errands day and I wanted a reliable internet café to sit down and catch up. Sankar said I would find one there. I took a break to grab some food (a spicy and juicy chicken sandwich from a pseudo diner reminiscient of Johnny Rocket’s but without the beef or pork).

I ate with the local paper and read some hilarious letters to the editor from Indians complaining about hazardous pedestrian conditions and dangerous driver attitudes. This all in a worrysome state over how the First world will perceive Delhi when the Commonwealth Games come in 2010 (like the Olympics for past British colonies). One particular letter lamented mile-long traffic jams caused by free ranging livestock and stray dogs. The will necessary to redirect the momentum of 1.2 billion people is beyond the capaciy of any government that I am aware of. Particularly one with a growing economy and millenia-old religious beliefs.

Nay, it doesn’t look like the herd of water buffalo that delayed my rickshaw ride home will be pasturing elsewhere soon. If they were serious about making the stay for foreigners less aggravating, they would crush the rickshaw mafia. I haven’t used a meter once since I arrived despite nearly every vehicle having one.

As part of the preparation for 2010, Delhi is under massive construction as was Agra. Roads are expanding and a metro system is growing. From the window seat of my flight to Darjeeling, this boom is visible for miles. The same paper also said that 70,000 trees would be lost as part of the effort and a petition had been started to protest the urban deforestation. Signs and announcements everywhere read “Inconvenience caused regrettably”.

Contradictory to the first chaotic impressions of the status quo, city citizens care about progress like everyone else (at least in urban centers were rent prices can match that of San Francisco). Is it shallow to worry how the world perceives your traffic situation when hundred of millions of your fellow citizens live on less than $1USD per day?

I’m not really sure how you reconcile the two but during a conversation over breakfast yesterday with a Brit, I was reminded just how bloody lucky we are at home. Who knows how the straws were drawn (the “Ovarian lottery”) but even on the worst of days I know that I got the long one: my inconvenience is only temporary.

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