Friday, September 23, 2016

Random Things

Here are a few random sort of things you will see in and around Hyderabad.

1.Cows and Buffalo on the streets.  Cows get free reign wrt road usage here, as shown in the photos below, where buffalo are on a self-guided trip to a different part of town:

2. Line-ups for jobs.  Probably not since the 1950s has this sort of thing been normal in North America.  In this case (sorry my photo doesn't capture it well, the line goes back 100 feet), this group of people are lined up to interview for customer service jobs with Amazon.  These are your future help center operators for when your Amazon order doesn't arrive correctly.

3. Stray dogs.  It's hard to witness at times, as some of these dogs limp around with injured legs and the like, but the bottom line is that these dogs live on the streets.  For those of us who are used to seeing all different breeds of dogs, you don't see that here.  All of these dogs look alike - one variety of street dog here.  When it's time for a nap, this guy obviously likes to enjoy the warmth of the sidewalk on a sunny day.

Street Paan

I've had a few chances to enjoy paan this week.  It's something I'll definitely be on the lookout for once I return to San Diego.

Friday we went out to an awesome team lunch at a place that's styled as a north Indian truck stop.  Lot's of little street food-like carts where you can get things like pani puri, fried potato patties, things like that.  It was a great wrap up to our week, where we could all have some fun as a larger team.  I'll get the photo of the entire team and post it later.

Outside the restaurant, they've got a guy making street paan.  It was fun to watch this guy in action.  Lots of fun with our team enjoying an after lunch finisher:

(Vijay, Rajesh, Ram, Lakshmi, Shashi, Sulemon, me, Vijay, Sanjay, Anu, Sowjanya)

 Here's paan making in action:

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Wednesday Dinner - Simply South

Wednesday night dinner was a great choice by our hosts, Simply South.

The restaurant serves dishes from the distinct cultures of southern India.  We had a great meal and great conversation over some fantastic mutton, chicken, and fish curry as well as some great appetizers.  Things were spicy, but just below the level of being uncomfortable.

Makes you feel very blessed when you get to enjoy a great meal with great people!

(Sulemon, Vijay, Michael, me, Shashi, and Satya)

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Jagannath Temple

Wednesday evening Shashi, Vijay and Satya again hit the town, this time with my boss Michael in tow.

First stop was the Jagannath Temple, quite obviously dedicated to Jagannath, who is a form of Vishnu.  You can read a lot more here on wikipedia.

This a very beautiful temple.  When you get close and see that every part of the exterior is hand carved, it's very impressive.  Stepping in to the grounds of the temple, you're very much struck with how peaceful and contemplative it is.  People praying at the different shrines to gods like Lakshmi or Ganesh.  That peace was soon broken however by followers who were in the main altar banging symbols and such.  The symbol playing happened in a very rhythmic, organized manner and very loudly.  To the point that as you walked up the stairs to the altar (inside the shorter of the structures connected by the kites above), it was too loud, at least for me, to get too close.  The intent of the playing, being to wake the gods for prayer.

Once the prayers had completed at the altar, we were able to enter and take a blessing.  Certainly a very enlightening stop on our journey, one that I wish I had some better historical and theological perspective on.


I was lucky enough to try some paan at lunch today.  My understanding of this is that it's basically a Betel leaf wrapped around some sugar soaked rose petals.  This one at least was very flavorful, to the point that I'm glad that I didn't put the whole thing in my mouth like is the accepted style.  I got a flavor explosion of floral rose when I chomped down on it.  Took 3 bites for me.

The wikipedia definition of south Indian style paan seems to be pretty accurate to what we had.

More Tuesday Night Photos

Here's some more action from Tuesday:


(Vijay bowling)

( Shashi and Satya)

(Us with our dinner waiter)

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Tuesday Night Fun

Tuesday evening I went out with a few guys from the Qualcomm India office - Vijay, Shashi, and Satya.

It's been raining a lot today, so that only added to the craziness.  The plan tonight was go for an ice cream drink called a Faluda (very good), then to the InOrbit mall, maybe do some bowling and get some dinner.  Being Hyderabad, one has to of course take the Auto Rickshaw to get around.  With the rain, traffic and road conditions were pretty wild.  Here's a video of the 4 of us crammed in to our Auto on the way to a snack:

The place we got snacks:

After snacks, we got an other Auto to the mall where we bowled a game.  Followed by the highlight of the night - cricket batting practice.  Holy smokes is cricket batting a lot harder than it looks on tv.  I had some pretty good wiffs.  When you're trying to hit a spinning ball after it's bounced in an odd fashion from the turf, you can look pretty foolish:

(Vijay, Satya, me, and Shashi)


Me (starts out with the highlight of an epic miss, followed by some good contact):



And then finally, we had dinner at Dialog in the Dark, which was very humbling for us all.  This is the deal where a visually impaired person serves you dinner in an entirely dark room.  The way it works is you're led in to a pitch black restaurant, you get guided to your table and chair, and then your waiter brings out your food.  You get to eat as though you were completely blind, which gives you lots of time to think about the experience.  Having spent years in the San Diego Blind Stokers Club I've had the chance to eat with numerous blind and visually impaired folks.  To see what they go through dealing with the most basic of things like eating.  Guess what, you never understand something until you've experienced it.  In our very short experience of being blind, we all quickly realized just how blessed we are to have our vision.  The food was great too, which only added to the senses we experienced without our eyes.

Back in Hyderabad

It's September 2016 and I'm lucky enough to have the chance to come back to Hyderabad.  It's been nearly 4 years since my last visit.

Having been away 4 years, it's very interesting to see how things have changed.  Qualcomm has grown here in HiTech City.  We've got twice the buildings now, including some of the biggest ones in this area.  The team here in Hyderabad has grown a lot too (more on that in some future posts).

The flight here was pretty straight forward.  We flew Cathay Pacific through Hong Kong this time.  15 hours of flying from LAX to Hong Kong (seemed like it was 20 hrs from LAX to Dubai the last time I came here).  Then only 5 hours to Hyderabad.  I got some pretty good sleep on the flights this time.  So, when we arrived at the Hyderabad airport at 12:05am Monday, I was feeling pretty fresh.  Got to the hotel around 1am and got it to bed by 1:30.  I started out Monday feeling pretty fresh.

Here's a couple photos from the hotel window, evening and morning: