Back to India…
We started our program in Bangalore, India. Bangalore is one of largest of the southernmost cities in India. The area is known as the Silicon Valley of India. The impact of technology is extremely important in this region and is driving the identify of the Indian workforce. Our visits were very interesting; we met with incredible speakers and got a chance to really see the difference between how business is done in the States and in India. While in Bangalore we visited the company I found most interesting, Korn Ferry. Korn Ferry has a small executive recruitment office in Bangalore. As I work through my MBA I am hoping to find out more about recruiting and staffing. I think it is something I could find interesting in the future.
When we weren’t in company visits getting our learn on we explored Bangalore. The first incident of street crossing and market shopping happened in Bangalore. Our group got along well but as it happens with any large group, we clicked off into smaller groups. The ladies got along really well together and we all wanted to shop and explore as much as possible. That first night we went to the packed Janagar Market, ate our hottest meal in India and spent a lot of time walking down dark streets after the power went out.
One of my favorite things to do while abroad is go into grocery stores. It’s amazing to me to see the similarities and differences between grocery stores. Often the stores are much smaller and simpler and the American tourists provide entertainment for local shoppers. Tasha found one of my favorite India purchases… cookies with a free roll of scotch tape for 30 rupees, less than $1. Random combination? Yes. Did I love it? Yes. We also got ourselves some Masala flavor potato chips and bought some Thumbs Up! which tastes like a kind of spicy Dr. Pepper. We wanted a classic tourist photo of the four of us giving the thumbs up to our Thumbs Up! but the security guard got nervous when I asked and sort of ran away from us. Awkward? You bet.
The next night we decided we wanted to explore a different area of Bangalore. We found the more middle-upper class shopping area and went to Fab India. Fab India is sort of like a classier version of H&M but with Indian style clothing. Great fabrics, trendy cuts but still traditional and affordable. I got Megan the slipper style shoes she wanted (and of course didn’t fit!) and a few other nice gifts there. Next to Fab India was a salon. I really wanted to get my eyebrows threaded while I was in India. I have been doing it for a few years; my all time favorite threader is Pretti in good ol’ Western New York. Pretti makes you pretty. Pretti charges $10 and getting threaded in a nice salon in India cost less than $1. Love it! I forced Caroline, Tasha and Casey into getting their eyebrows threaded too!
When we got back the hotel the boys were waiting for us. They had tried to find Janagar Market but gotten lost and wanted to go out for drinks. The entire group piled into 4 auto rickshaws and headed to what we thought was a club. We got there at 10:50 and were told they closed at 11:00. There is nothing open in Bangalore past 11:00. They were closing but did we want to come in for one drink? They kept the restaurant open and had the house band play for us until about 11:30. That is what it means to be a foreigner in India. Anyone will go completely out of their way to make you happy. It is partly great and partly uncomfortable. The caste system is technically illegal in India but social class division is extremely evident. Being a white, well dressed female with a western accent put me at the top of the social scale. It’s a strange feeling. You’re sort delicate, empowered, embarrassed and grateful at the same time. Thanks for the hook up Mom and Dad!