August 17, 2006

On the Bench

For large companies in the Indian IT industry it is customary to acquire human talent before there is an actual business demand for these resources. These international firms often demand a list of available resources and their skill sets before signing a contract for a project, creating a need to have extra staff on hand all the time. In an environment where speed is king, this technique eliminates the ramp up time related to hiring and training talent that is usually encountered before starting a project. This creates the odd situation of many employees who are being paid to do nothing but wait for a project to begin. In Satyam lingo, these people are assigned to a pool known as "Business Wait".

While awaiting my assignment to Bangalore, I have utilized my free time most efficiently. My primary activities are traveling the nation and visiting my relatives. Secondary activities include playing cards, going to movie theatres, watching Hindi music videos, and accompanying damsels on sari shopping expeditions.

Apart from Mumbai, I have visited the following places:

Hampi (2 days) - A totally different form of India with a relaxed atmosphere and no crowds. Formerly the capital of an ancient civilization, this World Heritage Site contains many ruins of temples and forts. The landscape contains massive boulders perched in strange positions. Hired a rickshaw for both days here and the driver also functioned as the tour guide. A group of 19 interns went on this excursion. Some of the temples are atop high hilltops so lots of hiking and climbing is required. Being slow, I fell behind the rest of my group. Suddenly I was surrounded by approximately 20 menacing monkeys. Fortunately, I did not have any bananas so they soon departed.

Delhi (7 days) - Visited my uncle, aunt, and cousin's family. The highlight was my visit to the Supreme Court of India, where I listened to a gruesome murder trial and a spicy divorce case. Also went on a drive to fort/palace that has now been converted to a hotel in Neemrana.

Lucknow (2 days) - Around 6 hours from Delhi by express train, I visited both relatives and tourist attractions here. Stayed at a house that is almost 200 years old.

Chennai (4 days) - One of the my two Korean flatmates had moved away to Chennai for her job, so I visited her for the Independence Day long weekend. I took a Chennai city tour, went shopping, dined at several Korean restaurants, visited beaches, temples, zoos, amusement parks, and museums. I also took the local bus on several occasions as auto rickshaw drivers refuse to use the meter in Chennai. Once I was hanging from the door until the conductor told me to get in. Another time I met a fellow software engineer who was delighted to find out that his salary was greater than mine. We also had a traditional home cooked meal at the house of one of her colleagues with the men in the living room and the women in the kitchen. Also visited the nearby temple towns of Kanchipuram and Mahabalipuram, another World Heritage Site.

Arnabombshell Update: To the dismay of my loyal readers, this section was missing from previous posts. The female intern community has warmed up to the Arnab Sensation, but I still have not had a chance to mingle with the local ladies. The Mumbai maidens stayed indoors due to the monsoon. The Hampi hotties, Chennai chicks, and Lucknow lasses were similarly nonexistent. The Delhi delights were present but appeared to be quite high maintenance.