November 09, 2006

Bangalore Bound

For my transfer to Bangalore from Hyderabad, Satyam generously provided me with two weeks of hotel stay. The hotel was located in a central part of Bangalore called Austin Town. To be more precise, it was officially in Austin Town Extension, or “Echechu” as the rickshaw drivers preferred to call it. My first impressions of Bangalore were below expectations. When coming to Hyderabad I had no expectations, and they were greatly exceeded. For Bangalore, on the other hand, I was expecting a shining IT hub. What I saw resembled more of a petting zoo than the “Silicon Valley of India”. Apart from the generic cows and dogs encountered on many Indian streets, there were also chickens, goats, boars, rodents, and horses roaming around. The sewers are covered by a series of imaginatively shaped concrete slabs which combine to form the sidewalks. Frequently they are missing, leaving holes of varying sizes for the inattentive passerby to trip on or fall into. What Bangalore does have in common with North American metropolises is the congested traffic and heavy pollution, which causes me great discomfort.


To my added disappointment, mixed accommodation, even for foreigners, (i.e. Males and females living in the same apartment) was a taboo. This was unlike Hyderabad or Chennai, two places considered to be much more conservative in their outlook. Thus my options were reduced to (1) living with non-Indian males or (2) living with Indian males. The decision between these two undesirable options came down to one thing – bathrooms. Option (1) would have involved sharing 3 bathrooms between 14 people, and option (2), 3 bathrooms between 8 people. Option (2) prevailed due to its superior 14:3 male:bathroom ratio. Incidentally, that is also the male:female coworker ratio at Satyam, which is still preferable to the 9:1 ratio encountered in the Computer Science department at university. I moved into a flat in a residential area of Bangalore called Cooke Town by some and Cox Town by others. Cockroaches have an affinity to my room in this flat, particularly to my bed sheet and towel. Being a noble and glorious soul, I bought a canister containing some form of poison gas and went on a cockroach crusade.


ARNABombshell Update: Cold (or 25 degrees for Indians). The absence of female flatmates, an average 9pm curfew for girls staying in hostels, paying guests, or with their parents, and vegetarian dietary habits severely restricts my access to or interest in the Bangalore bombshells.