The New York Times hired a badass

posted by on 2010.10.01, under Academia, Entrepreneurship, India, Shameless Plug, Travel

It took an evening in Louisville, Kentucky to realize this.  After 8 hours of studying theory, statistics, and banging my head against a library wall, I threw on my finest sports coat and ventured out for my first night on the town in downtown Louisville.

This weekend is Idea Festival.  It has been one of the best surprises this town has afforded me in my first two months here.  I was looking forward to the event after the kickoff event – Thrivals 3.0 – featuring Jackie Robinson’s son (David), Janelle Monae and her “motown meets silicon valley” label Wondaland Arts Society, Howard Bloom, who spoke passionately about public relations work with Prince and Michael Jackson and several other inspirational speakers who were handpicked by U of L’s Professor Nat Irvin.

I entered the theater with very little background information of the speaker who was scheduled to talk today.  I saw something about “Gandhi” on the flyer, and made an assumption that it was an Indian, perhaps someone talking about philosophy or yoga, or something I was half interested in.  Within 5 minutes I lost any buyers remorse for purchasing tickets for this event, and realized I was meant to be in this very room, in Louisville, Kentucky, at this exact moment.

Anand Girid­haradas was able to articulate everything I experienced in my short tenure in Hyderabad, while enlightening hundreds of us on insightful observations he had made as a journalist in Mumbai (Bombay) India over 6 years.  He spoke with charisma, poise, and conviction, and intentionally paused, keeping listeners in check with the realization that we might never get this education ever again in our midwestern/southern lives, before revealing a new idea that kept us asking for more.  None of his propositions were left undefended, but there was very little that was academic about his tone.

He clearly ordered his thoughts into a presentation that alluded to things his audience could understand.   It felt like I was learning with him – which is a quality I have attributed to some of my best professors and mentors.

I understand that up until this point, I haven’t said anything about his  actual message.  I am not sure how well I can share the perspective he donated to us tonight, but I will try to summarize what stood out to me.  I urge the reader to purchase this man’s book, that will be coming out in 2011.  He too has experienced the frustration of not being really an American or an Indian.  Referencing a comment made by someone in the audience tonight, Indian’s don’t know whether to charge us 100 rupees for entrance (US prices) or 50 rupees (indian price) so they charge 75.  Before I get to his presentation, I need to preface it with a list of the similarities between us, which is absurd.

1.  We were born in Cleveland, Ohio to parents who grew up in Bombay, India and visited India every 2 years as children.

2. We attended college in Michigan.

3. Shortly after college we worked in India.

4. We are both the son of a professor

5. This year, we both started Ph.D programs.

Anand described his fears of the future in America, while optimistically proposing what we should do to avoid them.  Giving examples of TATA cars that cost under $2000, he suggested we stop limiting innovation to luxury items like ipads and smartphones.  He gave a staggering statistic about how there are more people in the world with access to mobile phones (mostly “dumb phones”) than toilets. (6 billion)  Manufacturing jobs should be focused to serve the markets that demand products based on need instead of desire.   Instead of redesigning existing products by stripping away features to lower costs, we should start from scratch, building a lower cost and useful product designed specifically for the market it is intended for.  Not everyone in the US owns an iPhone.  Damnit.

The US has always exported culture to the developing world, but Anand argues that the world no longer sees our way of life as an end-goal, but simply as a “means to an end.”  Just like our movies, basketball shoes, and Yankees hats are knocked off, so is the culture, and Americans do not see a dime in return.

The brilliance of this speaker is exposed as he concludes his talk.  By this time, I have gotten over the fact that he might be a better dresser than me, and has found a more distinguished hairstyle.  I start thanking my stars that the New York Times selected him to share these pearls of wisdom with a much larger audience than the Hyderabadass could ever hope to talk to.  He talks about community, about culture, and changes in geography that is impacting them.  He proposes that our generation is becoming more and more ‘placeless’ transplanting to new places for work and losing identities.  We have less in common with each other because technology gives more options.  Tivo restricts watercooler conversation because we no longer watch the same tv shows on the same nights.  For the first time in the history of the world more people live in urban cities than rural communities.  We are desperately longing for communities, which is why our search tools focus on this (Yelp)  but we’ve lost a connection from this old way of life, and it will be difficult to recover.

It was a great speech, and I was overall impressed that this went down in Louisville.  The timing was perfect, with the controversial premier of NBC’s Outsourced, which was discussed briefly, but also a subject of Anand’s latest piece in the times.  A badass, indeed.

  • Share/Bookmark

William Wallace Land

posted by on 2010.06.03, under Travel

I’ve arrived in Scotland, and am a bit relieved to be surrounded by people I can talk to again.  Here is a preview of what is in store for the next week…

  • Share/Bookmark

Milano

posted by on 2010.06.03, under Travel

Milano is a place where you can’t get by on your good looks alone….Everyone is gorgeous.  People take great effort to look fashionable.  I started learning the differences between Prada, Gucci, Armani and the other name brands while shopping with people who could afford to buy their products.  I have no sense for fashion, but I love a good bargain, and Milano gave me several opportunities to practice negotiating.  Among my few expenditures were european style military shirts (i got a great price for them at a street market) and haircut, and a 40 Euro classical guitar that provided several moments of entertainment throughout the stay.  3 weeks without playing music was miserable, and I saw the instrument in the train station and made an impulse purchase.  The only buyers remorse is that I have to now use the guitar case as my suitcase/backpack while I travel Scotland, because I flew RyanAir and they have the strictest policy for luggage.

No updates on the research project…our time in Milano was unfortunately during a holiday, so many people were out of town.  We will be conducting the make up interviews through skype however when we get back in the states.  Italy has always been one of my favorite places to visit.  I love how the people are so passionate about everything they do, and hold nothing back in confrontations.  We arrived to the hotel and immediately there was a mustached italian in a truck yelling at us from the window for blocking traffic, making all sorts of hand gestures.  We had our share of rude waiters, but I didn’t really take offense because although the waiter showed no sympathy to our inability to read his menu, he was incredibly genuine with his interactions with us, giving us tough love and encouraging us to put effort into pronouncing the menu items properly before he would serve us.  Another restaurant waiter simply gave up on us, and said ”your food a will be a surprise, ok?”  20 minutes later he brought out several amazing dishes which still remain a mystery to me.  My style of restaurant, like the house of nanking in SF.

I didn’t find a wife in Italy this time around, but I found a few more dance moves.  It’s weird traveling alone now after spending 3 weeks with such a big group.  Next up on the agenda is Scotland and England.  World Cup fever is in the air in the latter, while the Scottish are apparently only interested in seeing England lose in the matches.  I’ll post more from the queen’s country soon.

J

  • Share/Bookmark

An Event In Your Mouth

posted by on 2010.05.25, under Travel

This is how the tour guide described eating Chocolate’s in Zurich – it is an event in your mouth.  After eating 20 Swiss franc’s worth, I agree.

This city is no friend to my wallet, but nonetheless her charm keeps getting me to spend more and more money on her in a courtship that I hope allows us to continue our affair, and maybe someday live together.  If there was ever a reason to learn four new languages, Zurich would be it.

I ride the public transportation back from the city center, which is one of the few reasonably priced purchases available to visitors.  I am amused watching an indian baby in a stroller, who resembles a young Jason D’Mello, flirt with a blond swiss baby brought into the train and parked opposite to him. The blond girl is in a slightly more upscale ride, or whip, or whatever slang can be referred to baby vehicles.

At first, the Indian baby ignores the blond girl’s advances, and looks elsewhere while the swiss child makes motorboat noises and funny faces.  But soon the brown baby initiates a game of peek-a-boo, which get’s both babies in a uncontrollable burst of laughter.  The train itself resembles a playland, with what appears to be handcrafted wooden seats and yellow painted hand rails and has no plastic in sight.  The ride only lasts a few minutes, since one of the strollers is removed from the train, but the youngsters exhange a genuine goodbye from their new friendship that brings a little joy to the other passengers onboard.

In my two days in Zurich, I have noticed that people here live better.  Not because they earn 50% more money than us (they do) or pay less taxes meaning that they earn 80% more money than us (they do this also) but because they they have found a rhythm that does not exist in any other place I have traveled to.

The city is spotless and clean, priding itself on the ability to drink water out of any public fountain structure that most other cities are filled with coins from desperate wishes.  Money is not wasted in fountains here, financial privacy is valued immensely.  My friends and I brainstorm how this city can run so well with people paying less taxes.  We realize the savings they have from not having to fund a military, and other unique situations the Swiss are famous for.

Soon after filling my waterbottle, I enter the weirdest public bathroom I have seen.  With an efficient design and impeccible hygiene, The luxurious port-a-potty hosts an additional waste drop off for siringes.  This city apparently has acknowledged a drug culture and taken a proactive approach to deal with it to make other people’s lives more enjoyable. (Unless there is another reason why they would have a waste basket for needles in public)  I have yet to see a demand for this disposal, as there are very few poor people in public and no one that looks like a drug addict.  It is a nice change from the Venice Beach drug parafanalia that you can’t avoid.  But I am lead to believe that this subculture must exist, and the city has just found a solution.  It’s this attitude of the city that perhaps wins me over the most.

Outside of my fountain and  bathroom experiences, I must note that the city puts a lot of trust in visitors.  They offer free bike rentals, with pickup and dropoff locations all around the city.  Its not rare to see nice, nonrental bikes without locks in public either.  On a Tuesday afternoon in May, citizens are lounging by the river and lake in their swimwear, jumping from bridges into the water and soaking in the sun while staring at the snow covered Alps in the landscape.   There is a woman’s only pool where ladies can sunbathe topless without insecurities, or so I am told.  But a few hundred meters away from this secluded area, woman sunbathe topless next to the lake anyway.  I discover that my day pass for public transport includes a free boat ride across the lake.  This is almost as cool as the ability to rent a bicycle for free.  I am no longer frustrated with paying $30 for a burrito.

My friends and I grab a beer a waterside cafeteria while a band provides a soundtrack for  few dozen dancers at 3pm in the afternoon.  Not a single couple is under the age of 65, but their dance moves energize the band, with dips, spins, and even lifts while maintianing coordination that I did not know existed.  I keep wondering how they would react if a house beat suddenly came on, with the words “Put your hands up in the air, put your hands up in the air” or a “Rah-rah-ah-ah-ah Roma, Roma-ma, GaGa, ool la la Want your bad Romance.”  Even though these numbers never get played at this venue, it is refreshing to listen to music in Europe in absence of fro hawks, Jersey Shore look alikes, or simply away from men in tight jeans.

We have scheduled two amazing interviews in the upcoming days.  On Thursday we will take a train to Bern, the capital, to meet the Swiss Social Entrepreneurs of the year, Paolo Richter.  Tomorrow we have a meeting at 9am in Zurich with an entrepreneur who has helped keep kids away from clubs and parties by providing nightime sports events and facilities.

I am already feeling sad to leave this place,   The short romantic comedy on my train ride is like a poem carved into my memory with the precision of a Swiss knife and to the timing kept of  her watches.   I am drinking 200% more clean water here than anywhere else in Europe….and I have yet to take a sip of water and taste the awfulness of sparkling water, something that Europeans constantly try to slip to me to frustrate.  I have realized that all my preconceived opinions of this place from stereotypes were naive…..Except for how good the Chocolate is.  That is something that I can’t be neutral on.

-J

  • Share/Bookmark

The best cure for a hangover in Prague

posted by on 2010.05.20, under Travel

Prague has hosted my comrades and I for 3 days and too many nights.  From my window seat I am looking out at at the exact view that wikipedia has taken for the Prague Castle.  Phenomenal.

Crediting jet lag, I have had exposure to this city at her earliest moments and certain times past curfew.  Her cab drivers have both disappointed and aided this certain vagabond.  But what I have gathered in my limited time is this.

Prague’s tourist attraction shadows its potential.  The people here are intelligent.  This city is ambitious.  Progress is riding through the streets on electrically charged vehicles.  We visitors come here for delicious beer, not knowing that the Budweiser shoved down our throats in Superbowl ads and Nascar marketing is actually a name stolen from a legit beer company from the Czech.  These people don’t fret.  Their other beers are actually better, and they create experiences that are both memorable and forgettable.

But the Hyderabadass did not come to Prague to drink beer.  He did not come to judge her people, or engage in city walking tours that promote churches that are a strange mixture between Jesuit history and Monarchial devience.  He came here to study Social Entrepreneurship.

Social entrepreneurship is not Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, Spacebook, or any of that.  It is entrepreneurship at its finest, using innovation, ingenuity, creativity, and brilliance to solve social problems through sustainable business models.  Seldom are these entrepreneurs businessmen(women).  Like Daja Kabativa, founder and president of http://www.letohradekvendula.cz/, these ventures achieve success from the tenacity and endurance of ordinary people committed at progress.  People who want to leave the world better.  They identify opportunities in area’s that have multiple bottom lines for profit.  And they find unconventional ways to prosper.

Our interview with Daja was a once in a lifetime opportunity.  A woman who lost a child from a mental disability, she has dedicated her life to create an environment where similar people (that she calls her clients) can live, learn, work, and teach.  Her facility has been constantly expanding over 10 years to the point where they now house state of the art appliances for healthcare, physicaly therapy,  retail store, bakery and even an elevator.  Her philosophy is to treat clients as equals, as they are often diagnosed and limited to certain roles appointed to them by others.  By creating a family where all are expected to work to their capacity, people are empowered to reach their potential.   She had 65 clients, 15 employees, and generates income from quality products produced in both her workshops and bakery.

Although I read her background and Ashoka’s report of how great her business is, nothing impacted me as much as actually meeting Daja, her clients, and touring her facility.  She was a powerful woman who projected confidence in her native tongue while I anxiously awaited my mediocre translator to communicate back to me her words in English.  Her instincts were so powerful, that when she invited us to come back next year, she made a point to tell us that she would learn our language, or provide a professional interpretter for the meeting.  Nothing against our translator, who was doing his best, but it was obvious that there was a better form of communication with this entrepreneur.

2 weeks before taking our meeting, she was invited to Brussels, with all expenses paid, to meet with the World Economic Forum.  Her little project in the Czech had caught the attention of world leaders, and she was asked to present how and why her business has been working.  On a macro level, the EU is facing challenges of a shrinking workforce and growing population of people alienated from the workforce.  Instead of inviting city officials of Prague, or national politicians, they invited Daja in a group of 15 people to help start the dialogue on how to make a change.  This social entrepreneur has dedicated 10 years to a very small location and specific cause, but now has understood that her actions and passion serves value to a worldwide need that could benefit millions.  Watching her express this in her language was one of the most beautiful things I have seen in a city that lacks none.  No translator was needed to see the pride she shared with us.

In a city that escaped communism, she credits her country’s history for the founding of her company.  If not for the end of communism, she would not have been able to obtain the resources needed to start this venture.  Her credit to luck, ideas and friends for her success is something entrepreneurs often say but rarely think about.  Humbly she admitted that her venture was close to failure several times before someone stepped in and saved them.  Her advice is simply to never give up.

And as I waive goodbye to the city of Prague from my fancy hotel window seat, I offer the same advice.  In a city where it seems the people are confused about the political future, with an election 2 weeks away and much doubt about the decision to join the EU, I wish them the courage and resilience to find their place in our world’s future.  Not to be exploited by cheap labor and inexpensive products and services, this place has the potential to be an entrepreneur’s dream and a place for true progress that can benefit our global community for centuries to come, while quenching our thirst.

-J

  • Share/Bookmark

Dolphin Wars

posted by on 2009.12.08, under News, Technology, Travel

Russia is still trying to “one up”  America, recently acknowledging that they need to catch up to our Navy when it comes to militarized sea mammals.  The US Navy apparently employs both sea lions and our beloved “Flipper” for two main reasons:
1) look for underwater mines
2) keep a look out for an underwater swimmer terrorist attack.

Dolphins are trained to use strobe lights to point out the bad guys, however sea lions, those smart little buggers, are armed with cuffs to restrain intruders.  As an advocate of swimming in the Pacific Ocean at any opportunity, I was saved from an attack from the SF bay “rogue sea lion” thanks to San Francisco traffic a few years ago.  My respect for this animal has since been restored.  One question, what regulation will oversee these new soldiers for interrogation and torture methods if they actually catch an enemy, we don’t need another Guantanamo Bay PR disaster.

So, in the past month, all I have heard about the Russian military is that they are planning on blowing up clouds with their air force, and using their navy to train more dolphins and sea lions.  Very interesting….

  • Share/Bookmark

Bombs over Moscow

posted by on 2009.11.03, under News, Technology, Travel


$6 million will be spent on a Russian air strike…..striking the air to fend off snow clouds. Yes, our friends across the pond estimate that they will save $4 million by blowing up these frozen crystals in the sky before they pile up on the ground and need to be shoveled. The madness is set to start November 15th, the Russian Air Force will spray dry ice, cement, or silver iodine to create immediate precipitation.

Cloud seeding has been tested historically internationally since 1947, and was even used in the 2008 Olympics, as well as on Moscow’s two main holidays. It is done at a few ski resorts in the US and Canada, and there seems to be a worry for threats of “cloud stealing” between rival nations desperate for rainfall. India and other Asian countries have used cloud seeding to improve air quality by forcing more rainfall.

Yury Luzkhov, Moscow’s mayor, is being met with an obvious protest against this. Could this plan be the future for creating a pre-irrigation strategy to manipulate rainfall, or does this Russian just have his head stuck in the clouds promising a “winter without snow?”

J

  • Share/Bookmark

Goa + Rajisthan = Returning to Bombay with a mustache and a story

posted by on 2007.12.16, under India, Other, Travel

Here is rough recap of the travels that a blog can only touch the surface on trying to summarize…

Travel problems seem to follow me wherever I go, Rome, Leipzig Germany, Hyderabad, and now most recently Bombay. The 10 day vacation planned was all set, flights, hotels and trains all booked through much appreciated help from family and friends all around India. Marie, my American travel accomplice was set to come in on the 11/30 night, and we were off to Goa 5 hours after her arrival to enjoy the country I had made my place of employment. I was ready for a vacation.

But…Maries flight did not reach the 30th. The time difference was overlooked, and although her arrival time on the eticket said 11/30, the plane reached 12/1. Go figure. We managed a last minute flight to Goa the following morning in the end, and barely made it on the plane on time as the security guards and I had an 30 min confrontation about my guitar possibly having a bomb hidden in it….yes, these guys wanted to disassemble my guitar to remove the electronics inside, suspecting I was a terrorist planning on the blowing up their airplane. Apparently, I get that a lot. The funny thing was that not a single person asked me for photo id. We finally made it on the jet and enjoyed 3 days in Goa, a place full of warmth both on the beaches in inside the native people of the land.

My family is from Moira, a village just outside of Mapusa, and it felt damn good to be back there. My grandmother and aunty prepared a huge seafood feast for us, and shared pictures telling stories about our family history. Most of the stories were told about my grandfather, a man I will always strive to be like. I was surprised to hear the actual details of his job as head of affairs for the Palanpoor Newab. (Muslim king) The stories I heard that day from my grandmother will always stay with me, and it was one of the most memorable days I have had in India so far. Since arriving in August, I have constantly wished that both my grandfather and my cousin Nigel were still around to witness my move back to the motherland. My fascination with the Newab and Nazim rulers was only to understand more of my grandfather;s life. This afternoon spent in a small Goan village finally filled that void.

The following day, my auntie took Marie and I north to a remote beach shack that her friend Toffee lived at. Toffee was another character I met in India who I will always remember….By far the coolest woman with a very unique perspective on life, and the most relaxed attitude with absolutely no tension. She was sort of like a female version of the character Johnny Depp plays in Pirates of the Carribeean.

With little no no commercialism, Mandre‘s beach gave us the ambiance we were looking for in Goa. We sipped on Kingfishers, ate fresh seafood, made friends with crazy Britishers/Argentinians and soaked in the sun without being marketed to by dolphin boat companies, women with beads, or any other members of the tourism industry which unfortunately has taken over the state. The only salesmen I met on this beach pitched me on an ear cleaning service costing only 15 rupees. Awkward…

Later that night we met up with some of my Hyderabad friends also visiting Goa and got a glimpse of the internationally famous nightlife. We started off in a club on Baga beach that looked like identical to the club in the movie “Scarface.” I was joined by 4 attractive girls all wanting to dance, and dance we did. Wild night, and I have to modestly admit that I might have owned the dancefloor this crazy night in Baga. In fact, A group of guys came up to me and simply shook my hand, no words spoken. Straight up respect.

We wrapped things up in Goa and made way for Jaipur, the pink city of Rajisthan. We left Jaipur 2 hours after arriving and hopped on a train headed for Udaipur, the city of lakes . Two of my friends from WMU invited me to visit them in their beloved hometown. Accepting their invitation would prove to be the wisest travel decision I made in India.

With a change in transportation mode from planes to trains, I was still not able to avoid confrontation. We started off this trip with a mix up in our tickets, sitting in the wrong train compartment. The rightful owners were very upset about our honest mistake, and apparently called us “dumb white monkeys” in Hindi. I was irate when my cousin translated his words later in the night. I like monkeys tremendously, but I hate racism.

I have been met with similar racist remarks often on this trip to India. My father and mother shared the came citizenship as these people, but that has certainly not earned me any more street cred than any other foreigner with absolutely no Indian heritage. This public humiliation was something I did not expect when I decided to move to India. My father has never experienced anything similar to this in his 25 years in the US. Moreover, I feel embarrassed that this happens to a guests like Marie and other westerners. They are respectful people genuinely interested in learning about Indian culture. This is something that needs to change in India, starting from the tourism industry which blatantly charges white people 10x more for entrance fees into the beautiful attractions in the country. They charged Marie 200 rupees to get into places that darker skinned people and only had to pay 30 rupees to go to.

Back to the train…I let the situation on the train go without retaliation, much to my own regret but for the peace of the travels we had ahead of us. The result was that we had the best 4 days in Rajisthan that anyone could hope for.

Check out the pictures
Album 1
Album 2

Summary of Rajisthan – Stayed in a palace penthouse, beautiful scenery, architecture, boat rides to island palaces, met the Maharana (King) of Udaipur by interrupting an important business meeting to introduce myself as”Jason D’Mello from Kalamazoo” and took a picture with him (see below) riding unstable elephants down over populated streets, watching Rajisthani performers and dancers, eating on lake front palace restaurants next to the 2 British men who I had interrupted to meet the king 2 hours earlier, heavy bargaining and negotiating in fabric stores with my cousin Sonia, and mischief throughout the Palace Penthouse.

The King and I

Got back to Bombay in high spirits, parted ways with my travel friends, and made a last minute trip back to Hyderabad for business. It was a vacation that couldn’t have been scripted, it was just simply brilliant. I wish you all will have a trip like this sometime in your own bad ass lives.

-Jason

  • Share/Bookmark

They Just Won’t let me leave!

posted by on 2007.12.15, under India, Travel

It seems fitting that my departure from Hyderabad would be an struggle. 4 months ago, I would never have imagined over 30 people coming to see me off. The day itself was chaotic, as the work in the office was not completely finished, but as with any start up endeavor nothing really goes as planned. I said my goodbyes at the Threshold office I had tenured at, went to my house to say goodbye to my new family. I bought a beautiful painting of a famous lord krishna scene to thank them for the generosity the past 120 days. After all, they gave me a wonderful home without charge, and showed me the kind of warmth and hospitality that traditional Indian household’s are famous for having.

While we ate dinner, the neighbors stopped over to say goodbye. The young boy, Aditya presented me with a handmade card. He probably had taken a liking to me because my American accent reminded him of the place he was born. The gift was completely unexpected and caught me off guard. Days before he woke me up at 7am to play cricket, pounding on my door with his brand new bat. I only woke up to answer out of fear that the Indian officials were after me for somehow violating my visa. I couldn’t refuse to play with him when I saw how excited he was with his new sporting equipment, and went outside to bowl to him.

His gift (below) put to shame the painting I had gifted to my host family *Note that he called me “Jason Uncle” like the kids we had taken to the park for Children’s Day through the AIDS organization….I don’t know if Im ready for that title.


(It was nice meeting you we had a great time and lot of fun. Look forward meeting you again and playing cricket with you again. Have a nice trip around the world. See you again buddy bye bye. It’s a Four4 Dude)

2 hours later I was on my way to the airport, after the third round of goodbyes at Bottles and Chimneys. Satya seemed down all day, but got me to the airport as soon as possible. For the first time, Satya was not able to get me to my destination in time however, as the airlines refused to let me leave Hyderabad. I had arrived just 5 minutes after the check in time, and they closed the gate while I was in line.

Obviously I was pretty upset about the situation. People were still going through security check! Moreover, Goair never mentioned to me anything about a final check-in time. I’ve flown over 15 flights in India the past 4 months. Only 3 flights have ever left on time, so I assumed the usual 30 min rule I use for air travel really applied. Lesson learned – Indian Standard Time is not something to depend upon with airports.

Since the airlines mishandled the entire situation, refusing to let me talk to anyone in charge until the flight actually took off, I felt the need to vocalize my frustrations. I created a scene worth writing an episode of curb your enthusiasm on. I spent 45 minutes yelling at the man in charge for how his company acted at the check in, for not printing flight details on etickets, and for just being an obnoxious human being. My most trusted friends in the city witness all of this, as they came to the airport immediately after hearing I missed the flight, and stayed with me until 3 AM.

This man, a complete stranger, had been observing my behavior since I arrived at the airport.
He eventually interrupted my monologue damning GoAir to years of soft business. He surprisingly took my side in the argument, telling the GoAir manager that it was completely unreasonable not to put me on the plane saying “come on yaar, this is India.”

After I realized that i succeeded in humiliating the manager, I wrote down all of the employees names. I told them that they “handled the situation like a bunch of monkeys” I drafted up a statement, describing all of the incidents that had happened at the airport, and presented it to the manager, who agreed with everything I had written. I asked him to sign the document, and he refused. I called him a coward, and left it at that. It was an ugly scene, I am not proud of my behavior, but I don’t regret it… I said all that I needed to say.

I needed to get to Bombay, so I booked a 3am flight with Spice Jet (which was supposed to leave at 9pm the previous evening).

That was my exit from the city I was not ready to leave. I was off for a 10 day adventure through Bombay, Pune, Goa, and the Rajisthan cities of Udaipur and Jaipur. The joke of the whole debacle in the airport was that in two weeks I would return to Hyderabad on an unexpected business accidentally book a flight with the same airlines trying to avoid an airline that I had also had problems with in Goa. I was reunited with the crew I had publicly scolded, and yes, everyone remembered me the second time around. They made it very clear of this at check in time. To their detriment, I arrived to the airport not just 30 minutes early, but an hour and thirty minutes early. Not even GoAir could screw me with that kind of timeliness.

  • Share/Bookmark

Last night in Hyderabad

posted by on 2007.11.27, under India, Travel

I couldn’t bring myself to end this blog on a post by Neil Diamond.

My days here have unfortunately run out, and I haven’t found the right words to conclude this experience just yet.

The past week has been a mixture of ups and downs, new exciting ventures that are tempting me to come back here not before too long, but at the same time we are overcoming challenges with finishing TheWedLink. It is a stressful time, but I don’t wish to share the stress with the badass readership here. While I gather my thoughts in the next few weeks of traveling, I will work on an appropriate final post for this blog. I would not feel right about referring to myself as A Hyderabadass while living in Detroit/Santa Monica, but who knows what will happen.

I am saying goodbye to all my new friends here tomorrow at Bottles and Chimney’s, jumping on a flight to Bombay at midnight, meeting up with my friend coming from the US, traveling to Goa, Rajistan, and then finally returning to the USA Dec 14th. I haven’t even started packing! This is my 8th time moving in 2 years though, so I have become an expert in confining my life into 2 suitcases and a guitar case within 24 hours of preparation.

Its been a wild ride these past 3 months, and I have a feeling we are just getting started.

-Jason

  • Share/Bookmark

pagetop