Whenever the full-on India crazy starts, it hasn’t quite hit yet. I came to Bangalore Thursday evening, and yesterday was a mad run-around with a charming and delightful Icelandic woman from the British Trade Office here. ‘This might be a little hectic,’ she warned early on, ‘I usually schedule two or three meetings for a day, and we have four. Sorry.’ Yikes.
…and I think we saw the full spectrum of responses, from a university institute who were enthusiastic… to a point, to a large IT company who appeared to have forgotten we were coming, to a huge IT company who were unbelievably supportive and excited. We met with the CFO, who’s opening gambit was ‘What can I do to make this happen?’ He then proceeded to reel off multiple reasons why he was so keen, finishing with ‘It’s the right thing to do, to help inspire the next generation of professionals.’ That’s a degree of corporate responsibility and long-term interest I’m simply not used to seeing. From discussions, it’s clear why – India’s so large, and growing so quickly, that relying on central government to address issues like inspiring school children is clearly an inadequate strategy.
…all of which is very refreshing. There are still huge hurdles for our project, though – which I shall, rightly, report to my employer and not you, dear reader.
A day of schlepping through insane Bangalore traffic – even in a slick Land-Rover and with a hugely professional British Trade Office driver – and staggering around baking-hot and unseasonably humid lecture halls has, however, taken its toll on me, and today I’m a bit of a wreck. It’s something of a relief that we couldn’t make the timings work for a trip to another tech campus in Mysore today, since that would have involved another ten hours’ travelling.
So it’s an easy day, then back to Delhi. Tomorrow I’m touring the old town (and wondering if I should have gone to Agra to see the Taj Mahal instead), then back to London.