All Posts Tagged ‘india


Travelling in India: Friends, Food, and New Beginnings

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“If you want something to last forever, you treat it differently. you shield it and protect it. You never abuse it. You don’t expose it to the elements. You don’t make it common or ordinary. If it ever becomes tarnished, you lovingly polish it until it gleams like new. It becomes special because you have made it so, and it grows more beautiful and precious as time goes by.” –F. Burton Howard

Travelling always brings new perspectives, new friends, new thoughts, and new life into me. I think that I grow and learn more every time I go some place I’ve never been, or even revisiting places that I love the most. There is always a new adventure and a new story. On this adventure to India, my family and I were going for the grandest of occasions – a wedding!

One of my dear friends from graduate school invited me to his wedding, clear across the world. Of course I couldn’t say no; Indian weddings are so grandiose and beautiful, steeped in cultural ritual, with great food, awesome music, and infectious laughter. It was going to be an event and I had to see it.

As always traveling to India is not for the faint of heart. It’s a long trip even with a nicely timed layover to get refreshed and eat something before another long flight. My family and I made it to Mumbai on April 1st, a day before the wedding to give our bodies time to recuperate from the trip and acclimate to the weather and the time. We stayed at the Hyatt Regency closest to the Mumbai airport. It was super nice, very convenient, and the breakfast bar was great, I’d highly recommend it if anyone needs a place to stay, for just a rest. It’s farther from all of them historical things to see, but it’s literally 1km from the airport, which is part of the convenience (Hyatt Regency Mumbai).

Later that day our driver picked us up and took us to Pune, India. Pune is further south than Mumbai, it’s about a 2 – 2.5 hour drive. It’s not as humid thank goodness) as Mumbai, but it is very very hot. For the majority of our stay it was always hovering around 100 degrees Farenheit. The hotel we stayed at here was the JW Marriott Pune (JW Marriott Pune). I have to say without a doubt it’s one of the best hotels I’ve ever had the pleasure of staying in. I loved this place and my family did too. Everyone was extremely helpful – a few of the ladies helped us into our sarees for the wedding – and the food was delicious.

There is a club/restaurant at the top of the hotel called Paasha that has some of the best Dal Mahkni I’ve ever had. If you come to Pune, you have to go to the restaurant at least once. The dal on the menu is called Dal Paasha. The other food items that were good here were the chicken scewers, tandori seabass, and the salmon tikka. We also had lamb, but I didn’t taste it, everyone said it was delicous.


Enough about the hotels, moving onto the wedding – it was fantastic! My friend’s family and his now wife’s family were absolutely wonderful. We were invited to several of the events for the wedding besides the wedding ceremony and the reception. We went to an event the day before the wedding, which was the meeting of both of the familes, extended relatives included, before the main event. It was really nice to see and hear all the rituals behind what was going on. We were severely underdressed, but at least we were able to get our henna done prior to the event to start getting ready for the wedding which was the very next morning.

The very next morning we woke up about 5AM to start getting ready to head to the wedding. Ameya (my friend) and his family invited us to joing them for breakfast before the wedding ceremony and that was at 7AM. Why did we need 2 hours to get ready? We have 6 women getting ready in two hotel rooms and 4 of us had sarees…needless to say it was quite the adventure. The wedding was in a hall that was set up for events like this and it was beautiful. It overlooked the city of Pune and it was quite nice to be there in the morning because it was a lot cooler then it would be in the afternoon. The wedding took up the rest of the morning and early afternoon, but the whole things was just beautiful.

Both families’ were so open and welcoming and the definitely made sure we were comfortable, knew what was going on, and had plenty of food to eat!

I was so happy to make it to Ameya’s big day. It was lovely to see him so happy and to finally meet Purnima – his bride – for the first time.

It was an extremely hectic day for them, but we were able to get a group shot towards the end of the morning, after they were officially married and before they could finally take a break and eat!



(From Left) My Mom, my friends Katie, Amber, Purnima, Ameya, Me, Torryn and Taylor

Of course the day wasn’t over yet, because the reception was the very same night. That was a lot more chill than the wedding. There were a lot of people at the reception as well as the wedding (700 at the wedding verus 2000 at the reception), but we had a great time, and as always, the food was amazing.

The day after the wedding (April 3rd), the whole group went and explored Pune. We visited the Ganesha Temple, and the main market in town. We visited the fort that was in pune and we also went to Aga Khan Palace, which is where Gandhi, his wife, and confidant lived in the latter stages of his life. It was an amazing place with a lot of history, and the grounds were gorgeous. We also went to this amazing restuarant called Vaishali, which makes many different types of dosas and other great dishes. I had the onion and tomator uttapam and it was delicousl – I’d highly recommend stopping in here for a bite, but be forewarned – it’s a popular place, so there is a line. It’s worth the wait though. We also visited a very nice park at the end of the day which had many meandering paths.

On April 4th, our last morning in Pune, Ameya invited us over to his house and we were able to sit and chat with him, Purnima, and his family. It was great getting to catch up and just relax after the hectic couple of days (for my family), and a long couple of months for them! A few more friends from XLRI came to see Ameya as well so we all went out to lunch together before my family and I headed back to Mumbai.

Back in Mumbai, we stayed at the Taj Palace Hotel, which as always was great. We had great views of the Gateway of India and the hotel rooms were nice and comfortable. Over the next day and a half we galavanted around the town via taxi’s and recommendations from a couple of my friends that live in Mumbai. We visited the Gateway of India, blitzed through the main markets in Mumbai, shopping for scarves, sarees, and more. Our group mosied over to a bakery opened by a French couple who live in Mumbai, it’s an amazing little place. The place is called Suzette (Suzette Website).The one we went to is in Nariman Point and there is another further north in Mumbai. I’d highly recommend stopping here. It’s a nice little place to get out of the traffic that is Mumbai!

As always it was a whirlwind of a trip but I could not stay at the Taj Palace Hotel and not get sushi, so on our last night we had a very nice (and expensive) dinner at the sushi joint in the hotel itself.


And that brings my latest trip to India to a close. It was a blast from beginning to end and I look forward to my next trip back! Until next time folks.


Next Up…NYC and Playa del Carmen, Mexico!


Inspirational Influence: TATA, Jamshedpur, & India

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“I know that aiming at perfection has its drawbacks. It makes you go into details that you can avoid but that is the only way you can achieve excellence. So, in that case, being finicky is essential.” – J.R.D. Tata

There is usually that one person who sparks inspiration and ingenuity that spreads into a wildfire of innovation and revolutionizes an age.

For India, it ended up being one family.

India is known as the birthplace for yoga, for the colorful clothes, the interesting history, and of course for the Taj Mahal. However, for many that is all that they know India for. Those in business know that there is just one more thing synonymous with India – and that is the TATA Group.

The TATA Group is a conglomerate of a hundred companies in everything from motors, to the food industry, from jewelry, all the way to technological consultancy services. Obviously the group wasn’t started on its own. It was started by one man in the late nineteenth century, with the dream of only starting one company, and his name was Jamshedji Tata.

On XLRI’s campus, there is a museum and archives for the first company created by the descendants of Jamshedji Tata, TATA Steel. TATA Steel was the first industrial company that was created by an Indian in India in the early twentieth century. Though he wasn’t alive to see it built, Jamshedji set the plans in motion. It was amazing hear from our tour guide all the various ideas and the great lengths that this gentleman went through in order to pursue a dream. Not only was he instrumental in the creation of TATA Steel, but he was also integral in the creation of India’s first technical institute, and India’s first planned city, which of course was named in honor of him; Jamshedpur.

Jamshedpur, where XLRI is located, is TATA’s city. You can see TATA Steel from campus and it’s still producing quality steel that is used by the likes of Honda, Toyota, and Hyundai. TATA motors also has offices here and hopefully as part of our courses here we will be able to go to this factory as well. I haven’t seen much of Jamshedpur, but from what I can see, it is a beautiful city. It is the first planned city, as I mentioned before, and it is also the seventh (or eighth) cleanest city in India. Another unique fact about Jamshedpur is that the city is completely run by the TATA Group, not the Indian city government. TATA provides filtered water and electricity to the city. TATA owns some of the land that makes up Jamshedpur, but the rest it leases from the government. The current term of the lease is 99 years and the lease was just renewed in the last few years.

From the museum visit, I also learned that TATA group also pours much of their resources into environmental protection and education for the people of Jamshedpur and the rural villages that are around the city. They have many small programs such as health programs, and teaching programs in these rural parts, not only to foster a learning environment, but also making sure the people are healthy and well cared for and more opportunities than they could have imagined before.

It’s always nice to see a huge corporation giving back to the people and for me, I’m awed to see that the inspiration of one man over a century ago, inspired his family to create and nurture this same spirit within itself and to others over the years that have past.

Jamshedji Tata

Jamshedji Tata

One exhibit detailing the history of Jamshedji Tata and the start of the TATA Steel plant and other companies.

One exhibit detailing the history of Jamshedji Tata and the start of the TATA Steel plant and other companies.

This portion of the archive depicts the steel making process on the walls. However, it also showcases local Indian artists and their paintings. All of these paintings have been bought by the TATA Group.

This portion of the archive depicts the steel making process on the walls. However, it also showcases local Indian artists and their paintings. All of these paintings have been bought by the TATA Group.

Another amazing man from the TATA family. He dedicated his life to his passion for aviation  and the education of children in India. This is his last quoted statement, before he died.

Another amazing man from the TATA family. He dedicated his life to his passion for aviation and the education of children in India. This is his last quoted statement, before he died.

A painting that was created by a local Jamshedpur artists - who is illiterate - and found away to create a portrait of JRD using convex mirror reflections.

A painting that was created by a local Jamshedpur artists – who is illiterate – and found away to create a portrait of JRD using convex mirror reflections.


Starting the Journey – first weeks in India: Part II

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This post is long overdue – apologies to those who follow; graduate school is not for the feint of heart.

I left you with a brief glimpse of my impressions coming to India again and now I will continue with my first trip during this visit.

XLRI has been a hospitable host thus far, and on the anniversary of our 1st week within its halls, the administration staff here paid for us to have a weekend trip – by bus – to the cities of Bhubaneswar and Kanarak, and Puri beach. The weekend itself was an awesome experience, the bus ride was crazy as ever. It took approximately 10 hours to get to Bhubaneswar and 10 hours to get back. Our bus driver was awesome – he played chicken with many a larger truck, smaller rickshaws, motor bikes, and some cows.

Playing chicken with that big truck...this was a reoccurring thing.

Playing chicken with that big truck…this was a reoccurring thing.

The city of Bhubaneswar was a bustling city, from my understanding it is a little bit larger than the city of Jamshedpur. Our accommodations were at a sister school of XLRI specializing in undergraduate education. While in the city we actually went to the local zoo. It was interesting to see the various habitats and how the animals were maintained compared to the strict American standards I and some other were used to. Though the animals were cared for well by Indian standards, it wasn’t up to par with what I was. Not necessarily a shock, but it is one of those small things in which you notice that can be better and eventually will get better as the infrastructure and laws in India become more advanced.

The next destination that we were taken to were some caves on our way to the Chilka Lake. At this point the day was scorching, it was around 28 degrees Centigrade that day, which was in the upper 70s in Fahrenheit. I didn’t get out to climb the caves in the hot sun, but I heard it was nice and there were plenty of monkeys begging for bananas and photo ops!

Chilka Lake was one of the most beautiful places I’ve seen. It was probably more beautiful to me, because we arrived at sunset. The fisherman were all done for the day and being able to take pictures with the setting sun and the still water was calming and moving at the same time. Chilka Lake is the largest costal lagoon that flows to/from the Bay of Bengal in India. It is home to some threatened species of animals and plants and it sustains 150,000 fishers that live in approximately 132 villages up and down the shores.  Our group was taken out from the dock to a rock formation in the center of the lake. It was a great way to end the day.

On the dock - just arrived at the Lake.

On the dock – just arrived at the Lake.

Candid shot of some GMBAs on the rock formation.

Candid shot of some GMBAs on the rock formation.

Shot of one of the boats that took us out into the lagoon.

Shot of one of the boats that took us out into the lagoon.

Another shot of  sunset, still water, and fishing boat.

Another shot of sunset, still water, and fishing boat.

The next day, we were taken to tour one of the four Sun Temples that are in India, in the city of Konrak. We traveled to a different city to see this temple. The history was extremely interesting to hear and the architecture was amazing. The way that the temple itself was built was what fascinated me most of all. There was a main entrance to the temple in the old days and depending on the time of day – sunrise, midday sun – sunset, the rays of the sun were caught and reflected the main entrance to the temple, just like a sundial! It was super neat to see.

Story of the Sun Temple

Story of the Sun Temple

No one can actually go into the temple, because it's being repaired. Long ago there was a large magnet at the center of the temple that kept it all together - amazing right?

No one can actually go into the temple, because it’s being repaired. Long ago there was a large magnet at the center of the temple that kept it all together – amazing right?

The drawings etched into the stones were detailed and depicted many stories.

The drawings etched into the stones were detailed and depicted many stories.

Our final stop was either we could go to Puri Beach or go to see the Jagannath Temple in Puri. I opted to go see the temple. There are four famous Hindu temples in India and Jagannath is the one house in the East. The temple was erected in dedication to Vishnu (Jagannath) – Lord of the Universe. Unfortunately, foreigners weren’t allowed into the temple itself, but it was still amazing to see the outside. Now I want to travel to see the others!

Far shot of the temple.

Far shot of the temple.

Really wished I couldn't have gone inside, but still beautiful on the outside.

Really wished I couldn’t have gone inside, but still beautiful on the outside.

Seeing this temple and Chilka Lake were probably my two favorites out of this trip. My next big trip will be from February 20-28. I will be going to 4 different cities, one I’ve been to before, but three new one and I’m super excited about it.

My next post will be in a couple of days. Stay tuned to hear snippets of probably the most famous name synonymous with India…TATA.


Starting the Journey- first weeks in India: Part I

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“In India, I found a race of mortals living upon the Earth, but not adhering to it, inhabiting cities, but not being fixed to them, possessing everything, but possessed by nothing”Apollonius Tyanaeus quotes (Neo-Pythagorean)

Traveling to India is always trying; the flight is long, the layovers in New Delhi go from hours to eons when landing at zero dark thirty, and finally the excitement you feel can exhaust your mind as well. This may be my third trip to India, but there is something about this country that I find new and exciting each time I come and this time wasn’t any different than the last two.

Currently I am residing at XLRI (Xavier Labour Relations Institute) for my 2nd semester of my Global MBA. XLRI is actually based in the Indian state of Jharkand and in the city of Jamshedpur. It is a small city – population of around 1-1.3 million people – and the university is a self sustaining place. After traveling over 24 hours to reach Jamshedpur, needless to say my first couple of days here were a blur. The accommodations are extremely nice (our building has just been built), the food is delicious, and the classes are already running me ragged with all the reading and getting my ear attune to the different accents all over again!

As always, my first impressions of India are colorful. The country is always so vibrant and you can see it plainly in the riotous colors they have for their different textiles, especially for the women.

All of the colors!

All of the colors!

My other guilty pleasure is enjoying some of the signage, in terms of traffic laws and the like. Let’s just say that driving in India should be considered an Olympic sport. Between the horns honking, the cows meandering through the streets, the mopeds, rickshaws, auto rickshaws, autos, buses, work trucks…etcetera, it’s sheer anarchy on the roads at all times of the day. The signs are just icing on the cake. Especially ones like this one:

Traffic Stop, pay attention!

Traffic Stop, pay attention!

I  guess what makes it funny to me is that no one even pays the slightest bit of attention to it, and it’s at a 3-way intersection on the left hand side of the road – where no one really bothers to look at it. Traffic is a very interesting thing in India there are written rules, and unwritten rules; and the unwritten rules seem to be King – from what I’ve seen. It works though, it definitely works.

I’m sure there are going to be many more tidbits that will come up, but in my next post I will walk through my first trip away from campus all the way to the Bay of Bengal!


And I’m off – Again!

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Well it’s that time again; a new round of traveling and experiencing a foreign land. After an amazing 3.5 month stint in Shanghai, China, I’m now headed to Jamshedpur, India. In India I will be starting my second semester as part of my Global MBA. I honestly can say, I’m excited and terrified at the same time. Considering the lackluster course load in China, I’m really hoping for some more rigor and depth in the classes that I will be taking in India.

From everything that I have heard, XLRI will give me all that I desire in terms of academic difficulty and I hope that I am able to rise to the challenge. It’s a new frontier for me as I have never been to India for such a long period of time, nor have I been to this particular city before. Overall, India is a very beautiful country with rich history and culture and it’s economy is accelerating at a blistering pace. I’m anxious to experience this new city in a country that I have already come to love.

Next post will be in India!

I hope everyone had a great holiday season and an amazing New Year’s Day.