As of today I have been on Indian soil for one week, and I’m happy to report that I am still alive and well. Before I get into my first little anecdotal story, I thought I should first start by giving everyone some more details about where I am exactly and what I’m doing here.
My new home is in Chandigarh, a city of about a million people in northern India, about four hours north of Delhi. People from Chandigarh proudly describe it as India’s most liveable city-and although I haven’t seen much outside of Chandigarh, I believe them. Chandigarh is an interesting city and defies a lot of assumptions you would have about an Indian city. To give you a brief history, when India and Pakistan became seperate countries, the Punjab state was divided in half, and the Indian half was in need of a new capital. So in the 1950s construction of the city began under Le Corbusier, a French architect famous for wanting to create liveable spaces and for using geometric shapes. The result? A planned city divided into organized sectors covered in parks and green space. Its a really interesting combo, very inorganic shapes and architecture and designs, but with a vibrant citizenry. Chandigarh is also known for being one of the few cities in India for enforcing traffic rules, so even though there is still lots of honking, its a lot less chaotic than most places.
When I arrived, I did a brief home-stay with an Indian family. They were lovely, so warm and welcoming. They also figured out when my birthday was and made a big deal out of it, having cake, singing happy birthday. It was really nice of them. The mother also cooked me some DELICIOUS Indian food. Although my stomache and body are still adjusting to the new environment and food (leading to some slight unpleasantness), the food certainly couldn’t taste any better-its great! Also, I spent quite a bit of time with the son, who is around my age. One of the highlights? Once again, I’ve been returned to the back of a motorcycle! Although there are no moto-taxis here, like in Cameroon, I was able to tour around the city on the back of a friends motorcycle, I didnt realize how much I missed it until this week!
Now, I’ve moved into an intern apartment. Right now there are about twelve of us here, the others are from all over the world, Brazil, China, Europe, Africa, you name it. Although its certainly nothing fancy, and I’m camped out in the living room, the company here makes it really enjoyable. Also, unlike last year I actually have a fridge and a kitchen. Bonus!
The News is a funny thing…although I won’t get into detail about it on this post, I am working for a small Indian company called Techworks India (www.techworksindia.com). It was a concept that I didn’t really fully understand until I arrived, but I am working for a company that does outsourced website content development and writes online journalism. Thats right, I left Canada to fly halfway around the world to work for a company that does outsourced business. Go figure, globalization at its best. I knew a lot of things could be outsourced in this world, but the news I did not think was one of them. Again, I will get into detail about this process later, but all you need to know for now is that I’m basically a news-writer. I write articles that are ordered by companies from all over the world, including Canada, the US, New Zealand and Australia. The concept is interesting and a little surprising but the work so far has been very dull. Its still too early to give my full judgemet of the job, but I’m at least fascinated by this process as a whole, even if it is quite boring to be one cog in the machine of outsourcing.
Newfies sometime appear where you least expect to find them. This couldn’t be more true than in Chandigarh, India. After being here for only two days, I was stopping at an Indian friends house, and wouldn’t you know it, they had another Canadian visitor. I think he was either a friend or somehow related to the family, but this guy from Newfoundland was touring around India on business. He was quite the character, and we got into an inevitable discussion about drinking habits in central and eastern Canada. That was certainly not a conversation I was expecting to have fresh off the plane from Canada. To top it off, he wanted to demosntrate just how hot it is in India, and to prove it to his friends at home, he broke an egg on the patio and returned an hour later to snap pictures of a fully cooked scrambled egg. Like I said, quite a character.