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Archive for March, 2009

Continuing my India trip observations, the next set of observations relates to lifestyle and consumer characteristics I noticed.   Parameters surrounding my observations are documented in this initial posting

Lifestyle

Various tidbits related to the changing lifestyle that I noticed in the cities I visited.

Consumer Products and Technology

  • Consumer technology advances are quite evident.  For example, Tivo like home devices are being advertised more regularly and visible on busy roadway billboards and television ads.
  • Satellite and cable television have been a staple for many years, but the number of channels, and western channels, continues to increase.

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Continuing my India trip observations, the next set of observations relates to the tourist industry, primarily in Kerala.  Parameters surrounding my observations are documented in this initial posting.

Tourism

  • Our experience with the tour operators of Kerala was exceptional.    We found a Kerala tour operator/travel agent while still in the US who arranged for our 6 day stay in four different locations in Kerala- Cochin, Alleppey, Kovalum, and Trivandrum.   She planned everything meticulously and truly exemplified service.
  • In Cochin, we stayed in a home-stay, a growing tourist concept in Kerala; basically a home where each room is rented to guests who are served meals together; similar to a bed and breakfast.    (more…)

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Continuing my India trip observations, the next set of observations relates to environmental aspects of society.   Parameters surrounding my observations are documented in this initial posting.

Environment

Before the trip, I was warned about the pollution in Hyderabad and that I should try to stay inside during the day.   Furthermore, you often read today about the level of consumption increases in places like India and China and the corresponding impact to the environment related to that consumption.   Given this, I tried to keep heightened awareness of the environmental and energy practices around me during my trip.

  • I found the pollution in Hyderabad not to be as bad as I had expected. Of course, during the day, I was primarily inside a car or indoors, but the times I was walking around during the day, I was expecting that I may cough or be noticeably bothered by the air. Fortunately, I didn’t find that to be the case, but I suspect if I was out walking for extended periods of time daily, my experience may have been different.
  • I did, however, notice a few, but not many, motorcycle drivers or passengers wearing a scarf or handkerchief over their mouth and nose due to what I assume was the pollution. Given, their exposure to the open air and the growth in vehicles on the road all around them, the motorcycle drivers seem to be taking the brunt of the pollution. Again, those wearing scarves were clearly the minority, but I suspect this trend will increase over time. (more…)

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March Madness is here and that means bracket time.  While I’ve religiously filled out NCAA tournament brackets for many years, the last 3 years I’ve also participated in an NCAA auction.   A different and fun way to enjoy the madness.

Here’s how it works:

  1. You get 8 people who physically are together who each have to purchase 8 teams from the 64 team field from an agreed upon fixed budget– basically the entry fee to the auction; in this example, entry fee is $25.   So, all 64 slots in the tournament (the 64th through the 68th play in teams, the individual teams wouldn’t be purchased, you could have Winner of the match as the slot to be purchased) will be purchased.
  2. The teams are purchased in an auction style starting with the overall #1 seed and ending up with #64.  This follows the “S” curve to determine the order among teams with the same seeding. (more…)

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Continuing my India trip observations, the next set of observations relates to primarily Hyderabad’s IT industry.     Parameters surrounding my observations are documented in this initial posting

IT Industry

Hyderabad has an active hi-tech scene and after Bangalore, is likely the second largest IT center in India.  Below are some observations relating to the hi-tech industry in primarily Hyderabad.

  • Six years ago, I noticed many more posters, signs, and billboards advertising IT skills programs teaching .net and java and other technology programs than this year.
  • While the number of IT training course signs looked to be fewer than years ago, I noticed many more signs promoting Animation and Visual effects courses in Hyderabad and even Kerala.  One of the first animated feature films was released in India and it appears animation is becoming a blossoming industry in India. (more…)

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Continuing my India trip observations, the next set of observations relates to globalization.     Parameters surrounding my observations are documented in this initial posting.

Globalization

  • Signs of globalization were everywhere; for example, the sheer diversity of automobile brands was much greater than 6 years ago.   I saw American brands of Ford and Chevrolet, European brands of Volvo and BMV, Asian brands of Honda, Toyota, and Hyundai.  Of course, the Indian brands of Maruti, Tata plus the traditional Ambassador vehicles still make their presence.   Even noticed a couple of luxury Porsches.
  • Brand diversity in food was also quite evident.   McDonalds, Subway, Pizza Hut, Pizza Corner, Dominos, KFC, Baskin Robbins, and a coffee chain called Coffee World all have multiple locations in Hyderabad.  Six years ago, majority of those brands were not in Hyderabad.  However, in the smaller cities in Andhra Pradesh, I did not see the global food restaurants yet.   This time, I even noticed a couple of Mexican, Thai, and Italian restaurants, which I had not noticed in the past.   Pizza seems to have become much more popular; a pizza from Pizza Corner (owned by a Swiss parent company) tastes somewhat like a pizza at California Pizza Kitchen, which they will deliver directly to your home.  A medium vegetarian pizza was 245 rupees (about $5.30). (more…)

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As I indicated in my earlier posting, my next series of postings will focus on observations of India during my recent visit in December 08/January 09.     Again, these comments are based solely on my observations visiting cities and observing middle class life  in Andhra Pradesh and Kerala.   My last trip to India was 6 years ago and my comments generally focus on changes I noticed during the last six years, from the lens of a non-resident Indian born and raised in the US who has visited India generally every 5-6 years.   The first set of observations revolve around economic changes or conditions in the cities I visited.

Economy

Most have read about the continued economic growth in India over the past several years, but seeing it first hand really drives it home.   Observations are related to the noticeable growth but also some slowdowns to that growth that have hit India and the world during the past year.

Housing

  • In Hyderabad, I stayed in an 8 floor building of flats near Banjara Hills built in 2004.  Nearly, the whole area of flats has been built in the past several years. (more…)

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