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Archive for the ‘India’ Category

On Saturday evening August 8, I attended a concert called Explosion 2009 in Oakland, California which featured popular Bollywood singer Sonu Nigam.   Also included in the show were rising female singer Sunidhi Chauhan, rap group Hard Kaur, and a bhangra competition featuring California bhangra teams (primarily teenagers and twenty-somethings).    I thoroughly enjoyed the show—some of my highlights and lowlights were: (more…)

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I recently attended a local Indian dance program  and really enjoyed the live music, mostly from musicians who had flown to California from India.     Along with the violinst, I particularly enjoyed the tabla player.    Being a very amateur (and I mean amateur) photographer, I took some video of the performance.    Here is some brief video I call Hands of a Tabla Player. (more…)

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I recently read the excellent study by Freedom House which measured Internet Freedom in 2007 and 2008 across a sample of 15 countries in 6 regions.  The study is available here–(March 2009- Freedom on the Net, A Global Assessment of Internet and Digitial Media)– would highly recommend reading this free report.   The methodology they used includes factors such as the country’s telecommunications infrastructure, government policy towards access to technology, regulatory policy for service providers, censorship and content control, legal structure and surveillance practices along with the independence and dynamism of new media in the country.   Here’s a graphical depiction of the results (Green implies free, Blue is partly free, and Red is not free) (more…)

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One side effect of the success of Slumdog Millionaire has been the new interest around the world in traditional Bollywood films.   While Slumdog Millionaire was produced by a British team and it is debatable if it should be called a Bollywood movie,  most movie watchers are unaware of that nuance and some have started to inquire about other Bollywood movies.  I had a conversation with a colleague of mine at work who had never seen a Bollywood movie and was now expressing interest.   I suggested that he watch one of my favorite movies Lagaan as his introduction to Bollywood and brought him the DVD to watch.  Knowing that he’s a movie buff and very aware of most mainstream American movies, I used  a comparison to the international mega-hit Lord of the Rings- The Fellowship of the Ring to describe the movie.  (more…)

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I recently read the wildly entertaining book, Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts. It’s a fiction book, but semi-autobiographical, based upon some of Roberts’ real life experiences as a fugitive from an Australian prison who flees to Bombay and has a wide range of experiences there including living in a slum, joining the Indian mafia, fighting in Afghanistan against the Russians, and acting in Bollywood movies.

In one passage in the book, he writes about the Indian gesture, the head-wiggle (also commonly called the head bobble).

From Shantaram

“No discovery pleased me more, on that first excursion from the city, than the full translation of the famous Indian head-wiggle.  (more…)

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Is it possible that wrist watch production and sales could actually be growing?    Conventional wisdom is that the always with you devices such as cell phones and ipods have driven down demand for watches, particularly in the younger generation who have grown up with cell phones.     Data from 2003-2005 supports this premise– here are some key stats from a Wall Street Journal article in 2005. (more…)

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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.

(more…)

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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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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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