It's hard to believe that until my trip this November, I hadn't been to India in over 20 years. Hard to believe probably because I don't think of myself as almost 40, and hard to believe that in all that time, I couldn't find 2-3 weeks to take off to visit.
Life takes unexpected turns, and so through a series of coincidences, we're going to get to live there. So, I had a business trip to Bangalore in November, and then Heidi joined me a week later to look for a place to live and a school for our son. Through the trip we both got reacquainted, at least briefly, with an India that is different than what even Heidi remembers (she was just there a few years back), but an India that still is clearly one with the India I remember from 20 years ago.
I've been reading a book about consumer culture in India. It captures some of this evolution so well in it's opening chapter:
Never before in business history have we encountered a market of over a billion people living in a democracy with freedom of thought, speech and action, moving from a controlled socialistic economy to a free market economy. Never before has there been a consumer base that lives over four centuries at the same time, a market with so many people sadly caught between a twenty-first-century economy and an eighteenth-century society. (from A Never-Before World)
Bangalore puts this contrast in stark relief: high tech companies dot the city and surround it along the ring road. Companies from Google to Honeywell to Bosch have offices in Bangalore, along with a growing wave of entrepreneurial Indian companies. India is technology, it is dynamic, it is chaos, and it is human.
This will be the backdrop for our life in India and for this podcast & blog project.
We've already started recording our first episode in the US, practicing our craft, getting comfortable with talking to each other with microphones, and getting feedback from friends. We hope to have the finished first episode up soon.