Friday, August 31, 2007

What is friendship?

An IBM internal blog lead me to a collection of blog entries about friendship and trust that I'm still reading and digesting. Here are a few links:

I may write more about this later (I'm at work and have to keep this brief), but for now: my months in Hyderabad have made me more dependent on - and appreciative of - Internet contact, while at the same time shoving my face in the limitations of the Internet. Much food for thought.

Update, January 2010: Some of the links died. I was able to update the link to Stowe (not Steve, as I originally wrote) Boyd, but Anne Zelenka's link seems to be gone for good (Update: I actually found it on the Internet Wayback Machine). The closest I could find is this post from a year earlier

It's ironic that a post about how dependent I am on the Internet would up highlighting its fragility.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Hyderabad 2007 - Round 3

I'm back in Hyderabad. I arrived late last night via what's become my standard route on Lufthansa flights 423 (Boston to Frankfurt) and 752 (Frankfurt to Hyderabad). It's about 17 hours of flying, with a 5 hour layover. I've made frequent flier status on Lufthansa, so I was at least able to board with business class and use the comfortable business class lounge in Frankfurt - but it's still a long trip.

On the way I finished reading Shantaram, an autobiographical novel by Gregory David Roberts. It's a huge book, and I found myself pushing to get through it, after being completely enthralled by the first third. The book started off being primarily a description of life in India, and when it switched to being all about the author it lost its punch. But it's most definitely worth reading, at least through the beginning of the imprisonment at Authur Road.

My last few days in the U.S. were too busy to be particularly satisfying. Beside the inevitable last minute errands I also packed in a delightful party at my manager's home, Amelia B-G's annual birthday picnic at Walden Pond, and some angst about the Lumbini Park/Koti bombings. Lions and tigers and bears, oh, my!

Amelia's picnic - I don't know how I got so lucky, but I long chats with with Pam-I-Am and Luke.

Dan's Monday night party was also fun.

The latest Hyderabad bomb blasts, though, I could have done without. None of my friends and acquaintences were directly affected, but the city is on edge.

The air was clear for much of the second leg of the flight, and we were given nice views of Iran. As usual, pictures through the plane window are pretty lame, but what the hey. Southeastern Iran looks like Mars.

Anyway, I have to get to bed before I fall asleep at the keyboard. One last picture: Hyderabad is still giving away sunsets - "For you? No charge!" :-)

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Three more nights...

...and then I return to Hyderabad for the last portion of my 6 month assignment in India. My feelings about returning are complex. Leaving my family gets harder each time I go back. And yet - Hyderabad feels like "home", too. And I think the work I'm doing with the team in Hyderabad is becoming more fruitful, and I miss my friends and coworkers very much. Argh, life!

I'll try to write soon about our hiking trip in Wyoming's Wind River range, but in the meantime, I've posted a wad of the pictures.

Wind River

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Going Quiet

I used the same title earlier today in my "work" blog at IBM. Tomorrow night I will be taken to the airport, plopped onto a Lufthansa A-320 and flown to Frankfurt for breakfast. After a delighful meal, back in the bosom of the west, I'll board another rigorously-maintained German airplane and fly to Boston. Katy will meet me at terminal E, international arrivals, and we'll go the Cape for a night. I'll spend Friday night curled up with the woman I love in a soft, familiar bed and awaken at one of my favorite places in the world, probably in time to watch the sun come up over Waquoit Bay. Sunday we'll pack, and on Monday we'll all fly off to Wyoming for two weeks of hiking with Dan, Sue, Rebecca and Alex. Omygod, HOME!

This blog will pause for those two weeks; no doubt I'll dump another half gig or so of pictures into Picasa when we get back, but it may take a few days.

Leaving India this time is weird. On the one hand, I can't WAIT to get out of here (American readers who've been to India will know EXACTLY what I mean). Frankly, I'm exhausted. India is hopelessly overstimulating to a homebody like me. Curiously, India is is an incredibly easygoing place, I think, to most of its residents. When I'm cruising thru the bustees on my bike, no one seems to be in a hurry, and there are people just lounging around everywhere (although, to be fair, the women seem a lot busier than the men...). But this doesn't translate to a middle-class Westerner here on business - not even one who cruises the bustees on a bike.

On the other hand - this has, to some extent, become home. My life here has acquired rhythm. Weekdays - up by 6:30, exercise or browse, maybe call Katy, shower, eat breakfast, go to work. Arrive at the office at 9:15 or so after walking the last bit in from the road, a little sweaty and ready for water and coffee. Read mail, catch up on blogs, do some work. Lunch with Anil. More work, more coffee, maybe chat with Dan late in the day. Fill my water bottles for the night, go home, perhaps via a restaurant. Depending on the hour, play a game of backgammon with Feroz. Then home to mail, more blogs, some browsing and/or reading and then bed.

Weekends: laundry, then hop on the bike in search of something new. Come home and blog about it, go get chaat, come home and stretch and go to bed.

Wash, rinse, repeat.

I'll miss India when I'm gone - and I can't wait to go.