Category After R2I – Daily life

R2I Return to India 2010 – 2012: Prashant’s conclusions

I’m glad that we returned to India (R2I) and have a verdict on the R2I experiment. In the summer of 2012, we are moving to America.

Why R2I didn’t work out – the important stuff

Work

Corporate client visit, KolkataClient way too happy while I work in the background, Delhi

Immediately after returning to India, I started and ran a web design consulting company and helped startups with their product definition, branding and design. One of these was listed as a top 10 startup to watch in India by a major publication. Another one is getting good traction with VCs. We are very proud of them. Starting and running a consulting business in India was challenging on 2 fronts:

Hiring

Finding people with the right skillsets was extremely difficult. We spent 2 hours daily looking for candidates. Mostly, they failed in having usable domain skills. We tried several permutations – hiring from other industries (print, advertising), hiring from universities directly, poaching seniors from competitors. We got a strong team together but at some point I realized that it would be increasingly harder for us to find more talented people. This was the single biggest obstacle to scaling the business and I don’t see it changing anytime soon.

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Meenal and Prashant were on NPR!

Sounds from this India experiment were aired on public radio in the US! Sangar ki sabzi, noisy kitchen, our opinion on renting vs. buying – it’s all there.
Read the 2012 article on WBUR and Listen to the 2012 story on WBUR.

Meenal's parent's place, Delhi, 2012. Meenal's mom is center left in Red Sari.Celebrating Meenal’s 2 week old niece. Delhi, 2012.

2 years ago, NPR (Morning Edition) had done a story on couples who were choosing to rent instead of buying a place. See 2010 pictures of our Boston apartment on WBUR and Listen to the 2010 story on WBUR.

Thanks to the very talented storyteller Curt Nickisch for seeking our wise words.

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Yes, I was there to witness Anna Hazare in New Delhi

I had never experienced a popular civil uprising before. So glad to have witnessed it.

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Vacation in Ladakh – Leh, Hunder, Pangong, Rafting, Hiking

Having heard so much about it, we vacationed in Ladakh in August. It may be the most beautiful place we’ve ever seen. If you go, please don’t litter – a big problem even in the remotest areas.

7. Ladakh, India Time Lapse (a bit short & amateurish)

If you are in India, instead of a video, you may see a note: Access to this site has been blocked as per Court Orders. You can read more about the Indian Government’s internet censorship.

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Gurgaon, India – An introduction to daily life

Many of you think that Meenal and I are having a great time in India. You won’t understand a city until you live in it and after 6 months in Delhi, we identified with this article in the New York Times: In India, Dynamism Wrestles With Dysfunction, June 8, 2011.

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India in Pictures: DIY Vehicles

This DIY vehicle has the handle of a scooter, the front wheel of a motorcycle, the frame of a bicycle, the back of a donkey cart and an oil tank from the kitchen utensil store!

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See all 3 pictures of this engineering concoction

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Qawwali – Nizammudin Darga, New Delhi


Which tools did I used to make my 1st audio slideshow?

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Letter to U.S. Congressmen: U.S. debt, exiled African kings and my bank account

Honorable Congressmen:

This email is NOT from an exiled African king asking for your bank account number. I hate hearing about royal problems but it is a compliment to the U.S. economy that even fake deposed kings want to park their fake loot in our bank accounts.

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Making new friends in India after R2I

Making new friends in India PHOTO: Party at our place for friends of friends we’ve met after moving to Delhi and Gurgaon. July, 2011.

No, it’s not like your grandmother told you. You can’t just drop by anyone’s house at any time. People work, tend to kids, go shopping, do household chores, catch up on Bollywood movies, travel for work, get stuck in traffic and have family obligations like any other place in the world. Organizing a party or a meet up with friends isn’t much different than America – you have to set a date and let people know in advance (texting is preferred). In some respects meeting up can be harder – people work longer hours, have really long commutes and have many family obligations. Additionally, the city either doesn’t offer many activities to do (outdoors, walking paths, etc.) or we don’t know Delhi well enough. Still, we have started having regular parties …

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Fresh fruits and juices – the best of Delhi summer

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Delhi summer is in full swing – 110 degree oven like temperatures with dusty winds blowing over the city.

That also means that the best fruits are in season – watermelons, different types of mangoes, succulent melons (promise never to use the word ‘succulent’ again), lychees, papaya, peaches and apricots. You have no idea what you are missing.

Thank you Raina for gifting your best mangoes at 7:30 in the morning on a Saturday. Totally worth it!

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India in pictures: NO PARKING SIGN

Funny No Parking Sign, New Delhi, India
TYRE PUNCTURE ZONE: This guy is serious about no one parking in front of his shack.

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State parks near Delhi, India – Meenal’s beautiful gift to me

Sultanpur Jheel / state park near Delhi, IndiaSultanpur Jheel / state park near Delhi, IndiaSultanpur Jheel / state park near Delhi, IndiaSultanpur Jheel / state park near Delhi, IndiaSultanpur Jheel / state park near Delhi, IndiaSultanpur Jheel / state park near Delhi, India

You remember me bitching about not seeing any Earth. And you remember me crooning about my geyser romance for Meenal. But Meenal is a goddess – she showed me Earth and one upped my cheesy love with her gift.

She took me to Sultanpur Bird Sanctuary (Sultanpur Jheel), about an hour drive from Gurgaon with all the ingredients of perfection: a semi-cloudy day, trees as far as the eye could see, water, birds of all sizes, deer, peacocks, fancy cheese, baguette and Fullers London’s Pride beer. On the way out, it started raining and a wild rabbit crossed our path.

See 6 big pictures from a wonderful day out

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Bad things about India and what I miss about America after R2I

Prashant in Smoky Mountains in the deep south, 2006
1. Earth

Life should be oozing from every nook in the Indian subcontinent with it’s rich soil, warm temperatures and yearly monsoons. But cities, towns and villages in India have long defaced this natural order. I miss tree lined streets, the daily walk home from the subway station and the state parks of Massachusetts.

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Kickass home food and cooking after R2I – again!

Fancy food after R2I

King Jeloka has been served – again. My queen Meenal has found a way to my heart through my stomach.

Prep time

5 Meenal minutes immediately after returning from the gym

1. Five spice vegetables medley

Roasted squash, zucchini, eggplant, and onions sautéed in olive oil and with whole red chili pepper and a hint of fennel and honey. Salt and pepper to taste.

2. Couscous

Every whole foods visiting yuppie knows how to make this.

3. Stuffed green peppers

Boiled whole green pepper, cut in half, stuffed with corn and tomatoes, baked with cheese.

4. Sweet and spicy cucumber salad

Raw cucumbers with a sweet and spicy Thai dressing

 

Beverage of choice

Clean water

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Quality of life after R2I – Single car crash inside our luxury bubble

We were driving with the air conditioning brushing against our silky hair. Suddenly, we hear a BOOM CRANK HISS and we were stalled. WTF?

Quality of life after R2I - car crash

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Delhi in pictures – summer, kids and a fountain

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As we drove around a rotary/roundabout, this scene put a smile on our face. The pictures scream FUN!

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Signs of progress – Delhi Police towed and ticketed us

Traffic in India is not pretty. However, there are some instances when the Police actually do their job. Never before have I been overjoyed at being towed or ticketed.

R2I - Getting towed in Lajpat Nagar
PHOTO: Our ‘tourist taxi’ getting towed in Lajpat Nagar in December – one of the few places where parking rules are enforced. They let us go after we paid $9 (Rs.400) on the spot and got an official ticket (no bribe).

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