I have just returned from my second business trip to India, visiting one of our service centres in Pune, the first being back in October.
I think television has desensitised us: I saw children running in the streets and family’s living in slums but I wasn’t shocked. What I saw of the country was stark contrast, the poor only a stones through away from the 5* hotels, financial district and fancy restaurants.
Plus crazy traffic! The rules of the road seem to be pretty relaxed, helmets are optional and carrying a small child on a moped is common place – my colleagues tell me you can bribe the police with the equivalent of 20p!
The trips have both been non stop that I’ve barely had time to take any of it in. Food wise, I would highly recommend trying Paneer curry which is made from cubes of gorgeous cheese and a Dosa, which is a savoury, thin, crispy pancake. I’m definitely getting braver with the spices now.
We went to MG Road (the high street in most Indian cities apparently) where we bought biscuits, banana chips and other authentic snacks. On the first trip I visited the Aga Khan Palace (in the cover photo) which was at one time a prison for Mahatma Gandhi and the place at which his wife and secretary sadly died. The architecture and gardens were beautiful, a whole world away from the palaces you find in Europe. We also went to a Krishna temple, see the picture on the left.
I’m sure I will be back again soon and I look forward to exploring further, seeing more of the real India as opposed to the inside of the office.