Sunday, December 09, 2007

A day at the office

Above: Shopping with the guys.
A day at the office.
I wake up at 7AM and meet Rajeev for breakfast at 7:30AM. The breakfast bar has fruits: melons, mangoes, pineapples. A man will make eggs to order. There is a selection of Indian food and some western. After eating, I order a coffee and Rajeev tea. We go out front where our car meets us at 8AM. At this time of the morning it takes about 25 minutes to get to the office. Later it will take an hour of squeezing through wild traffic melees. Rajeev and I are the first ones to start in the morning in the large room of Investment Management IT staff. We have water bottles waiting for us, since we are guests. A few people filter in around 9AM, but it is common to start at 10 or 11AM, and to work correspondingly late. I guess this allows more overlap with European and American hours. But this makes for long days for Rajeev and me, since we finish between 7:30 and 9:30PM.

The technology is completely up-to-date, with dual flat-screen monitors for everyone, and conference and training rooms with state of the art HD TVs, computer-controlled screens, etc. There is Morgan Stanley cafeteria on the floor that serves veg and non-veg lunches for under a dollar. Fortunately I like spicy Indian food, and have impressed (ahem!) the team that I can eat and enjoy it. Rajeev is a natural lecturer, giving out streams of information, encouraging his students when they do well, or chiding when they forget, and assuming a father-like authority. He even assures that Rucha had proper rides home late at night, as she still lives with her parents. I am covering basics of the fixed income markets, calculations, and overviews of
our risk systems. Our "students" ask a lot of questions and work hard to understand -- very gratifying.

The traffic and pollution is terrible heading back home. Traffic is a mix of cars, trucks, rickshaws, motor scooters, bikes, and people, all with no fixed lanes. The horn is used liberally. Things are really humming in the evening, though, with all the little road-side businesses busy. In the nicer areas these businesses are in buildings and look like crowded Brooklyn
neighborhoods. Many others are just the way they were 30 years ago -- a bicycle repair shop in a small shack made of scrap wood, with a tarp or corrugated steel over the top. Similar looking shops are restaurants, car repair, shoe repair, marble suppliers, glass dealers, hair cutters, charcoal suppliers, or anything at all. Somehow the drivers are never angry, no matter how close the other car comes, or who cuts them off -- perhaps because next time they may get to squeeze ahead.

I wind down the day at the hotel in my comfortable room with room service and Indian TV, which is full of both Indian and American programming, not to mention a BBC channel a Russian one, and maybe even French.
So that is a typical day, or was last week when I started writing this and Rajeev was around.
See you all soon.


Blogger rosie said...

Wow! That sounds like a pretty fun, or at least interesting, day at the office. I can't believe you can get lunch for under a dollar! We are on opposite ends of lunch spectrum. These posts are so fun to read. I can't wait to hear more anout India on Saturday!

11:46 AM  
Blogger Jenny Clay said...

Somehow, I did not know that htis posting was on here and just saw it for the first time! Your days do sound long and exhausting. Rajeev sounds like a father figure to some of the people there. Very interesting.

6:14 PM  
Blogger gwen said...

Wow! I also missed this post, it must have been slipped back because of the time difference or something! Your description sounds quite surreal with such a mix of high technology and still undeveloped area... like walking in and out of a time warp all day...

6:23 PM  
Blogger Jenny Clay said...

Hey mark, do all those motercycles belong to the guys at work? I wonder why they are all the same color.

7:19 PM  
Blogger Jenny Clay said...

Ahhh..I see, says the blind woman..I'm shaking my fiendish leg with wooden glee...those are Dominoe's Pizza Motorcycles!

7:27 PM  

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