Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Finding home again in Bangalore

So after a train trip in which I didn't sleep, thanks to some coffee-fueled mania, I arrived in Bangalore at 7AM. Dawn must be the best time to be in Indian cities. There are so few people around, and those who are around are so friendly. (Not that I dislike people, but my ideal density is somewhat lower than that in most Indian metropolises.) There are even slightly fewer cars.
Sari shops at 7am

Coffee truck. Guys, coffee truck. How is this not everywhere in the pacific northwest? Coffee truck!

Famous parliament building blah blah
Big city park etc

Bike rental station: awesome. However, they should also work on the fact that cycling on Bangalore streets is a little suicidal. (Ironically, of course, more cycling would help.)

Speaking of dawn, I connected with Dawn Shaikh, a friend of a friend from Google. She, her husband Moin, and their daughters Aneesa and Amara have moved from Seattle to Bangalore for the year. (more on their adventures here.) It was so interesting to talk with them about life as a Googler in Google Bangalore, as American professionals in Bangalore, as IT professionals in India, as students in Indian international schools, as Americans in Bangalore, and as Americans in India. Interesting and refreshing; sometimes I feel like a crazyman here. (both among Indians and travelers.) Plus, they put me up at their place, made some great food, showed me around their town, the whole deal. Really made me feel at home.

The next day, I met up with Thierry (another Googler) and his wife Shika, who were kind enough to host me for a night also. Stuff happens late in this town, so after work (8ish) we went for dinner nearby.  Great talking with them too; in these two days, I've learned more about what it's like to live and work here than in the previous two months.

I saw my first Christmas tree at the Shaikhs' house, and my second at Google Bangalore. Lunch at the office was Christmas lunch, with a big roast bird, western salads and sides, and Christmasey desserts. (Plus Indian food for people who prefer it. Like me.) Santa Claus came around handing out little presents. So, a few dashes of Christmas: a little like home also. Even a few horrible Christmas songs! Friggin' "Last Christmas"...

And finally, and this is weird, I got a big jolt of being back in the mother ship at Google. I realized how much I miss the culture where everyone is brilliant, everyone is optimistic, everyone is techy, everyone is working on sort of the same thing, and everything runs pretty smoothly. Plus the insider feeling from talking about Google things with Googlers. So it goes! You cannot have your career and eat it too! It's a good feeling to have, though, to have left on good terms and to look forward to possibly working there again.

So thank you Google, thank you Christmasey things, but mostly thank you to the Shaikhs and Thierry and Shika. It's nice to feel a bit at home again.

Later I think I will wax philosophical on what it means to feel at home while you're traveling, but I am tired right now.


  1. ooh "Last Christmas". one of the worst. glad you feel a lil at home/refreshed. miss you at home!

  2. Hey Dan,
    Last Christmas, I gave you my heart but the very next day you gave it away.
    So no heart for you this Christmas, young man.
    How nice for you to meet up with friends in a foreign land. We thank them as well.
    Miss you here; first Christmas in 25 years without Dan.
    Have some figgy pudding.