Conference done, time for some fun!
OK, not strictly true. The conference is done but we were already having fun! The last few days have reminded both Captain Clarke and I just how much we love this fabulous country. There is a line in my favourite film of all time, Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, delivered perfectly by the fabulous Judy Dench, “India is an assault on the senses.” Well, she’s right! The colours, the smells, the noise, the tastes, the atmosphere, it is all here. So, whilst I was doing my thing in a conference, Captain Clarke went out on a little sortie of his own.
Firstly, I should explain that he thought he had cracked the Metro system. Oh no! A little research revealed that the deposit on the metro smart card is refundable but only when you make a purchase of a ticket valued at more than 200 rupees. Since a day pass for the metro is only 150 rupees, this is why our deposits have been non-refundable. Having found this, Captain Clarke went off to the metro, directly to customer care, and asked if he could procure a 3 day pass valid from tomorrow (i.e. today). Customer care told him that he would need to go to the ticket office but Captain Clarke already knew that they would send him back to Customer Care so he decided to opt for a different approach. Instead of asking for a 3 day ticket valid from tomorrow, he just asked for a one day ticket for the day. “Oh yes”, said the helpful assistant and promptly sold him a one day ticket and gave him back the 50 rupees from the one day ticket he had had for the previous day. Confused? We are!
So off Captain Clarke went on the jolly old Metro. First, he went off in search of the Botanical Gardens. On the Metro the stop for the Botanical Gardens is helpfully and clearly marked. Unfortunately, not so when you get off at said stop. Despite his well known bloodhound instincts (not!) he could find no trace of the Botanical Gardens. I am of the view that the marking on the Metro is not the stop for the Botanical Gardens but the stop at which one changes lines to get to the Botanical Gardens but, in either event, Captain Clarke did not fine said gardens.
No matter, he thought. I’ll go to Green Park. Green Park is a stop on the Metro and is, in this instance, definitely where Green Park (the place) is. Captain Clarke got off at the stop for Green Park and had a good look around. On reporting his findings he said, “There is nothing green about Green Park! It is just very polluted and busy and there is no park in sight!”. Having made these two discoveries, Captain Clarke decided to abort his sortie and return to the hotel.
I, of course, during this period was speaking and chairing some panels at the conference. There is not much that would be of any interest to others to report from the conference except to say that I met some interesting people and heard some interesting things about the data centre market (fledgling because it is really only just starting in India) and the government’s clear support for the industry (they even sent a very senior minister to the conference unexpectedly) that they see as the future for the country. To put this in perspective, India has a population of approaching 1.3 billion people. At the moment, some 300 million are engaged in some sort of service industry with many working as call centre operatives or software developers. The Indian government recognises that neither of these two service industries are sustainable in the long term. Many Chinese and Far Eastern firms are cropping up and are able to undercut their Indian competitors on price whilst offering exactly the same service.
The Indian government recognises that there is a global skills shortage in the data centre industry and that, if something isn’t done, this critical infrastructure will become dangerously undermined. The world relies so heavily on data centre infrastructure that without it, the world would starve (I have a whole 45 presentation on this subject but I won’t bore you with it now) – suffice to say that without data centres there would be no planes, no ships, no trains, traffic lights and other road infrastructure wouldn’t work, nobody would be able to access their bank accounts, it would be impossible to shop and the shops would have nothing to sell anyway, there would be no hospitals, crops would fail, the list goes on and on. The point here is the Indian government has recognised this (unlike almost any other government in the world) and is putting in place a programme of education and training to ensure that India has the skills to plug that gap when the time comes (which it will). Can they do this? You bet they can! Think back 20 years and ask yourself why India became THE place to have software developed and the place for call centres. Indian people are clever, they are smart and they are plentiful – they can be delivered cheaply and efficiently at just the right time to top the market! I have nothing but admiration for the Indian government – if only other governments around the world were so forward thinking instead of constantly looking inwards and trying to turn the clock backwards!
Enough of that! The conference finished in a timely fashion in the afternoon (incredible really since it had run late all day because the delegates got stuck in the Delhi traffic!) and I returned to our room to find Captain Clarke. We then spent a happy hour trying to crack technology and publish yesterday’s missive. The problem was that, for some reason, we were unable to reach any website hosted on the same servers as this one from the hotel WiFi. I have no idea how or why … it had worked up until mid-morning and had then stopped. I had spent quite some time during the conference trying to get it to work with no success. I had even contacted the hosting company during the lunch break but they had reported no problems. Eventually, Captain Clarke managed to create a VPN Tunnel (skip this part if you’re already bored!) into London which allowed me to break out from a UK IP address and publish my missive! Frustrating though it was, we achieved our aim … eventually.
Yesterday evening we decided we would eat elsewhere and just pop up to the executive lounge for a free drink. Failed! The hors d’oeuvres included chicken tikka, tandoor mushrooms, spicy potato fritters, kung pao prawns, exotic vegetables and vegetable biryani rice. Was I going to pass up on that? Not a flaming chance!!! We both had a huge plateful and washed it down with a couple of Black Dogs! Lovely!!! There was one thing there though that we both turned our noses up at … the dreaded Dragon Fruit (photo below for those not familiar with it)! Why anyone would want to eat this flavourless, pippy, unpleasant thing is completely beyond me! It looks nice in it’s skin, but that, in my opinion, is where it should stay!
So, conference done we are now free to enjoy the next few days. Great Uncle Bulgaria and Madam Cholet arrive tomorrow just for one night before they go off on their holidays elsewhere. We shall meet up with them for dinner but apart from that, we have no commitments now so we are free to do as we please. This morning the weather is a little less ‘clement’ than it has been and it has been raining but I am quite sure we will find an adventure or two. Onwards and upwards, as they say! Time for some more fun!