I’ve been home for almost a month, but if I close my eyes, I can still smell the delicious curry. In the distance, I can hear the traffic, music and lively chatter that filled the crowded streets. My first visit to India deepened my appreciation for its food, culture and people – especially my fellow Beavers in the Hyderabad office. The journey was a humbling experience that I will never forget.
The Wonderful Sights and Sounds of India
Like most tourists, I was eager to visit the Taj Mahal in Agra. Built between 1632 and 1653 A.D., the shrine was a gift from a loving husband to his wife. It’s a beautiful monument that makes anyone want to believe in love.
The breathtaking Taj Mahal.
I also toured the Taj Falaknuma in Hyderabad. The 19th century palace has been converted into a hotel for tourist. Its acoustics are amazing. At a table that sits 108, people on opposite sides can whisper and still clearly hear each other!
The Taj Falaknuma at night.
Persian Nawab royals built the palace. I had the rare privilege of spending time with some of their ancestors, who still live in the area, and learning more about the palace. It was truly an experience that I will never forget.
I also got to see a lot of different animals. A buffalo was the first thing I saw when I arrived in India and the last animal I saw before leaving. Another very exciting experience was finding an elephant in the center of the road. I had heard that this happened, but to actually see it with my own eyes was just fascinating.
During my trip, I learned that the god Ganesh, which has the head of an elephant, is among the most powerful gods worshiped by the Indian people.
An elephant walks on the street, and the Indian God Ganesh, which has an elephant head.
Meeting the DCW India Team
Me with the DCW India team.
It was amazing to finally match faces to the people with whom I’ve messaged and virtually worked for so many months. I learned a lot working side-by-side with our development team and watching how they pick up where the U.S. team leaves off.
Seeing this intelligent and closely-knit team in action helped me to appreciate just how much foresight they use when developing eCommerce websites for DCW clients. My days in the office were filled with productive conversations, sharing business scenarios about the constantly changing realities of meeting customer needs.
One night, Bhargavi and Neeraja invited me out to dinner. I’m a big fan of Indian food, but this night I experienced something even more amazingly delicious.
Enjoying a rice crepe with my co-workers
Enjoying an Autorickshaw ride with Bhargavi (left) and Neeraja (right).
What I Learned from People
One of the first people I met was Srinu. The young man was in his early twenties and worked in the hotel where I stayed. Srinu told me all about how he travels five to six hours from his home to work in the big city. For three to six months out of the year, he stays in a hostel for men and women.
Srinu’s story isn’t unique. In India, many people travel far from their families in order to find work. They are very responsible, doing anything to get to work and to keep their jobs. One thing is for sure, I’ll never again complain about my daily commute from New York into New Jersey for work. Srinu’s experience really put things into a new perspective, and helped me appreciate how lucky I really am.
The most frustrating parts of my trip were also when I experienced the incredible support of my DCW team. Three days into my trip something happened to my phone, and I went through a lot of trouble to replace it. Then, the day before I had to leave, I dropped my iPhone into water. The DCW team members spent a lot of time and effort trying to dry out my phone so that they could fix it. With time running out, I decided to replace the phone, but this time, it wasn’t as easy as going to an Apple Store.
Being in a completely different country with unique customs made the process of getting a new phone extremely complicated. My guide and bodyguard for the day was Santosh. The first challenge was getting 20,000 rupees, which is between $200 and $250 USD. The fact that people drive very fast in India and that lines on the road are more for decoration than for directing traffic didn’t help my stress level at all.
After hours of going through the city and talking with many people, all the hard work paid off. I got a new phone. Santosh may have been a little guy, but he was such a gentleman. He kept me calm amidst the chaos. I really appreciated his help.
The more time passes and the more I reflect on this journey, the more I realize just how amazing it was. I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to travel halfway around the word and experience a culture so different than my own. It has filled me with new appreciation for life, family, work and friends – of which I have many, many new ones in India.