Friday, August 15, 2008

Independence Day plus VaraLaskhmi

Today India celebrates its 61st birthday, plus it is a South Indian Hindu festival. Many things are closed, but we will go to our new townhouse and connect the washing machine. An exciting day, huh? In the meantime we watched a bit of the Independence Day celebration with PM Singh giving a talk and now are watching Olympic coverage ("the man from Baltimore" and his records are finally forcing some coverage of his exploits here). The randomness of the coverage means that we sometimes gets to see the Chinese dancers/cheerleaders in between sets of volleyball, something I doubt we would see in the US, but that I don't care about much. Amartya misses hearing the National Anthem.

On a personal note, Amartya lost his first tooth, very exciting, as can be seen in the accompanying very unflattering picture. Nope, no picture, Amartya made me take it off. I'll get another one.

Servicio a la mexicana in a services-exporting country: Trying to get a landline and broadband access has brought back bad memories of Mexico to me. Our new house is in state monopoly BSNL-land, so despite some intervention at the very top, the service has been pathetic, with workers clearly expecting lots of money to provide minimal service. Funny that a services exporting powerhouse like India provides such poor service domestically. This is one of the things I hope to study here in India, but the contrast could not have been more obvious.

We drove around a lot yesterday (back and forth ebetween the office and the house in a futile attempt to establish service), so got to see more of town than we had earlier. Pictures to come. There were neighborhoods that were all decked out with lots of lights and flags in preparation for today, and vendors hawking flags at every stoplight. The traffic was impressive -- especially given the downpours -- but overall traffic seems to be moving better than it has in the past few visits. There are more dividers around between lanes, which unfortunately are required to stop folks from taking over the unoccupied space in the lanes in the opposing direction

Later I'll try to post a more analytical piece about some comparisons between India and Latin America.

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