India. What an fascinating coexistence of the modern and third world.
My internship with Aliens Group, a real estate developer, has illustrated this difference quite clearly. Yesterday Samuel—the Director of Strategy for this 600+ employee company—drove our team around Hi-Tech City, the newest part of Hyderabad. Nearly every major technology MNC was represented, from Google to Oracle to IBM to Dell. Glass-heavy, well-maintained buildings built over the past five years frame the newly-constructed road.
Three blocks away from the City, we took a u-turn. Water buffalo roamed a vacant lot, straying onto the road. Hi-tech city, well-educated employees, and water buffalo. This is India.
This contrast is visible on the broader city level as well. When compared with Delhi, Hyderabad is a completely different animal: it seems to be wealthier, cleaner, and much more developed. Whether foreign investment is the cause or result of this environment is open for debate, but the city seems—apart from historical offerings—to be much more inviting.
Certainly the food is. Last night I joined a group of students, along with Professor and Mrs. Van Drunen, at Paradise—a very nice Indian restaurant. We sampled much of the local fare, sharing several dishes among the nine of us. Including bottled water (a must) we left fully satisfied after spending 250 Rupees, or slightly less than five US dollars. In the States, and by my estimate, this would have run roughly $20.
My internship has been equally satisfying. I am currently editing a booklet that describes Aliens’ infrastructure capabilities, proofreading and suggesting more fundamental revisions to content that is lacking in major ways. As an English major, I hope to add value in this way. Additionally, as I move forward with Samuel in this brief project, I also hope to also gain some understanding of business interactions with the Indian government, which is notoriously corrupt and inhibiting.
It has been a delightful first week and I look forward to two more.