Yves in India Blog: Day 8 & 9

2008-10-20 00:00

We know we're due for a visit to Infosys, a software development and consultancy business that employs 100 000 people worldwide and is the second biggest company in India. Sounds like a crashing bore, and we're wondering how we're going to survive.

Above: The heavenly campus of Infosys, looks like something out of Star Wars or an artist's impression.

It's a longish drive, again, but when we arrive at Electronics City it's a huge surprise to find a spic-and-span office precinct that has none of the trappings of filth that embroider everything else we've seen up to now. Inside it's even more gobsmacking: 20-odd acres in which thhe only mode of transport is by bicycle, electric cart, or by walking. There's a golf green, and a gym and food courts, and 500 rooms for staff to sleep over if they're working on short term project. 25 000 workers whose average age is 26. I wonder what happens to the old ones; is it like Logan's Run where they pull a switch at, say, 30, or maybe the chip in their heads evaporates. But it is the most spectacularly worker-friendly environment I've ever seen. They even run a fleet of 250 buses to ferry staff to work so that pollution is minimised. How different from yesterday at the subsistence end of the scale where silk farmers and the the spinners work in dark, hot, dingy factory rooms and huts and feed biolers with tons of hardwood that's been hacked out of the forests. The span of Indian enterprise in a day.

Above: A glass pyramid modelled on the one at the Louvre gives the Infosys campus (that's what they call it) an exotic touch

I finish Adiga's book on the plane to Ahmedabad. An angry critique of the trap of social culture in India that keeps peasants at the bottom of a pitiless and corrupt pile. The hero manages to break free, but in a way that calls into question the value of India's economic renaissance.

7pm. We fly into Ahmedabad (which I hear pronounced Emnabad). It's 31 degrees. I notice the maintenance staff being frisked by security before they board the plane after we get off. Two military vehicles escort us to the hotel. What have we let ourselves in for? The hotel is an oasis after the Bangalore debacle. We relax. Business Centre? Yes. Gym? Yesssss! Bar? Sorry sir, this is a dry state. henry's mortified that he'll be without a beer for the weekend. Ah well, you can't have everything.

Above: Moi with members of our army escort from the Ahmenabad airport to our hotel five minutes away. Fireworks on the horizon were just Diwali crackers.

Read the Yves's blog: Day 10 & 11

Read Yves's blog from Day 1.

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