A Swede's Bollywood Experience
Minimalistic, light and simplistic, and perhaps a bit grey, the very essence of Swedish design to some people. Quiet, a lot of space and airy, that’s what Sweden is to me. So, what if you were given the possibility to wade in colour a couple of times a year and to be surrounded by the exotic scent of Indian food? Which could be considered to be the very opposite. I’ll answer that. It’s heaven, and I consider myself as very fortunate. I'm Thomas Larsson, Regional Manager, and I hope you'll enjoy the story about my latest visit to India.
Difficulties for a cool guy
Together with my colleague Mr Vidyasagar Ganesh, sales manager at Troax in India, my last visit in southern India went from Bangalore to Coimbatore via Chennai in 30 degrees Celsius. For a Scandinavian guy like myself, the possibility to feel fresh is pointless because of the heat and the humidity. Dear Mr Ganesh, on the other hand, experienced no such thing. Of course.
Bangalore is a megacity, which pretty much says it all, except the fact that this is the Silicon Valley of India. A couple of years ago, before the megacity era, Bangalore was a dream city for retired people. Today it’s a crowded and polluted city of 12 million citizens. It’s almost hard to see its former glory through the smog.
Going by taxi approximately 15 km, from the office to the city centre can take 2 hours, almost 24/7. If you feel adventurous you should choose a tuk-tuk or a two-wheeler (Indian for motorbike) instead. I really do recommend having a cup of Indian chai tea whenever you can. It’s a great energizer between customer visits!
The overwhelming travel to Chennai
The countryside is beautiful! We were driving through a lovely green landscape. We were even passing coconut trees. Instead of the ordinary cup of chai, we stopped for a cup of Indian coffee. For you who haven’t tasted it, I can tell, it’s strong, full of flavour and tasty. I do have some at my office in Hillerstorp and would invite you, but I don’t think there’s any left by the time this blog is posted. Coffee isn’t the only thing you might experience. Our customer told us about a 5-meter-long python that paid its visit this summer. Otherwise, they are more used to rattlesnakes (!) Me and Ganesh agreed we preferred our coffee breaks without reptiles.
Ganesh told me that Chennai has been hit hard by tsunamis in recent years. When we took a trip to the beach, fortunately, we couldn’t see any signs of the awful tsunami anymore instead we enjoyed a comforting breeze from the Indian Ocean.
Driving to Coimbatore
We travelled mostly in the evening and driving on the highway in the dark, we had numerous car meetings in OUR lane. The Indian way to handle the situation is to flash the lights and horning. I’m a living proof it works! To add some facts to this exciting trip, I’ll mention that Coimbatore is famous for its textile industry.
Going back to Bangalore
This was an amazing experience opposite to the previous part of the journey. I and Ganesh went by car on winding roads up the mountain. Lush green forests of deciduous trees and bamboo grew along the way, and curious monkeys in hundreds checked us out. After numerous stops going through this changing landscape, my camera is filled with memories. Since the monkeys seemed to be quite unafraid, I tried to get a close-up, but she got really mad so I just took a photo from a distance instead.
2400 meters above sea level, we made a stop in Ooty. The landscape had changed as well as the temperature. At this altitude, it was 35 degrees colder than in Coimbatore! After being awakened the following morning by singing elephants at 5 am (!) the last trip towards Bangalore went through two national parks. Besides all the little monkeys, we saw wild boar, deer, and elephants, but they say there are tigers and lions there too.
The scent of Indian coffee drew attention, and yet another stop was made in Gudalur where I bought freshly roasted and ground coffee. The very same I mentioned earlier in my story.
Indian customers are very conscious when it comes to safety. In general, they follow the Machinery Directive and are implementing the international standard. I’d even say they take the safety aspect to another level. Ganesh told me about an interesting business deal in Delhi, where they demanded zero floor distance and a ceiling on the robot cell. Why you may wonder? It’s obviously to protect people and the process, but in this case, also to protect the monkeys! Do you remember the python I mentioned when we travelled to Chennai? A special team trained to handle wild animals were called in to remove it safely to another place. I think it’s really admirable the way they value life and act upon it. Safety, in this case, extends beyond protecting, people, property and processes to include animals as well.
The top three of customer topics are, in my opinion, Cost, Quality and Delivery. I’m proud to say that we live up to their high standards and they are very satisfied with our service and well-made installations. Working for a company with its heart within safety, it’s only natural we also are members in Indian standard committees. We want to push the safety development forward as well as improving ourselves.
Business with an energy boost
In total, it was a hectic week with travelling and customer visits, but the experience was so much more than work this 7th time I visited India. This is a colourful country with great hospitality. And for someone who loves vegetarian food, like me, it’s also a culinary adventure. The range of vegetarian dishes is great! As well as it’s soothing like a mirror lake returning to Sweden, it’s uplifting like a Bollywood movie returning to India. I really love it!
Thomas Larsson, Regional Manager, Export
+46 (0)370-836 33, firstname.lastname@example.org
A.S.Vidyasagar Ganesh, Sales Manager
+91-9686445146, 080-41529100, Vidyasagar.Ganesh@troax.com
Camilla Strid, Digital Marketing Coordinator