What do you say of a visit that is only for a three hour meeting and involves 18 hours of flying time each way plus about two hours at each airport!! Exhausting more so because of a time zone change of 12 1/2 hours !!! All to ensure support for a business cause .The meeting thankfully was a good success and may well have ensured a better understanding of our perspective on what need to be done to grow business for these products in India. These are not discussion you can successfully carry out over phone or video conferencing .It’s about the people who matter , hitting off a great personal equation .As our Chairman, whom I accompanied on this trip, always says , relationships are not formed between organizations but by the people who man them .
I did read up about jet lag and ways to minimize it .I think I coped pretty well mainly by taking note of the destination time as soon as I got on board any flight and re-orienting sleep for it . Food times would be called dinner , lunch or breakfast based on the destination times. Also drank a lot of water and orange juice … the stuff that Indians seemed to favour most when offered a choice of drinks !!! Completely avoided alcohol , including wines on the way up .. but relaxed a bit on the way back .
Did have a mild fever and cold all through this brief trip and I was afraid I was coming in for a bout of viral fever I may have caught from a colleague prior to departure. Took crocin tablets at regular intervals and kept the fever under control .Eventually was able to manage the all important meeting with out major difficulties and also got back home in one piece !!
You don’t get to see much or experience too much ( other than the in flight service and the quality and customer care of the hostesses .. will speak of this soon ) .Yet there was a lot to “ feast” on for the senses , even for such a brief visit .The SFO visit will always be remembered for the sense of history as we visited the “Innovation” Capitol of the World. This is the place where the life style changing innovations have been taking place over the last couple of decades .
This is also the place where the Indians have established themselves as the s/w brains trust of the world and pitch forked our country from the land of the mystic to the land of opportunity .
Got to feel the pulse of the Indian community at a dinner we had with our Chairman and the local HCL Tech Managers .The restaurant was called the ‘Amber “ and was in a happening place where crowds gathered at the large number of International restaurants and street side eating places out there.
The restaurant was full and buzzing with conversation as is the wont in most places where Indians congregate ..very good representation , around 35 to 40 % of non Indians .Some tables with only Indians some with only non Indian couples or groups and some mixed. The Indians were holing there own .. This was clearly their land it was heart warming to see our country men so much at home and co-existing so well with the non Indians. The HCLites also displayed a bit of restless striving to achieve in this land of opportunity.
Baring this dinner , there was nothing else to fest my eyes or senses on .I didn’t know till I reached SFO that our very good friends , Kavita and Vineet , where there and I could have easily extended my stay by at least a day if not two and got to see and experience more of San Francisco .That will have to wait for another occasion and another time .
The air hostesses where the only other source of human engagement at close quarters and hence the opportunity to “observe” people of a kind at work !!In the SFO –Munich leg in Lufthansa , we had two hostesses of differing asset mix and temperament. One had great features and a look that could take her to the posters of any airlines .The other was a plain Jane , in fact reminded one a lot of the TV serial Ugly Betty !!??But she had a swagger about her , a throw of the shoulders , a ready smile and winsome ways !!Kept calling me by my name and making sure I was being well taken care off .The other was well trained smart and correct .. but some how didn’t have the same winning ways .She would tell you about the choices of food and beverages available and leave it to you to decide .. the plain Jane made suggestions and urged you to try , and have a good time .
I kept the scrutiny going right through the flight and Plain Jane was out scoring the Poster girl all the way. But then as the final food & snacks trays were being cleared , the Poster Girl leaned over and with a touch of concern asked me if I was feeling better now .Guess the mild fever and tiredness I was carrying must have been showing and I must have been looking a wreck !!Maybe it could have been a touch of sadness that some times comes over me , or more still the effect of the soulful music I was hearing !! Whatever I was she finally displayed a sense of caring beyond the rule books .I must say the Lufthansa crews in all our flights in the recent past have been of very high quality and very well trained .
As we filed past the hostesses biding us good bye .. Plain Jane was around and she did give me a beaming send off !!! Guess I had “satisfied customer “ written all over me and she could be happy at a job well done .