The IBM India 12 team had its first weekend in Coimbatore. It’s funny–in the US, we always seem to gripe about weekend work, but in India–at least at Siruthuli– employees work all the time, mainly because they love their work.
The entire Siruthuli extended family (employees, volunteers, board members) meet on Saturday mornings at 7:30am to review any business or pressing needs. Then they put in a full day of work at the office. Mr. Mylswami often comes to work in the evening (9pm onwards) if there is any other business to be taken care of. The dedication of the Siruthuli team amazes me and inspires me. When I asked him if he ever gets tired of working, he looked at me in a confused way. “I love my work,” he replied. That was all he needed to say.
Also, the Siruthuli office is quite interesting. It is almost completely powered by solar and wind energy. There is a windmill on the roof, as well as solar panels. I have to say, it is a struggle to work in 90+ degree temperature heat without an AC, but we are managing. It is amazing how we can adjust to situations when given some time. Take a look at some pictures. The first two are of the power sources for the Siruthuli office. The last picture is of Lisa and Cordula hard at work at the office.
Our weekend started on Saturday night, as we worked on Saturday in order to make up for the one day that we will be taking off to go to Bandipur National Park. We all went out to dinner at the Afghan Grill at the Residency Hotel in Coimbatore (http://www.theresidency.com/residency-coimbatore/afghans.asp). According to TripAdvisor, this is the top ranked restaurant in Coimbatore. As much as we all love the amazing dosa and sambar we have had here, it seemed that we all wanted a little change of pace.
The restaurant proved to be amazing! We all enjoyed wonderful kabobs (vegetarian and non-vegetarian), wine, beer, and a lot of laughs. It was a great way to wrap up a busy first week in Coimbatore (Credit to Mercedes for the pictures).
First picture (L to R): Vaclav (IBM Czech Republic), Benjamin (IBM USA but originally from Peru), Mercedes (IBM Spain), Me, Gaston (IBM Argentina), Amanda (IBM Argentina but originally from Brazil), Sverre (IBM Norway), Alex (IBM Brazil), and Lisa (IBM Netherlands)
Second picture (L to R): Alex (IBM Brazil), Me, and Vaclav (IBM Czech Republic)
The next day, we all had some different activities planned. A group of people went to Topslip, a wildlife area near Coimbatore. Lisa and Cordula went to Bangalore to meet with some IBM colleagues. I went with Mr. Mylswami to the site of the October 15th celebration with Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam.
October 15th is the birthday of Dr. Kalam, the former president of India. Dr. Kalam is beloved by many in India as a pioneer in the field of science and technology and for his devotion to the community. I was even more excited when Vanitha said that we could speak with him–my goal is to have our team sit with him for 5 minutes and post the interview on YouTube. Let’s see how lucky we are…
Here are some pictures of Vanitha and the rest of the Siruthuli team looking into the site.
The Siruthuli team has been working non-stop to get this program ready. There will be over 3,000 people attending, mostly rural school children, so there is a lot of pressure to get the job done well. I have no doubts that the program will be a success.
In terms of other fun stuff, Lisa, Cordula, and I went to Brookfield mall in order to take a look at a fabric store. Before I came to Coimbatore, I heard that it was the “Manchester of South India,” so I wanted to be sure that I got some good quality clothing made. It seemed that “Madam” (as Vanitha is called) made some calls to the fabric store, so they knew that we were coming. I bought some western style dress shirt fabric for myself, and Cordula and Lisa bought some fabric to make saris.
At the store, they also showed us some great handmade saris, as well as a demonstration on how a sari is made. Check it out!