Three weeks has passed since I landed in India, I’m starting to settle in, but still every day is a new adventure. I explore new places, new cultural aspects and meet with new people every day and my conclusion has to be the same as the name of a TV show I recently watched: Incredible India.

Key learnings
I thought I could prepare myself before going to India, even though I had never been to Asia before. I think I did my best by taking lots of vaccine shots, trying to imagine what my life would be like and by packing the things I thought I would need. I was wrong. India can’t be understood unless experienced. During the three weeks I have spent here I believe I have experienced as much as I normally do in a year in Sweden. I’ll try to explain by listing my five key findings so far.

1. People are everywhere and they are very friendly, both in and out of the office. Everyone is asking how I’m doing and is genuinely interested in who I am even at the first meeting. In Sweden we can definitely learn from the Indians on this point.

2. Traffic in India = Chaos. At least this is true to a Scandinavian; fortunately I have a driver that takes me where ever I need to go. The best part of it is the traffic signs that read “Follow traffic rules”, they are ironic at best.

3. Food is a lot spicier than I thought was possible. Thanks to the continental restaurants I’m able to slowly adjust my stomach to the Indian dishes. Unfortunately I don’t think I’ll be able to adjust fully.

4. Differences in society in India are greater than in any country I have visited before. In our office and in the central parts of Bangalore, life is very much like any large city in the world, but in the outer parts of the city, in smaller cities and in rural areas the differences are huge. It is hard to imagine that almost half of the population survives on a couple of US dollars per day.

5. Working hours in India are very different. At Telenor Sweden I used to hear from friends that we started late at around 9 AM. When I show up at our office here at 9 AM I’m usually the first person in the office. Some time before 10 AM most people show up and the last as late as 11 AM.

All these findings are off course the result of the Indian culture, which is very different from the Scandinavian or even the European. I’m sure I will continue to learn about life in India all through my six months here.

Next time I will go more into what I’m spending my time doing at Uninor in Bangalore, it’s all about launching postpaid services in the Karnataka region, which is the state in which Bangalore is the state capital. Now I’m off and out into the traffic, you can imagine it by picturing cars and motorcycles everywhere sounding their horns constantly.