Friday, September 12, 2008

Team Photo & Happy Birthday Lord Ganesha

Here's a picture of me & most of my team outside my the restaurant at my hotel (where I had breakfast with my boss, lunch with my team, and dinner with my boss & 5 Indian managers...dinner that started at 9 & ended at midnight). The food is good, but I'm looking forward to trying somewhere else.

The dinner service was somewhat of a comedy. One manager ordered for all of us and took care of all the interactions with the waiter. The dishes were brought out one at a time, and served to us individually, like a buffet that came to us. For every course, they always served me first, then my boss, as if we were the honored guests, then around the table, ending with the guy who did the ordering. And EVERY time they gave him the biggest piece or serving of whatever they were serving.
In the team picture we're missing the one other woman on the team, who's back in California right now, one guy who's fasting for Ramadan and choose not to sit and watch the rest of us eat, and another who was working from home in order to be able to prepare for a big Hindu festival on Sunday, Ganesha Chaturthi.

Turns out all those makeshift shrines I saw on Wednesday were erected this week as part of the festival. Hindus celebrate Lord Ganesha's (elephant headed god) birthday by putting up these temporary shines and worshiping at them for a week, and on Sunday they carry them all to the nearest body of water (there are a lot of lakes in Hyderabad) and submerge the statues. There's singing, dancing, food, etc...and lots of parades to the water. My colleagues tell me this causes a huge pollution problem because the clay & toxic paint from the statues completely pollutes the lakes and rivers.


Here's a picture that's pretty representative of these shrines. It's not my picture, I found it on Flickr.

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