Day 3 – Visit to Tata and Shopping
R: A delightful night’s sleep and hearty breakfast started the day before getting dressed in our Sunday finest to visit Tata. Tata is the GE of India, but much larger and even more diverse. They their businesses cover everything from Jaguar and Land Rover to Hydroelectric power generation, from Steel manufacturing to software development and everything in between. A truly extraordinary company and one of our most important visits. First, what struck me was that as large as they are, they do not operate out of an imposing monolithic skyscraper, but rather the original, humble “Bombay House” constructed by the founders with no company logo or decoration. We sat in the simple, basement auditorium, still consisting of the original seats, carpets and lighting and discusses the business models, strategy and mission. My admiration grew the more I learned about them. Then something else struck me, I had noticed a large number staff, one man was there to pour water, four men setup the microphone that was not needed for a group of twelve, a scribe sat busily taking notes about the conversation, his assistant sat to side and so on. A similar large number of employees worked security and administration in the lobby, many were standing observing or fussing over some detail. I expect overstaffing at a luxury hotel, but most private businesses want to run a lean ship. Not Tata, this goes to part of their philosophy of helping the community and providing jobs, the means are really more important than ends.
E: I showed myself my breakfast this morning due to the anti-malaria meds. Gross. It’s not monsoon season so the chances of me contracting malaria are slim thus the need to discontinue said meds. Although, it would assist me in losing a few pounds.
Following the visit to Tata, we ventured to FabIndia which is like the GAP of sarees and Indian clothing. The scarves were beautiful except the fabric was itchy to the touch and my snobbery for couture kicked in so I only bought one scarf. Later on the trip, I will find myself buying over-priced scarves just because they came from a fancy Indian shopping mall and they’re soft like Charmin Ultra.
R: After some shopping at FabIndia, we headed off to look as some local art. A modern art gallery with some stunning sculpture carved by hand. The sculptures were larger than life, carved from sevine and teak, painted in vibrant colors. They depicted human struggles with relationships, social pressures and family. Again, nothing like what I expected from Indian artists.
E: That artist definitely had a lot of time on his hands. Following the exhibit, the ‘Puter Hub and I attempted to shop at the street-lined markets. Upon being hassled by eight Indians to purchase a wooden elephant for 10 rupees, we needed air so we indulged in a few Kingfishers at Café Mondegar with various European, Canadian and American travelers.
R: Then, we enjoyed more delectable Indian cuisine at Leopold’s, a famous Mumbai watering hole. Tower after tower of beer made quick work of the late afternoon and soon rolled into night.