Thursday, February 27, 2014

Weekend in Shimla and Agra

Last weekend, the team split up into three groups: 1 group went to Agra to see the Taj Mahal, another went to Shimla to the mountains, and Pierre stayed in Ludhiana to enjoy the local sights.

LUDHIANA: Pierre had a great weekend in Ludhiana and hung out with Jaspreet for the weekend.  He went shopping and even attended a wedding!

AGRA: The Agra Group said:

The Taj Mahal "crown of palaces" is a white marble mausoleum located in AgraUttar PradeshIndia. It was built by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his third wife, Mumtaz Mahal. The Taj Mahal is widely recognized as "the jewel of Muslim art in India and one of the universally admired masterpieces of the world's heritage.
At first when you enter there's a huge entrance like a forth with the otomani influences on the architecture 
Once you enter you can perceive a change in the atmosphere, like your crossing the line to another dimension , like traveling on time (goosebumps) and when you cross the door suddenly at the distance seems to appear a living legend
Add caption
At first was a little foggy and blurry but the my best friend "the sun" decided to join us in this amazing moment, it was just magic with a touch of mysticism.
The environment was just perfect to be there, quiet, reflexive and calm.
SHIMLA: The Shimla group said:

"Himachal Pradesh what a beautiful part of India..."

View from the main square

The weather was nice and we had the chance to visit most of the places which connects the Shimla Heritage Walk on Saturday.

We started our walk with the Jakhoo Temple, which is the main temple of the Hindu God Hanuman. The temple is at the top of the Jakhoo mountain 2.455m above see level.

The entrance
Hanuman sculpture (around 32m)
Dimitri, Anneliese myself and Lukas

Is he hungry?

The temple of Hanuman

As you can see from the pictures that place - Shimla itself as well - is a favorite place for the monkeys. Most of them are friendly, but some of them can be very aggressive as well.

We continued our trip in Shimla and we stopped for a street food at the local Lakkar Bazar. We saw some red himalayan carrots. In Shimla center we found lot of nice places which British colonial architecture beauty goes back to the neo- Gothic structure as well.

The Himalayan carrots
Lakkar Bazar

We arrived back to the Hotel at Sunday evening and feel re-energized after this great weekend.
#ibmcsc #india22

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Last week in a post

The India 22 subteams had a very productive week. We are all starting to feel the pressure as the final presentation date gets closer, but we can already see some good results in front of us. Below you can see what each subteam achieved last week:

Bharti Foundation Team:

The Bharti foundation team had the pleasure of meeting with Barthi Foundation’s VP, Mrs Mamta Saikia. She involved the team on a teacher recognition event and shared her ideas and perspectives with the team. Also, during two days, the team attended to the teacher’s math training and had the opportunity to observe the quality and effectiveness of the training. On Thursday, the team hit the road again and visited two different schools the Ludhiana West district. The team was able to observe some classes and also received welcome cards from the students.  It was great seeing once again the quality of the schools and the engagement of teachers and employees. 

LSRM Team:

Last week, the LSRM team continued gathering data for their needs assessment using focus groups, an employee survey, and interviews with employee families.  They are focused on developing a Corporate Social Responsibility education program for girl children, starting with the girl children of LSRM employees.  To better understand how to structure this program, they conducted focus groups with employees and local NGOs (Bharti and Swabhimaan), interviewed 5 employees, girl children, and employee wives, and continued surveying employees.  During their home visits, the employee families were very gracious hosts and it was wonderful to sit in their homes and talk with them about their children's education.  The team really enjoyed talking with the 2 NGOs and over 50 LSRM employees to learn more about the educational challenges and opportunities in Ludhiana and Punjab.   

Swabhimaan Team:

The Swabhimaan team had an eventful week last week. Monday the team went to a wedding in the evening. Tuesday they went to the Swabhimaan school and interviewed children, parents and teachers and in the afternoon celebrated Kazu's birthday and later in the evening 6 of the CSC members went to the clients house for dinner and more birthday celebrations. Wednesday the team had another successful day in the office and in the evening went to their other client’s house for dinner. Friday was their 2nd week status meeting where they presented where the team was in their respective pieces of the project. The team had more partners than they typically work with at the meeting. The meeting was very heated and full of discussion, but all in all it was a successful meeting.  They were all ready to hit the road on their respectful journeys, Shimla and Agra to see the Taj Mahal.

PAU Team:

The PAU's team objective for the week was to map out the process of student semester registration. There were several discussions with the CTC (Chief Teaching Committee) staff to get initial input, followed by a mapping of the workflow and then several revision meetings. Here is the team discussing with the main process stakeholders.

But the week was not only hard work… We had another great dinner at Jaspreed’s house. His parents prepared some traditional Punjabi dishes, including the famous “Gol Gappa”. As usual, we ate a lot! Along with the food, we enjoyed a traditional Bollywood movie! Lots of fun and loud music...

Another highlight of the week was Kazu’s birthday!! Happy Birthday Kazu!!!

#ibmcsc india

Monday, February 17, 2014

Weekend - Shopping and day trip to Amritsar

15th Feb. on Saturday was a relaxing and shopping day at here in Ludhiana. Some of us went to shopping to Fabindia where is a traditional indian clothes store.  Before arrived at Fabindia, we tried to mount an elephant and that was amazing experience.

16th Feb. on Sunday, we went a day trip to Amristar and Wagah Boader.
From Ludhiana to Amritsar, we had almost 4 hours travel by bus and the road isn't paved so the bus was sooooooo bumping!!

Amritsar is famous as a holy ground for Sikh religion. We all covered our whole head by fabric and remove shoes off and finally entered to the golden temple.

After that, we ate some indian foods at langar ( that is in general for common kitchen/canteen where food is served in a temple to all the visitors for free). It was also amazing experience.

After we visited Amristar / Golden Temple, we went to Wagah Border that is a India-Pakistan border. Border Security Force were marching and some girls were dancing on Panjabi music.

We had a great weekend and now it's back to work.

#ibmcsc india 22

Saturday, February 15, 2014

First week went by so fast

Each team was working hard as the first week slowly came to an end. We had started deeper discussions with our clients, understood what their expectations were, did our best to be realistic about what could be provided in only 4 weeks and finally started to get some work done. The results of any adjustments we had done went into the finalized SoWs. Each team returned to the hotel with a sense of accomplishment.

The Swabhimaan team discussing with their client.

2 members of the PAU team returning to the hotel and taking a picture with the driver.

The Ludhiana Steel Rolling Mills team meeting one of the families.

The Bharti Foundation team visiting a school:

We had planned a full weekend and also an exciting evening activity - dinner with our local guide Jaspreet, who had invited us to his home to meet his parents and have a traditional dinner. It was a great evening. We enjoyed delicious food and met a wonderful family.

Here is a picture of Cathy with our hosts.

Anneliese made a short food-dictionary for us to remember.

It was a relaxing evening that we will remember for a long time. Thank you Jaspreet for the invitation!

#ibmcsc india 22

Friday, February 14, 2014

First day at client locations

This morning everyone got ready to head out to client locations except for the Bharti Foundation team which was staying at the hotel to create a strategy and an initial presentation.   The mood at breakfast was one of excitement and curiosity of what the day will bring.

Shruti was all ready to accompany each team to their clients and spend some time with each team.  At lunch she was back at the hotel and went to lunch with the Bharti Foundation team.

Throughout the day various updates were being shared but the real excitement started when everyone returned and met for a debriefing in the team room.

Ludhiana steel went to the factory and met their clients there.   They had an opportunity to see steel being made which was exciting.

PAU team got to finally meet with the Dean and his staff and got a tour of the University.

Swabhiman team seemed to have the most exciting experience as they went to see actual schools and interact with the children.

After the debrief we had a surprise party in the hotel for Shruti who is departing on Wednesday and will not be back until the end of the assignment.   The party turned out to be a hit and we all had a great chance to discuss more of the experiences of the day.   Everyone went to bed probably a bit too late but in great spirits and excited for what the next day will bring.

#IBMCSC India 22

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

First meetings with our clients

We had our "kick-off" meeting with our clients and partners in the Hotel's
- Ludhiana Fortune Klassik  - Ball Room on 10th February, where we could finally meet them face to face.

The kick off meeting was started by Shruti Chakravarty Program Manager and by Ms Mamtha Sharma, the Corporate citizenship manager of IBM India, followed by brief (but very interesting) introduction of IBMs presence in Punjab by  Dinkar Adhlaka - IBM Branch / Sales Unit Leader,General Business 

Ms Mamtha Sharma, IBM

Shruti Chakravarty, Pyxera

Rafal, Bernardo, Alessandra and their Clients (Bharti Foundations)

Alessandra, Rafal, Bernardo

Lukas, Anneliese, Peter

Pierre, Dmytro, Cristian

Kazu, Cathy & Eduardo
We had a lunch and afterwards during the break out session we, the program participants and our designated client met together and discussed the scopes of work and next steps.

In the evening we went out for a nice dinner to the suggested restaurant by our local consultant Japsreet, called "The yellow chilli" , just to say "farewell" to Mamtha as she wont stay with us in the coming weeks at Ludhiana.

Mango chatney, pickled onions, indian pickle & Murgh Ke Mukul

#ibmcsc india 22