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First Week in India

I’m here! My first impressions of India pretty much align with what people told me ahead of time: lots of everything, rich and poor side-by-side, incredible density, crazy traffic, amazing and terrible smells. Mostly it’s just really exciting to be somewhere so different and try to make sense of how things work here.

My apartment, which I temporarily share with A. and M., is located in the Bandra neighborhood in the center/north of Mumbai. My office is nearby, just a mile away and I can either walk or take an auto rickshaw. The rickshaws are everywhere here and easily the most iconic vehicle on the street. They aren’t allowed south of Bandra for some reason, but I haven’t been into the central city yet so they’ve been swarming around me since I got here. They’re similar to a Vespa Ape that you might see in Italy, except with seating for 3 and meters for hire.

It’s working out okay to share an apartment since A. can show me the ropes and answer questions. One of the new things with the apartment is that every morning a women comes to clean and make food for the day. That’s right, everyday my kitchen gets refilled with a daily supply of  homemade Indian food. Speaking of food, I haven’t gone for a proper meal at a restaurant yet, so far it’s been really delicious, whether home cooked or takeout. I haven’t tried the street food yet, and some of it I should definitely avoid, but I’m trying to work up to it. I watched the No Reservations episode from Mumbai but it was pretty uninspiring — he mostly focused on gross out foods like brain. Come on Tony, don’t get all Andrew Zimmern on me.

Monsoon season has been living up to its reputation as well. It rains every day, many times throughout the day, and at least a once a day it’s hard enough to completely drench anyone caught outside even if they have an umbrella. It can be fun if you’re expecting it, which everyone is. Cricket games in the street continue as if nothing has changed and the traffic plows through the flooded streets unabated. It is quite nice since it cools things down, but it makes it a bit harder to explore the city.

Perfect for drunk dialing

One of the challenges in India will be finding a good time to communicate with friends and family back in the States. The majority of people I’ll talk to in realtime live in the Eastern or Central time zones, and Indian Standard Time doesn’t match up so nicely with most people’s schedules. I guess this is why outsourcing to India works so well.

I found the following chart that conveniently maps out the time differences. This will change in the Fall because India doesn’t observe Daylight Savings Time. On the upside, if you happen to have a bout of insomnia or want to catch up after the bars close then I’ll be wide awake.

Moving to India

In roughly 48 hours I’ll be on a plane to India and won’t be back home until mid-December. I’m going for work, to help out with the new IDEO Mumbai office that just opened. This trip is going to be include lots of firsts for me: first time living abroad, first time away from home for so long, first time in India, first time working in such a small office environment. Actually, the more I think about it the more I realize that nearly everything about this trip will be new experiences, which is what I’m most excited about.

If you want to keep up with me while I’m in India you’re in the right place, I plan to update this blog on a more frequent schedule. I’ll also be adding lots of photos to my Flickr account.

I should have consistent internet access while I’m there, including my iPhone. If you want to get in touch with me don’t call or text my normal number though. Skype is best (username: currentform), and I have a US phone number that redirects to my Skype account — just email me if you want it.

I’m super excited, but trying not to have too many expectations about what this experience will be like. I’m just going to roll with whatever happens and try to soak in as much as I can. If you have any tips, connections, must-see places, or warnings for me then please let me know.

Small Flock: Everyday micro-stories

I recently experimented with a personal challenge to write a very, very short story every day and used Twitter as a way of constraining myself to 140 characters. The stories don’t connect with each other or build off a singular theme — I just wanted write every day and see what kind of imagery or emotion I could create in such a short space.

Sometimes the stories came from events during my day, sometimes from my childhood, and often from my imagination. Because they’re so short, I see each one as just a pointer to a more complex moment or feeling. Anyway, after 100 days of writing micro-stories on Twitter the experiment has run its course.

The project was called Small Flock and is archived on a website I made ( to display each story, one at a time.

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