It’s been a few days here in this land with more population than ours but there is nothing callous about it. I love my country but I can see how people make their nation great. It is very small things from keeping the roads clean to let the traffic lights get green to move ahead; from humbly feeling bad as a taxi driver for taking the wrong route and switching off the metre to waive off the extra miles to taking the noodles with pork off the table after misunderstanding our ‘pack it’ and then not charging even when we had eaten out of the bowl…
It is these tiny things that makes you question yourself ‘can’t we do it?’ Anyway, I don’t want to be the guy who looks down upon their nations when they get outside it. But, these are the experiences which stay with you as these are very much doable. We have the same population but Beijing is not chaotic and there is no anarchy in behaviour on road, malls or restaurants. It looks organised.
No one speaks English here on the road. There is no colonial fascination with English as there is no need of it. Our office is a global corporate so only a fraction of the Chinese staff is able to speak or understand the language properly. And, they come to know I can speak Hindi as well, they are appalled that I know two languages with some command.
The food has been a revelation. Don’t even assume that what we eat in the name of chowmin, momos or dimsums are anywhere closer to what they have here. The flavours are completely different, there are no sauces other than soya sauce. One of the places’ top spicy meal was just a mild one with red chilli powder in it. Chicken is used or eaten in very limited way. Daily lunch or dinner has pork or beef in abundance. Also, boiled vegetable is almost half part of the meal here.
The restaurants serve hot water when you ask for it. They don’t serve any water at all. Of course they don’t charge you money, but unlike India where water is the first thing to be served, Beijing restaurants don’t serve it at all. You will leave the table without having any water.
In relation to water, the morning ritual is also without water. I had no idea they would do this here in the Eastern part of the world. I expected at least a water jet or hand shower or something!
The team mates from China- Celia, Steve, Yufei, Marie and Anise- have been taking good care of us from getting us to proper eating joints to fetching taxi for us. Yes, fetching a taxi, when you don’t know the language, can be a real pain. We still show the printed paper with office address in Chinese so that the guy gets it.
Taxis are very well equipped, most of them fitted with iPhone 6, 6S and maps running on to it. The drivers don’t show off their formula one skills and follow the traffic rules unlike Indian auto guys who will make sure that you go their way. Taxi driver just needs to know the destination. No questions asked, he will dictate it to the map, map generates the shortest route and he sticks to it.
I don’t know how other parts of China are, but in these few days people have been kind, hosts (office colleagues) have been more than welcoming in their attitude, treating us as their family. Celia is our boss and she printed out maps for us, marked areas where we can go and eat proper food, makes sure we get to our hotels properly and are comfortable.
I am generally a skeptical person who doesn’t want to get out of even Delhi, let alone India. However, the way things are going on, even for just a few days, it feels awesome being here.
No, it is not the charm of visiting a foreign land which is a middle class boy’s dream! It is the way the employees are being taken care off.
The office building is one of a kind architecture. It was an abandoned factory and things have been redone, as I am told. There is no false ceiling, rather the wires, air vents, pipes, light suspension rods are all bare, in white paint and exposed, which looks pretty interesting. The glass building not only allows lot of sunlight to come, making it eco friendly, at the same time the glasses must be helping in the winters keeping it warm by trapping the abundant sunlight.
You have a theatre, snooker tables, gym, yoga rooms, table tennis, on the ground kind-of-an aquarium for a pleasing sight, apart from cafeteria and pantry on all the floors where you can go get fruits and beverage etc whenever you wish to. There are resting places in various designs where you can actually take a nap. You are independent to work on your work station or move around for cosier places.
I know, many IT places have some of these facilities but I haven’t seen any office like this. I mean, there are green plants around every single workstation. There are air purifiers (which the company manufactures) in each of the bays to keep the air cleaner.
These are not some out of the world ideas but totally in contrast with normal offices which treats its employees like slaves. I remember my ex-boss asking me ‘why do people look happy in the office, they should be tense!’
Contrast that attitude with this one!
Will keep you people posted about more things, for now, I think this is good enough.