Expatriates in Hyderabad Interview

A brief interview with Biligiri Ranga from Primetime PRISM magazine.
What are the things at your place of work that impresses you here? Could u pinpoint the differences between working conditions here and the place you come from?
The working conditions in Hyderabad are very different and yet the same as those of most US offices. If you’re working in a multi-national company, the offices run at an international level of quality standards. On the other hand, you do sometimes deal with Internet outages and other problems with the infrastructure that typically are not experienced in US offices. Separate from the infrastructure though is the quality of the people and the sense of community in most offices there. I had the feeling that people work together more closely and collaboratively to ensure the team is successful, whereas in the west, commonly people work more independently.
What is about Hyderabad that impresses you? How do u see the city compared to other Indian metros like Mumbai, Bangalore, Delhi, Chandigarh, Chennai, Pune, etc?
What stood out most to me was the vision of Chandrababu Naidu. The High Tech City design was well thought through. Pushing the business parks outside of the city helped to not overwhelm the city such as what has happened in Bangalore. Additionally, I noticed a different sense of pride in how the city is maintained. For example, there is more energy put in to finishing sidewalks and landscaping for the main roads. These small things make a difference on how a city is perceived by an outsider. Culturally though, I believe Hyderabad is quite different than the other major metros. It’s a more conservative culture than that of Mumbai and Delhi, which I think has benefits and negatives. The benefits are it will slow the pace of change and probably keep the culture from widely detracting from the local history. However, it can also make it more challenging to inspire the young talent of today to live there. Many of these folks want to be in the places that allow them to think and behave more freely.
What’s your take about lifestyle conditions here? Is it reasonable? And how do u find the people here?
The first thing I head about that was immediately validated was “Hyderbady Hospitality”. In Hyderabad there is a sense of community that is much stronger than the other metros. I think people there are genuinely more interested in their neighbor succeeding. This helps the business community continue to grow and succeed. As for lifestyle conditions, I think it depends on what you compare it to. Obviously, the conditions in Hyderabad are not of the same standards of those of Singapore. But, I think things are more comfortable than the other major metros of India. For example, the air pollution is much less in Hyderabad than Bangalore. Then again, it can get quite hot in Hyderabad!
How do u find the social and entertainment scene in the city? Any changes u suggest to make it more lively?
I think Hyderabad is doing quite well in this category. On my most recent visit last fall I was really excited about how many new exciting restaurants there are. People in Hyderabad are huge foodies and the energy of that inspires great Chefs to setup shop in very creative and diverse ways. I would like to see the pub closing times extended though as most of us in the business community work too much and can’t make it out until later for dinner and drinks. Overall though, I had an incredible time when living there. Most of my time was spent in 10D’s, Touch and Cinnabar Red, but others like Liquids and Bottles and Chimney’s kept me well entertained. There was always a great energy within the small community that took full advantage of the “night life” of Hyderabad. People are much friendlier in the pubs of Hyderabad than Mumbai or Delhi, which makes it fun to grab a pint.
How do you see India of today compared to past? Also, do u feel it has the potential to catch up with the West?
I think India has the potential to surpass the West. The trick will be for it to keep its artistic energy, sense of community and passion for life. If it falls into the grind of US and Japanese business culture too much, it will stagnate. I think the other keys are continuing to open up the market to foreign investment and ownership to allow more competition and opportunity. In 1991, as Finance Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh championed many reforms that led to the latest boom in India. India was finally free of its chains to show the world what it is capable of. However, there are still many legacy laws that constrain the entrepreneurs of tomorrow. Continuing where he left off would allow India to not only keep pace with China, but potentially surpass it. There is still an incredible amount of talent in India that is not being tapped due to infrastructure issues and legal constraints. Solving some of these will be the catalyst for India to run pace with everyone else on the international front. That said, I think there are some great projects underway such as those being implemented by the National Highways Authority of India. Connecting the countries main metros will allow better exchange of goods and services that will increase commerce and allow more people to be rewarded better for the fruits of their labor. With this in mind, I think the next major focus should be on land titles and ownership such as to create a better system to release the capital locked in the real estate.
Any suggestions u have to make the city a better place?
Focus less on subsidization and more on finding more creative ways for everyone to be successful. Hyderabad will need to continue to keep focused on inspiring and attracting the talent. In order to do that, it will need to continue to provide the support needed to grow business. This includes investing in education and infrastructure.
Do u think India should team up more with the Western World in these days of terrorism, and global warming?
Yes, I think India has a responsibility to help combat the issues facing our world. However, the biggest way it can support these efforts are helping its people have more opportunity. Again, investments in education, reforms in the legal system and more legal support for land ownership will help people get out of poverty and not feel lost. When people are struggling and lost in life, they can be caught up in some of these negative activities, but when they can stand on their own, they find their own way.
Do u think India will reach its true potential by allying with the Western world?
India will reach its true potential by letting itself follow its own dreams.

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