I started reading the book (and inspiration for my blog title), India Calling, by Anand Giridharadas, a couple weeks ago. The author grew up in Cleveland, Ohio, and in his 20's, moved to India for a consulting position. It has been really interesting as an American to read about India from the perspective of an Indian-American because he is experiencing India as both a familiar and foreign place. In fact, I became so intrigued by the sights, smells, and cultural nuances described in the book that I stopped reading the book (and will pick it back up when I arrive) so that I can experience a direct connection to the author's words once I arrive in India.
As a Chinese and Business double major in college, my Asia experiences are limited to China, Korea, and Japan. Most of my (limited) knowledge about India comes from my the families of my Indian and Indian-American classmates and Indian colleagues. And, in such a large and diverse country, most of my classmates and colleagues are from all different regions, which have their own culture, language, food, etc. Thus, I'm excited to learn more about Ludhiana and India from the locals and my experiences.
I'm very grateful to IBM's Corporate Service Corps for sending me on this assignment to Ludhiana (in the Punjab state) and for giving us the opportunity to donate our consulting skills to very worthy organizations. I'm excited to be working with 11 other IBMers from around the world to help four Ludhiana organizations improve their programs, establish CSR initiatives, and strengthen their organizations. I will be working with the Steel Rolling Mills company to create a business plan for a more robust Corporate Social Responsibility department. We will be focusing on initiatives that promote girl's education, a topic about which I am very passionate.
Finally, I'm prepared to be immersed, challenged, and most of all, blown away by the awesome and inspiring work of our clients in Ludhiana! Stay tuned....