Letter From New York 03 25 15 First full day in Delhi…

It is late afternoon in Delhi and I am just back at India International Center where I am staying, after spending the afternoon with my friend Raja Choudury. We made a drive past Connaught Place where I commented that it was much better looking than I remembered it. He said yes, they had done much to clean it up over the last years. It was, twenty years ago, one of the great shopping areas of Delhi but it also looked like a rundown claptrap of a place. Now it is white and shiny again.

We went on from there to the Oberoi Hotel where we lunched at Taipan, a dim sum restaurant on the top floor with views out across Delhi, the sky tinged with the pollution for which the city is famous. It was a long and leisurely lunch; with Raja catching me up on the work he is doing, including the launching of a new web adventure, onegreatidea.com.

This was the first time that Raja and I had met in person. We have known each other for years. He encountered me on LinkedIn and asked me for some help with a project that he was working on, which I was, luckily, able to provide. We have continued talking and skypeing but in all this time we haven’t met each other in person so today was a good day.

Tomorrow, all of India will come to almost to a halt. It is the day of a cricket game between India and Australia and is, according to reports, the biggest game in years. A huge number of Indians are going to call in sick. It’s the game NOT to be missed, a bit like asking people to work during the Super Bowl in the U.S.

So I should be able to get around quite easily tomorrow. I am going to delve into my tour books and determine what I would like to see. Today, I visited India Gate and drove by the President’s House and the Houses of Parliament, great, grand structures built in the last days of the Raj. Back then; I think the President’s House was the Viceroy’s Palace.

It was in the 90’s here but not yet humid so it didn’t feel so bad. In my room, I have the air conditioning running and the fan turning. The IIC, India International Center, is a private club on the nature of the Yale Club or Harvard Club in New York though very Indian in feel. The accommodations are nice if rather Spartan compared with the Oberoi but very adequate with excellent Wi-Fi.

As far as I can tell, I am the only American staying here; the rest are from all over India. In the bar, groups huddle together discussing business or art. Last night, I read and sipped Johnny Walker.

Being in India, I am very careful about the water. No ice cubes. I only drink what can be drunk neat.

This morning there was an Indian paper at my door, mostly filled with news I had read online before going of to bed.

Getting back from tour round Delhi, I went online and found the, to me, blockbuster news that Heinz and Kraft Foods are to merge, becoming Heinz Kraft, in a deal nurtured by legendary investor Warren Buffet with a Brazilian investment company.

My, oh my!

There is a new Steve Jobs biography out, “Becoming Steve Jobs” that is reputedly better than Walter Isaacson’s “Steve Jobs.” He still comes across as monumentally conflicted but a bit more human, according to reviews.

In a case of life imitating art, Jon Hamm, Don Draper in “Mad Men,” has just exited a 30-day program for alcohol rehab. Years of playing the world’s most famous alcoholic may have found its reflection in Hamm’s own life. I wish him well. The last season of “Mad Men” starts soon.

In the category of the world is challenging: The UN last year announced that same sex married couples could receive the same benefits of married straight couples. Russia introduced a resolution to withdraw benefits from same sex married couples. 43 countries, including India, China and the UAE, supported it. It was defeated. 80 countries voted against the resolution and 37 abstained.

The day is drawing to a close as the day begins in America. I am going to work on my speech again and then go read for a while before an early night. I feel good but one more good’s night sleep would be a great thing.

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