Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Executive Visit

Last week we had the privilege of hosting Bob Ulrich, our CEO from Target, as he made his final "official" visit to Target India now that he is retiring. Bob was accompanied by the rest of the executive team consisting of Presidents, Executive Vice Presidents, and other executive officers and leaders from the company, including our EVP of HR, Jodee Kozlak.

Over the two-day visit we were able to mingle in events both formal and casual, participate in presentations, and celebrate the wonderful accomplishments of Target India over the past couple of years. It was nice to finally have the opportunity to meet some of the other Target Corporation executives and chat with them about our experiences at Target India.

One of the highlights of the visit came when the Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO), or non-profits groups, presented a show as part of our Target Community Relations program. There were several groups of musicians, dancers, and speakers throughout this one-hour presentation, and the performances were wonderful. The program contained a mix of traditional and modern Indian music and dancing, and key messages from Target executives and our NGO partners. It's great to see that even though we may be thousands of miles from Target headquarters in Minneapolis, we continue to reach out and serve in the communities where our team members work and live. I feel very proud to be a part of an organization and that continues to give back, and it was nice to see the appreciation and gratitude expressed by the community.

I love Target!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Paul's Cheesy Housewarming Party

This weekend Paul, our Sr. Group Manager for OE here at Target India, had his "official" housewarming party for our Training & Development and Six Sigma team members. Since Paul lives here in Zen Gardens (aka Expat Central or "EPC", as it's affectionately known...), I didn't have too far to travel! There was a nice turnout with members from both teams and some spouses and neighbors. There was plenty of food cooked by Sheela (the cook Paul and I shared when I first got here), so I was able to taste some familiar delicious Indian specialities--her samosas are some of the best I've had... mmmmm.

We all ate, talked, laughed, and shared stories. As expats we've all brought our little "pieces of home" with us... and since Paul is from Wisconsin and an avid Packer fan, he brought a few of his favorite homeland keepsakes with him to India. So, naturally, curiosity got the best of us. At one point during the evening Aparna came into the living room wearing the crown jewel of Green Bay, Wisconsin--the official "cheese head". Everyone loved it! Paul told the story about the famous Wisconsin headwear, and then, of course, everyone wanted to try it on. Luckily, I brought my camera so everyone could get a picture wearing the cheese head. It was good fun for all. Thanks, Paul, for the fantastic "cheesy" housewarming party!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Bangalore Walks

This weekend I went on a tour of Bangalore with Bangalore Walks, a journey through 500 years of history in 4 hours. This tour is one of the most popular among overseas visitors and expats, and is not a sightseeing tour--rather, it is an interactive introduction to Indian culture in parts of Bangalore that most expats (and even locals!) are unlikely to have visited. It includes short walks, along with portions driven by an air-conditioned bus, and moves from point-to-point over the 4-hour period. The tour was followed by a fantastic lunch at Ebony, a restaurant on the 13th Floor, a local favorite spot.

Andi, Mike, and Michael (from Target) joined me along with several other international expats and visitors from the Bangalore Expat Club (BEC) for this enlightening tour of old and new Bangalore and its rich history. It included visiting the legacies left behind by the British, French, and other nations of the world. India has been a foundation for so many of the world's influences--from the exportation of exotic spices, to being the home of a young Winston Churchill. Many battles have been won and lost on Indian soil, and if Napolean would have made it past Egypt to India in 1799, Indians may very well be speaking French today. Je trouve cela incroyable!

One of the most fascinating parts of the tour was visiting a Hindu temple and learning more about the different customs and traditions of Hinduism. Since 80% of population of India are Hindus, I wanted to learn more about the foundations behind their belief system. It was interesting to learn that Hinduism is not as much a formal "religion" as a philosophy about tuning into God within you. The Hindu teachings recognize a single God/Source, and view other Gods and Goddesses as manifestations or aspects of that supreme God (sound familiar...?) The Hindu religion brings a tolerance that allows for different stages of worship, different and personal expressions of devotion, and even different Gods to guide your life on this earth. Fascinating. I was once again reminded how so much of spirituality is deeply within us; our religions just manifest this common understanding in different ways. Our physical and emotional bodies may be different, but our spiritual bodies are One--we are cut from the same cloth. And when it comes down to it, isn't that what really counts?

See beyond the body and mind;
see the spirit within each of us.


Sunday, February 3, 2008

The Colors of India

As I approach my third month of living in India, I wanted to assemble a small collection of my favorite images showcasing some of the amazing colors I get to experience in this beautiful country. I used a nifty program called Color Select Studio to assist me with the b&w/coloring effects; however, all of the colors you see are the authentic colors brought back into the picture. For comparison you can find most of these original pictures in my slide shows and/or my Picasa online galleries, so feel free to check them out. If you want to know more information about any of the pictures, please drop me a note (this is the carrot to connect with me :o)
Enjoy the gallery.

Let me show you the world through my eyes.