I have been in India for two weeks (I leave tomorrow, Saturday 13th) after being sent over to Bangalore as an Appcelerator Titanium consultant for a large services company that is based there. I won't bore you too much with what India is like - everything you've ever imagined about it is true. It's a land of great contrasts, both in the people themselves and the environment that surrounds them. You can buy a great lunch here fro a regular old cafe for around 50p (typically a curry with roti or rice), yet the high end shops here have stock that costs more than it does in Harrods. Road noise and congestion chokes up Bangalore's roads* during peak hours and it's not much better outside of that. Feral dogs and cats run wild everywhere. There really are cows wandering about in the middle of the street - often the cause of major traffic disruptions. More than once I saw a man riding a motorcycle with his wife on the back and a toddler up front - and he'd be the only one wearing a helmet (I later found out that this is because the law states it's mandatory for the rider to wear a helmet or they face a fine if caught - but the law doesn't mention anything about passengers).
The people I met and work with are all very nice and welcoming. The rickshaw drivers are a rather persistent pain but to be honest, that's no different to any major Asian city. Food is excellent providing you're a fan of Indian cuisine - occasionally I had to get something Western but when I did it was also excellent (try the Biere Club opposite UB City in central Bangalore - they microbrew the best American-style ale I've ever had). Coffee here is cheap, single origin and generally brilliant - the UK could learn a lot from the quality of coffee served at the chains here.
For us in the West who come from the software industry, Bangalore usually conjures up two immediate images - that this is where all those call-centre people are from, and that this is where much of the world outsources it's software development to. I can't pass any judgement on the former. I did, however, get to experience some of the outsourced software industry firsthand. Firstly, I should preface this by saying that everyone I worked with was both diligent and very capable in their jobs and I suspect that with the majority of the larger software development houses that this holds true for most of the developers there - these are more prestigious places to work and they tend to attract and retain better quality staff. It's not really until you're here you can see how some of the stereotypes we have about Indian developers come about - and to be honest, most of that seems cultural and pervasive through all areas of life in India. The people that I met, however were all extremely capable, dilligent and smart and changed my mind about how a good team of developers could be put together here in India. Expansion might be on the cards for Tipsy & Tumbler... you never know.
Now for some curry, cows and general craziness....
* I use the term "roads" loosely. Sometimes they're bitumen, more often than not a broken mix of old road and dirt track. I went through multiple overpasses that were just chaotic - no lights and seemingly no rules. Cars here don't run on gas but rather on a constant honking of the horn.