Home > Uncategorized > Pune Diaries – 28 Oct – Diwali

Pune Diaries – 28 Oct – Diwali

diwali It’s non-stop fireworks outside and Diwali is in full swing and work stopped today. The hotel I am is covered with floor decorations similar to the one to the left.

Stood outside last night with the General Manager of the hotel, Ravi Pillai, while his staff fed us Diwali sweets and wine, I had an interesting chat with him about his hotel and how it is doing at the moment.

The economic crisis is hurting him and Diwali is a quiet time for anyway. There was a group of French tourists in for a couple of nights which was unusual but which was very welcome.

It seems that business is touch and so most of his customers are staying away to save money. Over 60% of his customers are Europeans and, despite the rapid development of the Indian economy, business has slowed right down. People were working in the hotel today renovating it. For such a  big festival people need the work so they will work on any day they can.

The amount of building work going on in Pune is staggering. Major business like Microsoft and O2 are moving here to take advantage of the skilled workforce here. But still, the advantage that India had in wage competitiveness was starkly illustrated by a senior executive at 3 Mobile here recently when he told Leo (the boss) that whereas a couple of years ago he could employ four Indians to every one European, he can now only employ three Indians.

My driver, Yusuf, diligently picks me up from the office at 1-30am each morning and is as keen as mustard to help me out by picking me up and dropping me off at anytime I want. I tip him about Rs 200 a day which is about £2-30 but I hear that that is generous.  The work ethic here is strong out of necessity rather than desire. There is no social security.

Happy Diwali!

Diwali floor decoration

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