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in love with India... Saturday, March 31, 2007My blog

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This blog was mainly about my Erasmus in India. In other words, my impressions during my exchange program at IIMB (Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore). As a potential tourist in India, one might also find useful information and advices on my blog. More than 200 posts and one year of blogging! Don't hesitate to comment!

My blog was initially written for my friends and relatives. Few of them read it on a regular basis. What they want is to hear me TALK about my life in India Me, passionate, almost hysterical... Strangely, my readership is a lot more diverse and large than expected. On one side, many Indians end up on my blog via the "indianblogger" ranking. On the other, many indiafreaks, expatriates and exchange students visit my blog to learn more about the country and to ask me specific questions.

As I'm back in India, this blog currently relates my personal life as an expat. For more informative posts about the country and/or my previous travel experiences, check the sidebar.

The author: Elise Balance Solvay Business School (Belgium)

Blogs: Erasmus at IIMB, Tavelling in India, Indian temptation

NB: Links to other posts and to ads are respectively in red and green in the text.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007Looking for... Wondering if you possibly know where to find Hindi and Indian dance classes in South Delhi, near Alak Nanda market. SourceThanks in advance! Saturday, March 10, 2007Proud to be a Belgian: trade At last, a fifth part Pune, July 21: IT is not the usual suspects - the US or the UK firms - that have emerged on top of the Pune investment brigade. The latest source of fund flow is the 'Land of Tintin' famous for its beer and chocolates. Belgian companies, having already marked their presence in Pune's industrial belt, will be pumping in close to 20 million euro in the next year, mostly for expansion. No wonder then that the consulate has decided to celebrate the Belgian national day in Pune on Friday.


A few facts Trade Belgium has emerged India's second largest trade partners within EU with bilateral trade in 2004 at 6.49 billion euros, 75% of which is in diamonds. India's aim is to diversify bilateral trade which is dominated by diamonds to areas of information and communication technology, pharmaceuticals, biotechnology where there is a tremendous potential for synergy. Major items of Indian exports to Belgium are iron & steel products, minerals fuels, oils and products thereof, apparels and clothing accessories, organic chemicals, fishery products, man made staple fibres, electrical machinery etc. Major items of imports to India from Belgium are precious stones and metals, boilers, machinery and mechanical appliances, iron & steel products, pharmaceuticals, organic chemicals, plastic & its products, electrical machinery & equipments, photographic & cinematography equipments, measuring equipment, wood pulp etc. Trade volume between the two countries has increased in a sustained manner since 1993. However, given the size of the India market on one side and the role Belgium could play as a privileged gateway to Europe for Indian products on the other, there are several areas of economic cooperation, where true opportunities can exist. India is having deficit balance of trade with a number of countries. At the end of fiscal 2001-02, it has unfavourable balance of trade (in US$ million) with countries like Belgium, Germany, UK, Sweden, Finland and Austria. The list was led by Belgium (-1372.38) followed by UK (-402.33), Sweden (-247.44), Germany (-239.75) and Finland (-92.34). Investment Today, Belgium is the 9th ranking investor nation in India. According to the Secretariat for Industrial Assistance(SIA) Belgium's total investment approvals into India for the period 1991- Sep.,2004 touched a record figure of Rs. 46,402.5 million (approx. US $ 1.2 billion), with 1998 being a particularly good year account for about 80% of this amount. The actual investment flows for this period, however, have not kept pace with the approvals. There are an estimated 231 joint ventures, most in the small and medium category. The institutional framework for economics, commercial and technological cooperation is well established with the entry into force of the Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement and the Bilateral Investment Promotion Agreement in 1997 and of the Agreement on Economics, Industrial, Scientific and Technological Cooperation in 1990. Credit line Belgium has made available to India a credit line of approx. US$ 6.6 million for execution of specific development projects. Part of the fund was utilized for setting up electronic postal system in Mumbai in 1995. Subsequently a portion of the credit was used of setting up of a Cyclotron plant in Calcutta in 1999. Indian companies in Belgium Indian software companies in Belgium such as TCS. TATA Infotech, HCl and Infosys have set up offices in Brussels and are doing business with Belgian companies. There are also several Indian IT professional employed by Belgian companies executing on-sight IT projects from time to time. Indian residents in Belgium The estimated number of Indian nationals and people if Indian origin resident in Belgium are about 7000. In addition, there are about 25000 Indian children adopted by Belgium parents. Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4.

Sunday, March 04, 2007Holi, the festival of colors Holi is is an annual and popular Hindu spring festival. It takes place over two days in the later part of February or early March. On the first day, a bonfire is lit at night to signify burning Holika. On the second day, known as Dhulandi, people go around until afternoon throwing colored powder and water at each other. A special drink called thandai is prepared, sometimes containing bhang.


Ready to throw some colors! Most AIESEC trainees were to celebrate Holi together. But before that, I had to safely reach the meeting point. My mobile carefully wrapped into a small plastic bag, I left my place at around 11am wearing my oldest clothes. As my flat is in a really narrow street, the first challenge was to get out of it without being hit by the water thrown from the numerous balconies. Unsuccessful. Completely wet, I finally found a rickshaw to bring me to Lajpat Nagar. On the way, I had to get out of the auto to buy some colors and some festive kids took the opportunity to throw me some green powder. The game had started ;o) Late (as usual), we finally left the traineehouse in Lajpat Nagar. The Delhi AIESEC members who had (as usual) organized the party didn't know (as usual) the way. Packed in three jeeps, we drove north for about an hour. The place was great. The house was of normal size but the garden was huge and really appropriate to play Holi. When we reached the property, dozens of colored kids were already chasing each others. We spend the whole afternoon throwing colors and water, dancing, drinking and playing soccer. Lot of fun! Coming back by metro and rickshaw, I reached my place at around 10pm. The second part of the game was about to start and, trust me, it was really less enjoyable. Two hours in the bathroom later, I finally emerged almost clean. I had put some oil in my hair to protect them from the paintings but unlike the other trainees, I hadn't also covered my face with it. Big mistake

Thursday, February 15, 2007The Smart Cube With offices in the US, UK and India, The Smart Cube (TSC) is a small and dynamic company specialized in market research. The Delhi office is located in Kalkaji where over 80 people work enthusiastically to bring the best to their foreign clients. I've been working there for the past six weeks and so far my internship has been enjoyable: a young and self-motivated staff, diverse projects, a pleasant work atmosphere and a flexible schedule as long as the deadlines are met. 20 of us joined TSC over the past 50 days linked to a high turnover in the industry and the need of a growing company for more employees. People work hard and smart. A seasonality effect? The fiscal year will end soon and, hence, the pressure for fat bonuses is higher ;o) Let's wait and see

Working hard... at a company party!

Friday, February 09, 2007Parents discovering India Friday night, the bell rang My parents had just arrived in Delhi and were going to spend the next three days with me. Lost, they had reached my place later than expected. They dropped their bags which I quickly opened to extract the highly expected kilos of chocolate, the wine and champagne, the cheese, the sauces, my sari, and the few other things I had asked them to bring. It was already 2am and they were exhausted by their Belgium-Italy-India journey. It had been a long day Time to sleep! We put the two coaches together and they went to bed trying not to pay attention to the inevitable cockroaches. I got up early the next day, took my shower, went out to buy some bread and the newspaper, made some bournvita and some toasts, and woke them up. After a quick breakfast, they bravely washed themselves with cold water and we went out of the flat. Then only, they fully realized they were in India: the cows, the abandoned dogs, the auto-rickshaws, the dirt, the small shops, the language, the colorful clothes, the people, the smell, the beggars, the badly maintained streets, the piles of garbage, the stares, the crowd After a bit of bargaining, we caught a rickshaw and went to Connaught Place. The rain had started falling and the place seemed deserted. Disappointed, we roamed around, having food here and there and finishing the day at Dilly Haat. We didn't do much on our first day. Let's call that the 'adjustment period'.

Would be great if someone could explain me what they have on their heads

One the second day, as we had a driver, we circulated faster and more efficiently in the city. In the morning, we went to the Parliament, the President Palace, India Gate and Gandhi Park. After having lunch in Chandi Chowk, we visited the Red Fort, a bird hospital (totally unintentional) and a Mosque. On the way back to Alak Nanda, we also stopped at the Lotus Temple but the obligation to walk bare foot under the rain prevented my parents to visit the place. True, it would have been stupid to get sick on their first weekend in India All in all, it was a great day. The monuments were incontestably beautiful but honestly I lost my interest for tourist attractions. Being alone in a temple, enjoying the silence, would be more appealing to me than being crushed by hordes of tourists, Indian and non Indian, in a must-see place. Regarding my parents, I usually have a semi-distant relationship with them. I've been living on my own for so long that the family tights had loosened a bit. But I really enjoyed the weekend with them. I appreciate them coming to India partly to understand my live in/love for this country. They were also supposed to meet Vikas but unfortunately his placement requirements at IIMB had forced him to pre-pone his journey to Delhi. In short, I'm glad they came and I was proud of seeing them adapting so fast to the country. There were only two minor problems: 1) How to convince my mom not to smoke in public while I am a smoker myself? It really disturbed me to see her smoking outside. Female smokers are badly perceived in India. While it is changing a bit in the new generation, I never saw an Indian woman/adult smoking. 2) How to tell my dad that it was not really appropriate to take pictures in my neighborhood? My place is located in a low-income area far from all the tourist places. I never saw a foreigner nearby in a one-mile radius. Hence, we obviously didn't need a camera to attract more attention. My parents are now traveling in North India for 20 days. Among others, they will visit Jaipur, Agra, Benares and some small villages. They should be back in Delhi around the 1st of March. According to the last sms news, the Delhi belly made one more victim ;o)

About MeName: Elise Balance Location: Brussels, BE InteractE-mail me Make Money Rate my blog Advertise Here Sign Guestmap Take the survey Software expert? Proud to be an Indian? Kaun Banega Crorepati? Should foreign students join IIMB? Top Blogs Enter your email address below to subscribe to In love with India! 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Tuesday March 20 2007

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