The Journal

Whimsical Cultural Lessons, From a Foreigner

1. "Can I have some coffee with my milk?"

Many Indians use coffee drinking as a way to get their daily milk intake. Since milk is unpasteurized, you have to boil it & this is a systematic way for people to get their calcium. I've gotten fairly used to the unique taste, but sometimes I wish I could actually taste some coffee.


Seeing Sights with Athletes

Five days, five cities. Hyderabad -> Chandigarh -> Delhi -> Agra -> Tirupur. Tired beyond belief. Encouraged. Nervous. Ready for tomorrow.

Chandigarh was like nothing I've ever experienced in India before. It was one of the first planned cities in the sub-continent, and one can really feel this effect. It's green, clean, organized, and calm. It was such a welcome relief from the hustle and grime of Hyderabad. I was there to discuss business opportunities in textile recycling, and left feeling rejuvenated from the wonderful hospitality and enlightening meetings. Unexpectedly I also met an Aussie who was in charge of organizing the opening ceremonies for the Commonwealth Games. It was great hearing his experiences and we certainly shared a laugh recalling our respective experiences of doing business in India. (Note: I've got so much to tell about these games but a lot I shouldn't share to the public at large. If we happen to be sharing a drink sometime in the near future and you want to hear more, just bring it up!)


Onto the next one

“I got a million ways to get it…”

It feels like there are a million options and uncertainties right now, but strangely, I’m feeling cautiously optimistic (much like the acquisition of LFC.) Today I’m off to the North to explore some options and new business ideas and partners. I’ll be around Delhi for about 5 days (around is a loose term here- I’ve got multiple 3-4 hour trains rides here and there.) After that I’ll be headed back South to Tirupur, where I should have the first finished Janum cloths! Should is the optimal word here but I’ve been putting a lot of pressure on the vendor there so I think I should get it.


Same Old Song and Dance

Taxi. Bus. Flight. Bus. Taxi. “Yes sir, we can do it.” Taxi. Bus. Flight. Bus. Taxi. “Yes sir, we can do it.” Taxi. Bus. Flight. Bus. Taxi. Home. Exhausted.

This has been the routine for the past week. Many forms of transport, many meetings, many promises which ultimately end up broken. Where to begin?

Coconut fiber continues to pose a grand challenge. The raw material itself is truly a wonder of nature, yet creating a scrubby made without any synthetics might have been too lofty a goal of mine. 3M has recently filed a patent for a scrubby made of 80% coir and 20% synthetic material and bound with a synthetic adhesive. One strong lesson I am learning is that sometimes it is impossible to make a chemical-free product that is also scalable. The latter part of that statement is massive. Creating scale with natural materials will often be a challenge to all manufacturers, not just for Janum.


Ever tried to pick up a lizard?

Let me tell you, it isn’t that easy. The little buggers slither so quickly you can barely get a grip on them.

This was the scenario I faced during my first morning in Tirupur. I awoke with excitement for the day’s meetings, only to be faced with the prospect of getting this baby lizard out of the bathtub. Now, I say baby lizard not only due to its small frame, but also because of it’s climbing inability. The little guy just couldn’t get himself up and out of the tub. A hilarious five minutes ensued where we danced around the bathroom, only for me to free him from my room so I could finally shower. But enough of this random anecdote… back to business.


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