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Saturday, January 31, 2015

Time Traveller

Tonight I ate at Time Traveller with Sonika, Sritama, Sridharshini, and Shobin, three young ladies and a man from Section C, Batch 19, at XIME.
Shobin, Sritama, Sridharshini, and Sonika, with their professor
These were the first students to ask me for a social meeting since my coming to Bangalore four weeks ago, and it was pure fun to go out with them.  I even let them buy me dinner, something I refuse to let students do in America.  But, I am not grading this course, my colleague and co-teacher Prof. Naseer Jaffer will do that, so at the students' insistence, I let them pay.

The students at XIME are a dedicated bunch. They have come here in their mid-twenties to gain a graduate degree in business.  Most of them are from technical fields as undergraduates, and their intelligence is unquestionable. Their dedication is demonstrated by the pace of work while here, and by the cloistered lifestyle of XIME.

How would my American and Romanian readers feel about attending four-to-five classes a day, five-and-a-half days per week, while required to be living in separate dormitories for men and women, with a 9:00 PM curfew for women students, and a 9:30 curfew for men, except for Saturdays, when the curfews are 30 minutes later?  But XIME students do it.  They do it because XIME is a serious academic institution, known for teaching to a world-class standard.  They do it because XIME graduates are very much in demand in Indian industry.

So, we went to the Indian-Singaporean Chinese restaurant Time Traveller here in the Electronics City section of Bangalore.  The food was different from any cuisine I have had before, spicy, vegetarian, and delicious.  The atmosphere was elegant, and the company charming.  I feel spoiled tonight.

Thanks, kids!  I very much appreciate your kindness!    

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Angus in Bear

From Bangalore, India
Son Jesse and I Skyped tonight (this morning in Shaftsbury, Vermont). He had just moved my personal website to a new server, and wanted to test whether my new professional e-mail address*  would perform as we'd planned.  His test message included this picture of my 13 month-old grandson Angus.

The first time Angus was put into his bear, shortly after Christmas, he screamed to be taken out of it. Cally and Jesse had put it in the back of their Jeep. Yesterday, Angus saw it behind his car seat, and started saying, "Ba, Ba!" When Cally figured out that he was saying "bear," they gave him another chance.  The picture tells the rest.


Friday, January 23, 2015

To Shirl with Love

Let us both love life,
Also love each other,
And each other's love of life.
heart emoticon
-Duncan (After five weeks away.)

Monday, January 19, 2015

Dinner with New Friends at UB Mall

My HBS ‘70 classmate and our Section E secretary is Ajit Jhangiani.  Ajit and I keep in touch both through the alumni network and on Facebook.  So, when he learned I am now in Bangalore, he sent this e-mail:

Subject: e connect
·         Me
·         david d
·         narendra j

Hi Duncan, David, and Narendra.

Hopefully not an imposition, I am connecting three good people currently in Bangalore.
David is an old roommate from Boston, a good friend, and residing in Bangalore for many years now.
Narendra is a cousin, an independent IT specialist, and currently in process of moving back from Singapore to Bangalore.  Duncan was in my HBS class of 1970, Professor at Plymouth State University in New Hampshire, and visiting professor at the Xavier Institute of Management and Entrepreneurship in Bangalore.
Hopefully you guys can get together and have a beer, with a salute to me in the first round! :)


That same day I replied to the group,
Hi, Ajit!

Thank you for the excellent suggestion!  

David and Narendra: 

I am up for that beer, and a dinner to go with it.  My cell number here is xxxx xxx xxx.


We immediately got into telephone contact, which explains why I was riding in the back of a powered rickshaw from XIME in Electronics City on the crowded, bumpy surface streets of Bangalore at about 3:45 yesterday.  At a crowded intersection my driver got a call on his cell phone, and pulled over to the left shoulder of the street.  He turned to me and said, “My father… dead.”  I said, “Your father has just died?”  “Yes.”  His eyes started to tear.  I touched him on the shoulder.  “I will find another taxi,” I said.  He said, “Stay.”  He then drove me a couple of blocks to the next rickshaw stand, got out and found me another ride, and, reluctantly, accepted my payment.  Then he went home to his family.
In spite of that minor delay, I arrived on time at the ultramodern United Breweries Mall in downtown Bangalore.  My hip was in pain from my continuing pinched nerve problem, so I found a staircase, and sat on it to await Narendra and David.  I had only just sat down when two security guards started walking toward me from across the covered driveway, and Narendra saw me and waved to me, as well.  The three arrived at my position simultaneously as I tried to stand, had my left knee collapse, and rolled onto the street.  All of a sudden, my sitting down apparently became understandable to the guards.  They helped me to my feet, as their sergeant came to join us, and offered me first aid “at the hospital.”  I declined, said I was okay, and Narendra and I waited for David, who joined us after only a couple of minutes more.

The drama past, we went into the mall past the Rolex and Mont Blanc stores that decorated the entranceway, and made our way to an upscale food court.  After a brief survey of options, we settled on a Chinese restaurant, where for over three hours we talked, became mutually acquainted, and enjoyed two pitchers of beer, accompanied by wasabi prawns, fried rice, wok-fried veggies, and, in my case, black-pepper lamb.  It was marvelous.  Narendra has lived his life around the world, having worked for periods of years in China, India, the U.S., Switzerland, and several other lands.  He has a keen eye for the absurd and wasteful, and thus is a highly valued business consultant.  David is now retired, but is active in NGO activities, and teaches as a volunteer deep in the Indian “outback.”  His stories told of naked children playing in streams as leopards drank from them, total harmony between them.  They told of his teaching beneath a tree, without anything electrical or electronic in sight, using a portable chalk board to illustrate writing or arithmetic.  There is no doubt in my mind that the three of us will meet again before I head home late in February.  Both David and I have invited Ajit to come down from Bombay to join the next party.

Last night’s gathering was for me delightful.  It was my first dinner out in downtown Bangalore since arriving two weeks ago.  It reminded me of my first night in Cluj back in 2008, when UBB Prof. Mircea Maniu took me to Iulius Mall, open only six months at the time, and showed me the Mercedes SUV for sale on the main floor.  There is an upscale side to India, as there is to Cluj.  The Bentley parked in front of the mall as we left was one indicator.  Like Romania, India is still developing. As was true in Romania in 2008, the streets tend to be very dusty and very rough.  But I judge that with 1,000,000,000 people, India’s challenge is much greater than that of Romania, where universal education has been in place for almost a century, and where there are only 2% as many people to feed.  By the way, I rode behind a Renault Duster on the way into town, and went home to XIME last night in a Renault  Logan, both vehicles designed and built in Romania, by Dacia Motors in Pitești.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Infirm in India, with great friends to help!

From Bangalore, India

I am presently serving as a visiting professor at the Xavier Institute of Management & Entrepreneurship ( in Bangalore, India.  I am teaching three sections of a course titled International Business, in partnership with Professor Naseer Jaffer of XIME.  Thus far, my greatest joy in my visit here has been everything about my relationship with XIME, which I judge to be a world class graduate school for master's level business studies.

An Unexpected Health Issue

However, thus far my life here has been almost that of a monk.  I had far too much work to do, and too severe a jet lag, to explore the city last week.  I left this walled campus only twice all week, first in the company of the school's driver to find some neckties, to get some cash at an ATM, and to find a battery for my Timex watch.  Then, this past Sunday, 11 January, I went with XIME's Dean Sam Tyagaraj to a local trauma clinic, as I had awoken that morning in severe pain. I declined a muscle relaxant from that clinic on Sunday, as the last time I had one prescribed, my tongue had stopped following my brain, and my wife Shirl had thought I was having a stroke.  Hence, for my back and leg pain I took only the pain medication prescribed at the local outpatient clinic, three days' doses, followed up with several days on aspirin.  I figured I would heal, in time.

But by Friday the 16th I was not noticeably improved, so I accepted the invitation of Prof. Joseph Philip, President of XIME, to go to St. John's Medical College Hospital in Bangalore for a thorough examination.  I did so on Friday. My diagnosis is piriformis syndrome, a sciatic nerve compression in the buttock, caused by a spasm of the piriformis muscle.  The pain it causes is more than annoying... it fully compares with that of spinal sciatica, with which I returned from Romania in 2009.  Fortunately, once the muscle can be made to relax, the symptoms ease quickly.  I have now accepted the muscle relaxant, and have had two "moist heat" treatments at the physiotherapy department at St. John's.

Thank God and the medics, I am now feeling better, though not yet 100% over the symptoms.  I can now stand up straight.  (For a week I have been bent 20 degrees forward at the waist.)  I can now walk more normally,  (For a week I have had a deep limp.)  So, I believe that after my upcoming (Monday and Tuesday) heat treatments, and with the use of my remaining doses of medication, I will be as good as new.

XIME Faculty and Students are Excellent!

The highlight thus far of my visit to Bangalore has been getting to know my colleagues and our students at XIME.  As mentioned above, I am teaching second-year graduate students in a management program their course in international business, doing so in partnership with Dr. Naseer Mohamed Jaffer of the XIME faculty.  We have divided the three sections' course meetings equally, with Dr. Jaffer's giving the lectures, and with my leading case discussions.  Our course seems to be off to a good start.  I love the fact that the students are so bright and well educated.  Roughly three-fourths are engineers or computer scientists, and they have had already a year of graduate management courses.  Thus, they are ready for the case method pedagogy, though they have not seen many cases before.  They have proven willing to speak their minds, and take risks, proposing their own action plans or decision analyses. We have much still to see and do, of course, and in seven weeks one can only scratch the surface of international business. But, for me, what fun!

(This post lacks photos, a failing I shall try to correct in the not-too-distant future. Someone here at XIME no doubt can show me how to upload pics from my new Nokia Asha 500.)

Saturday, January 10, 2015

A Winter Ride in Romania, December 27-29, 2014

Mănăstirea Prislop, in Prislop Pass on Highway 18, between Borșa and Iacobeni.
I am proud of this shot, taken out the window of my rented VW Polo,
 as I drove by in a snow storm.
Photo Copyright 2014, by Duncsn C. McDougall. All rights reserved.
 Having three new lenses, one implanted at Dartmouth on 12 Noivember following a cataract operation, and two in the new eyeglasses just bought in Cluj, I took off after Christmas on a test of my vision, driving from Cluj on Christmas Day west to Oradea, then on the 26th to Maramureș and my favorite Maramureșan inn, Popasul din Deal (, in Ocna Șugatag.  The next day I headed east over the Northern Carpathian Mountains to Suceava, where I spent a glorious evening with Mihai and Waltraudi Moroșan and their family.  On the 28th I continued east and a bit south to Iasi, near the border of the Republic of Moldova.  This post tells in pictures of my beautiful drive across the Carpathians toward Suceava.

The snow gave rhythm to the trees, which seemed to be
 dancing as one drove by, changing one's angle of view.

Can you sense the rhythms?
My cataract surgeon at Dartmouth Hichcock is descended from a family
that used to live in this town, along the road east of Iacobeni, and west of Suceava,
in Județ Suceava, in a region known as Bucovina, Moldavia, Romania.

It is proud and handsome town, though in Hitler's time, its once-large
 Jewish community was forced to flee, or face The Holocaust.
That tragic time brought my good doctor's family to America. 
Literally translated, the name is "Mouth of humor," or happy mouth.
The joke told me in Suceava by Waltraudi Moroșan is that it
is how you tell when you have a good dentist.

Street views in Gura Humorului

Finally I reached Casa Moroșan in Suceava, and met this handsome young guitarist.

As well as his father and uncle, the former Waltraudi's brother,
and the latter her son, Mihail.
At both the west and at the east ends of my journey, there was more adventure, and more fun to describe.  But for tonight, this much will have to suffice.

Happy New Year to all readers.  Da da! Indeed, life goes on!  And after this drive, it does so for your friend Oldrider with renewed self-confidence.