Sunday, June 26, 2011

It is like an oasis in Hell

After completing my second week at Avesthagen, I had a low key Friday and Saturday before going to Mysore on Sunday.  Mysore is a city about 3 hours away, in Indian time but 4 hours or more in reality.  A gentleman at work drives a taxi on the weekends to make extra money so he was generous enough to let us hire him for the entire day.  He picked the four of us up at Prestige Langleigh at 6 AM this morning.  Driving the Mysore allowed me to see rural India, filled with rice fields, dilapidated villages where people live in tin huts with no electricity, and a random Cafe Coffee Day which provided me with energy to get the morning started.  There is no real coffee here, just mochas, fraps, and cappuccinos but that will do as there are no Starbucks in India either. 
I first stopped at the Sultan's summer palace.  The gardens are expansive and gorgeous and there is an elongated fountain leading visitors from the entrance to the house which is not a museum.  Indians pay 5 rupees to enter while 'foreigner's are charged 100 rupees, just a tad excessive but it got worse because the Mysore Palace charged 200 rupees for foreigners.  The Sultan's home is falling apart and the paint is chipping.  Portraits are not protected and the sun is slowly fading away the vibrant colors of the walls and outside.  India does not keep up with their monuments, instead everything is left as is for hundreds of years.

Next we went to a temple and although it is respectful, I still hate taking off my shoes at any of India's religious tourist attractions.  Next we drove to a lake where a woman and her daughter were fishing and several trinket kiosks lined the pathway to the lake.  Four male teenagers traveling from 160 KM away, the same distance as us, asked to take our picture and although they looked as if they are in a boy band and wore the same yellow converse sneakers, we accepted and took pictures with them.  They gave us some of their star fruit which is incredibly sour but tasty.

Around 11 AM we arrived in the much anticipated Mysore, located 160 KM southwest of Bangalore.  Srinivas, our driver/co-worker, took us to Chamundi Hill which is 3,500 Feet above sea level and provides for a gorgeous view of Mysore. There is also a temple at the top.  The temples are so intricate in design and covered in ornate sculptures.  Cows road outside the temples and on the streets along with beggars that harass you as soon as you leave your vehicle.  Salespeople continuously followed us as we walked around the historical sights and we successfully did not give in to buying any trinkets.

Lunch took place on a rooftop restaurant, quite popular in India, connected to a hotel near the palace.  I had buttered chicken and ghee rice with buttered naan.  I love Indian food and am constantly eating excessive amounts.  Between going out to eat and dinner by Babu & Son, I will never go hungry.  After lunch, I went to Mysore Palace, which again is not well preserved and cost 200 rupees to enter but the audio guide is free which is extremely convenient for understand the history behind the palace.  The palace is situated in the middle of Mysore and a large garden surrounds the structure which was built in 1912 and the main tower is 145 feet in height.  There is an octagonal marriage hall inside the Palace, which hosted many royal weddings, along with a spectator room for the King and Queen to be entertained and a doll pavilion which is slightly creepy.and has hosted many royal weddings.  The palace lights up at night with 96,000 lights.  After an educational day of touring Mysore and the nearby area, I became exhausted and could not wait to return home for dinner, however, the drive took 4 hours.

Cafe Coffee Day in the middle of rural India


Cow grazing on top of Chamundi Hill

Outside the Sultan's summer home.

Wedding Hall inside Mysore Palace

Our new boyband friends

Mother and Daughter fishing in the lake

Mysore Palace

Hall inside Mysore Palace


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

It's Day 7: Look Alive People!

As I start my second week at Avesthagen, I am feeling more comfortable and everyone is still extremely and welcoming which creates a warm environment.  The two ladies next to me at work are on vacation this week so the office feels slightly empty.  I received a hand-written paper with several notations and abbreviations this morning by Dr. Kumaraswamy.  He asked me to type them up, which I did immediately after deciphering the text.  However, K informed me later that it is the draft of an actual agreement to license their genome-scan in Indian hospitals.  After lunch I then asked for further agreements to go over or any other information I could read to become more familiar as science is not my forte and everyone here is well educated and knowledgeable about every minute detail with regards to the tests and products their labs are working on daily.

I did not end up receiving any other material on Monday so Carole and I went downstairs for tea which is only 10 rupees and like their coffee is filled with cream and sugar.  The portion is only a couple ounces, if that, but tastes delicious.

On Tuesday, I went into the office and met with K and Kumaraswamy.  We went over details of the agreement to be made with Manipal Health Enterprises and assigned me with the task of completing the draft of the licensing agreement by the end of the day.  I successfully completed the task by 5:00 PM exactly and emailed it out before leaving work.  Along with a cappuccino at Au Bon Pain, I took another break with Thomas, Daniela, and Carole where I bought a mango shake.  Although the blender is washed with tap water, I still feel fine and will continue to build up my immune system over the next 6 weeks.  The fruit is fresh here and at only 35 rupees, it is not as good a value as tea but a better value than foe-coffee.

Thomas and Carole joined us for dinner by Babu & Son.  I enjoyed having them over as we all get along well and everyone has such a diverse, interesting background that we keep ourselves entertained with discussion.  I am not sure what my task will be tomorrow as I have to wait for the edited agreement to be returned and K leaves for three weeks to go home to the Netherlands on Thursday so I will be reporting to someone else I assume but still hope to be doing legal documents.
Rice, Paneer, & Buttered Chicken

Vegetable Wraps that are delicious!

Troy, Peiran, Carole, Thomas, Daniela & Myself

This does not look like a market

On Sunday, I woke up and had breakfast before researching how to get to the market.  Unable to locate a specific market in Whitefield, Peiran, Daniela, Troy, & I took a rickshaw to the Forum Value Mall which is a 4 story modern shopping center complete with movie theatre.  There are several familiar clothing stores along with a megamart that sells traditional clothing, however, the men’s section is still pants, jeans, and button downs, while the women’s section is filled with sarees in addition to western clothes.

Troy and I went upstairs to the Kashmir store and looked at handmade rugs and cashmere scarves.  However, the prices were drastically increased due to the location of the store being in a mall.  I hope to find a market or Indian mall soon with local prices so I can stock up on scarves.  I purchased ‘cold coffee’ at McDonalds, however, it only comes in one size which is smaller than any American size.  Also, there is no real coffee here, no Starbucks, just coffee shops with cappuccinos, mocha's, and latte’s filled with sugar and heavy cream.  For there being 1,100 CafĂ© Coffee Days in India, you think they would sell actual coffee.

After the mall, I went down the street to the local shops that consisted of a few Saree stores, several vegetable stands and two meat shops where mutton and chickens hanged like window displays to be purchased.

That afternoon, Daniela and I ventured into the pool which no one at our complex uses.  I kept my shirt on as not to offend anyone as the pool is in the courtyard that several apartments overlook.  I was later informed by Carole that even at the beach, Indians did not have their shirts off and women do not swim, they wear Sarees on the beach.
Cold Coffee


Peiran and her juice


Negotiating with Rickshaw drivers, yes you talk with them all at once.

Local Market

Forum Value Mall


Saturday, June 18, 2011

Lions, Tigers, & Monkeys, oh my!

Today, I went to the Bannerghatta National Park which is only 22 km south of Bangalore but took 2 hours to reach.  Troy, Daniela, Peiran, & I hired a cab for the day so the driver waited at the park while we took a safari and walked around.  Outside the park entrance there are several stands selling packaged foods and soda so I purchased ice cream which I ate immediately.  I am going through sweets withdrawal as dessert is not popular or common here.  The safari and entrance to the park is 160 rupees or $4.00 so that is an incredible deal as the safari lasts 45 minutes and pictures with the elephants are free.

The national park is divided into several sections and there are men who open and close gates as the safari vehicle moves from section to section.  The first area is full of deer and everyone started freaking out and got all excited which is hilarious because deer are in most people's backyards.  However the rest of the safari was exciting as there are tigers and lions and bears.  None of the animals came close to the vehicle, but in the park the monkeys roam free.  One monkey stopped Peiran and would not leave her alone until she gave him her sandwich.  She is still traumatized and Troy, Daniela, & I kept reminding her that the rest of the day was enjoyable.  I took pictures with the elephants but felt bad because both elephants had chains on their front right leg and the worker would poke them in order for the elephants to pose for pictures.

After the national park, I returned home which took about 1.5 hours as the traffic lightened up.  Babu made dinner and I got ready to go out.  The lounges in Bangalore close at 11:30 PM so it is crucial to start early especially since the drive into Bangalore from Whitefield can take over an hour.  Fortunately, the lady staying in the 4th bedroom who magically appeared on Thursday is generous and letting us use her driver.  She is free-spirited and wears lots of cloth and reminds me of Katherine in Under the Tuscan Sun who constantly wears hats, but instead of hats she wears giant scarves.  Using her driver is convenient as we simply pick a vehicle based on price (we took the Safari SUV out on Friday but opted for the AC Car today) and we are paying real Indian prices which is about 800 rupees for the night.

After an hour we arrived at The 13th Floor which is next to Ebony at the Barton Center.  At first the host told us we had to wait twenty minutes to get a table indoors but after ordering drinks and meeting up with grad students from Washington University in St. Louis, the gentleman gave a table outside on the terrace which overlooks the city.  The view is gorgeous and makes Bangalore look a lot for legit than in reality.  The grad students came to Bangalore for the weekend and are spending their summer helping a village located 5 hours south of Chennai.  The 13th Floor must be the hottest lounge in Bangalore despite having to close at 11:30.  The cover charge is 500 rupees but it goes towards your beverages so it is more of an advanced payment.  However drinks are around $10 which is expensive for Indian standards and definitely attracts a higher-end clientele.

Lions Playing

Peiran, Daniela, Elephant, Myself, & Troy

Our friends from Wash. U.

View from The 13th Floor

Friday, June 17, 2011

A well deserved night out after a hectic week

Thursday morning, I arrived at the office around 9:30 where I spent the morning editing the licensing and manufacturing agreement assigned to me by K.  When lunch rolled around, the six of us went to the food court and I ordered the same Chicken Meal Combo but with rice instead of noodles, it is so hard to pass up for the inexpensive price of 90 rupees.  After an hour lunch we went to Coffee Day, a large Indian chain, where I ordered a choco-frap which is basically a chocolate milkshake and is delicious after not having anything chocolate flavored all week.

After lunch, I went to get my SIM card for my Indian phone but found out in addition to a passport, copy of passport and visa, I needed a passport sized picture.  Getting a phone is such a hassle that I do no know how anyone does it and why Indians cannot be more clear, instead there 'head bobble' is the answer to everything.  At 2:30, the other interns and myself met with Villoo who asked us about our individual projects and gave feedback.  She has high expectations of each of us and expects a deliverable or something substantial on Monday when we meet with her again.  Afterwards, K and I were scheduled to meet, however, he is constantly in meeting with investors, bankers, and partners so I have difficulty finalizing a set time to meet.  After a few failed attempts on Thursday, I met with Devasis who leads the scientific end of agreements and is familiar with all of the drugs so I asked him questions regarding production of DHA which helped me to further complete the agreement.

Troy & I went to the passport picture place by the food court in the Tech Park and the gentleman gave us each 8-passport sized photos within 10 minutes.  I then went to Airtel to set up my phone which was a success except I have to wait until Friday for it to be activated as the paperwork for pre-paid phones takes a day.  I left the office around 6 PM without a meeting and no further instructions on my project.  I told Koen that Villoo told us to begin attending meetings and when I mentioned the idea to K he said "We will meet at 10 AM." Not exactly the response I hoped for but at least I finally have a meeting with K and can move forward.

On Friday morning, I gave Babu my laundry and dropped off a few shirts at the dry cleaner in the Tech Park before going to the office.  Both laundry and dry cleaning are done the next day and Babu irons shirts as well before returning them.  Upon reaching the elevator, I saw K step out of his black British looking car with his large black suitcase and approach the elevator.  We talked as we waited and when we entered Avesthagen I went to his office and finally, after a week had my meeting.  I presented all of my ideas to him and Devasis who seemed pleased but provided additional insight to be added.  I also told him I reformatted the document.  I hope he uses the accurately formatted version as writing future documents will be easier.  I am having slight difficulty as Indian laws and protocol are different from the US but K is helping me a lot and I hope to increase my knowledge of the labor laws in India as well.  K assigned me with completing the licensing agreement before the end of the day which I diligently finished and emailed to him.  I said goodbye on my way out and K looked up so I feel we are bonding and will hopefully know more about him as the summer progresses.
That evening, I went to the Big Bazaar with the other interns and finally purchased hangers so now my clothes will not be as wrinkled.  Thomas and I also purchased a pint of Baskin Robbins Coffee Almond ice cream which I greatly enjoyed on our walk back to the apartment.  After many failed attempts to call a taxi, the newly moved in lady into the 4th bedroom of the apartment offered to call her driver who accepted to take us into Bangalore and back for 800 rupees.  The traffic, even at 8 pm was rush hour and took us well over an hour to arrive at Casa Del Sol, which took us an hour of research to decide upon.  A Mediterranean restaurant on the rooftop of a building across from the Bangalore Club.  Much to Daniella and my happiness, we found a liquor store under the restaurant where we purchased supplies for future evenings at home.  I enjoyed Lamb for dinner along with a cocktail for $14.  Peiran made the mistake of ordering "The Indian Special" as her beverage which turned out to be a glass of Scotch and a bucket of ice.  She should have listened to us but wanted to try something "local."  After dinner, our driver helped us find Fuga, a two-story dance club we found online, however when we finally arrived, we found out it had closed down.  So we then got back into our safari looking SUV and drove back to Whitefield which took far less time then the drive into Bangalore so we arrived back at Prestige Langliegh around midnight.  Tomorrow we are going to hire a taxi for the day and go to the national park where I hope to ride an elephant.

Daniela all ready for school.

Big Bazaar, basically a super Wal-Mart

Peiran, Troy, & Daniela at Casa Del Sol

Rooftop of Casa Del Sol

Peiran and her Scotch

Cheering to a successful first week.


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Hump day!

This morning, Babu made omelets, so we have reverted to breakfast number 2.  I went into work slightly later around 9:45 AM and everyone else already seemed to be working diligently.  I suppose after a rough start on Monday and Tuesday, Indians are in full swing on Wednesday.  I spoke with Koen and we set up a meeting for 2 PM but something came up so the meeting is pushed back to tomorrow.  The entire work environment is really flexible and chill which is much appreciated.  I suppose this is the atmosphere because scientific testing of their 20ish drugs takes weeks to complete each round so a lot of time is spent waiting for results and analyzing data.

Carol, a doctor from France who knows Dr. Villoo Patell from Strausburg, joined the five of us for lunch.  Everyone is so nice and I feel welcomed into the company for only being here 3 days.  Today, I went to the food court for lunch and had Indian-Chinese food which is rather close to American Chinese food.  I had the Chicken Combo for only 95 rupees or $2.13.  Afterwards, I enjoyed a chocolate frappaccino/milkshake and then returned to work around 2 PM where I continued to look over the licensing agreement and add additional clauses that I deem pertinent.

I feel awkward leaving the office to go to the restroom or to grab coffee or water because my desk is past the executive offices so I must pass them all in order to leave Avesthagen and therefore Villoo, Koen, and everyone else notices when I, or anyone, leaves and returns.  I know they are not keeping track but it does make me second guess stepping away from my desk.

Anil, who has been a great help with providing insight to India comes over everyday to discuss how work is going and is more than willing to answer any questions.  He studied in the US and is approachable and has a great sense of humor.  He walked down to the Mobile Store with Troy & I so I could buy a phone and then go to Airtel to purchase a SIM card.  However, Airtel told us to return tomorrow when they would have a new shipment of prepaid SIM cards.  After this additional break, I returned to my desk where I ended up talking with the employees at the desks surrounding me for the remainder of my day until 6 PM.  I am beginning to learn more about everyone at work and although they are all career driven and well educated, they are all married and rather young.

Everyone seemed to close shop early on Wednesdays and after a slow start Monday and Tuesday morning, I am curious to see the work day environment for Thursday and Friday.  I am meeting with Koen and Devasis to discuss the licensing agreement tomorrow in addition to meeting with Villoo to go over the start of our internship with Avesthagen.

Despite a relatively leisurely work day, filled with an extended lunch and coffee break, I am tired when I come home after staring at a computer screen all day.  There is nothing to do at night as there are no commercial venues outside Prestige Langleigh and the bars are in downtown Bangalore.  I go to bed relatively early each evening, around 10:30 or 11 PM and wake up before my alarm at 7 AM.  Unfortunately, my shower only has cold water and this is far from ideal in the morning.  The girls claim they have hot water in the evening so I will have to learn to adjust my schedule.

I look forward to going out this weekend and seeing the local market which is 2 KM from the apartment, along with visiting a national park about 22 KM south of Bangalore where you can ride elephants and see tigers, lions, hyenas, and other wildlife.

One of the three stores outside our compound.

Thomas, Troy, My favorite security guard, & me.

Peiran, Daniella, & Carol

Chicken Combo at the Chinese restaurant in the food court.

Indian-Chinese Restaurant

Dinner by Babu & Son, complete with french fries!

Is this Beef or Chicken?

I arrived at the Tech Park around 9:30 AM, after having French Toast by Babu.  After a leisurely morning, I had lunch at the Paramount Restaurant, however, the chicken was extremely spicy so I ran next door to KFC for water and popcorn chicken.  The 5 of us then got coffee at Au Bon Pain for coffee where I had a mocha, unfortunately their portions are extremely small compared to American standards as their is regular and 'mini.'

Waiting for the morning bus to work.

View from my desk.

Dinner by Babu & Son
 After a 1.5 hour lunch break, I met with Koen who is Chief Operations at Avesthagen; he assigned me with editing one of their licensing agreements to manufacture one of their products.  I am excited to be doing actual legal work but am extremely nervous as I am not qualified to be writing contractual agreements.  I read a 116 page document regarding licensing agreements in Pharmaceutical companies and began analyzing their current agreement.  I left around 6 PM and headed home for dinner by Babu & Son.

Monday, June 13, 2011

10 hour day and absurd expectations

Today, I woke up at 7 AM and showered before having breakfast which Babu made closer to 8:30 AM.  I enjoyed an omelet and toast.  Indians must eat a lot of toast as I received four pieces yesterday and did not eat it all so Babu gave each of us 3 pieces today and hopefully will continue to adjust the portions as I do not want to waste a loaf of bread daily.  After breakfast I left along with Troy, Peiran, & Daniella (who arrived at 6:30 AM), for our first day of work.  I walked .3 KM to the end of the street where I caught the 335 E bus which is nice and air conditioned and for 10 rupees took us to the International Tech Park which is only 1 KM from where we hoped on.  However, the walking conditions are horrible as there is no sidewalk, just dirt and some random slabs of concrete and massive gaps every 30 feet or so for irrigation.  Upon arrival, I showed my badge (Yes I am legit) and entered the tech park which has six massive buildings (Discoverer, Creator, Innovator, Explorer, etc) and walked over to Discoverer where I took the elevator to the 9th floor where Avesthagen is located.

Anil greeted us at the entrance and walked us to their boardroom where I met with Dr. Villoo Patel who founded the company and a few other executives.  The design of the office resembles a pediatrician office with lots of pastel painted walls.  After completing introductions, I learned the history of Avesthagen and began to realize that the executives have extremely high expectations of our capabilities.  Each of the five interns is assigned a project, mine being Legal Agreements and Licenses with companies that utilize drugs that Avesthagen produces.  After the lecture, Anil gave us an in-depth tour of all of Avesthagen's offices and labs at the International Tech Park.  They occupy 3 units amongst two of the building with their 9 floor offices being the main area.  The labs seems pretty intense and there are 450 employees, most of which appear to be scientists that are completing tests for products the company hopes to launch.  They are extremely well developed and already sell health food in the United States and have several projects under their belt.

The Tech Park has lots of eateries (including Pizza Hut, Subway, & KFC) and several convenient services.  There is a massive mall being built at the park but it will not be complete until August.  I have yet to go shopping but there is a market 2 KM away which I hope to see this week.  After the tour and meeting with many of the scientists, I enjoyed a cappuccino as we sat and talked with Anil before going to lunch.  I ate at an Indian restaurant which has a small veg buffet for 60 rupees or $1.50 but I will definitely order off the menu in the future.

Upon returning after lunch we briefly met with Pierre who is the Senior VP and deals with operations and strategic growth.  He is married to Dr. Patel's daughter and seems rather nice.  He had just returned from the US and told us to return at 4 PM to receive further instructions.  I looked into buying an international phone but you need a proof of residence for a local in Bangalore so it may be a tad complicated.  However, you do get two hours of talk time for 46 rupees or slightly over $1.  When I returned at 4 PM, I received a desk with a gorgeous view as the company is on the 9th floor.  Their IT department set each of us up with a computer at our desks and I do have Microsoft Office 2007 but the computer is still running Window 2000 which I need to fix, some of the computers have XP so I hope to at least upgrade to that as the aesthetics are disgusting for 2000.

Discoverer Building where I am working

Creator & Innovator, two of the other Tech Park Buildings

Vivanta by Taj Hotel which my desk overlooks

View from my desk.

Pierre met with Troy and Pieran, each for about 45 minutes.  Overall he seems to have extremely high expectations of us and has given us access to countless documents and thousands upon thousands pages of reading.  I shall wait to receive further instruction so I can decipher which documents are crucial for my legal project.  I finally left after 7 PM and will go in tomorrow around 9:30 AM where I will meet with the executives and their lawyer and Pierre to go over my project details.  I am excited to get legal experience with contacts and licensing agreements, however, I believe the company thinks I am able to complete them without any instruction even though I am not familiar with the protocol, let along any laws in India, along with the countries Avesthagen partners with.

Babu made us dinner and the four of us enjoyed our first family meal together.  I am unaware of the meat as it appeared to be a smaller chicken, however, it did taste good.

First Family Dinner

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Meeting Anil & Exploring Downtown Bangalore

This morning I awoke at 8:20 AM which was perfect timing because Babu made us eggs and toast for breakfast at 8:30 AM which is not exactly Indian but I think he wanted us to feel comfortable.  I am still confused by the dynamic between Babu and the little boy that follows him, both of which have been wearing the same clothes since I arrived on Saturday.  The little boy does not speak which adds to the creepiness as he will watch you constantly, especially while making a phone call. They constantly offer us tea and coffee and literally spend the entire day in the kitchen.  The kitchen is their territory, I had yet to enter until this evening when I utilized the ironing board to with Babu, offered to iron my clothes but I declined.  I hope to gain their respect as currently the kitchen appears off limits.  Additionally they stand in the kitchen as we eat at the dining table.  I would much rather prefer them to join us or sit in the living room because the hovering is awkward

Peiran arrived around 2 AM last night so I met her this morning.  She is from Shanghai and goes to UVA.  Daniella, the fourth intern living at Prestige Langleigh arrives at 4:30 AM tomorrow (Monday morning) which is going to be rough since we start work that day.

After breakfast, Anil, a doctor for Avesthagen who has been in contact with Financiers without Borders, arrived at our apartment and gave us a chicken-scratched drawling of the local area.  He did provide helpful insights of where the Bazaars are and the local market and relative prices for Rickshaws and the bus so that was extremely helpful as locals will continue to try to rip off foreigners.  I am still confused about starting work tomorrow as Anil said people trickle in on Monday morning and may not arrive til 10 AM but I believe we are going to go in at 9 AM.  My project for Avesthagen is working on their legal licences for their products internationally.  I feel the company has high expectations of us so I hope I am able to meet them.

Drumsticks, Indian Restaurant

Once Anil departed, we called a taxi and Peiran, Troy, & I went into downtown Bangalore which is about 45 minutes or so depending on traffic.  I ate at drumsticks which is an Indian restaurant, however, the waitress keep trying to convince us to order from their American restaurant's menu, Calypso.  We repeatedly informed her that we wanted to indulge in Indian cuisine as we will be here for seven weeks so we ordered three plates and shared them.

Unfortunately, they were out of lamb and fish so we received three chicken dishes of which the Tandoori and the second was not spicy, however the third was spicy but the rice helped significantly.  I hope to increase my tolerance of spices over the summer and build up my immunity so I can venture from westernized restaurants to local venues and street vendors.

Lifestyle Center (they actually exist from Finance class)
 There are multiple Lifestyle Centers in Bangalore.  They are essentially massive 4-5 story westernized department stores with several familiar brands.  You have to go through a metal detector to enter the department stores, however, no one appears to ever be stopped by security.  Each mall has one or two large coffee shops, but not restaurants or food courts which is strange since there are few restaurants in the nearby vicinity.  Walking around downtown, I noticed more non-Indians, whether American or European.  Still minimal but more than the past two days.  I expected this international tech city to have more diversity but I have yet to see it.

I ventured into a couple malls with dim lighting and filled with local silk and cashmere shops.  I did not enter any, as I know from before, once you enter you can rarely leave without buying anything.  Yes in the middle of the city there was a cow tied to a post with a calf around the corner.  The pollution is terrible as dust and exhaust fumes fill the air along with odor from trash.  There are no trash cans along the streets and the sidewalks are dilapidated and mostly just dirt and trash which creates an odor throughout the city.

Polluted River
View from the 13th floor terrace one of the few skyscrapers in downtown Bangalore