Reporters on the Job

'Raining Mud': Staff writer Mark Sappenfield's story on foreign businessmen flocking to India required going to Gurgaon, "which in itself is an experience," says Mark. "It is Delhi's attempt to be modern and Western, with shiny malls of sheet glass and Silicon Valley-style high-tech campuses. But it rises from the scrub brush of rural Haryana as if it were left behind by aliens. The map says India, but the mind just doesn't compute after being removed from the urban decay of Delhi, choked with thick stands of trees."

The government is currently trying to build a multilane divided highway to get from India's capital, New Delhi, to Gurgaon, says Mark, "but for now, long portions of the commute are on switchback roads through pastureland – some of it 'paved' only by the most charitable of definitions.

"The 20-mile journey took just over two hours, and along the way, I saw several SUVs packed with as many as six to seven people: call-center employees making their daily commute."

For a story about expats overcoming the hardships of daily life in India, says Mark, the trip also offered a fistful of reasons why foreigners turn down an Indian adventure. "The 90-degree weather is par for the course," says Mark, "but the experience of enduring a dust storm and a thunderstorm at the same time was unique. Essentially, it was raining mud."

– Matthew Clark
Africa/Americas editor

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