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Oh! This India business!

"What's This India Business", its author Paul Davies tries to craft it in words for SANGEETA BAROOAH PISHAROTY during a visit to New Delhi for the book launch.



Paul Davies, author and consultant. Photo: Sandeep Saxena.

IN ONE sentence, Paul Davies is a delight to talk to. From the word go, he takes over the conversation, keen to tell you about his long honeymoon with India since the time he landed as Managing Director of Unisys India in 2000. Of course, in the middle of all is the subject of his maiden book, "What's This India Business?" Since the occasion is its India release which is already published in his home country England by London-based Nicholas Brealey International, you more than welcome his wholeheartedness at trying to make you understand what's what.

Encompassing the topic of India becoming the world's back office provider as a global services revolution is enchanting the business world no end, Davies's book is clearly the handbook for those willing British sniffing for Indian partners to offshore business. Right from how to behave with beggars on the street to what to eat and what not to, to how to dress up correctly and how to find the right partner to do the outsourcing job for you to why is India on shore on offshore business, Davies has brought it all into his pages. But what grabs one's attention right away is the way this IT expert has made the reading an interesting one. Using punchy sentences, more than a business book, it presents itself as a travel account.

"That is true. Whatever I have written has fallen out from my personal experience in India. Though I am no more working in India, but it is my consultancy service as MD of the company Onshore Offshore that brings me to this country off and on. But if you ask me about India and Indians, I would say, it is difficult not to make friendship in this country," Davies says. Sitting at the ITC Maurya Sheraton lounge where his book, released and distributed by Delhi-based Research Press, was formally launched by NASSCOM president Kiran Karnik this past week, Davies also hastens to add, "Being in India, you begin to think like an Indian." Rolling out instance after instance of his India experience, Davies gets hilarious when he points out between laughs that every Indian he has met so far, has introduced himself by their first names which leaves him baffled as to who is who. "For example, I know many Suresh by now in India, but not beyond. All are Suresh, that's it. It makes life difficult for a foreigner," he laughs again before you flash your laughing lines. "During my first business meeting in India, my India partner when I asked him for his opinion, told me I am properly dressed to attend it. But when I asked him the next day whether I should have worn a tie for it, he nodded a yes. I wonder why he didn't tell me the day before. Indians actually are too good to foreigners. I tell my Indian friends, stop being nice to me. Point out my mistakes," Davies continues. Though India is the hotspot for outsourcing due to cheap labour, his opinion is, it is actually more than that.

"Looking for a cheap market, you would come so far alright. But when the work is not delivered the way you want it, you obviously won't stick to the idea. But in India, it is the efficiency of the staff, proficiency in English, the ability to meet deadlines and of course, the same kind of legal system as in the UK that has made it so attractive," adds the author. "After all, not every country produces eight million undergraduates and two million graduates a year. There are people here worthy of jobs. So, the jobs have to come looking for them," Davies states. How much did you say is the unemployment percentage still?

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