There’s something absurd about this trip to India. The official reason for my trip—to speak at the India Software Engineering Conference—doesn’t seem like reason enough to spend 2 hours at an airport, 11 hours in an airplane, 3 more hours in South Korea, 9 more hours on a plane, 5 hours waiting in Mumbai, then 4 hours driving to Pune. Let alone repeating this journey five days later.
Yet all of the intangible reasons for going far outweigh the inconvenience of all of this lost time and sleep. On my Korean Air flight and here in Incheon, I’m surrounded by what I find to be a beautiful, playful, exciting language. I overheard engineers talking about the parts they’ll oversee the shipping of, old grandmothers returning home to Seoul, and little babies making the journey to and from Asia and the west coast. There’s a fascinating subculture of frequent Asian travelers, particularly those who take the cheaper flights offered by Korean Air, and seeing it throb and pulse is well worth the lost sleep.
In about 12 hours, I’ll be on the other side of planet Earth, driving to the center of the Indian IT industry with a man named Mr. Mahesh, all so I can speak to a room of Indian researchers about some bits I flipped last year.