Cohen Family Passage to India

The journey of Ed, Pris and MacKenzie from Washington DC to India. We live in Filmnagar, Jubilee Hills Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, India.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Honda cars are good, service is another story

There is only one Honda dealership in Hyderabad India. We bout our CRV from them in January 2006. Since that time, whenever the car needs servicing, I get a twist in my stomach because I know it will be difficult dealing with them. No normally, I do not write about these kinds of experiences and I think this time it is important.

We took our car in because it was involved in an accident. The service manager told us it would take 2 days to repair. This surprised us because in the states it would have taken a few weeks for the same work. We left the car and 2 days later came back to get it only to find nothing had been done. The service manager explained that the insurance company had come and approved the work and now they would order parts.

Two weeks later we took the car back and this time again were told two days. We are leaving for China on Sunday and it was important they keep their word because we need the car and driver available for our daughter. The PROMISED 2-days again!

AND, they put it in writing! Two days later, they said sorry we did not finish. Finally Saturday, they claimed it to be done. I went to pick up the car only to find they had partially repaired the vehicle. They blamed the insurance company stating they did not approve the other repairs. The insurance company tells us they did! On top of that the entire car was a mess. Dirt everywhere! Grease...yuck. Even though Honda are good cars, in fact great cars, if you find yourself in Hyderabad, India...NEVER NEVER NEVER buy from the dealer here as they do not understand the meaning of the world service. You will receive your beautiful new vehicle and then every time it needs service you will have to deal with all the extra frustration.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Hello friends...been a long time

It's been a while since I updated the blog. Life is spinning with so much happening. We went to Dubai in December. Amazing place. There are more than a hundred skyscraper buildings going up all at once. Rising out of the dessert, they have got huge malls, indoor snow skiing (they really do), modern everything!

After Dubai, we went to the states. We arrived in Charlotte, NC on December 24th and drive to our daughter, Jennifer's house. We spent Christmas with her, JJ, Britt and our newest edition, Leo, who was born on November 30.

We had a great time there and then moved on to the mountains of NC in Asheville where we stayed with friends. Then it was on to New York City to celebrate the New Years.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

LEADERSHIP WITHOUT BORDERS to be published by John Wiley and Sons March 2007

Well, I have done it. I wrote my first book and it is about to be submitted to the publisher for editing. The book is called Leadership Without Borders.

Leadership Without Borders
Successful Strategies from World Class Leaders

Significant changes have occurred since the emergence of the knowledge economy demanding a recast of many of the roles of leaders. Today’s leaders work, lead staff, and have customers who are from all over the globe. Anyone working outside their country of origin or with those outside their country of origin needs to understand how to be successful in the global arena. This is critical for leaders and requires blending cultural definitions of leadership with multiple geographic influences. More and more, the internet and other means of rapid communication allow diverse groups of employees to come together to work and learn from each other. All can connect simultaneously to make key decisions that instantly influence organizations on a global scale.

Leadership Without Borders provides practical information gathered from hundreds of leaders who are leading across the globe and have lived and worked in more than 60 different countries in five key areas:

Leadership Characteristics born or learned that ensure success as a global leader
Business Acumen needed to thrive as a global leader
Worldview providing methods for expanding your 360-degree awareness of our global environment
People Leadership encompassing the most important knowledge, skills and attributes for success in any environment
Business Leadership skills and attributes to enhance your global leadership ability

In addition to gaining valuable insights into the five key areas, you will have the opportunity to read about the art and science of global leadership, transitioning to a global mindset, people strategies, enterprise risk strategies, and change leadership in chapters written by key leaders from:

NIKE Europe

Friday, November 24, 2006

HAPPY ThanksGiving

We celebrated Thanksgiving at the Novotel in Hyderabad with friends from around the world.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

The Satyam World Tour

You may wonder why my blog is not so up to date anymore. It is not due to lack of interest, but rather the business that comes from being fully immersed in the corporate and environmental cultures. We have enterred into a routine now that has us working and playing and doing alot of travel. For example, September 8th, I left Hyderabad to go to Mumbai to speak at the Analysts Summit. The next day, I left for New York to speak at the Analysts Summit there. Jay met me in New York and we had a great time seeing the sights. We also visited the World Trade Center memorial site. From New York, it was on to Geneva for the European Customer Forum.

THen it was back to Hyderabad, where I checked into the hospital to undergo surgery for a hernia. Two weeks later, I again boarded a flight to Washington DC, this time arriving just in time to attend the ASTD Best Awards. It was a proud moment to see Satyam make the list at number 15 on our first try. It was also proud to see that the team at Booz Allen was keeping the flame burning as they rose to number one in the ranks.

From Virginia, it was on to Toronto to teach Executive Presence and then onto Santa Clara, Californina to do the same. When the weekend came, Tolbert (or John as some call him) flew in from Minnesota and we spent three days in San Francisco.

I have been to San Francisco many times, but viewing it through his eyes as a newcomer was an incredible experience. For example, we rented an electric car with a gps audio capability that guided us to the sights. We stopped near the Golden Gate bridge and Tolbert decided he has to go into the water, even if just to put his toe in to be able to say he had touched the Pacific ocean (ok it's the bay, but it leads to the ocean). So, he took off his shoes, even with my warning that the water in always cold, and ran down into the water. What a sight as his feet and his brain registered just how cold the water was at the same time.

Now, I am sitting in the hotel lobby waiting for the car to come to take me back to Santa Clara where I will be attending the Conference Board meetings for the next three days. So, for those who thought I had stopped writing, here you go...the newest entry.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

8 months and counting

We have been in India for 8 months now.

Things have settled, but there is so much to do all the time. Whether from office to home or home to wherever, always seems to be something going on.

Tolbert and his four college friends, Tor, Keven and Ibanga got here in June and are spending the summer interning at Satyam.

Kaundy, son of AS Murthy achieved a major milestone in his life and we all attended his threading ceremony.

Upanayana: The Thread CeremonyA crucial event in the life of the orthodox, upper-caste Hindu male is an initiation (upanayana) ceremony, which takes place for some young males between the ages of six and twelve to mark the transition to awareness and adult religious responsibilities.

At the ceremony itself, the family priest invests the boy with a sacred thread to be worn always over the left shoulder, and the parents instruct him in pronouncing the Gayatri Mantra. The initiation ceremony is seen as a new birth; those groups entitled to wear the sacred thread are called the twice-born.

In the ancient categorization of society associated with the Vedas, only the three highest groups - Brahman, warrior (Kshatriya), and commoner or merchant (Vaishya) - were allowed to wear the thread, to make them distinct from the fourth group of servants (Shudra).


We took a trip to Thailand with with Tolbert, his buds and Joshua. We stayed for 4 days, 2 in Bangkok and 2 in Pattaya. We saw some amazing history and experienced the culture and beach.

MacKenzie Turns 16

On July 15, we invited 200 people to share our celebration of MacKenzie's sixteenth birthday. It was an amazing party with a DJ and full dinner. Everyone had a great time, especially MacKenzie who was the star of the evening.

When in Rome

For MacKenzie's birthday, we had her select a place to go in Europe and she chose Rome. We spent five days there, say the monuments, ancient Rome and even did side trips to Pisa and Florence. Rome has the best wine, best food, best everything. We loved it.

We stayed at Hotel Atlante and the staff were so friendly. The hotel is a historical building and a nice place, strategically located near the Vatican.

Check out a short history of Rome here:

Friday, June 23, 2006

Three weeks of blurrrrrrrrrrrrr

The past three weeks have gone by so fast that I just realized I had not made any entries. So, here in photos, is the story of the last three weeks.

The team has now grown to 19 staff including four interns. The interns are Tolbert (our god son), Thor, Kevin, and Ibanga. They all attend University of Minnesota.

School of Leadership is rapidly taking shape and is on schedule for end of October.

Josh, Vikas and I conducted a session for Nipuna, a Satyam subsidiary. We exchanged and shared objects and led a group of activities to enhance relationships.

On my birthday, I woke up around 8 am and got dressed to go to the gym. The door bell rang and I went to answer it only to find my team was outside the door with a cake. It was a great surprise.

Joti, whose Mom is the domestic helper living in the house next door got married. Joti is 16 and her sister Devi is 12. Devi is an amazing child having completed the ninth grade (skipped 2 grades). She speaks Telegu, Hindi and English fluently. And, she has a great personality.

We all went to dinner to celebrate.

On the last day before Dr. Zayd and Muhsinah returned to the states, we all went for a visit to Golconda Fort. for more information on this great place.

We also went to Mecca masjid, is one of the oldest masjids in the city and easily the biggest. Muhammed Quli Qutub Shah began building it in 1617 under the supervision of Mir Faizullah Baig and Rangiah Choudhary. Mughal emperor Aurangzeb completed the construction in 1694. It took 77 years to come up as the magnificent edifice we see today. Like many other ancient buildings in the city, the mosque is a granite giant with awe-inspiring innards. The main hall of the mosque is 75 feet high, 220 feet wide and 180 feet long, big enough to accommodate ten thousand worshippers at a time.

Mecca masjid is just a hundred yards southwest of the historic Charminar. Between Muhammed Quli Qutub Shah and Aurangzeb, Abul Hasan Tana Shah of Golconda also continued the task launched by the Qutub Shahi kings. It is believed that Muhammed Quli commissioned bricks to be made from earth brought from Mecca and inducted them into the construction of the central arch of the mosque, which explains the name of the mosque.