India has a lot of holidays, and today was one of them, so we got a day off after one day of work. Some members of Business Siva were kind enough to arrange some activities for us, so it ended up being one of our most tiring days yet.

In the morning we went to the famous St. John’s Cricket Academy where we given some coaching and got to try out batting and bowling. Cricket is by far the most popular sport in India, and quite a few boys of all ages and even some girls were spending their day off practicing it. We used a softer practice ball because the regular ball is even harder than a baseball, so there we no injuries thankfully.

The primary activity of today’s festival is kite flying, which is serious business here in India. Thousands of kites are flown across Hyderabad. The primary purpose of kite flying is actually to duel with other kites, and try to cut their string with your string. There is quite a bit of technique involved, and in parts of the city there is betting and sometimes even fighting over it. We were very kindly invited to participate in a much more sophisticated and civil environment at the Secunderabad Club. This club is one of the oldest and most exclusive clubs in India, with a 20 year wait list to join if all requirements are met. We were invited there by Amit and Munmun, the couple who recently started a restaurant, and were at our dinner on Sunday night. It was a very fun experience, and I personally was able to take out three other kites.

Later in the afternoon we visited with another member of Business Siva at real estate development and infrastructure company called Lanco. At the site we visited, they are building a fully integrated community, with 30+ story residential buildings, one of the largest malls in India, and office buildings primarily for tech companies. The residential are all that they have made a lot of progress on because of recession in 2008 and some local political problems. It is an enormous project, though. We were able to visit a couple of apartments, and even go to the helicopter pad on top of what is currently the tallest building in Hyderabad.

Finally, we went to a large and pretty upscale mall called Inorbit Mall to eat at Amit and Munmun’s restaurant, Dil Punjabi. The food there was amazing. We all decided it was the best food we had had in India, and we could see why they were doing so well. At the end, Grant gave us a good laugh and a good memory. They brought us all out bowls of water with a slice of lime in to for us to wash our hands in, but he took a spoonful as if it was soup, much to the delight of our Indian friends. It’s a good sign though, because it means he’s ready to eat whatever they put in front of him.

Grant being taught the proper stance by coach Leonard.

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I started getting the form a little bit.

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Here are the guys with some of our friends. We were wearing far from the proper attire of all white and a collared shirt.

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A picture of the kite festival.

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Jeff is being a good neighbor, and using his height to help a young boy.

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A view from the top of the tower. Those are the residential buildings Lanco is putting up.

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All of us at our dinner tonight.

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