The Imperial’s Jaguar – lens misted by humidity Our (Bayer branded) Tata Nano for the day Nano parked on Development Alternatives surface designed to harvest rainwater Later in the day – and I’m taken with the Nano George shows us around the new DA building Glittering cow dung Inside the building’s courtyard – the central rectangle of stone will stream with water Interior (detail) Amy about to interview Ashok
As I emerged from The Imperial this morning, I snapped a picture of the hotel’s old Jaguar – my lens steaming up with humidity. One of the busiest days of the trip, with trips to see Development Alternatives, IDE India, (where we had an excellent lunch), TERI, MART and the European Business and Technology Centre (EBTC), which aims to promote a range of technologies, products and services in India, with a particular focus on climate change and renewable energy.
At Development Alternatives, we were hosted by Ashok Khosla (Chairman), who I have known for what seems like a very long time, and DA’s two Presidents, Arun Kumar and George Varughese. They took us around their new HQ building, still in construction, where you could hear wild peacocks in the nature reserve behind. Wonderful atmosphere to the place – and I particularly liked the glittering spirals set into inverted domes of cow dung. Interesting to hear how DA’s refusal to bribe officials massively extended the time-scale for the development – and led to the loss of at least one government grant, ironically from a European country.
At TERI, we were hosted by Leena Srivastava, Executive Director, who had kindly convened a group of the organisation’s key people – to present work they were doing in areas as various as biotechnology and renewable energy. Afterwards, we headed across to the Ambassador Hotel, one of the Taj chain, to meet Shankar Venkataswaran of SustainAbility in the Yellow Brick Road restaurant – which is where I first met him, years ago, thanks to Kavita Prakash-Mani – and Saroj Kumar Mohanta of MART, founded in 1983 and a leading consultancy on base of the pyramid (BoP) markets.
My eye was caught by the Imperial Airways poster, see below, showing a seaplane and putting me in mind of that wonderful book of a few years back, Corsairville: The Lost Domain of the Flying Boat. What days those were, for those who could afford them.
Then, after a pretty intensive team dinner back at The Imperial, we all headed across to the Radisson hotel, near the airport, for a (very) late night session with Poul Jensen (Director) and Wolf Zech (Head of Business Development) from the EBTC. By the time my head hit the pillow, I was more than ready for sleep. Dreams crowded with solar planes, no doubt inspired by the success of the Solar Impulse.