Attendees staying at the Grand New Delhi, where the conference is held, were packed on buses to travel another, no less grand hotel for the festivities. Looking out the window while stuck in traffic on the way over, one could see every stage of India's evolution at a single stoplight: a chartered bus, a car, a motor rickshaw, a motorcycle, a scooter, a bicycle, and a horse. Those walking in the road looked up to everyone with envy. Even the horse.
At the site, ICCO had set up dozens of tables and a huge, elaborate stage with lighting and special effects (consisting of a fire extinguisher/ smoke machine). After announcing the new entrants to the ICCO Hall of Fame, the show began.
Music wailed, a dancing troupe pranced across the stage, and Westerners kept an eye out for dengue fever-bearing mosquitoes, warding them off with drinks from the cash bar.
It was quite a spectacle -- a presumable timeline of traditional Indian entertainment, from somewhat slow, loud music to the traditional Indian art form, the salsa.
"What this corporate communications conference needs," somebody must have said to himself or herself at some point in the past several months, "Is interpretive dance."
Thank god it came through. The culture was thick enough to cut with the curved knife carried by the turban-wearing white jacketed doorman at the hotel. Somewhere, Sikh cultural extremists wept.