Posted by Dhruv Narayanan
India and Spain. Southern Asia and Western Europe. Different in many ways, but unique in offering me a bountiful experience for my freshman-to-sophomore summer! My summer meandered through Maharastra, Tamil Nadu, Catalonia, and Andalusia. I interned full-time with dMACQ Software in Mumbai and completed an independent study in classical guitar in conjunction with UTD’s Radiant Ensemble in Spain. Not only did I learn a tremendous amount about software development, but I also got to participate in the unifying magic that music inherently has as I performed for hundreds of people across Madrid.
My work with dMACQ Software centered around creating an android application to access and interface with their document management system (DMS), a product targeted toward middle to large sized corporations looking for a better, more unified way to track and monitor data. As an intern, I worked alongside some of the most brilliant, software-savvy individuals in developing the application that could be installed in clients’ phones and used to interface with dMACQ’s DMS. My weekdays followed a routine, namely going to work by 9:00AM and returning home around 7:00PM, spending most of my time programming and debugging hundreds of lines of code. On the occasion, I would join company management on business trips across the city to meet with potential clients and take notes as they pitched our product. I appreciated the unique, distinct culture that is inherent in the business world there, from not wearing suits (way too hot!) to serving guests chai or coffee during meetings or visitations. Albeit subtle in some ways, such small measures of hospitality (and universal acceptance of apt dress code) made me truly appreciate the unique world of business found in India. I learned a lot, not just about programming, but also about product design, marketing strategies, and executing efficient sales pitches. Though this wasn’t my first trip to Mumbai, this was definitely my first experience interning in software development and my first exposure to industry in India.
My time in Spain gave me needed respite from working 9 hours a day, as I transitioned into the new time zone with a suitcase full of clothes and a guitar in its case. I had a wonderful layover in Zurich on my way to Spain from India that allowed me to lay eyes (and feet) on the gorgeous soil of Switzerland.
The hop from Zurich to Spain only took a few hours; before I knew it, I was rehearsing six hours a day in Barajas, a north-eastern suburb of Madrid near the Airport. Our rehearsal times spanned 9-12 in the morning and 6-9 at night; in the afternoon, I would usually take the metro to downtown Madrid and explore food, architecture, art, and history from the Prado and Reina-Sofia to the Royal Palace and Cathedral. My independent study was administered by UTD professor Dr. Madriguera who led our ensemble in Spain. In addition to rehearsal, we performed at five different venues across Madrid, from cultural centers to community performance halls.
During our off days, I took trips to Toledo, Seville, and Barcelona, exploring art, history, and architecture there as well. I visited Segrada Familia, Alcazar, and the Cathedral’s of Seville and Toledo, some of the finest monuments I had ever seen up close! I saw flamenco dancing, climbed the Torre Del Oro (Tower of Gold), visited the El Greco museum, and ate delicious Catalan and Andalusian foods in my travels. Taking the high-speed rail in Spain is a lot of fun and exceptionally fast – we travelled over 200 miles per hour on a few stretches.
Music surrounded my travels in Spain, as I always found street performers in most intersections I traversed through and found many pubs with guest artists on an almost-nightly basis. Playing guitar in a city so infused with musical vibes was an honor and a privilege; I would never have even dreamed such an opportunity would be possible for me just a year ago.