'We have no plans to leave'

A family story

The Bengtsson family.

“It’s the one place that works out for all of us,” said Tristan’s mother, Gunilla Bengtsson, from Sweden. “Living here, with our work and children, everyone in our family is happy. We have no plans to leave.”

Bengtsson is a teacher at Stonehill International School, which has a spacious campus toward the airport, and her husband, Andrea Battello, from Italy, is the school’s head chef.

The family had access to everything they wanted here — leisure activities, a wide range of foods, and space for the children to play — and they enjoyed the climate and felt safe, Bengtsson said.

“You can be completely relaxed here. People are friendly, and I can walk around anywhere and never feel threatened, and people speak English.”

Her husband drives the family to school every morning by 7.30 (“He’s the most aggressive driver on the road — he’s learned all the tricks,” Bengtsson said), where the two sons stay till evening for after-school activities.

The biggest drawbacks in Bangalore were its dirtiness and inequalities, she said.  She said she was the main breadwinner in the household but was often treated as a dependent, and the poverty held back the city’s first-world status.

“In my country, if you keep on improving in your job, you will get promoted. There’s an incentive,” she said.

“But workers here are stuck in poverty. They don’t get paid enough and don’t have enough holidays. Protections in place in my country aren’t in place here.”

The inequalities also made the whole city inefficient, she said. “Why should you do your best at work if there’s no possibility of getting out of your situation?”

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