'I like eating at roadside dhabas'

Expat Zone

Even though Wido Menhardt and his wife are from Austria, California has been home to them since 1997. But Wido, the CEO of Philips Innovation Campus, says that his decision to move to Bangalore last year was not sudden.

He had travelled to the City many times and took the decision to move here when work demanded so. “Previously, when I came here, I used to see the airport, the hotel and the office. So I never got to experience the real Bangalore,” he said.

And what surprised him after staying here? “That there is power failure. Even though you are aware that it happens, you just are not used to the fact that it happens all the time. I get really frustrated when the espresso machine does not work in the morning,” he says laughing. Jokes apart, Wido is not the kind who complains much. “One of the keys of staying here is that you have to let go of the good and bad,” he says.

“There are people who go on complaining about everything but there are others who don’t and are happier,” he adds. “But I was surprised as to how linked people here are with the USA. Everyone has someone living there or has studied there,” he adds.

Unlike most expats, Wido had no problems with food. “I loved Indian food even before I shifted here. During one of my official visits, I was given a box of pizza during lunch and was surprised because I had not come all the way here to eat a pizza!,” he says. “I like eating at the roadside dhabas where they make the food from the scratch. I don’t like idli so much but I love the chutney a lot. And you can always tempt me with some Goan fish curry,” he adds.

But he did have some issues finding his choice of bread and cheese in the City. “I couldn’t find anything in the supermarket when I first came here. But now I know where to go for different food items,” he says.

Wido stays in Dollars’ Colony with his wife Trixi, nine-year-old-daughter, Camilla and 14-year-old son Mats. “They go to an international school. So most of their classmates are in the same situation. But they all are from different countries and that is a very rewarding experience,” he says.

He informs that though Camilla was sad about leaving California at first, she has managed to adapt quite well. “She always wanted to go to a veterinary school back home. She recently told us that she wants to come to Bangalore after she finishes her studies. “She said that this is her home,” he adds.

His wife Trixi has managed to keep her passion for horses alive in the City. “She spends a lot of time working on retired horses. When we moved in here, we came with a dog and a cat and her first instinct was to move in the horse as well,” he says laughing. Wido says that the one thing he would miss if he leaves the City is the youthful energy here.
 “The economy is growing at an incredible pace. And everyone aspires to do more and have an impact,” he adds.

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