'Bangalore can be a little slow'

Bangalore has time and again emerged as the best Indian city when it comes to the quality of living for expatriates. Metrolife interacts with Ema Trinidad, an expat from the Philippines, to find out about her life here

Ema with her daughters Narnia and Hamaynie. DH Photo by B K JanardhanIf there’s one thing that Ema Trinidad loves, it’s travel. Originally from Manila, the Philippines, she spent years globetrotting across Dubai, Singapore and Malaysia to promote a line of beauty products. She arrived in Bangalore four years back — once more on business, since she was intent on exploring the market for her products here as well — and since then, she seems to have settled herself very comfortably in the City. Her children have been enrolled in a local school, she’s made herself a huge network of friends, and she’s peppered her speech liberally with Hindi phrases like theek hai. Metrolife caught up with Ema to find out more about her life in the City.

Ema recollects that she came to Bangalore with the intent of distributing beauty products, and was pleasantly surprised by the market she found here — so much so, that she’s gone on to set up a spa in Indiranagar. “I came here, and discovered that I knew this market. Bangalore is a metropolis, people are busy and stressed and they need rejuvenation, which is why I decided to set up the spa here,” she explains.

Ema has three daughters, two of whom accompanied her to Bangalore. Her oldest is studying in university back in the Philippines, but her two younger ones, she says, have settled down quite fast in the City.

“My elder daughter didn’t want to shift, but the younger two — Narnia, who’s 14 and Hamaynie who is 9, are studying in Cathedral School and have adjusted quite well. I think when children are with their parents, they feel more secure — the fact that I’m here makes a difference to them,” she says.

She too has made herself feel quite at home in the City. “I like Bangalore. I wanted to be in a city, but still find a quiet area with trees where I could be, and I found this in Bangalore. When I came, though, it wasn’t as densely populated as it is now and I’ve seen a lot of change here,” she says.

She did have some pre-conceived notions about the City, which she admits have changed rather drastically. “When I decided to come here, my friends told me that since I deal with high-end products, people here wouldn’t be able to afford it and I wouldn’t find a market. But Bangalore has a growing economy, there is quite a big chunk of people who can afford such products and treatments. I got the change to position myself just as the demand was growing,” she explains.

Ema admits that she hasn’t spent much time in her own country, but she still sees some similarities between home and here. “Asians are Asians,” she laughs, adding, “I think both cultures are very family-oriented. A Philippino will sacrifice a lot for his or her family, and I see Indians in the same way. Also, we’re known for being hospitable, and Indians are the same; people here will give up their own bed for a guest.”
There are some profound differences too, she adds. “I think Bangalore can be a little slow. People don’t really observe deadlines here, and you can’t rely on them. But I’ve adjusted to that. It’s important to accept what you can and can’t change in a new place,” she observes.

What she does like about the City, however, are the movies and the books. “One of the first things I did when I came here was watch the movie, Dhoom 2,” she recollects, adding, “I actually didn’t expect the film industry to be so technologically advanced.”

“My kids and I also love books, and Bangalore is a paradise for that. They’re unbelievably cheap, and when they’re on sale, we really hoard them up. I’ve read a few Indian authors as well, and I like them — mostly about entrepreneurs who’ve made it big. I like to learn from them,” she explains.

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