'Every day in India is a living experience'

'Every day in India is a living experience'

EXPAT SPEAK

'Every day in India is a living experience'

India’s culture is so rich and diverse that would be extremely pretentious to say that one knows it all!” says the Turkish ambassador Burak Akçapar who has been representing his country for several decades and has been in India for the past one year now.

Metrolife meets the ca­r­eer diplomat who sports an extensive knowledge across subjects as diverse as literature, culture, history and geography!

His love for travelling has taken the curious ambassador to Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and Karnataka. “As an ambassador, it is important to know and address business communities. But I mix sight-seeing with business beca­u­se I love to travel. I have been to a number of places down South and exploring North and North-west India are on my list now.”

But the trip that he cherishes the most is his last visit to Andhra. “When I went to Hyderabad, the grandson of the last Nizam showed me his personal museum. He spoke beautiful Turkish because his mother was the daughter of the last Khalif. This is an aspect of Hyderabad that few people know of.”

Does he feel that he has seen the ‘real’ India? “India is truely ‘unity in diversity’.

Ever­y day (in India) is a living experien­ce. The more you live here, the more experience you gain. You cannot really see a lot of India and appreciate it at the same time.”

But the heart of India, Delhi is what the ambassador rela­t­es to. “Quite a few people here in Delhi and Old Delhi are of Turkish heritage. When I read the history of Delhi, the name of Turkey kept popping up and there are many similarities between the two cultures. For instance, the word ‘Hauz’ has a Turkish origin.

“The architectural structu­res of Jama Masjid and Humayun’s Tomb are interesting since they are a common heritage. For me, Delhi is a contemporary robust City.”

He misses the exuberant Eid celebrations from back home, but really loves the Iftar parties here. “In Turkey, Eid is very colourful and completely different from what it is here. There are events which we look forward to celebrate but when in India, I look forward to the Iftar parties!”

When in Delhi, where does he get the best Turkish food?

“The best Turkish coffee is made at my residence,” he smiles and adds, “While Indian food is full of spices and uses a lot of frying, Turkish food retains natural flavours.

“There are many good Turkish restaurants in Delhi but I also like Indian food, so once in a month I go to an Indian restaurant with my family. However, I don’t feel homesick in India because Istanbul is just one flight away!”

The ambassador is not just in love with India but also Indian films. “I am a great fan of Rajnikant and I know all Rajnikant jokes,” he ends on a lighter note.

Now that’s what we call knowing the ‘real’ India!

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