'I want to know the City'

Expat zone

Expatriates love Bangalore for its cosmopolitan lifestyle, salubrious environment, food and people. Alejandro R Morales, an expat from Mexico, shares his experiences here

Each day in India has been an experience for Alejandro R Morales, a Mexican expat, who works as the chief construction technology officer at Value and Budget Housing Corporation.

Working with this company, he’s got the opportunity to understand the City on many different levels — he has interacted with people like construction workers, as well as CEOs of different firms. Because of this, he feels he’s really familiar with the City.

In fact, he says that after all the years he has spent here, he feels less like a foreigner and more like a localite.

“I have travelled to places like Cairo, South America and China — but India has by far been the most unique in terms of customs, practices and beliefs. It is so vibrant and rich, making it overwhelming to stay here. I first moved to India in the year 2008 to Delhi and then to Bangalore in 2011 with my family. Having seen the beauty of both the North and South, I can actually see how different yet similar the country is,” says Alejandro, who lives here with his wife and two children.

One of the biggest factors that helped Alejandro settle down is the fact that he saw many similarities between Mexico and India. “Both the cultures are very family bound. Back home, a child doesn’t live away from the parents until he or she is 28 or 30 years old. They have great respect for their elders and go to them for any major decision in life,” he adds. When it comes to the food, Alejandro says that the similarity continues.

“Both our cuisines are very colourful — but the big difference is that in Mexico, the spice hits your tongue but in Indian food, it goes all the way down the throat. However, it was nice to see that here, too, people use their hands to eat and don’t depend much on forks and spoons,” he states.

Once, Alejandro went for an Indian wedding and was fascinated by the fact that the parents had organised the entire affair. He even went and spoke to the couple about it. “It was only later that I realised that it is such a beautiful concept. Because  parents only want the best for their children. Even while arranging their marriage, I am sure they will have the child’s best interest in their mind. The children only respect that by agreeing to the arranged marriage,” he says.

Alejandro believes that the best way to know the City is by spending time on its streets. “Being in construction line, I always want to know the City I live in. One day, my wife and my kids took a walk from Richmond Town to Commercial Street and explored the City that way.

Then, I realised why people here rarely use the sidewalk — the streets are inconvenient, especially for people who are pushing strollers. But at the end of it, I knew the real problems that one faces in daily life here,” he adds.  The family loves to shop at local malls, eat at Indian restaurants and even ride the local rickshaws.

“My daughter loves the rickshaws and we take them all the time. As for Indian food, we love dal and the various masalas. In fact, the word masala used to be a scary one because we thought it meant spicy — but tasting things like masala dosa, we realised that it meant spices not spicy,” he adds. They also try to recreate Mexican food using Indian spices in their kitchen.

“It is a challenge as we don’t get the right ingredients — but we do manage somehow. My wife is also learning how to make some Indian dishes from our maid,” he adds.  The family has settled in well and his five-year-old daughter is studying at an international school here. But now, Alejandro is taking a deeper look into Indian culture.

“I am reading the Bhagavad Geeta and Mahabharatha, which are really giving me a whole new perspective. And now, every time I go back to Mexico, there are so many images that I take home with me,” he sums up.

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