'I love the freedom people have here'

Expat zone

'I love the freedom people have here'

Bruno Gerard Menez and wife Elvira Meneza, who are from France and Latvia respectively, came to this city about three years back. And Bruno loves Bangalore so much that he doesn’t want to go back.

Bruno, who works with the Canadian International School as a French teacher, had come to India earlier also.

He feels that coming here was just like a fairytale. “It was during our teaching tenure in Addis Ababa that we came to India. We came to Thiruvananthapuram for a wedding, and then went to Kanyakumari. On our way back, I said to myself, I would like to be in India, especially the South of India. Two weeks later, I received a proposition to work in India and in a couple of weeks, I was told that I had a job in South India, in Bangalore,” Bruno says.

They came here in August 2010. So before landing here did they have any idea about the City?

Bruno answers, “Yes, we had heard of it as the ‘Silicon Valley of India’. I also have friends who are working here and had heard through them what Bangalore was about. We were not very surprised when we arrived since we knew the place through these conversations.”

He describes, “It was after Addis Ababa that we came to India and thus the best surprise was the difference in lifestyle and culture — like the malls. There are not many malls in Addis Ababa.”

He adds, “And people are much friendlier here. They are nice and open-minded.” Talking about their different experiences in the City, Bruno says, “I love the freedom people have here, of being able to walk on the streets. That was something I never found in the Middle East, or in Africa. Indians are closer to European people than the Middle East that way.”

Bruno and Elvira live beyond the City limits. He explains, “I like the countryside. Most people prefer to be in places like Indiranagar. But we prefer places on the outskirts as we like to travel.”

Sharing their travel stories, Bruno says, “We have always travelled more in the South than in the North of the country. I plan to visit Rajasthan, Agra and Delhi soon. We often go to Goa since our kids like the place.” He adds, “We’ve been to Kanyakumari and Pondicherry.

Being French, it was a nice experience visiting Pondicherry.”

Bruno is adventurous and recently went on a road trip from Bangalore to Goa, while wife Elvira and daughter took a plane instead.

Bruno details, “I check the maps and take the best routes. In fact, I took the Tumkur Road on my trip to Goa.” Bruno’s never been scared of any unfamiliar territory, and he’s always on the search for other destinations to explore.

Elvira smiles and comments, “He can be really crazy and that’s why I don’t go with him for all trips. I let him be and do what he likes.”

Ask Bruno if there was anything in the City that he would want to change, and he says firmly, “The authorities should take mandatory steps to prevent people from honking so much. It’s really annoying when people honk just for the sake of it. When people are on the road and honk, they feel that they have a right of way, and they feel they are protected by the ‘God of Horns’. Since the election is here, they should make a new law.”
The couple’s usual hangout places are Commercial Street, MG Road, and the malls in the City.

“We prefer to be on the road much more than strolling around the City,” says Bruno.
Talking about the food here, Bruno says that he loves his paper dosa, masala dosa, tandoori chicken and more.

“I also love the tiger prawns,” he says excitedly. Bruno and Elvira understand that everything is not available everywhere, and they adjust accordingly.
Given a chance, Bruno would never want to go back. Ask Bruno if he’s aware that there is a big French community in the City, and quickly replies, “I’m not interested in interacting with them. I live my life. And I’m not in India to make a little France here.”

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