'India has added sugar to my black coffee'

EXPAT SPEAK

'India has added sugar to my  black coffee'

When you meet this Swede, you would be rather surprised to hear him say, “Hi, aap kaise hain? Mera naam Niklas hai.” Meet Niklas Frisk, who 13 months ago, flew down to India with his family for his first posting outside his home country. With a strong “belief in the opportunity to be in the second most populated country in South Asia,” he took the offer of serving as VP and Head, South Asia for Oriflame. “Coming from a country of nine million people to Delhi, which alone has a population of 16-18 million, everything that I have seen has been inspiring.”

Niklas had never been to India prior to this offer. But now as he maintains the largest office of his organisation in South Asia, he reviews his time spent here, “I don't know what I was expecting when I was offered the posting but one thing I experienced after coming here is that the people are far friendlier.”

He sees stark differences between Sweden and India and cites the “social security set up and high taxes which are slightly more structured in back home than here.” But the nuances from everyday life here more than make up for them. “I have a 15-month old son. I was at a restaurant with my wife and little one the other day and almost all the guests ended up at my table wanting to hold my child and take photographs of him exclaiming ‘He is so cute!’ Well, I don't know if my baby is actually so cute. I don’t think so but everyone else does,” he shares smilingly.

“I mention this because I don't think this would ever happen in Sweden. Back there, people would have stayed at their tables, whereas people here are so friendly that even if they are sitting at different tables, they warmly greet and meet you. I don't think I would ever welcome an Indian family in the same manner if I was in Sweden,” admits Niklas candidly who now thinks of India as his second home.

Though he didn't bring along any expectations, he did carry a long list of holidays! “Part of my travelling is due to business but partly it is my personal choice to explore this country and my experiences have been varied throughout the country,” says Niklas who has been to 15 places so far, including Goa, Agra, Kerala and the Golden Temple.

Awestruck by the sheer number of monuments here and having visited places like Red Fort and Qutub Minar, he asserts that Red Fort and Taj Mahal are far more interesting than the churches in Sweden, “because the former are made by hand.” 

But despite all this, what Niklas really misses is “Swedish food. I am a food lover and surprised that I can handle spices here. Yet, India has added sugar to my Swedish black coffee,” he chuckles. While “expansion” rules his business persona, on the personal front, he wants to “continue to see more of India and explore many more places.”  Currently though, his priority is, “to find a primary school for my son. That’s life!”

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