'Family is definitely closer here'

'Family is definitely closer here'

Expat zone

'Family is definitely closer here'

Joseph Cairns, an expat from the United Kingdom, has employed a very simple mantra to settle down in the City.

He has adapted to life here with surprising ease, stressing on the pros and adjusting to the cons with a philosophical passiveness. But at the same time, he’s an Englishman at heart and makes it a point to indulge in activities that remind him of home once in a while.
In fact, his attitude can be summarised in one matter-of-fact statement: “I eat Indian food five days a week,” says Joseph. “But on weekends, I like to have something European, which is why I head to one of the continental restaurants in the City.”

Joseph migrated to Bangalore nearly seven years back on work — he’s with a firm that provides video game recruitment services.

He was joined by his wife, a California-based Indian named Vithika, a year later. After a brief stint in an apartment above his workplace, he moved to Jayanagar and began to integrate with the way of life there.

“It’s a friendly place,” he says. “There are a lot of children, all playing together. My office is in BTM Layout, so I don’t have much of a commute.”

Joseph admits that his expectations from Bangalore weren’t high — too many
people had warned him that life in this country would be tough.

“I was told that it’s very difficult to get things done here, which is true to a certain extent,” he concedes. “For instance, it took me a month to get an internet connection — despite Bangalore being the IT capital of the country. On the other hand, it’s easier to set up a bank account here than it is in the West. Besides, we have the luxury of a driver and a cook, which is wonderful.” Adapting to the work atmosphere in Bangalore wasn’t a mean task either. As Joseph explains, workplaces function with a different rhythm here, something that takes a while to get used to.

“Things are a lot more disorganised and channels of communication aren’t very strong. But sometimes, I hear expats complaining about these things and I don’t like it at all. After all, you can’t have everything — perfect infrastructure and a reasonably-priced lifestyle at the same time,” says Joseph.

Interestingly, he admits to being overwhelmed by the pace of change in India as a whole and Bangalore in particular. “What took five or six decades to come about in England isn’t taking more than one or two here,” he states. “But people can’t expect week-to-week change — it doesn’t work that way. I’m confident that the City will find a solution to the problem of infrastructure. But we can’t forget that the number of people are growing faster than the infrastructural change.”

Culturally speaking, he likes the fact that sections of people from different age groups interact quite freely in India. “In the West, people of a certain age group tend to stick together. But at social gatherings here, everyone seems to be having one big conversation rather than separate pockets of discussion. Family is definitely closer here,” he explains. He’s made quite a few Indian friends and admits that he has his wife to thank for this. “My wife is Indian, so I’m lucky that way. I am a member of one of the City’s expat clubs but I prefer spending time with our local friends. I joined a few months back, although I’ve been in Bangalore for nearly seven years,” he states.

The couple have a one-and-a-half-year-old son named Jai and weekend outings are often planned around what he likes to do best.

“We take him places. We’ve been to the Bannerghatta National Park, where Jai saw some tigers,” recollects Joseph. In addition to this, he’s also a self-confessed squash fiend. “I am very passionate about playing squash and I do play a lot at the Bangalore Club, where I have quite a few friends. About six months ago, I also launched a network for squash players,” he says.

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