'Bangalore is very kid-friendly'

Expat zone

'Bangalore is very kid-friendly'

John and Cynthia Specht — along with their five-year-old son Bruce, from Houston, USA — have been in the City for almost two years now. Thanks to John’s job with Shell, they don’t get much time to explore the City. But they make sure that whatever time they get is well spent.

John, who’s worked in Malaysia, the UK and Italy before coming to the City, says that it’s been a rewarding experience. “When we came to India, we knew that the country is known for its rich culture. We were excited to see a completely different style of living.” He recollects some of the most memorable moments during their time here.

“During the festival time, we dressed up and did the stick dance (dandiya), which we will remember forever. The fun and gaiety around the festivals is like nothing we’ve seen before,” he says. He goes on to say that the family got a chance to celebrate
Deepavali, Holi and many other festivals in the City. “We wanted to live in an Indian neighbourhood. We took extra effort to dress up — I wore traditional attire and was the only one among the adults to dress up,” recollects John. Cynthia laughs and says, “We tried a bit too hard to fit in and the dandiya night was the perfect example of that.” 

John feels that most of the festivals seem to have a regional focus.

“What I really like about the different celebrations here is that everything seems to be a community affair. Back home, Thanksgiving or Christmas would be spending time with family,” he states.

Comparing the cultures of the different countries he’s been in, John feels that there is a certain richness to the culture in India. “Everything is family-oriented here as compared to the US. Back home, I wouldn’t spend so much time with relatives apart from my immediate family. But here, it is different. Our driver introduced us to his wife, his siblings and parents, and that was a different experience for us — it would never happen in the US,” he says.

John and Cynthia vouch that this is one of the friendliest cities they’ve been to. “Bangalore is very kid-friendly. People are very affectionate here, with children and families. If Bruce were to fall on the road, there would be at least three or four people who would come to help him up, which is a very endearing experience,” say Cynthia and John.

Something that they notice is that in India, people take things in a relaxed manner, which both agree is an appreciable quality. John and the family have travelled to Kerala, Chennai, Rajasthan and Delhi and like most expats, agree that the weather in Bangalore is like none other. “We just can’t get enough of the weather, especially coming from Texas,” Cynthia says. “Chennai just seemed a bit too crowded,” she states. John adds that in Delhi and other cities, it looked like everyone was involved in their own lives and too caught up.

John and Cynthia have not experienced a language barrier here. “Most of the people here know English, which is a good thing,” says John. Cynthia and John feel that anything can happen in this country. “Whenever I’m in the car and heading out, I roll the windows down and sit with my camera, ready to click a picture of anything and everything amusing that I see. There could be anything around — huge cows on the road, men walking hand in hand, and so much more. There’s always something interesting happening,” says Cynthia.

Bruce loves the regional music that he hears over the radio. Despite not knowing the meaning of the lyrics, Cynthia and Bruce enjoy singing along. Different countries have different work culture but John has not faced any problems. “I’ve worked with Shell for a while now and whichever the country, the work culture is very similar. Interestingly, everyone in India eats together as a team. In Malaysia, only friends eat
together while in the US, everyone eats alone.”

“If asked how we would remember our time in the City, I would describe it as an intense experience. The colours, the sights and the noise — everything is so intense and will remain in our memories. When we came to India, we were looking for an adventure and it has definitely lived up to our expectations,” says John.

He wraps up, “There’s something new to see every day. Coming and living here has definitely been a worthwhile experience.”

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