'Every place has its share of problems'

'Every place has its share of problems'

Expat zone

'Every place has its share of problems'

Artist Elena Pereira made her way to Bangalore in 2006 because she was bored with her home country, the Netherlands — a decision that took her parents by surprise.

   But seven years on, Elena has made herself so comfortable in the City that she plans to stick around here.

   In conversation with Metrolife, Elena shares the ups and downs she has faced in Bangalore.

A graduate from Srishti School of Art, Design and Technology, she says that she opted to come to Bangalore to pursue her course.

   “From the time I came to Bangalore to now, so much has changed. I remember my college being much smaller. However, both the City and the college have grown by leaps and bounds,” she says. The experience at college, where many of her classmates were from different parts of the country, gave her a wide exposure.

   “I had a very hectic schedule. Back in the Netherlands, I was used to having classes only for three days a week.

Although I found it stressful initially, I came to like the structured and organised method,” she explains.

She has stayed in different parts of the City and Elena says that this has given her a chance to know every nook and corner of Bangalore. There have been many cultural difference that she has had to get used to.

   “Generally in the Netherlands, people live on their own. Whereas here, I have always shared apartments. I realised that there are so many cultural differences,” she says.

   For instance, having domestic help is not common in the Netherlands. “Although I tried it out, I realised that it wouldn’t work for me. I prefer doing the household chores myself. There was also a problem of communication with the helper,” she explains. 

Elena says that when she came to Bangalore, she only knew basic English.
   “It was here that I learnt English. I knew only a few phrases earlier. I could speak only German and Dutch,” she confides.

   But now, she is trying to learn Kannada, which she feels will be helpful.

   “I am confident of picking up Hindi but I am making an effort to learn Kannada. Although I don’t have the time to take up classes, I am planning to pick up books which will help me learn the language,” she says.

Elena is very fond of South Indian food — so much so that she regularly makes upma and dosas.

   “I alternate between Indian food and what I have grown up eating. But I just love South Indian food. In fact, the best ‘dosas’ are available on Brigade Road,” she says.
So well has Elena become acquainted with the City that she offers to take foreigners around town.

   “There have been many times that I have taken those new to the City to Commercial Street and markets. Although I don’t connect much with the expatriate community, I do meet them at parties sometimes. But they are all around town,” she says.

Although many foreigners complain about the traffic situation and public transport, Elena says that these are issues one must get used to. “Every place has its share of problems. Generally I don’t travel during peak hours, so I don’t have any issues with the traffic. But I have learned to deal with auto drivers and I rarely face any issue,” she says.

She has certain favourite spots in the City.

   “I meet my friends from foreign countries at UB City. But I prefer house parties
any day,” she says.

   Whenever time permits, she likes catching a play at
Ranga Shankara. When it comes to shopping, it’s Commercial Street that Elena loves.

   “I go to malls only to see what people are up to. It’s very rare that I make a purchase,” she says. 

Talking about the art scene in the City, she rues that to take up art one has to be privileged.

   “It’s very difficult to make a living out of art here, which is not the case in Europe.
Plus there aren’t many art galleries here even compared to places like Delhi and Mumbai,” she says, adding “I feel the frustration of artists, especially since there is not much of a chance to display art work. But I find that the scene is changing for the better, at least since I came to Bangalore.” 

Next year, Elena is planning to visit Mumbai and Jodhpur. “I generally like to combine work and pleasure. Every time I travel, I ensure to get some work done,”
she says.