'The family values here are a blessing'

Expat zone

'The family values  here are a blessing'

Kim Becker and wife Charnel Francis from South Africa, who has been living here for just a year, feels the country and the City is an explosion of culture. Kim, who is the managing director of Santa Fe India Pvt Ltd, also says that the City has plenty of professionals and is full of talent. 

This is the first time Kim is in India, but Charnel had visited New Delhi in 2008. “I was there for two weeks and then went to Agra to see the Taj Mahal,” she says. She points out that New Delhi is very different from Bangalore. “It was much busier there, while it’s calmer and quieter here. I think that the India one sees on television is New Delhi and not Bangalore,” she adds.Kim has visited Chennai, New Delhi, Mumbai and Pune on business and personal trips.

He lists his observations about the different cities he’s travelled to. “In Delhi, there are some beautiful houses and roads, but these are mostly around the areas where the government heads and diplomats live. In Mumbai, I’ve experienced only the monsoon season. Despite my hearing that Pune is a small city, I feel it is enormous. And, Chennai is not so clean,” he adds. Kim feels that compared to most cities in the country, Bangalore is his favourite as people are calmer here. 

Living in one of the busiest parts of the City, the couple does get a feel of the place. “This is perfect for me, since everything is walking distance here, especially the restaurants!” says Kim. The two are planning to move to the outskirts soon as they prefer a larger green space and a space for barbecue. Since Kim is a keen cyclist, he got a chance to explore nature while cycling at the Bannerghatta National Park. “I have a road bike, but it doesn’t work well with the roads here. So I’ve had to go for a mountain bike,” he says.

Before coming to Bangalore, the feedback that the two had got was that it is an IT hub and a busy city. “People are more receptive and friendlier here,” Kim says. 

Charnel says that the people here are able to understand expatriates better as most of them have either gone abroad for work, or have children or relatives who have gone abroad.Ask the couple what other things they like about the City and they say that they love the weather. “We also have had a chance to visit many restaurants and enjoy different cuisines like Italian, Chinese, Vietnamese, North Indian and South Indian,” says Kim. While Charnel loves the spicy food of the country, Kim cannot handle the spice content.

“He’s more of a ‘butter chicken’ person. But we’ve both had our share of South Indian food,” comments Charnel. Noise pollution is a big problem in the City, says Kim. “The constant honking is just not understandable,” adds Charnel. Also, the bad roads are another blotch to the City, say the couple. “It’s a great talent to drive in India. The overtaking that happens on the roads is an art in itself, ” says Kim. He says that the blue bus drivers create havoc on the roads. “When the BMTC buses are on the road, I stay a mile away from them,” he adds.

When one moves to a new place, there are often many things one would learn from the place. “The family values here are a blessing. I’ve heard that even if it’s a weekend, a son, most of the time, rushes to his mom to have dinner made by her. Back home, it’s always about hanging out with friends. Also, respect to elders is a very important and intrinsic part of the life here,” details Kim.

Given a chance, the couple would like to change some things in the country and one is to provide clean drinking water. “But the education system is very much in place, and we would want to congratulate the authorities for that,” says the couple.

While comparing South African culture with Indian culture, ask Kim and Charnel, what they found in common, and Charnel’s quick to reply. “Our countries are very keen to please others. When someone comes home, we have to make them feel at home.”

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