'People are really caring here'

Expat zone

Harri Parkkonen from Sweden and Lilibeth from Venezuela and their children, daughter Linnea and son Axel, have been living in the City since 2010.

   A line manager with ABB Global Industry & Services Limited, Harri and the family appreciate the chance they got to be in the City.

“Though we came initially for a year, I got more projects and we stayed on for another year. And finally we’re on our fourth year now,” says Harri.   

The couple loves being here as they find it a cosmopolitan city. “We have friends from all across the globe here. There are also Indian friends and we know people from South Africa, Germany, UK, Mexico, Colombo, France etc,” he shares.

   Lilibeth and Harri have travelled to Goa, Kerala, Chennai and Pondichery. “I went to Mumbai for a few days for a ‘zumba’ class. The place must be at least 10 times more crowded than Bangalore,” notes Lilibeth, while adding that Chennai is too hot for her taste. The couple hopes to travel more but as the children are young, it has been tough, she shares.

   “One of the most important places that we want to see is the Taj Mahal in Agra,” says Harri. They say that they will not leave the country, without seeing the grand monument, which is one of the ‘Seven Wonders of the World’.

Like every expatriate in the country, the couple is of the opinion that the festivals observed here are vibrant.   “Most of the festivals in the country are full of colours and varied textures and have different types of foods,” says Harri. But he points that during Deepavali, the family stays away from the City. “The festival is too loud for the kids,” he explains. Lilibeth adds that in many of the festivals, there are drum beats included as music, which is very lively.

As for food, they mostly eat Continental and Asian cuisine. “But, we do love chicken tikka, egg biryani, masala dosa, idli and chapathi,” lists out Lilibeth.

Harri feels that in the City and across the country, people are in a rush to get settled. “The youth is more mature here. Most of my colleagues or other professionals that I have met want to be in the top management at a young age. It could be because of the monetary benefits or the social pressure,” says Harri.

   He also adds that the education system is more focussed here. “But, I’m guessing that the education system is flooded with information to meet the requirements of today,” he says.

At work, like most expatriates who manage teams, Harri is not able to understand the concept of ‘two minutes’.

“Whenever someone tells me that, I just ask them openly whether it’s the Indian ‘two minutes’?” he laughs.

   Harri is, however, quick to add that as he got a chance to work for a while more in the City, he has observed that things have changed a lot.

“Another amusing thing that I have noticed is that if one asked an Indian professional about what he knows, he will say ‘I know everything’. Scandinavians are very shy though, we always say that we know nothing. But I consider this confidence of the Indians as a good factor as this is required to market oneself in the job scene,” he says.

Harri and Lilibeth, like most other outsiders in the City, are perplexed by the traffic.

 “We consciously stay away from the City because of this. The constant honking is also disturbing. I think people can do without brake lights here but not without horns,” says Harri. Lilibeth adds that vendors on the street are something unique too.

Harri says that whenever they leave the City, the things that they will not miss include the potholes on the roads and the speed humps.

   “Something else I’ve observed here is that most infrastructural projects,
like the flyover work, never get completed!” exclaims Harri.

Despite many things that continue to surprise the couple, Harri and Lilibeth are amazed by the family values that  people here have.

Lilibeth says that she has noticed very strong family sentiments among the people that she got a chance to interact with. “It’s amazing how a distant relative is also ‘my brother’ or ‘my sister’ here.

And the way the people care for each other, sparing time for each other despite other commitments is amazing. People are really caring here,” adds Harri. The couple agrees that the children have great respect for their
parents too.

Harri loves the fact that there is a great mix of musical flavours in the City. “And this is because the City has people from everywhere. We have always felt accepted because of the same reason,” wraps up the couple.

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