'People here are open to feedback'

Expat zone

'People here are open to feedback'

Beate and Hartwig Renninger, who hail from Germany, came to the City in 2011 with daughter Kaija. Hartwig, who works as the deputy general manager at Mercedez-Benz, says that it has been a fun learning experience here.

For Hartwig, adjusting with Indian colleagues wasn’t that hard since he had prior experience working with Indians. “I’m exposed to the different culture and the way they think,” he says. “We also knew about the culture since one of Beate’s aunts is married to an Indian and he would often talk about the mindset of the people here. Even though we haven’t been here earlier, it doesn’t seem like we’re in a foreign country,” adds Hartwig.

Before coming to the City, Hartwig was here on a business trip. “But I wouldn’t say that I got a flavour of the City then. When one is on a business trip, one is in a five-star hotel room and will not get a chance to view incredible India, which the country truly is,” he states.

The first impression that the couple had when they landed in the City was that it was crowded. “It was like a little ant pile where everything seemed to be moving; it doesn’t matter which way you looked at it. There could be a cow or a dog on the road and everything would be moving,” says Beate. She smiles and adds that she was warned by her Indian uncle that the City would be crowded but they would get used to it.

“Another friend told us that in a few years, we would be nodding to everything while conversing, which is typical Indian behaviour. But I laughed it out. Now, it has come into our body language,” Beate smiles and adds.

The couple says that they knew that Bangalore wasn’t a touristy city before they arrived. “But we also knew that all the big companies were present here,” says Hartwig. Hartwig says that it wasn’t hard to mix with the people here. “When I’ve socialised at parties or gatherings, I noticed that German culture and Indian culture are not so different. Indians and Germans have the same sense of humour,” he says.

Many expatriates say that it can get tough at work with deadlines. “I’ve never experienced a problem with my colleagues. They are all very qualified professionals and know exactly how to go about work. Also, what I really appreciate about people here is that they are very receptive. People here are open to feedback,” says Hartwig.
 Beate, however, says that this is not same at the home front. “Call someone for some repair or maintenance work and one can often see a crew of people coming in with a few working while one or two just hang around doing nothing. Also, the work gets delayed by days,” she says.

Commenting on the different challenges they faced when adjusting to the City, Beate says that she didn’t find it difficult. “I went to different malls and shops and discovered that most of what we needed was available here. There were not many varieties of products here but I consider that as a good thing since that reduces confusion when shopping,” she says.

Beate says that she discovered a variety of fruits and vegetables like jackfruit and bitter gourd that she had never heard of before coming to the City.Beate loves cooking and experimenting with the different spices here and has prepared samosas and pakoras for friends at a house party. “I love experimenting with Indian food, but what I have noticed is that there’s a lot of fat used in the dishes. I reduce it accordingly,” she says.

For the couple, festivals like Holi and Deepavali are all about crazy celebrations. “It’s wonderful to see people celebrate with such gaiety. There’s a lot of colours and vibrant flowers involved in the festivities, which is great,” say Beate and Hartwig together.

Having travelled to places like Kerala, Mussoorie, Delhi, Agra, Jaipur, Mangalore and Goa, the couple say that what Bangalore lacks is places to visit. “But Bangalore has awesome weather. Also, the people here are very friendly and kind-hearted,” they say.

Ask the couple what they would change about the City, and Beate laughingly says, “I would change the deadline for nightlife. Every time we go out at night, I feel like I’m sweet 16 again when I’m asked to leave the bar.”

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