Living in a country that chose him

In order to serve his country France, he preferred to work for the French administration rather than in the army and was posted to a country which was not on his “wishlist”. 

Eventually, he lan­ded in Mumbai (then Bombay) in mid-1991 not knowing that India would help him find his soulmate!
 
Blessed with two daughters from his Parsi wife, Gilles Moutounet, presently country head of L’Occitane, today looks at India as a land “where growth is possible, unlike Europe, where companies constantly look around to sack employees who are more experienced,” says Gilles sharing his biking ad­­v­­e­­ntures, networking sche­dules and retail stint in India, with Metrolife.
 
Sitting upright in his office cabin at Lado Sarai, he is all gung ho about going up to the terrace to get clicked while adding, “I will get a sun tan!” 
 
The sight of Qutub Minar from the terrace makes him nostalgic about his parents’ visit to the country.

“My mother and father had travelled to India in the ’70s through a trip organised by Kodak. So when I was setting for India, they said ‘Ah! You are going to like it’,” recalls Gilles who then served as the Trade attaché at French Trade Commission, Bombay.

“I met my wife and then we moved to France, only to come back here in 2003,” he continues as the reference to his nightmarish jobless days in Paris haunts him. 

“I decided, if I do not make that jump now I would not like to make it when 50 and thus came to India,” confesses the Parisian who has since then worked with a number of leading retail brands such as Gitanjali and Future group.  
                
Gilles usually remains busy networking with people and doesn’t shy away from mentioning that he is “not too optimistic about India since corruption is rampant and infrastructure is a big challenge, yet the people respect and value experience,” he says overwhelmed by his varied encounters. 
 
“At places there are good highways but the manner in which the trucks enter them is pathetic,” rues the biker in him.
 
“I recently made a trip to Nainital and saw everything from camels to tractors entering the highway!” 
 
A smile spreads into the room invariably and Metrolife inquires him about his tryst with bike.
 
“When I was posted in Bombay in the ’90s, once my friends were going for a road trip to Goa and I couldn’t join them for absence of an appropriate bike. I then decided to go for road trips whenever I got a chance and now often drive all alone.” 
 
Labelling himself lazy in terms of cooking with a str­o­ng liking for spicy Indian fo­od, when asked if he plans to settle in his home country now, Gilles qu­ips, “I once had an interview for a job in Dubai to which my older daughter said ‘Dubai?

You go. I stay in Bombay with mumma!’”

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