'India is a world inside a world'

'India is a world inside a world'

'India is a world inside a world'

Didier Goepfert, along with wife Sylvie, daughter Maud and son Damien, moved from France to the City around three years ago. It was Didier’s job as a financial controller with Schneider Electric that made them move to Bangalore. And the family agrees that it has been an enjoyable experience.

“It’s the first time that we have moved outside our country. It has been a different cultural and learning experience. I had been to the City earlier so I had a feel of India,” Didier says. Ask him about his impressions of the City and he says that Bangalore is developing rapidly.

“Adjusting to the food was an issue since the spice levels here are different from what we are used to,” says Didier to which Sylvie adds, “It’s an explosion of the senses here; be it the sounds which are really loud, the smells which are either really good or bad or the colours which are a treat to the eyes.”

Didier notes that it is easier to work with the people here. “There is no language barrier which is an advantage when compared to other countries,” he says. He also adds that staying here has helped them reflect on their own culture. “The values are different here,” he states.

Sylvie is impressed by the spiritual values of the people here. “It’s really fascinating to see how people have such deep feelings for their religion, have a spiritual side and how it affects their day-to-day life,” she says. She also says that unlike France, it’s easy to interact with the people here. “The other day I was conversing with an artist and that is not possible back home. They have their own private circle there,” she says. She also points out that the family values are completely different here. “The youngsters consider their parents as their role models, which is great,” she observes.

People are very flexible and open, says the couple together. “Back home, it wasn’t easy for me to find people to look after my house. Here, I feel that the people are happy to please you with their work,” says Sylvie.

Sylvie got a two-wheeler licence as she had to go for computer lessons and wanted an independent mode of transport. “Getting the licence was a hard task and I had to go back to the RTO with my papers. The funniest part was that the rule book mentioned that there should be only two people on a two-wheeler. But often during weekends, I see even five people on a two- wheeler,” she says.

Talking about driving in the City, Sylvie says it was tough in the beginning. “I was scared of the potholes. Also, the bus drivers drive very fast here. So I knew I had to drive straight,” she says. About his driving experience Didier says, “As long as you are ready for everything, it’s fine. Expect anything on the road and you will be okay.”

Talking about the country, Sylvie says, “India is a world inside a world. It is a land of contrasts.” Didier says that of the cultural differences that he has observed, the most striking one is that India is still a conservative society. “The place of women in the society is different. But people are outgoing here. When we go cycling to the outskirts, there are people waving and wanting to interact with us,” he says. Didier and Sylvie agree that people here are more open and warm. “The people here are very curious and ask a lot of questions,” says Sylvie to which Didier adds, “There is a solution to everything here. Anywhere you are, there is always someone to drive you around, guide you around the place, bring snacks for you and so on.”

Having visited different places in the country like Mumbai, Kerala, Chennai and even Kashmir, the couple says that Bangalore is really crowded. “The traffic is chaotic here,” says Sylvie.

Didier and Sylvie have had their share of dressing up in Indian wear. “I’ve worn a kurta pajama. It’s surprising how the women are always dressed in different vibrant colours,” says Didier. Sylvie who also wore a sari for a function says that it’s nice to see people dressed in lively shades compared to the plain dark colours back home.

The couple says that if one can adapt to India, one can adapt to any other place. “Whatever said and done, this is home for us,” they wrap up.