'Family ties are very strong here'

Expat zone

'Family ties are  very strong here'

Captain Eddie Lopez and Viviana Gonzalez, who are from the United States and Colombia respectively, have been here in the City for a while.

It was Eddie’s job as chief pilot with Jupiter Capital Pvt Ltd that brought him to the City almost five years ago. Viviana followed him in 2012.

Eddie, who came to Bangalore in 2009, says that he didn’t do much research before he arrived. “One of the things that I wanted was a place where I could have a life after work. It turned out that there were a lot of opportunities to socialise in the City but I was just not aware of them. I would often criticise the early deadline when places used to shut down earlier and that was disappointing,” he says. Eddie says that the restriction often caught a lot of people by surprise when they visited the City.
He says that the extended deadline has definitely got a lot of attention. “Bangalore has so much to give to people here. But at the end of the day, we have fun with what we have,” says Eddie.

When he first came, Eddie says that he experienced a cultural shock. “It’s not just Bangalore but India on the whole. The City has a lot of people! The mass of traffic is mind-boggling,” says Eddie. He adds that the cows on the roads are a normal feature here while it would hit the CNN headlines if it happened in a Western country.  “It's a good experience. It’s been fun!” he says.

Eddie has been to 39 countries because of his job and says that India is completely different from all the other places he has visited. “I can write a book about the experiences here! It has been a fantastic experience in that sense,” he says.He adds that the family values are great here.

“Families are on their own in Western countries. Over there, by the time children turn 17, they are in a rush to move out of their homes. But here, a 31-year-old would get married and go back to his home with his wife and live with the entire family. That is very endearing,” he says, adding, “Family ties are very strong here. Pick up a phone and try calling any landline number and it’s unlikely that you will ever get voicemail or the phone wouldn't be answered.

 There will always be an aunty, uncle, daadi or someone else to attend the call. That is an admirable feature.”

When Eddie’s not on the job and is in the City, he enjoys hanging out at UB City. “That area looks clean. I can also opt to have a beer and some non-spicy food there,” says Eddie. Another thing that Eddie says is that a downside in the City is that many eating joints close by 3 pm and open only by 7.30 pm. “What happens to people who want to have a quick snack? That is why I always have to rush to UB City,” he voices.Ask the couple about the different kinds of Indian food they have experimented with and Eddie says that they love idli vada, dosa, upma, chicken tikka, puri, biryani and tandoori naan. “Viviana’s and my tastes are alike and she loves exactly the same things,” he says.

However, both say that while they love aspects of living here, they would want to fix the roads in the City. “The work is on but I wonder why nothing is ever done on the Old Airport Road. I can say that this is one of the worst cities that I have ever driven in. The potholes are just scary,” he says, adding that though the City is growing rapidly, it’s weird how access to the City is poorly maintained. When Viviana, who’s a musician, was asked about the cultural scene in Bangalore, she says that the music scenario is appreciable here. “Music is everywhere in Bangalore and Indian people know a lot about the different forms of music,” she says. “I love playing music here as it’s different and the people like it,” she says. "People here are very curious and they always want to know how I coordinate the music and sing.”

Other observations by the couple include the warmth that the people in the City have. “I think that people in the South are generally nicer than those in the North,” says Eddie. He also points out that people here make you feel important. “It’s just the way Indians are. Indians treat people specially,” observes Eddie. “It’s wonderful how people here treat you like you are a part of the family,” sums up Viviana.

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