'We must give our society our best'

EXPAT SPEAK

An empty pot with a dead plant stem, prominently placed on the centre table, evokes curiosity. The dead plant is a reminder, “If you don’t take care of living beings, they will die!” explains Jesús Clavero-Rodríguez.

Having adopted the concept of caring for and sharing with “the other – Restitucion (to restore or give back)” in his personal and professional life, the hyper-active Cultural Manager of Instituto Cervantes Nueva Delhi – Jesús speaks to Metrolife about his journey from being a telecommunication engineer at Ericsson to one who has accepted the challenge of bridging the cultural gap between Spain and India.

“I loved science and took up industrial engineering at the University of Valladolid. But alongside, I also pursued music at the Conservatory,” says Jesús fro whom love for engineering and music went hand in hand. But while working as the director of a paper sacks factory of Smurfit Group, he pursued an MA in cultural management at Complutense University of Madrid and found his true calling. 

“Music was always present in my life. Even while I was studying, I used to sing and play for semi-professional choirs. But till then I was always doing both things separately and thought why not to put them together.” He joined Bilbao Opera House (ABAO) as the general director, and later the Spanish National Orchestra and Choir (OCNE) as the managing director and production manager of the National Auditorium of Music in Madrid.   

“We must give our society our best and within lowest possible cost. I introduced projects at OCNE where we were required to travel abroad and perform for audience which doesn’t have access to such orchestra. I also launched an opera for kids and I am happy to say that it still continues,” he recounts as memories of the Festival of Indian Music and Dance, held at the National Auditorium of Music continue to linger in his mind.

“It was during this festival that I was introduced to India for the first time. I decided to join Instituto Cervantes in Delhi because I found that India is a place that is ‘changing’. Statistically, the world is more here than in other places like Europe,” he says browsing through a book by Spanish author Miguel Delibes in the  institute’s library.

His friend asks him to accompany him on a jaunt to Old Delhi. “The place is overwhelming, just like the rest of the City, which I found had a lot of  noise and smell initially. But I don’t find it noisy now,” says Jesús who prefers to take an auto or a cycle rickshaw and loves the challenges that the country throws at him everyday.

“When in India, you cannot escape from the world around you. Since the last three years I’ve been here, I have seen the number of cars and pollution increase in the City. But on the other hand, two things good about Delhi are its Metro and the network of telecommunication,” he comments on the easy availability of mobile phones, referring to it as a “tool for development of common lives”.

“It is important to love the place where you work, especially when you are in the cultural field,” he says profoundly, refusing to define his working hours and welcoming feedback from one and all. 

“Audience, to me are interpreters. A dialogue is always important and that is what I keep striving for,” he says envisaging new projects that would bring Spain closer to Indians.               

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