'The Polish are crazy about food too!'

Expat zone

It isn’t the everyday love story when it comes to Maciek Kolbusz and Kriti Sachdeva Kolbusz, a young couple who recently moved to Bangalore.

While Maciek, 33, hails from Poland and has lived in UK and Ireland, Kriti, 26, comes from New Delhi. But where the two met was in none of these countries but in fact on the Internet. That too on a dating website for vegans and vegetarians called www.veggieconnection.com!

“We met online in 2012. I was sure that I wouldn’t be able to find a traditional Indian guy and I wasn’t a ‘sought-after bride’ in the Indian market because I’m really skinny. Within a month of creating my profile, he approached me. I wasn’t sure because while I was fine with the idea of an Indian guy living abroad, he was a foreigner. But within six months of contacting each other, we got married in Delhi,” recalls Kriti, who is working with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). “People still don’t believe that we’re married; they think I’m his girlfriend or we’re in a live-in relationship!” she jokes.

Being a part of the big Indian wedding was quite an interesting experience for Maciek, a computer engineer who works with an IT company here. “It was a very big wedding! I actually felt like a guest at the wedding because I didn’t have to do anything and the girls’ side took care of everything. This was unusual because in Europe, both parties are involved equally,” he shares. However, Kriti clarifies that he was quite well-prepared for the festivities because of the continuous correspondence between her and Maciek’s mother in the form of Wikipedia links.

Though none of them are familiar with Bangalore, their initial reaction on seeing it was a positive one. “We don’t know how long we’re here for but we made this decision because we thought it would be better than living in the UK. We didn’t like the weather there, there were no good fruits and Kriti couldn’t find a good job. We already like it here and it seems like it’s going to be all right,” says an optimistic Maciek. 

   Kriti adds, “This is a little experiment for us. I find Delhi greener than Bangalore but this lifestyle is much better than that back home.” 

Having been to Delhi himself, Maciek agrees with this comparison. “Bangalore isn’t as crowded, is relatively cleaner and has better weather. But I’m quite disappointed that most of the lakes on the City map are dry!” he points out.

Ask him about his experiences on the professional front and Maciek draws parallel with the European work culture. “Indians make for good co-workers,” he states. “They are friendly, cooperative and polite. Even my boss is quite laid back and there’s no extra pressure. I don’t feel a big difference from working back home.”

Culturally though, he finds Indian culture and way of life to be quite different from his own. “The two cultures are totally different. The caste system is still visible here and that is totally against European values, which are based on the equality of people. Back home, classes are economical, not cultural,” he explains, adding that while the Polish are also religious people, they aren’t as superstitious as Indians. 

He notes that the way the same festivals are celebrated in both countries is starkly distinct too. 

“There are differences in the way holidays are celebrated here and in Poland or Europe in general. Take Christmas or Easter for instance. Here, it’s more about going out, dancing and partying while in Europe, it’s a quiet family gathering around the table,” notes Maciek. 

But the one common factor is the mutual love for food, he grins. “The Polish are crazy about food too! It’s a big part of celebration. I’ve sampled some Indian foods like panipuri and some dals but they’re too spicy for me.” The Kolbuszes have already done their fair share of sightseeing, from the City markets to Lalbagh. In fact, they even befriended some monkeys in Lalbagh, whom they fed mangoes and jackfruits to.

And while they don’t know too many people around, they hope to get acquainted with like-minded people in the coming months. “It’s a fresh start for us. Being raw vegans ourselves, we want to start a raw vegan community here and spread what we stand for. Anybody would benefit with that diet and we plan to organise events and get more people to try out that way of life,” wraps up Kriti.

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