'The sheer mass of people was shocking'

'The sheer mass of people was shocking'

'The sheer mass of people was shocking'

Kevin and Daleen Strydom, along with their children, son Joshua and daughter Lene, moved from South Africa to Bangalore in 2012 and the family says that it has been an interesting journey till now.

They came to the City thanks to Kevin’s job as the South Asia Regional Director of Caterpillar India Private Limited.

They say that it has been a fun learning experience.

Ask them what they knew about the City before coming here and Daleen says that they didn’t know much apart from the fact that Bangalore has an IPL team.

“We had heard that it was the Garden City and a nice place for expatriates,” she adds. So was Bangalore any different from what they expected it to be? “The chaos and noise on the streets took us by surprise,” says Daleen.

Having worked in other countries like the United Kingdom, Italy and Switzerland, Kevin feels that the work atmosphere here is different.

“The dynamics of working in a developing country are different in terms of social life, language and culture,” says Kevin.

He feels that work-wise, the deadlines are not met and that “time here has a different meaning” altogether. “One has to work around specifics like who does what and by when. One has to stick to this format to get work done efficiently,” states Kevin.

The family feels that there are basic cultural differences like the massive number of people around.

“The sheer mass of people was shocking for us. In any other country, there are just a few million people. But in India, there are more than a billion, which often gets intimidating for expatriates,” shares Kevin.

He adds that the cars, cows, and dogs and just about anything on the road moving together was also a different experience for him.

Commenting on the differences, Daleen says that “India is rich in culture”.

“There are amazing differences. Religion plays a strong part in all the festivities,” says Daleen.

He is often unnerved by the traffic but says that he rides his Royal Enfield around and loves going on road trips on it.

“I’m comfortable riding here though it is intimidating sometimes,” says Kevin. He adds that on weekends, they go to different restaurants and explore varied cuisines.

 “We love Indian food. It has many vegetarian and non-vegetarian options and we love all the curries, chicken tikka, dal and the tandoori naan. Hot spicy food is always a preference. We also love Bengali culinary preparations, which we had when we went to Kolkata. The mustard oil makes the food lovely,” details Kevin.

He adds that the family also enjoys Italian, Mexican and other cuisines in Bangalore.

The family loves the festivals celebrated in the country.

“Festivals are an explosion of the senses. We are used to celebrating just a couple of festivals. And the festivals here including Dasara and Deepavali are just amazing,” says Kevin, adding with a smile, “the family loves Deepavali, since it gives us a chance to make a lot of noise.”

Daleen has also had the chance to wear traditional Indian clothes. “I love the sari. I have worn it a couple of times for many occasion and it is just beautiful,” says Daleen.

About having travelled across the country, Kevin says that he has experienced Ladakh. with a few friends on bikes.

“As a family, we have gone to the backwaters of Kerala and the beautiful city of Udaipur in Rajasthan. We’ve been to Delhi, Agra and Goa and loved all our trips,” says Kevin excitedly. When in the City, Daleen loves exploring market areas like the Russell Market, City Market and Commercial Street.

The family says that the experience was challenging initially but now, they’ve happily embraced the culture of the City.

“I’m incredibly grateful that we could come here as a family and see and experience things. I’m sure when I have to look back one day, I will recall that I had an awesome time here,” Daleen sums up.