'There is so much to explore'

Herwig Ganz and Shadi, who hail from Germany, have been in the City for more than two years. This expatriate couple came to the City, thanks to Herwig’s job as a geochemist with Shell.

Having been away from their home country for decades now, this couple loves the City and all things about it.

Herwig has worked in different countries like The Netherlands, the UK and Africa, before moving to Bangalore. “There’s a lot of travelling involved in work now because it’s a regional hub. I have to often go to the Middle East, Malaysia, Australia, China and other regions,” he says. Herwig adds with a smile that he is happy about the new airport road, which makes travelling to the airport, a smooth task. “The interiors of the airport are beautiful with all the designs and beautiful lounge,” adds Shadi.

Herwig has only the best to say about his teammates and the work atmosphere. “The people are very friendly, talented and it’s a great pleasure to work with them,” he says. The eagerness to learn and perform and the energy levels within the team have impressed Herwig, a lot. “The work setup here is different. In other places, I had to look at work only in those countries. There is a larger area to work with here as India doesn’t have much exploration in oil,” says Herwig.

He says that development is on a steady pace here in the country and the City. “The growth of the organisation itself proves that. I have been told that the City itself has developed almost three folds in the past decade,” he says. He adds that most of the people hired in the company are beginners and are trained thoroughly, which is different from other places that he has worked in.

“A lot of these people also get a chance to go on expatriate assignments. It is a principle of the company to distribute talent equally and this could be a reason why we see a lot of people joining us,” says Herwig.
“Time management is absolutely crucial in a field like this,” says Herwig, adding, “but the tendency of postponing things or relaxed deadlines do not cause stress to me as we are a bit used to it, coming from Africa.” Shadi adds that there is no awareness of time in Nigeria or even Cape Town. She says, “We have to relax with them, accept their norms, and mingle and immerse ourselves in the culture.”

Shadi, who is a contemporary artist, says that one can learn a lot about a place by reading, but living in a place for a few years and experiencing it are completely different. “When we hear about India, it is one large country. Despite being one country, unlike Africa, there is so much diversity here, which is so mystical. When we go to Delhi, it’s a different culture, and then when we visit Kerala, we wonder if it’s all in the same country,” says Shadi. She says everything, varying from the soil to the music, is different in different places in India. “There is so much to explore and discover here,” she says.

Shadi, who has Persian roots, says that she feels a certain connect to the country. “I have the space to do anything here and I have lovely friends in the City,” she says. Ask her, if her artwork, many of which are displayed across their villa, has Indian influences, and she’s quick to point to a lively and vibrant work. “When I came here and explored India, I found it to be a colourful country, which does reflect in my art. My colour choices have changed and I use much more peppy shades. I use a lot of Indian colours now,” she says.

Shadi is trying to learn Hindi and she says laughingly that it was amusing when she learnt that her name meant ‘marriage’ in the language. “There are a lot of words similar in our ethnicity,” she smiles and adds that she doesn’t want to go back to Europe despite having grown up there. “There is a connect here,” she says.

Shadi points out that Bangalore has a great mix of people from across the country. “Everyone is an expatriate here as most people here are from different places, varying from Delhi, Mumbai, Kashmir etc. This is also a reason that I have never felt out of place here. We feel very relaxed,” she says. She adds. “They may not understand each other sometimes but they peacefully coexist.”

The couple agree that India will remain one of the most pleasant places they have stayed.
“There are many warm-hearted people here and I have always felt at home here,” the couple
sum up.

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