'Bangalore is like a big garden'

Expat zone

Simone Pondrelli and wife Paola with sons Francesco and Alessandro moved from Italy to Bangalore about four years ago.

 This is their first assignment abroad and they say in unison that it has been a blessed experience. Simone works as head of the project management team of an Italian company — Ansaldo STS, which installs and commissions technological systems to Indian Railways and Metro, and says that working in India has taught him a lot. “I had always worked in Italy before and the experience was different. In India, it’s quite tough to work. We work with the public and it isn’t that easy,” he says. According to him, the seniority of a person plays a major role at work here. “The title of the person is very important. In Italy, age and seniority do not matter,” he says. He adds that over there, people do not have any issues accepting people at workplaces.

“Here, the verification process is tougher. Age and work experience matter a lot,” he says. He says that these rules affect Indians more and he has seen his Indian colleagues struggle a lot. “If you are from the West, it’s not that tough here. This is an aspect I wasn’t aware of  during my initial days here,” says Simone.

“Everything is new for me. I was used to working with Italian colleagues and customers. But here, I work with Indian customers and have colleagues not just from India but even places like Australia and the US,” he says. This was challenging, says Simone. “There are certain behaviourial patterns that one has to adjust to,” says Simone. He says that one has to follow up more with the people here.

“Extra calls and efforts go into this,” he says.

Simone also points out that here, people do not always explain their issues directly. “It’s a part of their nature to not complain. They don’t want to disappoint you. In the West, when someone has a problem, they say it on your face. Thus, it is challenging to understand what someone exactly means, when they say something,” he says. Simone says that this can be frustrating. “Things are not in a straight line and one has to follow the line as it goes,” he says.

But he says that he and his family have adjusted well now and feel very comfortable with the City. 

“I have learnt a lot and the workplace has been an enriching experience. When I came here my English was not good, but I am better at it now,” says Simone. The family loves the climate of Bangalore. “Bangalore is a lovely City,” he notes.

Comparing Bangalore to Delhi, he says, “There is a lot of greenery here. The colours in the City are vibrant. Delhi has a terrible climate!” When he is on an official tour, he looks forward to coming back to the City as it home for him now. “The people here are more gentle. It feels much safer,” he says.

Religion is very important here, according to him. “Italians are religious too. But Indians are deeply affected  by all aspects by religion. Even work is planned according to festivals,” says Simone.

Paola loves the City as she got a chance to mingle with other women from across the globe here. “I was worried in the beginning because of the change of climate, food etc. As time passed, things changed for me.

Bangalore turned into a beautiful place with gardens, lovely flowers, colours and smells. Bangalore is like a big garden,” she says. Of the many funny incidents that Paola can recollect, she talks about how monkeys used to get into their house and eat their food and mess with household items.

Francesco, who is in the seventh grade at Canadian International School, says that learning English was a huge task. 

“It was very hard and I couldn’t communicate in the beginning. I used to communicate with gestures earlier,” he says. He adds that his school in the City is much bigger compared to the one he went to in Italy and has people from across the globe. He smiles and adds, “But the teachers are stricter.” For four-year-old Alessandro, Bangalore is home and he loves ‘chapatis’ and all types of Indian food.  

How would the family remember Bangalore when they leave? 

Simone says, “We have learnt a lot here as a family. This City has given me and the family a lot of opportunities. Bangalore will always be a beautiful memory.”

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