'It has been a fruitful experience'

'It has been a fruitful experience'

Andre M Strul and Ruby, along with their children Samuel and Abigail, came to Bengaluru from Canada a few years back. They have adjusted well to the people and the culture of the City and say that they feel at home.

Andre is the Chief Marketing Officer with Allo while Ruby who hails from Mexico, teaches the second grade in Indus International School. While the family has been here for three years now, Andre has been coming on and off to Bengaluru for almost eight years. “Work used to bring me here often. Most of my staff is Indian. Work has had its challenges but it has been a fruitful experience,” says Andre.

He says that the people here can’t say no and that could be a big challenge. “When you ask them to do something, they will only say yes even if they cannot complete a task or meet the deadline. People here always want to please you. Sometimes it is just better to say ‘no’ and give the real picture,” he says. He adds that the traffic has become worse over the last few years and thus, transport for employees is also becoming a problem.

“Many of my employees spend about four to five hours in traffic and this is becoming a big problem,” he says. Andre vouches that he has enthusiastic and skilled co-workers. “I’ve been lucky that way. We have good manpower,” he explains.

However, he feels that it is hard to retain employees. “People try to get experience from many companies in little time here. In North America, this job-hopping culture would surprise a future employer. But here, employers take this as a certificate of experience and are willing to hire such employees,” says Andre.

He feels that there are things that take a longer time to get done here when compared to other countries. “But I have learnt to accept that. There is not much one can do about it,” says Andre.

His wife, who has a lot of Indian colleagues at work, says that it wasn’t that hard to adjust as people from Mexico have many things common with Indians. “The work environment here and back home is very similar. People in Mexico are also warm. They can be a bit late with things too,” Ruby says. She feels lucky to be with warm people at work. “People have been welcoming and helpful.”

Ruby says that though Andre would talk about the City often, she couldn’t imagine how the place would be. “I’d never been to India before and it was quite a shock in the beginning. The traffic and population baffled me,” she says. She adds that in Canada she could easily drive around but here, she couldn’t drive until recently.

“I still drive around only in Whitefield though. The rules are broken and the absolute lack of lane discipline is crazy. It took me some time to get used to it. There is chaos on the road but somehow, everything just works. I just go with the flow,” she says.

Not finding everything in one place was something that Ruby had to adjust to. “Initially when I would shop, I would visit many places to get everything. Now, I have learnt to manage,” she says.

She smiles and recollects that something she found amusing was how the driver wouldn’t initially follow the instructions she gave. “He would always say, ‘Madam, I have to ask sir’. This used to bother me a lot in the beginning but I think this might be something to do with the culture,” she says.

Their kids, who go to Indus International School, say that they have made plenty of friends here. Samuel, who is ten, says that he has made more friends here than any other place.

“People are very nice and warm,” he says. He adds that his earlier school didn’t have as many subjects and that he loves all the subjects he studies here. His six-year-old sister Abigail loves the teachers at the school. “I have a lot of friends from across the
world. It has been fun,” says Abigail. The couple says that they don’t feel threatened in the City. “Compared to the other cities like Mumbai and Delhi, where I have to go for work, Bengaluru is great. We feel very safe here. I don’t feel lost or disoriented,” says Andre.

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