The echoes of the hills

Melting pot

The echoes of the hills

When work brought George Tonsing to the City 13 years ago, little did he know that he would end up settling down in Bengaluru. The young corporate professional from Manipur was shuttling between his native place and Delhi when he met his future employer in Delhi.

“He had a small set-up in Bengaluru and soon, I came to the City to look after the IT operations of the company,” recalls George. Today, he lives with wife Vung and children Celeste and Chloe, who are six and three years old respectively. “Earlier, the weather used to be really good in the City, just like that of Manipur,” says George. “But now, it has been changing in both places,” he adds.

Vung moved to the City after her marriage to George. “We knew each other before we moved to Bengaluru,” says George to which Vung laughs, “Since I have lived in Delhi, I can’t help but compare Delhi and Bengaluru.” She adds, “The weather is good here and so are the people. But the one advantage you have in Delhi is that it is easier to travel.” 

George works as the quality consultant in an MNC while Vung is a homemaker. With a hectic pace of life, George feels the biggest difference between Manipur and Bengaluru is the “sense of time”. “Over here, you rushing through your day, getting ready for work and sending your children to school. But in Manipur, you can wake up slowly, walk to your neighbour’s place and have a cup of tea. You are not in a rush but then you don’t get a metropolitan mix of people to mingle with,” he exclaims.

They feel that it’s hard to cook authentic Manipuri food here since many of the herbs and leaves are available only back home. And though many places serve North-Eastern cuisine in the City, George feels they are “toned down versions”. “But they are making an attempt and they do a good job,” he says. The family enjoys a good South Indian meal too. “I love ‘idli’ and ‘dosa’,” says Vung while George says, “Many items are common in both cuisines. For instance, rice is a staple and even lentils are consumed regularly.” 

Personally, they have never faced any problems in the City though they have heard of the different cases of discrimination against the people of the North-East. “I have lived in Hebbal, Fraser Town, Koramangala and HSR Layout and always had a good experience. Maybe I am privileged but whenever any person is in a minority, he or she will obviously feel that the majority is dominating. It could be anywhere and in any situation — it could be something as simple as you being someone who has studied only till class ten and the others in the group being master’s degree holders.”

Though language hasn’t been a problem for them, George is planning to learn Kannada during the weekends soon. “There are some free classes that I have enrolled for,” he laughs. The family also enjoys going out during its free time. “Whenever George is free, we make it a point to go to different malls and restaurants. We have travelled to places like Mysuru and Mangaluru too and have really enjoyed ourselves there,” says Vung. Since the journey to their native is a long one, they are unable to travel back home as often as they would like to. “We go once in two years and are planning to make a visit this year,” exclaims Vung.

The kids love going to the parks and places like Lalbagh and Indira Gandhi Musical Fountain. “I like the City because there are so many places one can play at,” says Celeste while little Chloe adds, “I have a lot of friends and love shopping and playing with my sister.” 

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