'I was mesmerised when I came here'

Expat zone

'I was mesmerised when I came here'

It has been just a year and a half since Jens Corder, an Australian national, came to Bengaluru and the General Manager of the yet-to-be opened ‘Shangri-La Hotel’ says that he has already fallen in love with the City.

“When we (my wife and I) arrived here, it was exactly as we expected — it had a good social scene with many thriving restaurants and friendly people. It was easy to get around with good weather and traffic during peak hours,” he says.

Born on a small island in the Central Pacific called Nauru, he has spent most of his years travelling across South-East Asia. “I moved back to Australia when I joined boarding school. After college, I moved to Brisbane for a number of years, and then lived in Sydney for five years. I joined Shangri-La at that point, and now I have been in Asia for the last 17 years.” He travelled between China and Singapore before arriving in India. “I spent most of my time in Hong Kong, about six years, and growing up, my children thought it was their home (although they have no attachment to it now).”

He has two children — Thomas, 19, and William, 17 – who are studying in Melbourne. He lives here with his wife, Virginie, who is an avid photographer. “When my sons come to visit, we try to make short trips around. The last time they were here, we went to Coorg, Mysuru and Bandipur. My wife really wants to visit Pondicherry, I want to visit Kerala and my sons want to visit Goa. As a family, we want to visit Rajasthan. We haven’t been to any other major city in India,” he says.

As a GM, he was assigned to come here early on to help develop the hotel. “I love the City for two reasons — first, I get to watch cricket and second are the free-standing bars and restaurants. In China, I didn’t get to watch much cricket. Although it was there on television, I didn’t buy the channel. I was crying for some good cricket. Also, some of the secondary cities in China aren’t as Westernised, and in comparison, Bengaluru has a cosmopolitan feel to it and a lot of exciting places to visit.”

Talking passionately about cricket, Jens says, “I was mesmerised when I came here — the Ashes was going on then and I would wake up early in the morning to watch the matches before heading to work.” When asked if he is following the IPL, he says, “I look at the line-up and whichever team has the most Australians, I support that team. Of course, the Royal Challengers Bangalore! I really liked the match between Kings XI Punjab and Rajasthan Royals because both the captains are Australian – George Bailey and Shane Watson.”

He likes to explore the City’s expanding food scene and says that there is an overwhelming number of choices. “From different concepts to national cuisines, there is always a place to relax and enjoy oneself. And if I enjoy a place, I’ll always go back there,” he says. He adds that he has fallen in love with Indian gravies as they are full of flavour and not just spice. “My wife has learnt to make really good ‘fish moilee’.”

What does he do in his spare time? “I like walking. My wife and I walk a lot. You get to see all sorts of things like temples and old buildings. And the bumpy roads and pavements make it more interesting. We try to take a long route to explore the City,” he says. The two have walked through Sankey Tank, Frazer Town and Indiranagar among other places.

Jens has also taken to cycling; he says it has become a “bit of a craze”. “Occasionally, I cycle from the airport and back. It’s not as far as it sounds,” he grins. About the traffic, he adds, “I’ve named my bicycle ‘Fury’, after the movie, and say to my kids that one needs to be a tank commander to ride here!”   

Although he hasn’t picked up any of the regional languages, he says he knows three words in Hindi — ‘teekha’, ‘phataphat’ and ‘namaste’. “I haven’t tried learning, nor do I think I ever will because everyone speaks English.”

He sums up saying, “Bengaluru has all the key ingredients of a good city. Initially the autos were a bit frustrating but now, they can either see that I’m experienced and know how to talk to them. They are real gems; one can’t get around without them!”


Narendra Modi or Rahul Gandhi? Who will win the battle royale of the Lok Sabha Elections 2019


Get real-time news updates, views and analysis on Lok Sabha Elections 2019 on Deccanherald.com/news/lok-sabha-elections-2019 


Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter and Instagram with #DHPoliticalTheatre for live updates on the Indian general elections 2019.

Liked the story?

  • 0

    Happy
  • 0

    Amused
  • 0

    Sad
  • 0

    Frustrated
  • 0

    Angry