A window to the South

A window to the South

When Vidushini Prasad first arrived in Bengaluru, she was a little apprehensive about the City as she hadn’t come to the south of India before. She wasn’t sure how large the cultural difference would be when compared to Delhi, her previous home, and Patna, her hometown. But on arrival, the artist was surprised by the warm welcome she and her family received.

It was her husband Sudesh Prasad who brought the whole family down south. The communication professional from Bhagalpur, Bihar, was transferred to the City in 2006, and moved here along with his wife and then two-year-old son, Vaibhav.

“Initially, I visited Bengaluru every now and then for work, and I loved it because the temperature went from 45 degrees (in Delhi) to 26 degrees. When I went back to Delhi, I would tell my wife about it, so we were happy when I got transferred here,” he says.

Sudesh spent almost 20 years in Delhi, while Vidushini lived there for about eight years after marriage. “At the time, many from Bihar moved to Delhi,” he says. He adds that he is glad they moved down South and feels at home here.

“To be frank, people there are no courteous. If you ask them for directions, they don’t help and 90 per cent of the autos don’t use the meter.”

When it comes to Delhi, you find an influx of people from Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Punjab there. He says that this potpourri has led to blatant discrimination. “People from UP and Bihar get targeted and this has a repercussion on your day-to-day life. Although people wouldn’t say things on my face, I have seen auto drivers, taxi drivers and others being abused. When we came here, nobody raised a single word and that was a relief.” 

According to Vidushini, people here are friendly and the weather is a further incentive to stay on. “All of us love the weather! I used to think that communication would be a problem but it wasn’t; people are helpful here. And it was only after coming to Bengaluru that my career as an artist took off. Although initially my work was not recognised, now I have various galleries approaching me to showcase my artwork,” she says.

She specialises in Madhubani artwork. “I used to be a teacher but quit when my son was born. Although I’m from Bihar I didn’t take up Madhubani until I got to Bengaluru.”

While most people associate Bhagalpur, Sudesh’s hometown, with the infamous Bhagalpur blindings, he says there’s more to it. “We have a thriving silk industry that people don’t notice because they only see the bad side.” It is this welcoming nature of the City that keeps the family here.

“We also love South Indian food! My husband and son in particular have taken to eating ‘idli’, ‘dosa’, ‘chutney’, ‘sambhar’ and rice on a daily basis. Although ‘rotis’ are still a must for dinner, we have a very South Indian meal for lunch,” says Vidushini. Vaibhav, who is 12 now, adds, “When I first tasted South Indian food, I fell in love with it. Now, I have it on a regular basis.”
 
The student of Delhi Public School (North) has made many friends here and enjoys playing with them.

“When we plan any outing, we have to consider Vaibhav’s sports schedule. He insists that we come back home by 5 pm. At times, we leave a movie half an hour early for him,” says Sudesh. But he is happy with how his son is growing up. “Unlike kids these days, who are fixed to their phones or PCs, Vaibhav likes to go out and play, and spends only an hour or so with a phone or on the computer.”

Vaibhav adds, “During the IPL matches here, I met the Chennai Super Kings team and Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who gave me good advice on the sport.”

 “Dhoni also told us that I should kick Vaibhav out of the house and make him play if he’s inside the house for too long. This has made a difference in his life,” says Sudesh. Vaibhav is a pace bowler and says that he is constantly compared to Ashish Nehra by his friends.

When they do get time, the family loves to travel. They have been to Hampi, Mysuru, Belur, Halebidu, Coorg, Bylakuppe and more. “We prefer taking the KSTDC facilities over any private travel agency; it’s the best,” says Sudesh.

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