Coffee with memories

Coffee with memories

German view

Coffee with memories

German entrepreneur, Guido Koch’s long-distance affair with Bengaluru is an intimate one. A regular visitor to the City for 17 years now, the Director of Jansen Textil/ Roadsign, was in the City to attend the inauguration of a primary school in Shivarapatna, Malur (constructed jointly by the Rotary Club of Bangalore and Jansen Textil Germany that builds schools in remote areas in and around Bengaluru).

The school aims to serve 125 primary school students. In addition to local dignitaries, the inauguration was attended by Maxime and Alexandre Paul of Roadsign, Johannes Curio of the Rotary Club of Wessling, Germany and the members of Rotary Club of Bangalore. It was led by President Shailesh Rudra and Sridhar Chari, the principal facilitator of this project.

Guido says, “I am confident that the proceeds will help to educate many children.” Since he has been a regular visitor to the City, he has found the City undergoing a sea of transformation. “I remember finding a number of colonial apartments here. I haven’t seen any in this trip. The traffic is immense and one loses a lot of time. The City is innovative in terms of development and I like the active nature of business here. However, I find that much of the outskirts haven’t been touched by development.”  

Surprised at how different cultures and religions co-exist in India, he adds, “There are so many people here. In my city, the population numbers to 2,50,000 so there is a lot less traffic.”

Johannes Curio and wife Steffi are also enjoying their visit. “People are so motivated here. It’s both astonishing and impressive to see how they are helping the underprivileged. In Germany, citizens never really bother about education, healthcare etc since they are well taken care of by the government. I want to go back and bring more help,” he says.

A database consultant, he laughs saying there isn’t anything interesting to mention about his job. Steffi, a filmmaker, has made several human interest documentaries including one on eye clinics in India, Asia and Africa. Her interest in social issues led her to accompany her husband. “Steffi has been visiting North India since the last 10 years so she’s been guiding me on what to do on my first visit to the country,” he smiles.

The couple arrived in India two weeks ago and received a wonderful welcome in the City. “People are very warm and friendly here. I received a big hug upon my arrival. It felt just like home. To be honest, it’s a pleasant experience since Germans are quite stiff and not very amicable,” he speaks candidly. They also explored Mysuru and the picturesque coffee and tea plantations in Coonoor, Ooty.

They did not miss a chance to devour the delicious South Indian food. “I don’t eat spicy food but I started liking it from the very day I landed here. I quite enjoyed the ‘idli’, ‘dosa’ and white rice with yoghurt.” He also expresses his love for filter coffee. Steffi says she found solace in the delicious ‘coconut rice’ and ‘lemon rice’ cooked at her friend’s place. “I have had the best Italian pizza at Toscano, UB City,” says the Italian.

“It’s amazing how they manage to fit three cars in one lane. It is a nice city, if only they could do away with the loud ‘honking’!” he chuckles. “The City is more Western and diverse. On one hand, there are those suffering here who need help and on the other, there are skyscrapers, well-equipped offices and people with huge cars,” sums up Steffi.