In love with Bollywood

Expat zone

In love with Bollywood

Ariane Sologaistoa’s life has been a roller-coaster ride but instead of falling sick somewhere in between, she decided to take the ride again, just for the experience, knowing that it won’t be the same as the first time.

That’s how she landed up in India — after Europe’s economic meltdown of 2008, the Spaniard found herself without a job and, “I worked for a clothing brand and they couldn’t afford a marketing department after 2008. This is when I began looking out for other opportunities and I found myself flying to India,” she explains.

She landed in Mumbai in 2013, after a brief stint in London. “I spent a year in Mumbai with a programme for the Basque government. Then I got an advertising job in Bengaluru and I’ve been here since!” Many Bollywood movies later, she says she feels at home in the City.

Ariane doesn’t exaggerate her love for Bollywood movies. Though she doesn’t (yet) have a hang of Kannada, she says that her Hindi is better, and she lists her favourite movies. “Right now, my favourite is ‘Lunchbox’. The first time I watched it, it was without subtitles and I understood most of it! When I was in Mumbai, every time there was a movie release, we’d go for a show. This is how I ended up watching ‘3 Idiots’, ‘Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara’ and more.” Even now, she doesn’t miss the new releases. 

This fluidity helped Ariane break through many barriers that expatriates face when adjusting to the country. “When I reached India, I didn’t experience a cultural shock, I was well-prepared. I absorbed everything around me instead of criticising them. My first step was to figure out how things work here.” This willingness to adjust to situations, she says, is something she learnt when growing up. Born in Barakaldo (near Bilbao), Ariane grew up in a middle-class family who were very open-minded. 

“My parents brought me up in such a way that I felt like I could do anything. My father always says that if I ever want something, I can get it.” This stream of thought included a willingness to accept different religious, cultural and spiritual thoughts.

“Spirituality is not very common in Europe so when I tell people about it, they think I’m crazy. But for me, it’s normal,” she explains.

But what is this ‘it’? “Spirituality, for me, is a way to find your real self, without
worrying about what society has to say.”

 It hasn’t been an easy process for her, but now, Ariane says that she is self-confident and happy with the way she’s living. “I know my strengths and weaknesses. This helps me adjust to any situation, which is what made my transition to my life here easier.”

She isn’t the only one who left Europe at the time. “There was a mass immigration at that point and I have many friends who still haven’t gone back.” Talking about her memories of the Basque country and more, she says, “I make sure I go back home at least twice a year to stay connected to my roots. But I like my life here better, when I’m living alone. It’s a completely different world, Spain and India! You can’t even compare them. Home is colder than India and the landscape is different. The Basque region is hilly and I love to trek. That’s something I miss doing here, though there are trekking clubs. It’s also a coastal region so I could visit the beach whenever I wanted.”

While she has adjusted to Indian spices, she says that Basque food is very different and is something she misses. “We don’t use spices at all. We cook clean, with oil and salt, so the original flavour of the ingredients is there. Since I don’t cook (I’d make a terrible housewife!), whenever I go back home, my mother, a typical Basque mother, feeds me with a variety of dishes.” Ariame’s favourite Indian food items include roadside
‘pani puri’, ‘kachori’ and ‘butter chicken’.

When she isn’t working or commuting (her voice sounds tired when she mentions that she lives and works in Whitefield), she is either reading or hanging out with friends. “I like reading about Indian history and mythology.”

Right now, she’s juggling between a light novel and ‘Mein Kampf’. “The first time I tried reading ‘Mein Kampf’ I gave up. Hitler is a horrible writer! But I realised I can’t be critical of something without knowing about it, so I plan to finish it this time,” she says.
With a tight-knit group of friends who she considers as family, Ariane is having a blast in the City.

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