'Vehicles don't stop for us'

'Vehicles don't stop for us'

Arab connect

'Vehicles don't stop for us'

One seldom calls a place home other than their own, especially if it is culturally and geographically different from their land. Just 8 months in Bengaluru, and two true blue Arabs from Saudi Arabia are slowly becoming a part of the city’s cultural milieu.

Brothers Abdullah Mansour and Shadi Abdullah came to learn English for a couple of months at The Career College in Fraser Town. Though the duo were quite scared and shy to come to a new place and adjust to a different culture in the beginning, now they say that the city has been quite kind to them and is a fun space to “chill out.”

A bubbly teenager who is a student of BBM in Jeddah, Abdullah says, “Coming to a new city was very difficult. I had also heard a lot of great things about India through books and friends but then I was scared to move into such a big and diverse place. The weather amazed me. It is actually quite pleasant as compared to Saudi Arabia. I also had a taste of the Bengaluru rain and it was refreshing.”

The brothers are enjoying the diverse Indian spicy platters although back home, the dominant cuisine is seafood as they hail from the port city. “Here, we go for chicken biryani, butter chicken and ‘paratha’,” says Shadi.

“One of our favourite restaurants is ‘Savoury’ in Fraser Town. I was surprised to find lesser cars and more bikes here while it’s the other way around in Saudi Arabia. I was also surprised to see the ‘right hand drive’ rule here. I shopped on M G Road and Brigade Road and found it to be chaotic in the evenings. The people here are friendly but many don’t like it when I say that I am from Saudi Arabia. They think I am a rich, haughty boy’’. The boys have also visited Nandi Hills.

Like many others, they too had a taste of India through Bollywood films and Shah Rukh Khan and Salman Khan as their favourite actors.

And like everyone else, they complain about the traffic too. Shadi says, “It was weird when I first came here. Vehicles don’t stop for us when we are about to cross the road here. There, vehicles stop for you. It’s like they almost run over you here.” Abdullah also finds the rules quite stringent here. He was picked up by the police once because he was riding without the helmet. “The rules are also very strict when it comes to nightlife. I found all malls closed by 9 pm. We stay out late in Saudi as all places there shut by 12.00.  I also saw many people sleeping on the roads here.”

Shadi adds, “I will take back some great memories I made with friends here. I want to see certain changes like clean roads and effective transport when I come back. I hope to come here after my studies but definitely don’t want to drive here. It looks too dangerous. I will also miss the taste of freedom and lack of restrictions here. Bengaluru was my home away from home.”