'Every day is an adventure'

'Every day is an adventure'

Expat zone

'Every day is an adventure'

For most outsiders, it is always an interesting journey, coming to India and settling here. It was no short a learning experience for Clement Ribeaud, an expatriate from France. It is his job that brought him to Bengaluru, but his passion to travel and indulge in a new culture is what has made him stay on.

Clement, who works as the director of Atherm Thermal Solutions India Pvt Ltd, has been in the city since 2013. He was born in Lyon, grew up in Toulon and did his studies in Rennes. He then served as a science teacher in a technical high school. “After this I went backpacking to Latin America, and worked on a sailboat.” His travels took him to Peru and Chile, after which he decided to come back to France and search for a job. “I wanted to look for a job in material engineering and that is when a job with a French company which was hiring people to work in India happened. I took the job and that’s how I am here,” he says.

He works in a factory in Jigani and says that it is interesting to see life pass by. “The job was something that suited my requirements and I love my stay here. Not many French people were willing to move here as it can be a challenge sometimes. I liked the experience and I wanted to work in a space which was growing and has a great potential,” says Clement.

Growing up in a family of entrepreneurs has helped Clement in his life here. “This is what I like about the city too. It is very vibrant and full of energy. Also, the city has a lot of foreigners which has helped me settle in better,” he says.

“India is very different. Being in Bengaluru has been a blessing as one can go anywhere in India easily, and even to South-East Asia,’’ he adds. Clement didn’t know much about the city apart from it being called the ‘Silicon Valley of India’ and being the startup hub. “But, Bengaluru has been really lucky for me,” he says. 

Clement points out that the French culture has more creative and traditional activities on a regular basis like music festivals and concerts. “It could be because of the French government that such activities have been a regular part of life, and are affordable. There are activities happening here too, but there needs to be more,” he says.

His work has been taking him across the country. “It was difficult to adjust to the infrastructural changes at first. Things can be really chaotic at times, especially the traffic. Also, adjusting might seem a little difficult at times.” But, he vouches that the people more than make up for this. “They have been very friendly to me and have always gone out of their way to help me. I also feel very safe in the country,” he says.

Having stayed in various parts of France, he says that the mannerisms of people vary according to the geographics. “The funny part if that people are different according to which part of the country one is in. In the south of France, which is closer to Spain and Italy, the people are more talkative and louder, but can be superficial. But, in the north, the people might seem reserved and a little cold-natured at first, but once one gets to know them, the bonds stay strong.”

Food is a big part of every culture and Clement says that he is used to less spicier food. “In Indian terms, one would call the food I usually have very mild. I used to have more green vegetables and meats,” he says. Clement enjoys North Indian food, especially the ‘kebabs’ and ‘naans’.

Clement likes his stay here so much that he co-partnered with other people and runs ‘Bonjour!’ in Koramangala. He loves going to restaurants when they have some time to hangout. “When I and my friends have some time to spare, we hangout at ‘Om Made Cafe’, Koramangala or at different places like ‘Toit’, ‘100ft Rd’, ‘Black Rabbit’ at Indiranagar,” he says.  

From seeing cows stuck in traffic to riding his bike to Goa, Clement has had interesting experiences here. “Every day is an adventure here. It is impossible to get bored here. There is something happening all the time.” He recollects an incident, where he was riding his Royal Enfield and it broke down right in the middle of a village. “The villagers had never seen a bike like mine and were very excited and they helped fix it. This was quite an experience,” he says. He concludes with a smile, “I see excitement and energy all around me. My stay has been more than special and fulfilling.”

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