'Being on the road is an adventure'

Expat zone

'Being on the road is an adventure'

Before coming to India, Ralf Gotsche was warned that Bengaluru would be quite a boring place. Alarmed, Ralf  googled about the city.

“I couldn’t find much information on the internet. I just thought I will take the plunge. I am getting older and before I got too old, I wanted to travel to a special country. India was one of the places I always wanted to visit,” he says with a smile.

The warning he got proved to be in vain as Ralf says he loved the city the moment he set foot in it.

 “The city has so much to offer — I can see and experience the rich culture of the place even on the streets. The hustle on the roads, the ‘peep-peep’ of vehicles (there is too much honking!), the traditions and festivals, the beautiful gardens... In fact, I love how the city is so green and lively; I have visited Lalbagh and other gardens across the city with my colleagues and it was a serene and beautiful experience,” says Ralf.

Hailing from Berlin, Germany, Ralf came to Bengaluru as a German teacher at Max Mueller Bhavan. A chance look at a newspaper ad offering opportunities for teaching at Goethe Institut in Peru, Vietnam and India caught his eye and he immediately applied to all three places.

 “I got the first call from India. The director of the Max Mueller Bhavan team was very interested and I felt that this was my chance to experience a culturally rich and diverse country.”

While he misses watching the Bundesliga games (German Football League) live back home, he confesses he has also fallen in love with FC Bengaluru.

 “All thanks to my colleagues at Max Mueller Bhavan, who took me for the AFC Cup semi-final match. I just loved the vibe at the stadium; it felt like a game back home. I am a fan of FC Bengaluru now,” he says with a laugh.

Ask him what he likes about the city and Ralf’s face lights up with delight. “Everything I see here enthralls me. I love observing cultures and traditions in the countries I visit and India is one of the richest places that way. One example I came across was just near my house. There is a school opposite my place and every morning, during the school assembly, there is this one child who sings a hymn beautifully and with great faith. My neighbours too chant Hindu mantras in the mornings and it is refreshing to start a day with so much positive spirituality around you.”

“Also, physical appearance is very important to Germans and I simply love the way Indians carry themselves. They present themselves with so much confidence. For me, that is shown through the sari. I really think it should become a UNESCO World Heritage attire (laughs). I love the attire and looks just beautiful when one wears it,” he says.

Ralf admits he misses his friends and the conversations he used to have with them. “I also miss riding my motorbike. Being on the road is quite an adventure in Bengaluru. I have noticed that people here are usually very polite and helpful. However, when the same people are riding or driving, they transform into warriors!” he rues. Besides that, he says he had a tough time getting through the tedious paper work at FRRO and getting a sim card for his phone.

On weekends, Ralf enjoys sitting in his balcony and reading a book, cycling or visiting a nearby garden for a walk. Food is an integral part of his plans and he says he has enjoyed his outings to various restaurants in the city. “I am looking forward to trying some vegetarian food and the famous filter coffee,” he adds. “You can also find me at Café Max either enjoying a cup of hot coffee or planning for my next class. Another favourite hangout spot for me and my colleagues is Toit restaurant which serves some wonderful brewed beer and is quite close to where we stay.”

“All in all, India has been a wonderful experience so far and I am looking forward to the remaining months in this beautiful city,” Ralf says.

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