'I love the diversity this city holds'

Expat zone

'I love the diversity this city holds'

When Quijano Flores decided to come to India in 2012, he started a company as per his plans. Little did he know that the trip would change his life, his way of thinking and how he perceived things.

Hailing from California, Quijano is currently doing a residential fellowship programme for blockchain technology with Jaaga study. He lives on the outskirts of the city and comes to hang out with his friends during the weekends. Ask him about this decision and he says, “I wanted a new perspective to things around. The startup culture is great but it feels the same everywhere. I wanted to lead a healthy, productive and sustainable lifestyle.”

Unlike many of us in the city, he follows a different schedule. He wakes up at around 5.30 am every morning and meditates. Instead of using a motored vehicle, he prefers his electric unicycle and ensures that he does yoga every day.

As part of the fellowship programme, he spends his day working on the blockchain technology but post lunch, goes to the village nearby to teach the people English. “I enjoy that I am living outside the city, close to nature. I have minimal amenities and a lot of time; which I ensure I use productively to develop new skills.”

Every Sunday, he comes to Cubbon Park to practice tightrope walking. He says, “Weekends are the days I choose to come into the city, run some of my errands and do some tightrope walking. There is a small community of tightrope walkers at Cubbon Park and we enjoy practising in a group. It’s a great place to meditate as well.”

He also meets his friends for lunch or dinner. ‘Dosas’ at ‘CTR’ and dishes at ‘Toast & Tonic’ are some of his favourite foods. On a daily basis, he relishes ‘raagi mudde with sambhar’.

Quijano was born in Los Angeles and raised in San Francisco where he was exposed to different cultures and lifestyles. He says, “It’s a great place with a lot of diversity. The weather is really nice and brings in all types of people from around the world there.”

However, due to the new statements by the US President Trump, he isn’t too sure about things there anymore. He opines, “I think travel, in general, provides people with more perspective. They are a lot more cooperative, understanding and generally more peaceful. I feel very disconnected with the US because of what is going on there. I think we seriously need to bring in more perspectives to make this situation better.”

He says he misses his family and makes a visit home or plans a family trip to another part of the world, once a year. The latest one was to Thailand where he met his extended family as well.

When he is not travelling the world to meet his family, Quijano is making the most of his time in India. He says, “I love going to places that are close to nature. Hubli, Hampi and Dandeli are some of my favourite places. My liking for tightrope walking is also taking me to different places in Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Kerala.”

His most favourite trip so far was to Kerala. He recalls, “I took my electric unicycle and rode around Kochi, Munnar, Kodaikanal and back to Bengaluru. It was extremely tiring but a lot of fun. I got a lot of stares from people but it was definitely cool to see things from a different point of view — in this case, the unicycle way.”

When Quijano initially came to the city, he did face a few difficulties. “It took some time for me to get my house sorted, get a bank account and SIM card. Whenever I go back to the authorities, they tell me that I am missing a particular document and it was back to square one once again,” he shares.

But if there is one thing that is truly problematic with the city, it is the enormous plastic consumption. He says, “It may seem easier to pick up your phone and order food through the delivery apps but I suggest that we try to cook at home as much as we can or hire a cook to reduce plastic consumption. It’s important that we become more aware of what we are buying and our intention behind the purchase. We are the only ones who can make our lives better.”

Nevertheless, he is happy to have chosen Bengaluru as his home. “I love the diversity this city holds. The climate is good and it is one of the best places to be when there is no traffic. I don’t know what the future holds for me but I am willing to explore it with open arms,” he concludes.

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