'I love spicy food'

Expat zone

'I love spicy food'

It’s been a little over four months since Dr Claus Heimes took over as the director of Goethe-Institut/Max Mueller Bhavan in Bengaluru. Claus may be new to the city and its ways but he’s no stranger to India. His work has taken him across the country to the most unexpected places.

Having already had a feel of Indian culture on several occasions, Claus was delighted when he was offered a job in Bengaluru and grabbed it without a second thought.

Born and raised in Western Germany for most part of his life, Claus says that his childhood was a rather adventurous one. He attended university in Amsterdam before settling down in Berlin, where he did his diploma in Political Science and later completed a PhD.

Claus points out that it is quite common for young adults in Germany to move away from their parents in pursuit of education. “Moving out of one’s home for educational purposes is an accepted thing there. I could have gone to a university closer home by bike but I chose to stay away from home just to become more independent, learn through my own experiences and grow in the process,” says Claus. He says that the experiences he has gathered from working in several places around the world have enriched him both personally and professionally.

He began working at Goethe-Institut in Munich in 2008. “I first visited India six years ago on work and travelled to Goethe-Institut located in Delhi, Pune, Mumbai and Kolkata. It was during these visits that I got an insight into the work culture here. I was very impressed with the intellectual strength and good educational standards of the people,” says Claus.

He feels that Indians work very hard and are quite creative, even though the infrastructure is not as strong as it should be. “Even though there’s a scarcity of infrastructure in some of the cities here as compared to Europe, I still find the people here to be very energetic, dynamic and full of ideas. So far, being here has been a very positive experience,” expresses Claus.  

Claus also says that he chose to work in India because it is nearest to his country. “My parents are getting older and working here, I get to visit home at least three to four times a year. I wouldn’t have been able to make such frequent visits, had I been posted elsewhere, say Australia or some other place. Someday, I would like to bring my parents here, just to experience this beautiful city,” adds Claus.

He lives in Defence Colony, near Indiranagar 100Ft Road, which, he feels, is not only an ideal location to move around the city but also one that has some of the choicest retail outlets and restaurants. While work keeps Claus busy through the week, he makes time to explore the city over the weekend. “I like to walk through the city whenever I get a day off. Unlike other cities, I don’t think Bengaluru is very pedestrian-friendly. Still, the best thing to do if one wants to explore and discover this place is to walk,” he shares. Claus has been to Cubbon Park and Lalbagh and even travelled by the Metro a few times. “I don’t ride or drive here. I find it better to use the public transport or just walk,” he says.

Weekends are also reserved to explore the many culinary options available in the city, says Claus.

“I love spicy food. I have an Indian cook who prepares some interesting varieties in the cuisine,” he says. Claus has tried his hand at cooking and says that he is good with making Italian pastas and a few other authentic German dishes.

He has also visited a couple of markets in the city. “I’ve visited KR Market, which I understand is a large flower market. We don’t see open markets like this one in our country. I found the sight of people selling flowers, fruits and other spices quite fascinating,” he shares.

The German expatriate hopes to discover more of the city and travel across the country as a tourist during his stay here.

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