'I'm not a stranger to this place'

Expat zone

'I'm not a stranger to this place'
It has been two years since Paolo Chiorino from Vercelli, Piemonte, Italy embraced the city’s way of life. Paolo, who works as a design lead at ‘Restore Design’, a retail design company, wanted to work abroad for exposure and experience. In his tryst to achieve that, he looked for various job opportunities across countries, came across his present company and landed in Bengaluru.

However, once here, he was taken by surprise as he was not prepared for what he saw. He says, “Back home, we know Bengaluru  as the Silicon Valley of India. This has us imagining a place that is more towards technology and skyscrapers. But after coming here,  I realised it’s not how I thought it would be. In fact, it is a mixture of cultures, professions and architectures and is an extremely modern city.”

He says he has more fondness towards this place compared to the other cities he has visited so far, as it is a smaller place in contrast to Mumbai or Delhi. “I have been living here for the last two years and I feel comfortable with the neighbourhood I stay in and the other places that I visit. Though I mostly work here, I manage to get my free time once in a while and travel to different places in India or outside the country,” he adds.

So what is it that he misses about his hometown? “There are different things that I tend to miss. First of all, when I was not used to living in an environment like this, I missed walking around, taking the bicycle for a spin and even the parks and fresh air. But once I got used to this life, they became superficial to me and I started to miss my friends, family and the food.”
   
However that has not diminished his liking towards Bengaluru — “I like the fact that I know this place very well. I have been staying here for a while and I can call it one of my cities. I’m not a stranger to this place, I know a lot of people in my neighbourhood and that make it more comfortable.”

Though there were no initial struggles, Paolo was apprehensive about the usual problem of communication. But the fact that everyone here can converse in English solved this issue too.

During weekends, he can mostly be seen sun-bathing and simply relaxing at home. But being the travel buff that he is, he heads to a nearby place during longer weekends.

“My first trip in India was to Kerala and it was an amazing experience for me. I have experienced the kind of India that I haven’t seen before. Goa, Gokarna, Coorg and Puducherry are the other places that I have travelled to so far. I also did a trip of the north when my family came down, which was again a memorable experience,” says Paolo.

Rewinding with friends over good food after a long day at work is what he looks forward to most of the evenings. “I like going to ‘Toast & Tonic’ and ‘The Fatty Bao’, but if I want to have good Italian food, I head to ‘Brik Oven’ for its pizzas. I love relishing on the ‘dosas’ and ‘paneer noodles’ at ‘Srinidhi Sagar’ too,” says Paolo.

Photography is something that he likes and he says that he makes sure to take out time from his schedule and pursue it.

Ask him if he has grasped a few local words and he says, “‘Thik hai!’, ‘namaste’ and ‘bhaiya’ are the few Hindi words that I have learnt, but when it comes to Kannada, I can by now make sense of what one is trying to communicate to me,” he adds.  

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