Unravelling the surprises

Unravelling the surprises

Unravelling the surprises

Too much knowledge is a dangerous thing’ and Aurelie Lalande vouches for this. So, when the adventurous expatriate from Paris decided to move to Bengaluru from China, where she was working as a pattern maker, she didn’t research too much about the city.

The French national wanted to keep herself open to all experiences. When she moved to the city in 2016, she loved what she saw.  She now works a pattern maker with the label ‘Varana’.

She did her initial schooling and graduated in fashion designing from Paris. “After this, I worked for different fashion labels before I moved to Shanghai in 2011. Those five years were very educative and opened my mind,” she says.

Ask her what made her move to Bengaluru and she says, “I was looking for better and enriching opportunities. I applied for jobs across Asia and northern Europe. I had heard about India being a diverse country and I thought  ‘why not?’ when I was offered this post,” she says.

She knew that the city was known as the IT hub but didn’t do any research about the place. “I love watching Bollywood movies and found them really interesting. I had heard about the food and the couture but it stopped there. I like keeping myself open to different experiences, so I didn’t try to learn more,” she says.

She was warned by her close ones about the risks of moving to India, especially about her safety.  Aurelie says she wants to change that outlook among people. “The city was a good surprise. The people here have been most heart-warming and pleasant. In fact, I have had the best experiences ever,” she says.

The expatriate has never felt out of place here. “When I moved here, there was a friend who went out of her way to keep me happy and feel accepted. She would invite me over often and we clicked well. I met really nice people here, be it Indians or other foreigners,” she says.

The colours on the street have left a deep impression on Aurelie. She says, “Despite  working in the fashion industry for a long time, the striking colours of the houses and fabrics here have left me pleasantly surprised. It is all so beautiful.”

She wears ‘kurtas’ with jeans and loves draping a ‘sari’ for special occasions. The fashion scene might not be as happening as what Aurelie was exposed to earlier, but she observes that the ethnic touch is clearly reflected in the clothes here.

“Shopping isn’t really easy here but I noticed a lot of new Indian brands. My work experience is far from what I had earlier,” she adds.

The culinary experiences here have been really rewarding, she says. “For me, another important thing about a place is its cuisine. I love trying Indian food which has so much variety. I love ‘dosa’, ‘dal’, ‘halwa’ etc,” she says. She loves Kerala food and ‘Fort Kochi’ is one of her favourite eating spots in the city. “I also like ‘Chakum Chukum’ in Indiranagar, which offers awesome rolls,” says Aurelie.

“While other places might not be as open to new things, I’ve seen that one can try new things here. I love Bengaluru’s dynamic nature,” she says. This is what made her experiment with her culinary skills and start a bakery project with her friend Arati.

“We loved cooking. One day, we baked a strawberry pie and took it for a barbecue event at a friend’s place. After tasting the pie, everyone encouraged us to start a project. That’s how ‘La Meringue’ happened. It focusses on French pastries, pies and tarts. We aim to provide the people here  authentic French delights,” she explains.

When Aurelie has some time to spare, she likes watching movies. “Indian movies have a mystical element to them,” she says.

“The city has taught me many valuable lessons, including how to be patient and be more open. In Europe, things are very linear. But with the experience here, I am sure I will be more equipped for future challenges.”

“The city welcomed me, like many others, with open arms. There’s a lot I love about the city,” she sums up.