Renewing the French connection

Expat zone

Renewing the French connection

When Mickael Demion was informed about his new job in Bengaluru, he didn’t know what to expect from the city he would soon move to. An adventure seeking person, Mickael decided to take the plunge with his wife Marion.

Hailing from Orleans, France, the duo are staying in the city with their three children — Mayane, Clarisse and Anouk — since the last two years.

Coming from a city which is close to Paris, Mickael found the cultures of France and Bengaluru to be quite far apart. “Most people back home stay in Paris, so not much activity happens in Orleans,” says Mickael, who works as an operations director with NIDEC/Leroy Somer here.

The electrical engineer has travelled across the world. “But this was my first time to India. I hadn’t heard about Bengaluru and India to me meant only Delhi, Mumbai and Puducherry,” he says.

The couple were open to diverse experiences and settling into a new culture was a fun ride for them. “My time here has mostly been spent at work, yet I can narrate many stories about the different people here. They are a very optimistic bunch. Back home, when someone says something, we are used to saying ‘no’ first. But here, people are always enthusiastic, be it in dealing with a customer or for getting a project done. This has also challenged me in my role here,” he says.

For Marion, the city is like an explosion of colours. “In France, everything seems to be in shades of grey. The festivals here are a window to the varied traditions. From the beautiful clothes to the ‘pujas’ and other rituals, everything has been a very rare, intriguing sight,” she says.

“There are a lot of people here. There is always some activity on the streets; something or the other is constantly happening.”

“I’m glad that my children are growing up to understand that there are different people in the world and their cultures vary accordingly. The girls have always been respectful to this which feels good. They have embraced the culture very well. Whenever a festival comes up, they love dressing in ethnic Indian wear and wearing bangles. For them, it’s dressing up like princesses,” she adds.

Marion loves going to Chickpet or the fabric market at Malleswaram. “These places are really crazy and busy, but this is India. It’s really interesting to see so much happening around. The best part is that one can find anything under the sun in every nook and corner,” she says.

Food is an important part of any culture. “When we came here, I was a bit apprehensive about the food. But we adjusted pretty well. Be it ‘dal’, ‘chicken masala’, ‘naan’ or the ‘paneer’ dishes, food has been a wonderful experience. I’ve never fallen sick because of the food,” says Mickael. “I’ve observed that food is a really important thing here. Instead of ‘Hello’, people often start conversations with food,” he adds with a smile.

When the couple have some time to spare, they try out various cuisines. “Recently, we went to ‘The Druid Garden’ in Sahakaranagar and liked it. For special occasions, we like heading out for Sunday brunches. Otherwise, we just like spending time in the clubhouse and the swimming pool in our community,” says Marion.

The city’s character is derived from its people and it is interesting to see how diverse they are, notes Mickael. “Sometimes, during meetings, there are differences of opinions. But, within a few minutes, it’s all over and everyone shakes hands. People forgive and forget easily here,” he says.

Their daughters also love the city. Mayane and Clarisse, who study at Trio World Academy, love their teachers and the school for the global experience it offers. Mayane says, “I love the interesting way in which the teachers teach. I have a lot of Indian friends here, who’ve also lived in other countries.”

The children also love the green spaces here. “Apart from the pleasant weather, I love the numerous trees,” says Mayane.

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