'Strangers offer you a lift home'

Expat zone

'Strangers offer you a lift home'

It is the desire to learn more about the world that brought Martens Hategekimana to India. Hailing from Rwanda and having grown up in Congo, he came to India a few years back, which was to pursue his civil engineering course in Jalandhar. Following  this, he did an internship in Bengaluru. It was then when he fell in love with the city.

Martens now works with M/S Prasad Consultant - Structural Engineers as a quality surveyor engineer. “After I left Bengaluru post my internship, a friend of mine asked me why I had left. I told her that I needed a job to stay in the city. She asked me to send her my resume and helped me find a job. The warmth of the people here convinced me to explore the place more.”

“It’s the people in a city who make you love it or hate it. I met good people here. The best part is that I also met some childhood friends from Congo. Many of them had come to study or work and it was a pleasant surprise. It has been a journey of joy,” he says.

Be it colleagues or friends, he was surrounded “by a hint of goodness” everywhere and he feels one doesn’t need to be from the same part of the world to be nice to each other. “There are days when strangers offer you a lift home and you realise how there is still a lot of goodness left in this world.

Also, when the whole country was going through demonetisation, I was wondering what to do with my Rs 500 notes. A friend helped me out with money saying I need to return it only after I get my notes changed. This kind of trust can bowl you over,” he says.

Martens points out that working here has been an educative experience. “This job allows me to travel across the city. From Hebbal to Yelehanka, I am all over the place inspecting sites. While the traffic can be a pain, I enjoy the sites and sounds,” he says. Though he used to stay in Hennur earlier with friends, he has now moved to CBD. “It was getting a bit difficult to reach work on time by bus. Also, by the time I was back home after work, I would be tired. I have learnt to plan and execute things well,” he says.

When it comes to the city’s lifestyle, he says, “From the pubs to the restaurants, there is always something happening. I love hanging out at ‘TOIT’ and the ‘Arbor Brewing Company’.” Martens also loves playing football and has met expatriates in the city through the sport. “We play regular matches and this has been a great icebreaker. It was nice to meet people from across the world at one place,” he says.

“I have never had any issue here. If you approach people with a smile and are kind to them, they won’t react differently. I think a smile is the solution to everything. I believe that it is all about how one interprets things,” he says.

He also finds the food habits here interesting. “We are used to having a lot of vegetables, meat and fish. I make a dish out of ‘suji’ and have it with vegetables here. I also love ‘parathas’, the ‘Punjabi thali’, ‘parottas’ and ‘biryani’,” he says.

The expatriate has watched Bollywood movies and recalls how he enjoyed ‘Dangal’. “In Bollywood movies the story gets mixed with the music. Suddenly, a song comes out of nowhere. But it was an enjoyable experience. I love the three Khans — Salman, Aamir and Shah Rukh.”

Everytime Martens goes out on the streets, he discovers that there is more to the city than what meets the eye. “I would love to stay on as long as I can. There is so much to learn here,” says Martens.

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