'It's very easy to make friends here'

'It's very easy to make friends here'

It was her eagerness to explore a new place, while pursuing her higher studies, that brought Lena Robra from Hannover, Germany, to the city.

Living here since the past five years, she is now pursuing her PhD and is married to Nikhil Ram Mohan, a businessman.

“I went to a bicycle studio to pick up a cycle and that’s when I met Nikhil, the owner of the store. Though I never picked one, we kept meeting and slowly fell in love,” says Lena who has been married for a year.
Lena says that it was after her masters in Barcelona that she thought of exploring a new place during her PhD. “The fact that I had been to India in 2009 and also that the research institute in Barcelona had a partner

institute here made it a little comfortable for me to apply for my course in Bengaluru.”

Though initially, she had set a deadline of one year to see if she could adjust to the place, today she is enjoying her stay here and loves the place and its way of life.

“Bengaluru has always been nice to me. The place is treating me very well, especially the area where I live at present. I have made many friends here and that’s one thing I like about India. It’s very easy to make friends here. People are so warm, welcoming and spontaneous,” says Lena. 

She describes the city as a pleasant one, and the fact that there is still a fair bit of greenery around instantly attracts her to it.

“The other thing that I like about Bengaluru, which perhaps is true for most part of India, is that there is a ‘wide range’ of everything and for everyone. One can travel to Indiranagar and have a meal for Rs 3,000 or choose an eatery that serves something for Rs 30,” she asserts. 

Lena and her husband cycle a lot in and around the city. The two also commute to work by cycle. This gives Lena an opportunity to explore different parts of Bengaluru and its outskirts. On the weekends, the couple often rides to Nandi Hills and Hesaraghatta.

“I come from a village in Germany and I miss the nature, greenery and garden at my parents’ house. This is one of the reasons I always look for an opportunity to escape into the lap of nature,” says Lena.
‘Koshy’s’ and ‘Lightroom Book Store’ in Cooke Town are two of her favourite hangouts where she can spend hours together.

Spending time with friends is another way of making her stay in the city meaningful, says Lena. “We have a game night once every week when all of us get together and indulge in various board games. That apart, we often cook or bake together or watch a movie.” 

Being a foodie, she loves exploring new restaurants in the city and ‘Phobidden Fruit’ in Indiranagar is one of her favourites.

She has also got accustomed to South Indian cuisine and relishes ‘upma’, ‘rava dosa’ and ‘chutney’.

“The one thing I miss about home is the food. It is very different from what I get here. Back home, we get different kinds of lettuce  and I used to mostly binge on lettuce salads. The other thing is bread. In Germany, we only cook once a day and the other two meals comprise bread. However, I love the food here too and have learnt to make different types of ‘chutneys’ to go with the ‘dosas’,” explains Lena.

Ask her if she has picked up a few local words and she promptly says, “‘Yeshtu’, ‘kodi’, ‘banni’, ‘namma ooru Bengaluru’ and the initial numbers are a few words that I have learnt. Thanks to the Kannada classes in my institution, these words come in handy while conversing with auto or cab drivers or when I am going out to buy vegetables from local vendors,” says Lena.

Ask Nikhil if there are any challenges getting married to a person from a different culture, he says, “The only issue I have ever faced is the paperwork involved. We were not able to get some documents from here that Germany wanted so getting married legally there was a problem. My family was very happy and supported my decision.”

Asked about whether he thought Lena might have a problem fitting in, Nikhil says, “She’s absolutely adaptive. In fact, fitting in was never a problem as she always felt that she belonged to this country.”


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