'Bollywood films are really funny'

Expat zone

'Bollywood films are really funny'
Mariana Estevez from Coatzacoalcos, Veracruz, Mexico didn’t know anything about India before she met her husband Kayur Patel. The two worked at a refinery back home and while initially Mariana mistook him to be a Brazilian, she later found out that he was raised in London and had roots in Gujarat.

They enjoyed a brief courtship before Kayur moved to India for work. Mariana visited Bengaluru a few times before the couple got married in 2011. Since then, it has been a magical and adventurous journey.

Mariana likes the city for its liveliness and the people she has met here. “I worked at a cafe for a bit and got a chance to meet many people. And I’ve only had pleasant experiences here,” she says.

Mariana is presently pursuing an online course in international business. “The course takes up a lot of my time. I am also the president of the Latin community here called ‘Corazon Latino’. Many of us meet during the weekdays and connect over food from our own regions,” she states.

Mariana finds Bengaluru to be an intriguing place. “The perfect mix of people add to the experiences here. I also have my share of funny incidents. For instance, ‘paan’ means bread back home, so once when I heard a vendor call out ‘paan’ on the streets, I rushed to buy it. Imagine his shock when I said I wanted three loaves of ‘paan’. After realising that it wasn’t bread, I still bought some to understand what it is,” she narrates.

Mariana likes to explore the city by herself. “I had a language issue earlier as I wasn’t fluent in English. But my vocabulary has improved now and I have also started using sign language to communicate with shopkeepers,” she says.

She loves shopping at Commercial Street and the local markets. “I love purchasing ‘bindi’ and bangles and also shopping for bags and clothes for my family back home. Commercial Street can be crazy at times but I enjoy the lively feeling of the place.”

Meanwhile, Kayur, who works for Tecnicas Reunidas as a piping stress and support leader, finds life in the city to be an eventful ride.

Ask him about the challenges he faced while settling here with Mariana and he says that there was a lot that he had to explain to her. “I tried to explain the varied dishes that India has. To get her to appreciate the variety of food we have was interesting,” he says.

“We eat spicy food but not like the one here. The spice level is mindblowing here, especially in the curries. I relish dishes like ‘chicken tikka’, ‘palak paneer’ and ‘dal’. I have also prepared Indian food like ‘dhokla’ for my in-laws when they visited us,” adds Mariana. Though she cooks Indian food twice a month, Mariana prefers to have Mexican preparations like ‘tacos’, ‘enchiladas’ and ‘empanada’
regularly.

Eating out for the couple means spending time at ‘Windmills Craftworks’, ‘Edo Restaurant & Bar’, ITC Gardenia or ‘The Oberoi’. “We also go for house parties to our friends’ places or hang out at malls,” says Mariana.

Indian weddings have been a colourful experience for Mariana. “I love how the women sit down together to apply ‘mehendi’. I also like the sweets and food prepared for special occasions.”

Kayur says that every culture has its own interesting challenges. “To explain to Mariana the Indian way of how things are done was quite a challenge. Indians are naturally curious people and she found people staring at her to be quite awkward,” he says.

Mariana pitches in, “I would think that I had done something wrong which is why people stared at me. Gradually, I understood that this was normal here.”

Indian movies can be quite an interesting experience for foreigners and Mariana has enjoyed films like ‘English Vinglish’ and ‘Naman Brahman’.

“Bollywood films are really funny. Almost all Hindi movies end with a song which is interesting,” she says.

She recollects the time when she went to a club and saw people break into an organised dance style. “It’s after I watched Hindi films that I realised how people knew what step to do for which song. Each day is a new experience here and I am savouring it,” says Mariana.

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