In a happy space

In a happy space

In a happy space

Erik and Selcem Nehring, who moved to Bengaluru from Chennai two years back, are no strangers to Indian food, culture and people. The couple feel that they settled into the city faster than they thought they would, all thanks to Bengaluru’s cosmopolitan culture that helped them feel one with the people.

Erik belongs to Kassel and spent a better part of his growing up years there. A German language teacher, Erik moved from Germany and lived in a couple of places before going to Istanbul on an assignment. It is there that he met Selcem, a native of Turkey. “We met through common friends and have been married for four years now,” says Erik.

Job opportunities brought Erik and Selcem to Bengaluru from Chennai where the two were working earlier. While Erik teaches German at Delhi Public School (North), Selcem is in the garment business. The couple have also managed to find a house near the school in Bagalur. “You realise how useful the internet is only when you move into a new city. Finding a house, grocery shops and other things of interest wasn’t a problem for us,” adds Erik, who cycles to his school, five kilometres from home.

“I used to cycle to the school where I taught in Germany and I try to follow the same here. However, I find people here looking very amused when they see me move around on a cycle,” he says.

He points out that cycling is not an easy option in Bengaluru because people here don’t give enough room to cyclists, unlike in Germany, where they are respected and considered a part of the traffic movement.

“People here don’t understand that even a cyclist has his right of way and they try to honk you off the street. I can never think of cycling in the heart of the city,” he expresses. He also feels that the city’s infrastructure is not developing at par with its growth. According to him, the public transport system could be better planned.

“In Istanbul, there are separate lanes dedicated for buses and I think a similar system could be implemented here with a little bit of planning. The city’s infrastructure is a mismatch to the growing population,” he states.   

But he admires the large lung spaces like Cubbon Park and Lalbagh in Bengaluru. “There are so many beautiful parks and lakes here, but sadly, they are all dirty. If I ever happen to visit Cubbon Park on a weekend afternoon, I only find people littering all around. Even the lakes are contaminated with waste water and garbage,” he says. Erik hopes that the citizens would take a little care to maintain these beautiful spaces.

He elaborates that Selcem and him have never had a problem with the food here because they love cooking and exploring new restaurants. “We always have a mix of German, Turkish and international cuisines at home. I’ve tried Indian dishes like ‘idli’, ‘dosa’ and ‘naan’, but I still miss the bread that we get back home. Hence, we started baking our own bread here, even if it meant that we had to import the flour,” says Eric adding, “I am very fond of potato salad which is a mix of boiled egg, mayonnaise and potatoes. I make this myself. My wife makes the best Turkish meatballs I’ve ever had! It goes perfectly well with rice.” He also likes the fact that there are a lot of restaurants in the city that cater to the food habits of different communities.

He is in awe of the strong family bonds and family structure in India. “In Germany, it is normal for children to leave their homes once they start working or to move out to build their own family. So we have smaller families there. It is admirable that the joint family system is still prevalent in India,” he says.  Citing his own example, Erik says, “However, my ties with my family have become much stronger after I left Germany.”

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