'India is like a box of chocolates'

Expat zone

Like most expats in the city, Johan Andersson too first came her, thanks to his job. It was a six-month-assignment which he thought was a good enough time to spend here.

“I had researched about the city and thought I would only need six months, but by the end of it, I knew that there was more to explore here. I extended my trip for another six months,” he says.

He went back to his hometown for half-a-year and moved back to India six years ago. He adds, “I knew I wasn’t done with India. That’s why I came back to establish my company ‘Centigo India’.”

Johan is married to Kaveri Sinhji who is running a guided tour company. They have a three-year-old daughter name Malaika.

He says, “Weekends have become more of a family time now. I am Malaika’s football coach on Sundays.” They also head out of the city once in a while when they need to detox.

Their latest trip was to Kerala, but within city limits, they like to visit the ‘Sula Vineyards’.

Johan shares, “One of the things I like about Bengaluru is the choice of food available here.
We love going to ‘Shiro’ and ‘Toast & Tonic’ for international cuisine, but for good Indian food, ‘Queens’ and ‘Tandoor’ is one of our favourite haunts.”

Though Johan has adjusted well in the city, he says there are certain things that he is still
trying to get used to.
He says that compared to Sweden, the work culture and the way of thinking is quite different here.

He explains, “When I first moved here, I noticed that the houses here are very bright and colourful. I’m not used to that as all the houses in Sweden are white. So I hired a painter and told him specifically that I wanted all the walls to be painted white. My other Swedish friends warned me that I have to be very specific about the kind of white I wanted. I was, I thought.”

“I come back and notice that there’s a little bit of pink on my white wall. The painter tried to convince
me that it looks great and he could live here! That’s where the outlook differs. What one thinks is good is not good enough for the other. The ‘chaltha hai’ attitude is something that I’m not
used to,” he adds.

Even in the entrepreneurial sector, there are certain things that make Johan unhappy. He says, “In Sweden, you make a plan for everything — even your weekends. But here, people hardly ever plan anything and even the ones that are planned never work out. So the structural difference needs to be worked on here.”

Having said that, he likes that everything is not planned when it comes to personal life.

“Most of our weekend plans happen spontaneously and that’s great. It’s a lot less stressful and we don’t have too many expectations,” he says.

The family visits Sweden once a year during

Talking about growing up there, he says, “The concept of hierarchy doesn’t exist there. Most of us spend our time outdoors even when the weather is cold. If I were to tell you what I miss the most, it’ll start with my family and friends and then to the environment and no-pollution part.”

“Then comes the quietness and then maybe winter,” he adds.

He tries to make the most of it whenever he visits Sweden.

In India too, he is making the most of his stay. He shares, “India is like a box of chocolates, you’ll never know which flavour you’ll get. For example, I have gone skiing a lot in Sweden, but the best place I’ve skiied so far is in Kashmir.”

“However, the place we stayed at was awful. There was no warm water and breakfast was provided very late.” he adds. 

Nevertheless, he is happy in the city with his family. “We will mostly move back to Sweden for a better future for our daughter. It’s not
because this isn’t a good place but because we want her to grow up in an equal environment. However, we are very happy here. It’s a good phase in our lives,” says Johan.


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