It is true that Gurgaon is touted as the Singapore of India, owing to the fast lane expressways, copious MNCs and brands settling here. But that isn’t it’s only claim to fame. The city is now a hub of all things glitzy and successful, because of which the obvious inflow of expats into the city, is inevitable. Finding a foothold in the work culture of a foreign land is challenging enough…. But being adventurous enough to set shop in a foreign country is beyond courageous…. and enterprising!
It was my good fortune to have connected with a couple of these intrepid Expats who came to city, saw and conquered…. And now call Gurgaon their home!
Jasmin Waldmann, an international life coach, moved to the city in 2012, owing to her association with Sportsfit by M.S. Dhoni. With a completely new culture at hand, she decided to stay back here, and started her own company in October 2012. Currently a Gurgaon resident, Waldmann conducts Depression Free group coaching sessions in the Millennium City.
Speaking on the challenges she faced during her initial stint, she tells us… “Many challenges, as it was a complete new culture. The west mets the east. All different from food, to the way of speaking (English in India and English in the US is very different). But also Indians to understand and work with Europeans and people from the US. I don’t face any difficulty anymore since I adjusted and became an ambassador for the North Indian culture.”
That is what the city does, doesn’t it? Moulds you exactly how it likes it!
But no complaints here, as Jasmin continues, “I love the city. Still a good overview. I love the development on the streets. I love all my corporate clients – who are based in and around Gurgaon.” Her love for the city includes the Ambience Mall, Galleria market, Vyapar Kendra…
But….. “Cons are the high air pollution, which my lungs can’t really deal with and that people still litter. What I love about the city is that they are also now very sensitive about the plastic and reduce plastic here and there – even in. y society is no plastic dust bin allowed anymore. I love that and we need more of that!”
With a life coaching centre and a book to her name, Gurgaon could really see some positive changes….. Language really is no bar for her as she clearly found the easiest way out- “well, there is a good way out- learning Hindi. And apart from that – everybody I am dealing with speaks English. Now also my maid and driver!” Kudos!
For the very suave Oscar Balcon, it was more of moving to another Indian city, having been settled in India for 8 years. Opening another of his expertise Italian restaurants in the upscale Two Horizon Centre, Artusi Ristorante, was the way to Gurgaon’s heart.… (We aren’t complaining!)
He successfully captured the gastronomy culture of Gurgaon… and how! “With some years in Bombay, but mostly in Delhi. Gurgaon, of course, is just a quick hop from Delhi. We have kept an apartment in Gurgaon for the last two years.”
Being an out and out businessman at heart, Oscar made his smart move…. “It is more about having a leg in Delhi and one in Gurgaon. Our son is schooled in Gurgaon and we have a business in Gurgaon too. Thus we enjoy the conveniences that Gurgaon offers us.” Being one of the lucky ones to have not faced any challenge during the transition, he sure has found his way through!
But like they say, every place comes with it’s share of baggage. Of that, he says, “Certain parts of Gurgaon can be a bit of a comfort cocoon and thus for new arrivers who have not experienced living in India before, it could be an easier entry, kind of “India light”. Conversely, for somebody who seeks full cultural exposure, a city like Delhi might provide a richer tapestry of sights, sounds and experiences.” Well said!
Language barriers, too, found themselves disintegrating… “Knowledge of the local language is always a great advantage in any country. Thankfully most people in our host country have superior linguistic skills, certainly better than mine, and thus communication is rarely a challenge.” Good job done there, Oscar!
But Jasmin and Oscar constitute just a couple of a large number of Expats who contributed to the city in small, yet profound ways! And might I say, welcoming as we, Gurgaonites, are, we recognise something worthy when we experience it!