Guillaume Gevrey came to Bangalore 13 years ago and his wife, Amelie, has been here in the country for a decade. The couple, who hail from France, has established deep connections with India — so much so that they’ve named their children Kailash and Maya.
Now, they are comfortably settled in the City; have a large group of friends and have adapted to life here.
Guillaume came to Bangalore to study. “I was the first French exchange student at Christ College. The process was tedious but the college was very supportive and that’s how I landed up here as a
student. The City has changed a lot since then.
Areas like Whitefield have boomed and there’s development all around.”
He ended up in Bangalore purely by chance and admits that many of his pre-conceived notions about the City were shattered.
“The college here was the first to accept me, which is why I came here. I had visited India earlier and
know that everyone perceives it as a country of elephants and poor people. However, I realised that there’s much more to the country. India is a land of diversities put together.
He was quick to make friends, he admits. “In my first year of college, I was at Pecos all the time. I would go to the ground floor and mix with the crowd there. Most of my friends are Indians — I’ve been very lucky that way.”
After he graduated from the college, Guillaume invited Amelie to come stay in the City. “We weren’t sure what we would find, but I was blessed and got a job. Almost everything great in my life happened here. We got married in India — I was dressed in a Nehru suit and Amelie wore a Kerala sari. We had kids here. This is where my life shaped up.”
Ask him what he likes about the City and he says, “There are more opportunities here than in France. I’m also fond of the City because I have many friends here. Bangalore is the centre of South India — I would not go and stay in any other city.” He goes on to add, “Mumbai is too much for me — too many people and too much traffic; Chennai is too humid for me; and Delhi is too cold. I like Pune and I go there regularly. I travel a lot, with and without the family.”
Do Guillaume and Amelie find anything in common between French and Indian culture? They say, “Family values in both countries are quite similar. We too have a very relationship-oriented culture, unlike countries like Australia or Britain. There’s also a sense of hierarchy in both these countries. Besides, both France and India have poor regard for public spaces.”
Their four-and-a-half-year old son, Kailash is a fan of Indian food. “I love dosas and green chutney,” he says, while his mother shares that she loves chicken biryani. “We love the Udupi restaurants and the many ‘Shanti Sagars’. The thaali and kebabs at Woodlands restaurant is amazing,” says Guillaume, adding, “we eat Indian food regularly. Dal makhani and chapati are our favourites.”
When it comes to language, the couple have had it easy. Guillaume says, “In Chennai, you have to speak Tamil. But in Bangalore, one needs only English.” He adds that he uses a bit of Hinglish sometimes, using words like accha and theek hai. His Kannada is limited to one line — swalpa adjust maadi.
The couple tries to recollect the different experiences they’ve had in the City that have made them laugh. Guillaume says, “The first rickshaw ride is unforgettable. Also, when Amelie had first come here, our landlord asked us questions like ‘are you both married?’ and such details. It was a bit appalling for us then, but we got used to stuff like that soon.”
Commenting on their love for the City, Guillaume concludes, “We love the climate here — it’s just amazing. We have a lot of friends here and from the beginning, I was amazed by the number of people I relate to here. Bangalore is home to us.”