Snehashis in Joytri (Indija / India)

Maribor je ne glede na svojo majhnost kulturno zelo pestro mesto. Kako življenje v Mariboru doživljanju ljudje, ki so se k nam preselili iz bližnjih ali daljnih krajev, kaj jim je tukaj najbolj všeč, na kakšne ovire so naleteli pri selitvi v Maribor in zakaj je bilo vredno vztrajati, pa si boste lahko prebrali v obliki Medkulturnega bloga. Tokrat predstavljamo Snehashisa in Joytri iz Indije.

[SLOVENSKO]

Snehashis in Joytri prihajata iz Indije. Svoje prijateljstvo in študij nadaljujeta tudi v Mariboru, kjer živita že več kot štiri leta. Snehashis je dobil štipendijo Erasmus Mundus in se odločil za Slovenijo, življenje v Mariboru pa ga je navdušilo do te mere, da se je za selitev odločila še Joytri. Med seboj si pomagata, se dopolnjujeta, obenem pogumno spopadata z vsakodnevnimi izzivi in slikovito rišeta indijsko tradicijo in kulturo, hkrati pa kažeta navdušenje in očaranost nad Mariborom, kjer je vsak dan zanju praznik.

Kakšni so vajini načrti po dokončanem študiju?

Snehashis: Pravkar sem doktoriral na področju strojništva, in sicer sem raziskoval vpliv energijske gostote na izdelavo ortopedskih pripomočkov, kot so kolena, kolki in zobje. Vsaj za nekaj let bi rad delal kot raziskovalec na področju, ki me zanima, zato se nameravam odpraviti v Nemčijo ali v Belgijo. Tudi v Sloveniji se pojavljajo podobne institucije, ki se ukvarjajo z raziskovanjem na področju, na katerem delujem sam. Glede na to, da v Sloveniji ni veliko podobnih raziskovalcev in se tovrstna veja šele razvija, bi morda lahko delal zanje. Vse je namreč odvisno od tega, ali bom dobil službo, nato pa se bom odločil, kje bom živel, ali bom ostal v Sloveniji ali ne. Zelo pa si želim živeti še nekaj časa v Mariboru, saj je zelo mirno, zeleno mesto in zame dejansko pomeni dopust.

Joytri: Tukaj sem že štiri leta, trenutno raziskujem na Filozofski fakulteti, na področju filozofije, ukvarjam se z budistično etiko v primerjavi z zahodno. Tudi v Indiji sem študirala filozofijo, tukaj pa pripravljam svoj doktorat. Dopolnila sem štiri leta študija, zato je naslednje leto moje zadnje leto v Sloveniji. V Sloveniji nameravam ostati samo tako dolgo, da dokončam študij, nato pa se bom vrnila domov.

Je v Mariboru kaj, kar vama je posebej všeč?

Snehashis: Všeč so mi majhna mesta, prihajam namreč z vasi blizu Kalkute. Kalkuta je zelo natrpana, v Sloveniji pa se veliko bolje počutim, saj občutim mir. Všeč mi je tudi to, da lahko peš ali s kolesom zlahka pridem v naravo. Slovenija je država, odkoder je omogočen dostop kamorkoli v Evropi. Maribor zame pomeni prijetno mesto, če pa si zaželim spremembe, pa lahko grem kamorkoli. Najraje v Mariboru imam Lent, s prijatelji smo določili svoje najljubše mesto (nasad kostanjev), kjer večkrat posedamo na travi in opazujemo gore. Zelo mi je všeč tudi Urban, kjer je dobro urejena pot na vrh.

Joytri: Rada imam tukajšnje prijatelje, všeč so mi majhna mesta. Prihajam namreč iz Kalkute, ki je ogromno mesto, Maribor pa je mirno in prijetno mesto. V Sloveniji mi je najbolj všeč narava, voda in zrak, saj niso onesnaženi. Veliko se lahko vozim s kolesom, saj doma največkrat uporabljamo taksi ali javni prevoz. Všeč mi je tudi to, da lahko potujem, saj je Italija blizu, Madžarska, Avstrija. Potujem lahko tudi ob treh zjutraj in me ni strah, v Indiji pa po osmi uri zvečer ne upam več sama ven, saj se ne počutim prijetno. Veliko več svobode imam, da lahko grem kamorkoli, če si zaželim in imam denar, saj v Indiji nisem šla nikoli na počitnice.

Se življenje v Mariboru zelo razlikuje od življenja v vajinem domačem kraju?

Joytri: Nobenih podobnosti ni. V Indiji je petnajst milijonov ljudi v enem mestu, Slovenija ima dva milijona prebivalcev. Petnajst milijonov ljudi je imigrantov, so mešanega porekla, imamo več kot eno religijo. V mestu, odkoder prihajam, so sikhi, kristjani, muslimani, hinduisti, budisti, živimo v sekularni državi, kjer je več različnih religij. V našem mestu je štiri ali pet kast, v južnem delu Indije so štiri drugačne kaste. Vse države imajo različne razredne delitve, kaste in religije.

Snehashis: Naša kultura je povsem drugačna. Imamo tudi velike ekonomske razlike, saj ne obstajajo le trije razredi, nižji, višji in srednji, ampak v družbi vladajo številni razredi.

Kako bi opisala Slovence?

Joytri: Z njimi imam veliko dobrih izkušenj, imam pa tudi veliko slovenskih prijateljev. So zelo prijazni in ustrežljivi ter pripravljeni pomagati. Lani smo na izletu slikali jablano in prišla je neka gospa, ki nas je začela spraševati, kdo smo in zakaj slikamo drevo. Spraševala nas je, ker nismo Slovenci, najbrž zaradi varnostnih razlogov. Razložili smo, da smo študentje in da slikamo jablano, ker nam bo kasneje v spomin. Nato je bila zelo vesela in se je pogovarjala z nami. Povabili smo jo na indijski čaj. Zelo majhna skupnost Indijcev smo v Mariboru, zato smo se odločili, da bomo zelo pazljivi glede vsega, kar nas obkroža. Če vidimo kaj neobičajnega, smo namreč velikokrat mi krivci za to.

Snehashis: Slovenci so zelo prijazni in miroljubni. Maribor je varen kraj. Ljudje tukaj se ne ukvarjajo toliko z drugimi in radi pomagajo. Nikoli v času svojega bivanja v Sloveniji nisem naletel na težave. Kljub temu opažam, da nas ljudje gledajo, ker smo drugačni in govorimo drugačen jezik. Podobno je tudi, ko se odpravimo na podeželje. Ljudje niso prestrašeni, le radovedni so, saj smo drugačne barve in govorimo drugačen jezik. Včasih nas to moti, včasih nam je všeč, vendar smo se privadili. Lažje se je spoprijateljiti z ljudmi iz različnih držav, saj si tudi oni prizadevajo najti prijatelje tukaj, ker je to zanje novo okolje in ne poznajo nikogar. Imam pa tudi veliko slovenskih prijateljev.

Imata v Sloveniji tudi kakšne negativne izkušnje?

Joytri: Slovenci ne marate tistih, ki kršijo pravila. Imate svoje zakone, v katere verjamete, vzdržujete čistočo, imate veliko pravil, ki vladajo na cestah in ulicah, kot na primer prepovedano odlaganje smeti kjerkoli. Če ljudje kršijo ta pravila, Slovenci do njih niste tolerantni. Vsi priseljenci, ki pa živijo v skladu z določenimi pravili in standardi, ne opažajo težav, saj jih tudi midva nisva. Ko sem prišla leta 2015 v Maribor ni bilo migrantov, sedaj pa  opažam več indijskih študentov v Mariboru.

Snehashis: Kot povsod so tudi v Mariboru nekateri ljudje, ki se obnašajo nenavadno in ne marajo priseljencev in drugih kultur, vendar je večina ljudi zelo prijazna. Kamorkoli greva govorijo z nama angleško, saj v drugih državah, ki sva jih obiskala, niso želeli niti govoriti z nama. V Sloveniji večina ljudi govori angleško in so se pripravljeni pogovarjati z nama. Kljub temu opažam razliko od svojega prihoda. Ko sem se leta 2014 ali 2015 odpravil v mesto so se mi ljudje nasmejali in vrnil sem jim nasmeh. Sedaj se ne smejijo več. Morda je razlog recesija ali pa migrantska kriza.

Joytri: Nekoč so naju zamenjali s Sirijcema. Nekega večera okrog desete ure sva hodila po mestu in naenkrat je začel na naju vpiti fant z nasprotne strani ceste, naj se vrneva v Sirijo. Želela sva mu pojasniti, da nisva iz Sirije, saj Sirijci ne izgledajo kot midva. Nato je na naju pričela vpiti cela skupina mladeničev, ki so bili očitno vinjeni. K sreči sva bila na nasprotni strani ceste, saj bi se morda slabše končalo.

Snehashis: Zgodilo se je že, da so pristopili k meni in govorili z mano, kot da sem Sirijec. Imam prijatelja, ki je temnejše polti, zato naju velikokrat ljudje zmerjajo, vpijejo na naju iz avtov, kažejo nama sredinca, govorijo, naj se vrneva v Sirijo.

Mislita, da ljudje v Mariboru sprejemajo migrante in begunce?

Joytri: Vsi Indijci in priseljenci, ki živijo v Sloveniji, se soočajo z velikimi spremembami. Sama nisem opazila toliko razlik, saj sem dekle, toda moški kot je Snehashis opažajo številne spremembe. Leta 2014 so imeli številne prijateljice v Sloveniji, sedaj pa se je število drastično zmanjšalo. Če jih s Snehashisom pokličeva in povabiva kam skupaj, pridejo, če pa jih povabi sam, pa se povabilu zagotovo ne bodo odzvale. Na Academii so imeli leta 2016 60 indijskih študentov, vendar sva slišala, naj bi se nevljudno obnašali do žensk, popivali in podobno. Razlog pa je morda tudi ta, da v svetovnih medijih in na socialnih omrežjih prevladujejo novice o Indiji kot državi posilstev. Leta 2014 je bilo podobnih novic manj in niso bile mednarodno razširjene, sedaj pa opažam, da veliko Slovencev spremlja razmere v Indiji bolj kot jaz. Imela sva znanca iz Belgije, ki je dejal, da je Indija država posilstev in dekle iz Šri Lanke, ki je govorila z njim, je pritrdila. To idejo so ljudje sprejeli, mediji pa podobo Indije kot države posilstev ohranjajo. Zelo težko je pojasniti, da je Indija ogromna država, kjer je večja možnost za kriminalna dejanja in tudi posilstva. Veliko novic v medijih je izmišljenih, vendar tega nihče ne nadzoruje, ljudje pa jim verjamejo, saj nimajo časa preverjati dejstev. Na tak način mediji vplivajo na ljudi in jim vcepljajo ideje in negativen odnos do nekaterih držav in kultur. Zelo sem bila pretresena, ko je Belgijec rekel, da je Indija država posilstev, dekle iz Šri Lanke pa se je strinjalo z njim. Želela bi, da bi za mnenje povprašala tudi naju, ki prihajava iz Indije. Lahko bi naju povprašala, kakšno je najino mnenje o tem, zakaj je temu tako in ali je to dejansko res. Število posilstev v Indiji namreč ni tako drastično, ampak je tako le predstavljeno v medijih. Če se podobno zgodi v Ameriki, tega morda sploh ne bodo objavili v medijih, saj ne gre za države tretjega sveta.

Snehashis: Gre za zelo negativno podobo Indije. Podoben primer se je zgodil v Nemčiji. Indijski študent je prišel na nemško univerzo zaradi doktorskega študija. V njegovi raziskovalni ekipi je bila tudi ženska, zato mu je profesor prepovedal nadaljnje sodelovanje in mu dejal, naj se vrne v Indijo, saj posiljevalec ne more sodelovati z njimi. Ideja o Indiji kot državi, kjer je pogosto nasilje in posilstva je tako prevladujoča, da se je študent moral vrniti domov. Veliko svetovnih podjetij danes zaposluje Indijce, direktor Googla je Indijec, Microsoftovi inženirji so večinoma iz Indije, kar velja tudi za Facebook in številne spletne razvijalce. Kljub temu tega v medijih ne omenjajo in ljudje takšne podobe o Indijcih ne sprejemajo, saj so prepričani, da so samo posiljevalci.

Pogrešaš dom?

Joytri: Seveda, pogrešam svojo družino in prijatelje. Kuhava sama, zato hrane ne pogrešam tako zelo. Kurkuma, ki jo uporabljate v Sloveniji, je sicer povsem drugačna od tiste, ki jo uporabljamo doma, je tudi drugačne barve vonja in okusa. Tudi rdeči čili se v Sloveniji zelo razlikuje od tistega, ki ga uporabljamo v Indiji, saj je indijski močnejšega okusa in drugačne barve, poznamo pa več vrst, odvisno od tega kakšen curry pripravljamo. Pogrešava tudi ribe, saj smo v Kalkuti Bengalci in ribe jemo vsak dan. Ko sem živela na Madžarskem, sem obiskala najstarejšo in največjo indijsko trgovino, saj sem iskala ribo Hilsa. Hilsa je zelo draga v Kalkuti, saj jo običajno pripeljejo iz Bangladeša, lastnik trgovine pa jo je dostavil iz Londona. V mestih, kjer živi velika indijska skupnost je mogoče kupiti številne začimbe, ribe in zelenjavo, ki jo uporabljamo v Indiji. Veliko ljudi iz Bangladeša živi v Londonu in oblikovali so svojo skupnost. Imajo svojo tržnico, trgovine, kjer je mogoče kupiti marsikaj. V Mariboru pa je indijska skupnost majhna, zato so najbližje trgovine z indijskimi dobrinami v Grazu.

Snehashis: Začimbe iz Indije sva prinesla s seboj. Ribe, ki jih jemo v Indiji, prodajajo tudi v nekaterih evropskih državah, kot je na primer Portugalska, vendar je količina omejena. Tudi okus je drugačen.

Kako preživljaš prosti čas?

Snehashis: Kolesarim ob reki, kjer spoznavam prijetne ljudi. Vedno se s kolesom vračam po drugi poti, kot sem začel, a se nikoli ne izgubim. Maribor dojemam kot krog in vem, da se bom vedno vrnil v center, kamorkoli se bom odpravil. Sem tudi učitelj joge, sicer neprofesionalno, vendar sem pripravljen pomagati vsakomur, ki bi si želel spoznati tovrstno aktivnost ali izmenjati mnenja, znanja ali izkušnje.

Joytri: Zelo rada kolesarim in fotografiram Maribor. Kamorkoli se odpravimo sem jaz naša turistična vodička, Snehashis pa zemljevid. Vsi moji prijatelji gledajo slike in so zelo navdušeni, spoznali so tudi, da Slovenija ni Slovaška in bi jo radi obiskali.

Praznuješ indijske praznike v Sloveniji?

Snehashis: Večinoma ne. Ob različnih dneh je zapovedano jesti različno hrano, včasih kaj sladkega, nato kaj ocvrtega in podobno. Temu poskušava slediti. V Indiji praznujemo praznik barve holi, kar praznujejo tudi velike indijske skupnosti v Evropi, kot je ta v Barceloni ali na Dunaju. Praznujejo tudi v Ljubljani, vendar je praznovanje manjše. V Grazu prav tako pripravljajo tovrsten festival, vendar ni na točen dan, ko praznujemo holi, ampak ga prestavijo na datum v poletju. Praznike, ki jih praznujete Slovenci lahko samo opazujemo, saj nismo čustveno navezani nanje, vendar nam je všeč vaš način praznovanja.

Joytri: Zame je vsak dan v Sloveniji praznik. Sicer pa indijskih praznikov ne praznujeva, morda le delno. Ko praznujemo divali, prižigamo sveče in oblečemo nova oblačila, kar naredim tudi v Sloveniji. Ko praznujemo bengalsko novo leto prav tako oblečemo nova oblačila. Tukaj praznujemo bolj simbolično. Ker živiva skupaj pa se trudiva jesti tudi okusne jedi. V večini evropskih držav, kjer je veliko število Indijcev, praznujejo večje praznike, kot so diwali, in največji festival v Kalkuti Durga Puja, kjer prinesejo malik iz Indije in ga častijo v svetiščih po Evropi. Gre za velik praznik s hrano, glasbo in vsem, kar pritiče. Takšne stvari pogrešam.

Se učiš slovensko?

Snehashis: Slovenščina je zelo težka, predvsem izgovorjava. Včasih imam malo težav pri sporazumevanju, saj ne znam dobro slovensko, zato težko govorim s starejšimi ljudmi, ki ne znajo angleško. 

Joytri: Enkrat tedensko sva ves mesec hodila na tečaj slovenščine. Veliko sva se naučila, saj je bila učiteljica zelo disciplinirana, dajala nam je celo domače naloge. Na brezplačni tečaj slovenščine sem en mesec hodila tudi v Pekarno. Pogosto si pri komuniciranju pomagam s fotografijami, znakovnim jezikom, tudi angleščino.

 

Imaš svojo najljubšo slovensko besedo?

Joytri: »Dober dan«, »lahko noč«.

Snehashis: »Lepa si«.

Pridružil/a si se Živi knjižnici. Kaj je pripomoglo k tej odločitvi?

Snehashis: Najprej sem se Žive knjižnice udeležil na Filozofski fakulteti leta 2015 kot bralec. Bilo mi je zelo všeč, zato sem se odločil, da naslednjič poskusim tudi kot knjiga. Projekt je zelo dobro zasnovan, zanimivo je biti knjiga in bralec. Možnost imaš govoriti z ljudmi, spoznati kaj novega, uživati v naravi. Prvzaprav sem večino slovenskih prijateljev spoznal znotraj Žive knjižnice.

Joytri: Tudi v Kalkuti so študentje pričeli z izvajanjem tega projekta, vendar je zasnovan nekoliko drugače kot v Mariboru. Večinoma so udeleženci lokalni prebivalci, zato določijo temo, o kateri morajo govoriti vsi, vendar na podlagi njihove lastne perspektive. To je glavna razlika, vendar se mi zdi smiselno, saj so udeleženci večinoma Bengalci, ki jih povezuje skupna kultura, zato bi bilo tudi tem za pogovore manj. S projektom Žive knjižnice so začeli leta 2018 in gre za prvo Živo knjižnico v Kalkuti.

 

 

[ENGLISH]

Snehashis and Joytri are coming from India. They continue with their friendship and study in Maribor, where they live for more than four years. Snehashis got Erasmus Mundus scholarship and decided to come to Slovenia, where he was so fascinated to convince Joytri to join him. They keep helping each other, complementing one another amd yet fighting everyday challenges with courage, while they describe Indian culture and heritage, where they come from. At the same time they are enthusiastic about their life in Maribor, where every day seems like holiday for them.

What are your plans after finishing study?

Snehashis: I have just finished my phD on mechanical engineering. I was researching the influence of energy density on properties of ortopedical products, such as knees, hips and teeth. At least for few years I would like to do good research in my area, I would probably go to Germany and in Belgium. Now also in Slovenia there are some companies working on the same researches as I do. I think in Slovenia there is not so much research going on, so I could do some work for them. It depends on whether I will get work, I will stay in Slovenia or go somewhere else. But I would really like to stay in Slovenia for few years more, because it is really peaceful place, green and means vacation for me.

Joytri: I am here for four years now and I am studying on the Faculty of arts and recently doing my research on philosophy. I am working on buddhist ethics comparison with western. I studied philosophy in India as well and here I am doing my phD. I have completed my four year study and next year is my last year. I am staying in Slovenia untill I finish my study and then I am going back home.

What do you like about Maribor the most?

Snehashis: I like small cities, not big, because I am coming from village near Calcutta. Calcutta is very crowded, but now I feel peace. I also like that I can easily in few minutes get to nature by bike. From Slovenia you can travell all around the Europe, because everything is near. Maribor means nice place to me and if I want to go somewhere else, I can go with ease. My favourite place in Maribor is Lent and together with friends we have our own special place (nasad kostanjev), where we sit on the blank field and watch the mountains. I like Urban too, because the path up above is really nice.

Joytri: I like friends here, I also like small cities, because I am from Calcutta, which is very big city. Here it is very calm, peaceful and most important about Slovenia is about the clean nature, water and air. I can cycle because at home I usually use cab or public transport. I also like to travel, because from Slovenia Italy is near, Hungary and Austria. I can travel here even at night or 3 o˙clock at night and I am not affraid, but in India I am not comfortable with going alone somewhere after 8 o˙clock p . m. I feel free, if I want to visit some place if I wish and I have the money. In India I have never had a vacation.

Is Maribor very different from to the place you come from?

Joytri: There are no similarities. We have 15 million people in one city, but here are two million in one country. We have 15 million people who are all immigrants, mixture of immigrants, more than one religion. In my city we have sikh, christian, muslim, hindu, buddhist, all people staying together in secular country with different religions. We have also four or five casts in our city, but in southern part of India they have four different castes. All states have their religions, class divisions and castes.

Snehashis: Our culture is different. Also there is huge economic difference. We do not only have three classes, upper, middle, low, but there are many classes in the society.

How do you feel about Slovenian people?

Joytri: I have good experience with them, I also have many Slovenian friends. They are very kind and very helpful. Last year we were taking picture of the apple tree and a woman came and asked us who are we and why are we taking picture of her apple tree. She was asking us, because we are not Slovenians, for the safe and security problems. We explained that we are students here and we are taking picture as a souvenir. She was very happy then and we invited her over to indian tea. We are small community in Maribor and we decided to be very careful about everything that surrounds us. If we see any unusual things happening near, usually the responsibility would be on us.

Snehashis: I can say people are kind and peaceful. This place is really safe. People are not bothering with other people too much. In general we have never encountered any problems so far, but maybe when poeple see us or hear different language, they would look at us. And the same it is when we go to the village. People are not scared, but they are just curious, because we talk differently, we are different colour. But sometimes we enjoy it, sometimes is bothering us, otherwise we got used to it. It is easier to become friends with people from foreign countries, because they are trying to make friends in new place and meet new people. Nevertheless I have many Slovenian friends.

Do you have any bad experiences in Slovenia?

Joytri: Slovenians do not tolerate those who break the rules. You have your own laws, you believe in, you believe in cleanliness, you have a lot of street rules, like you cannot put your trash anywhere and so on. So if people are violating these rules, obviously Slovenians are not tolerant to these people. But foreigners who are living according to the rules and standards are not facing any problems, because we have not faced any problems so far. When I came in 2015 in Maribor, there were not many migrants, but now I can see more Indian students here.

Snehashis: Some people here might be acting a little strange. But such people, who do not like foreigners or other cultures, are everywhere. But in general people here are very helpful. Wherever we go they talk with us in English, it is not like in the other countries, where they did not want to talk with us. People here know English and are willing to talk with us. But I see a differrence compared to the time I came here. Whenever I went out in 2014 and 2015 people smiled and I smiled back, but now they stoped smiling. Maybe the reason is recession or migrant crisis.

Joytri: Once we were mistaken with Syrians. Once after 10 o˙clock at night one guy was shouting to both of us about we have to go back to Syria. We wanted to tell him that we are not from Syria and that Syrians do not look like us. But the guys were drunk and they were shouting. Luckily we were on the other side of the street. Maybe it could have been more dangerous if we were walking down the same street.

Snehashis: What also occured to me was that people talked to me like if I were from Syria. I have a friend, who is more black, and sometimes we get bullied and people shout at us from their cars saying bad words or showing the fingers, telling us to go back to Syria.

Do you think people in Maribor are open to migrants and refugees based on your experiences?

Joytri: Indian people and all migrants in Slovenia are now facing a lot of changes. Me as a girl I have not experienced so many changes, but men like Snehashis have. They had more female friends back in 2014 and now they are reduced in number. If we call them together with Snehashis then they come, if he calls them alone, they would not come. In Academia, they had 60 Indian students in 2016 and we are not sure whether they did something wrong. We have just heard from some people that they got drunk and misbehaved with girls. So another reason might also be many news about rape in India on social networks.  So these news are all over the media. Back in 2014 at least there were not so many news from India internationally broadcast, but now in 2019 I see my Slovenian friends know more about India than me. We knew a Belgian who said India is a rape country and there was this girl from Sri Lanka who was in favour of him and she agreed. This idea is a kind of mindset and media maintain the image of India as a rape country. It is very difficult to make people understand that India is huge country, so there are higher chances for rapes and criminal acts. There are many fake news in media right now, but no one monitors these news and people think they are real, because they do not have time to check their truth. This is how media create mindset and people think negatively towards other countries. I was very shocked when the Belgium guy said that India is a rape country and Sri Lankan girl suppported him. I wished we got to tell our opinions since we are from India. They could have asked us why it is so and how it is so, whether it really is so or not. Because in India there are not so many rape cases, but it is just the way this is presented in media. Even if it happens in USA this will not be broadcast in media, because these are first world countries.

Snehashis: This is a really bad image for India. There was another case in Germany. An Indian guy came to university for phD and was colleague with another girl. His professor told him that he has to return because Indians are rapists and he could not work with them. This image of India as a rape and criminal country is so strong that they sent him back to India, because one colleague in the team was girl. Many popular world companies scientists are Indian, for example Google ceo is Indian and Microsoft was engineered by Indians, even Facebook and other technologies are mostly developed by Indians. And still these images are not presented in the media and people are talking about Indians only according to rapes.

Do you miss anything from home?

Joytri: Of course, I miss my family and friends. But we do not miss our food so much, because we cook by ourselves. Curcuma that you use in Slovenia is completely different than the one we use in India, the colour is different, the smell and taste also. Also our red chili powder is very different than here, it is stronger and it is different colour. We have different types of chilies and it depends on which curry we are making. We also miss fish, because in Calcutta we are Bengalis and we eat fish every day. When I lived in Hungary, I visited the oldest and biggest Indian store in Budapest, because I was looking for Hilsa fish which is very expensive in Calcutta. It usually gets delivered from Bangladesh, but the store manager brought it from London. In cities with many Indians, like Budapest and London, you can find fish and typical vegetables we use in our country. Many people from Bangladesh live in London and they have created their own community. They have their own market, stores, where you can buy many things from India. In Maribor there is a small Indian community, so the nearest stores selling Indian goods are in Graz.

Snehashis: We brought our own spices from India. Fish we eat in India can be found in some European countries, such as Portugal, but they are limited in number. And they also taste differently than in India.

How do you spend your free time?

Snehashis: I go cycling and go to the riverside and meet nice people. Whenever I ride a bike, I never return on the same route, I always choose another, but never get lost. Maribor is circle, wherever I go, I reach the center. I am also a yoga teacher, but not a professional one. I am open to help anyone who would like to know more about it or share our opinions, knowledge and experiences.

Joytri: I like cycling and taking pictures of Maribor. Now all my friends look at the pictures with excitement and they differ Slovenia from Slovakia. They also have interest of coming over to visit. Whenever we go on a trip, I am a touristic informator and Snehashis is our map.

Do you celebrate Indian holidays in Slovenia?

Snehashis: Usually we do not. On some days of a year we eat different food and this is what we try to follow sometimes. We also celebrate colour festival holi in India, but only big cities in Europe like Vienna and Barcelona celebrate it here. Even in Ljubljana they celebrate this festival, but it is small. In Graz they also celebrate, but not exactly on the day of holi, they postpone it, so it is usually during summer. We only watch how you celebrate your holidays, because we are not really emotionally attached to them, but we like to see how your celebration looks like.

Joytri: For me every day in Slovenia is holiday. Usually we do not celebrate Indian holidays, but like on diwali, when we light candles and wear some new clothes, I light candles here as well. When we have Bengali new year we also wear new clothes. So we are practicing just these small things and since we are staying together we try to eat good food. In most of European countries with big Indian communities, they celebrate big festivals, like diwali or Durga Puja, which is biggest festival in Calcutta. They bring the idol from India to worship god here. This is a big festival in India with eating and singing and everything. These are the things I miss actually.

Are you learning Slovenian language?

Snehashis: It is very difficult, especially the pronounciation. Sometimes I have problem talking to old people, who do not speak English.

Joytri: We were taking classes once a week for the whole month. Our teacher was very disciplined and she taught us a lot. She even gave us homework to do. I also took free classes in Pekarna for one month. I usually help myself with photos, sign language and English when I communicate with other people.

 

Do you have favourite Slovenian word?

Joytri: »Dober dan«, »lahko noč«.

Snehashis: »Lepa si«.

You decided to become a living book. Why did you decided to join?

Snehashis: I learned about the living library in the Faculty of arts back in 2015 when I was a reader. It was very interesting to me and I immediately decided to join it as a book. It is really great project and it is interesting to be a reader and book. You can talk with people, learn something, new, enjoy the nature. Most of my Slovenian friends I met on the Living library.

Joytri: In Calcutta they also started the living library project, but it is a little bit different than here in Maribor. Usually locals attend it and they are given topic that each and everyone has to talk about from his own perspective. This is the main difference, but it makes sense, because the books and readers are mostly Bengalis. They share the same culture so there would be nothing really to talk about. They started with this project in 2018 and this is the first living library in Calcutta.

 

foto: arhiv intervjuvancev