“It takes me a day to get an Internet connection in India. Back home in Denmark, it took me three-and-a-half weeks.” That’s one reason 26-year-old Danish national, Emil Rydeng Spanner, loves riding the crest of ‘India Changing’.
India is also a country that allows him to ride, quite literally — on a second-hand Royal Enfield Bullet bought from Karol Bagh. “I wouldn’t dream of owning a bike in Denmark. It’s very expensive, and it’s not a biking country.” For Spanner’s good luck on the roads, there are Ganpati stickers on his handlebars and bonnet (a Ganpati tattoo on his right bicep), and an Om sticker on his headlights.
All that talk...
A Bachelors in business administration, Spanner came to India in 2006 for an internship at the Danish embassy. India intrigued him. “Media about India is pretty limited in many European countries. Either it’s crazy stories about someone marrying a goat in Bihar or it’s a horror scenario about Europeans losing jobs because Indians can be hired at 20 per cent of the cost.” He decided to stay on to get a first-hand insight on one-sixth of the world’s population and one of the world’s largest economies.
A job hunt landed him in a Danish software company in Gurgaon. Two years on, his CV has seen a stratospheric jump. Spanner is a project manager, though he started out with no training in software whatsoever.
Again, that’s something that would probably not have happened back home. “You don’t get very far in Denmark with a just a bachelors degree,” he shrugs.
Chilling out at a popular expat hangout in Defence Colony, he says, “In Denmark, we meet at each other’s homes. Restaurants are freaking expensive.” He is in a country that gives him microcosm of life in Europe: Nordic friends and select restaurants with authentic European food. He speaks several European languages, but just enough Hindi to buy his groceries and ask for directions. “You don’t really need Hindi here. But when you live in Spain or Italy, you can’t expect people to speak English.”
So why didn’t Spanner work in Rome or Madrid, which he loves? “They are great cities, but not as exciting. It’s amazing how this rich culture absorbs external influences.” He too has absorbed India. His has a Bollywood number Kya Mujhe Pyaar Hai for a ringtone, and his hands still pink from Holi.