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‘Delhi is the friendliest city we’ve lived in’

Dave Prager, who worked with an advertising agency in Gurgaon, is now the author of ‘Delirious Delhi’, a non-fiction book about expat life in Delhi. Manoj Sharma reports.

delhi Updated: May 04, 2012 23:20 IST
Manoj Sharma
Manoj Sharma
Hindustan Times

How did ‘Delirious Delhi’ happen?

My wife and I had many problems in adjusting to life in Delhi. At the same time, many of the things we enjoyed doing in the city baffled my Indian co-workers. So, I wrote Delirious Delhi for two reasons: to help expats demystify Delhi, and to help Delhiites demystify expats.

How has the expat community’s profile changed over the years?

In the past, I think that most of the businesspeople coming to Delhi were management-level bosses. These days, more lower-level people like me, are moving to Delhi. At this level, our companies don’t give us nice cars or fancy service flats in Chankyapuri. Our Delhi lives are relatively less privileged, which means that we get to experience more of everyday life.

In the past few years, Delhi has witnessed a great influx of expats…

This shows the importance of India in both the global economy and the global culture. Everyone is suddenly fascinated by the country — not just businesspeople, but academicians, artists and intellectuals as well. Everyone is starting to recognise the role India will play in the world’s future. Also, there’s nothing better than Indian food. The food is the number one reason Jenny and I wanted to live in India.

How was life in New York, London and Singapore different from that in Delhi?

We found London to be very cold and unfriendly. In Singapore, it was easy to meet other expats, but locals and expats rarely socialised together. In Delhi, everyone is exceedingly friendly and open. It is easy to make friends with locals and expats alike. There’s no doubt that Delhi is the friendliest city we’ve ever lived in.

What is the most difficult aspect of Delhi for an expat?

Every expat faces different challenges. Some have trouble adjusting to having maids at home. Others have trouble with the pollution or the heat. For me, my biggest challenge was the traffic, because I commuted from Delhi to Gurgaon every day. But for us, the joys of living in Delhi far outweighed the challenges.

First Published: May 04, 2012 23:18 IST