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‘I love Pune because it is where I achieved the most in my life’

Eunjoo Lim is a Korean national who lives in Pune. She is director for Kiwa Consultants and is in charge of external affairs for the Korean Association in Pune, besides being a Kathak dancer.

pune Updated: Aug 24, 2017 15:52 IST
Eunjoo Lim
Eunjoo Lim
Hindustan Times, Pune
Pune,Korea,Art
Eunjoo Lim learnt the kathak dance form in Pune and is today an accomplished dancer.(HT PHOTO)

I have been living in Pune for the last 15 years, ever since I landed here from South Korea in 2002. When I reached Pune I knew no one in the whole of India and also had no intention to live here for such a long time.

In Korea, I was working for an alternative school founded by the Seoul metropolitan city after completing my MA in women’s studies. I suddenly got a strong feeling that I would it regret when I die if I do not become a dancer.

I started to search for dance forms in the world where one can mature spiritually as well.

I reached my own conclusion that it is Indian classical dance. However, at the time, India was so unfamiliar with South Koreans. I could not get enough information on how to learn Indian classical dance.

Moreover, I wanted to understand Indian culture deeply through the medium of dance, therefore, I came to India. My original plan was to visit Pune first then go to Varanasi, Mumbai, Kolkata and the southern part of India to find an appropriate city to learn dance and do my research; but, once I reached Pune, I settled down here.

I lived like an Indian woman. After a cup of chai opens my day in the morning, I used to start kathak dance practice in a salwar-khameez every day.

I eat only Indian food like phulke, sabji, daal and chawal without Korean kimchi. I fell in love with the Indian arts by reading the Bhagwad Gita and Tagore’s Gitanjali; by listening to the Indian classical music of Pt. Hari Prasad Chaurasia and Mahesh Kale; and by watching Bollywood movies like Devdas and 3 Idiots.

Before visiting any other cities, my heart had already given Pune a high score on my evaluation.

I started to love Pune since it has big arts festivals like Sawai Gandharva and the Shaniwarwada festival, where I felt the ultimate joy attending them.

Moreover, I love Pune because this ‘educational city’ has good professors and scholars to learn from, about India. I did not go to Korea for 9 years after I reached Pune.

Pune is the very place where I have achieved the most important things in my life.

I became a kathak dancer, fell in love with Indian man and married him. I gave birth to my dearest son and submitted a doctoral dissertation in Indology.

In Pune everything is well-mixed. If I compare Pune to a food menu, it is like an unlimited thali; all kinds of nutrition and various tastes in harmony on the plate. Nothing is too excessive and nothing major is lacking in Pune. It is not highly urbanised, as well as not a secluded village.

Pune is developing as a ‘smart city’, but it is still surrounded with hills. In Pune, most of the populations is middle-class.

In this ‘moderate’ city I have many things to do. I consider myself as ‘a bridge connecting Korea and India through the Arts; a cultural exchange. I am introducing the culture of two nations to each other, Korean culture to Indians, as well as Indian culture to Koreans.

I have been teaching the Korean language to Indian employees in Korean companies in Pune as a corporate trainer.

Now I plan to start to conduct workshops for K-pop (Korean pop music) fan-club members, teaching basic Korean dialogues and lyrics of K-pop songs along with K-pop dance sessions.

I am planning to take these Korean culture lovers to Korea to make them express their hearts freely.

I continue to conduct Korean-Indian collaboration events with fashion shows and performing arts.

Puneties can enjoy the beauty of two countries at the same time.

I am also trying to tie-up Pune and a city in Korea as sister-cities, to develop an economical, educational and cultural relationship. As I embodied two cultures in me, this is my way of connecting beautiful two countries.

First Published: Aug 24, 2017 15:51 IST