One of the elements that grasped my attention when I first got to know about my current role was the location: working for a Dutch company in India, wow! It was only later that I found out more about the role and I finally said yes, mainly because I had the impression that I could make a difference. Almost one year has passed now and I’m still enjoying my work, I feel very honored that my employer appointed me to work on a very ambitious and energizing assignment in India! I like my work, the people at work and I even enjoy some of the disadvantages of living in India: the severe heat, the blaring of the horn & the sometimes annoying habit of Indian people to enter your personal space, it’s all part of the adventure! I avoid places where a lot of ‘expats’ meetup, although I sometimes do attend them. I don’t want to mingle in horror stories about impolite drivers, dirty toilets and supermarkets that won’t sell your favorite brand of cornflakes. I’m actually very straightforward about things: if you’re complaining about India, what are you doing here…? I’m working in a corporate office every day and I’m driven in a flashy car. One of the advantages of being an expat in India is the luxurious lifestyle. But I don’t want to spoil myself and return back to the Netherlands with a very narrow minded view of India. And in addition to that, I actually like the traditions of India. In fact, I love it! Some expats might feel as if they sometimes want to escape from reality and flee to the ‘safe’ and luxury world of the JW Marriot. I recognize this behavior, but in my case it also works the other way around: during multiple occasion’s it feels as if I would like to flee from the luxury and corporate world around me. Please, show me some India! Shivaji Market is, without question, one of my favorite spots in Pune to wander around. The area always performs in satisfying my urging need for some ‘real India’. Without traffic, Shivaji Market is a 40 minutes ride from my house in Aundh. The route will lead you to MG-road first, followed by a route through very narrow Indian streets. It feels as if you are in a Bollywood film: cows on the street, a lot of auto rickshaws, street vendors, dirt, traffic jams and a lot blaring horns. The ‘parking area’ of Shivaji Market is next to an elegant Portuguese-built church, which overlooks the Fish- and Meat Market buildings. The setup of the market is special. It’s in the middle of Old Pune, with hundreds of heritage style buildings with wooden finishing’s and designs from the Victorian era. Shops, ranging from tea wholesale outlets to hundreds of sari shops, have been here for decades: shops are now owned by the son or even grandson of the original founder. The original owner is worshipped every day, essence sticks are being lit in front of his (or her) photo multiple times a day. The market itself has been built more than 125 years ago and some of the Victorian-style buildings look a bit run down, although most of the concrete elements have been maintained very well. The thick walls and plastic coverings between the buildings create a very cool hide out during extreme hot days. There is a meat market, where live animals are being slaughtered various varieties of choices for non-veg’s. I usually try to avoid the chickens market: it’s in fact too dirty, with foul smells. But my favorite spot is definitely the fish market, the best place in Pune to buy fresh salmon, shrimps and even lobsters. It’s clean (for Indian standards), the people are nice and the offerings are amazing: you can choose from a very wide range of fish: from locally sourced fish to everything that the Arabian sea has to offer. The Fish market is connected to the vegetable market, with a lot of vendors selling directly from farm to the consumer. If you want to visit the market, try to avoid going there on weekends; it’s very busy, traveling from and to the market is a big challenge. On a Monday or Tuesday, you will get all elements of a bustling market, but without the rough edges and extra travel time.