For Nolwenn Lecoeur-Bhole, India proved a stress buster
We have heard of Europeans falling sick in India due to the climate and food, but for Nolwenn, a French national living in India for the last 10 years, it worked just the opposite way. Now residing in New Delhi's Greater Kailash area with her Indian husband Dhananjay Bhole, an overseas manpower consultant, four-year-old son and a “very cool mother-in-law”, Nolwenn's arrival in India has been quite dramatic.
She recalls her first brush with India in 1990. “My mother used to work for a French mail order company (of Indian and Turkish products) which wanted to open its branch in India. So, she came here as the project coordinator to ensure quality control. I stayed with her here for four years. I was 17 then.”
To complete higher education, Nowlenn left India to pursue a four-year course in Board Management in Belgium. She moved back to France after her course and stayed there for a year.
“But I found that I was very unhappy in Europe. And I started developing an allergy on my hand which quickly spread almost all over my body. I went to the best of dermatologists and they came out with different reasons. Some said it was due to the soap/deodorant/water/fabric that I used. For four years I was on medication, but the disease refused to leave me.”
It was after Nowlenn met a top notch homeopath of France who asked her a few personal questions that the reason was narrowed down to ‘stress'. She suggested Nowlenn try living in India. Nowlenn adds with a gleam, “I came back in 1999 giving myself just six months to observe. But within two months, without any medication, my allergy vanished. I realised it was my India calling.”
Initially, Nowlenn stayed with a friend whose mother was starting an NGO called Project Why. “I didn't have a job so I assisted her for four years. After I met Dhananjay she advised me to look for a job as NGOs don't pay much and as a married person I would require money.” Now, Nowlenn works with a multi-national as head of the translation department.
The only thing she can't compromise with is hot spices. Traffic jams, countless cars, bad roads don't bother her at all. “But even my mom-in-law eats less spices and we generally end up agreeing on everything from furniture to food,” she adds.
“I had heard stories of unkind moms-in-law from almost all my Indian friends. Moreover, in Europe, we don't have a culture of living with parents-in-law so I was a little apprehensive. I thought I will ‘try to adjust' but I never had to. She is very cool and undemanding,” smiles Nolwenn.