Life of Minorities I am Arundeep Singh. I am from Indian and live in Zadar now. How come your journey of life brought you to Zadar. That’s a good question, but for me I am not sure how I ended up in Zadar. Somehow day by day as the life changed at the end I am here in Zadar. The very first time when I came here I came from Munich I worked there for BMW I came here to travel for new year. Thats was the time when I looked in wikipedia to find where can I go in Croatia. Once again I do not know why I selected Zadar rather than Dubrovnik, Split or Rijeka When I came here, I liked the city immediately and i felt that this a nice city and it has a soul When I reached, I left my bag in the room and went to the center of the city It was winter time and city was almost empty, but I liked it And once again somehow I ended up in a coffee bar There i found really nice people and we are still very good friends The coffer bar is called “DOMA” means home. It is right in the centre of the old city, the part called “Varoš” I came there the very first day and then I went there every evening Every day from 22:00 to late night ( I do not know till when) we drank, sung and danced.. I had a good time there Do you think that people in Zadar find you unusual? Yes, There is a difference in people. But i think it is good that we have different people from city to city and country to country I think as we go a little towards east the people are bit warm and as I move to west people are different In the west people are more in control and punctual, but a little cold From which city are you from in India? My city is a small city in India, called Khanna I don’t think many people know it outside India But, we still have more people than Zadar And you call it a small city? Yes, that is a small city For comparison, my district is more than 2 million people ( about half of Croatia) When did you think to leave India? Well, that I did not decide that I will go outside. As an IT engineer it was part of my work Based on project to project, we travel outside India That’s how first time I went to Canada for a year Then I lived in Switzerland for about 5 years when that project finished, I went to Germany In Germany I decided it is enough of IT world and I thought to do something else, but I still didn’t know what.. Is Zadar a project or you plan to stay here long? No, it’s definitely not a project. When I came here, I had already decided that I won’t work in IT world any more But, I didn’t know where to go and what to do When I came here the first time, I thought ok, now I know where to go and will see what I can do Now I am here, I got married here and we have badminton club and so we have long term plans So that means you have left the IT world completely.. yes, so far it so. and I hope that I do not need to go back to IT world It was interesting, but I think it was enough No my target and plan is to see how can we make badminton more popular in Zadar, around Zadar and in Croatia We will come back to badminton in a little while How much time did you need to learn Croatian? Well, Croatian is a hard language to learn Earlier I learned German and little bit of Italian it was easier to learn those ones I am here now for about 2 years The first 6-9 months, I could not even make a sentence or question But, slowly when i started to speak with people and friends that’s how I learned. I reached moment when I started to speak and now it is improving Did you learn it with a teacher or you just learned it by taking to people? I started to learn with a mobile application I learned to say numbers and colors and so on.. When I worked as a volunteer here, then I spoke a little with people and that’s how I learned. I didn’t got to any teacher to learn How long do you think it will take a Croatian to learn “Indian language” ? oh, I don’t know… On the other hand we cannot say that we will learn Indian language, as we have about 28 languages and each has its own script and we can read another languages without learning the script So that means, In India people(with different languages) do not understand each other Normally no. Let’s say we go from east to west of India, there is no chance to understand unless you speak English How did you come to decide that you will open your own badminton club? Well, I played badminton almost all my life At my school level, when we did’t have any hall or courts Then I started my engineering When I started my engineering, there I started to learn badminton with other senior players I played during my engineering and later for my university where i finished my masters And later I trained in Switzerland, where I played inter-club league When I came here, I missed badminton I found that there is a club which is working for long time here But there are no regular training and no regular competitions I was missing badminton and was still thinking what to do.. The overall situation helped me decide.. to open a new club Now I am trainer in the club. now we have a really nice people in the club. There is nothing about me being a foreigner.. Every training is full of fun, play, training and talks. it is not like I am trainer and they are members. We are more like friends.. Really nice team now.. How many members do you have? and do you have kids in the club? Yes, we have kids too. At the moment the number of members change from month to month… Some comes and some stops coming At the moment we have 8 kids in the club about 6 comes at regular basis We hope that next year we will get mode kids Are there any competitions in which you participate? So far we have not participated.. However, we are organizing a tournament on 19.5.2019. It is recreative tournament called ” Badminton Za Sve” Anybody can come and play, but it is only for doubles. We do not have singles at the moment That’s our idea as to how in Zadar people start to think more about badminton We hope that players from Zagreb, Split and other cities will come to play When people see them play and how they play and hopefully there is more interest in badminton here Did badminton start in India? Yes, that’s history of badminton. It started in the city called “Poona” it is a big city now. I do not know how big it was during those times When British left India, they started to play in UK and now the whole world plays badminton and it is 2nd most popular sport in the world. You said earlier that you are from a small city in India From small city in India you went to Munich and Switzerland and now you again came back to a small town What is the different between the culture in Zadar and your place I think it is hard to list down specific differences as it is a completely different worlds Very different languages Very different clothing styles e.g. we do not have culture of coffee bars You want find a coffee bars where people go every day Now it has started in big cities but in my city it still does not exist if we want to meet friends then we go to each other’s houses rather than meeting in coffee bars This is one thing e.g. which can say is completely different What is the different about clothing of Indians? For men, modern western clothing started with british time But in general women still have very local clothing style I am not sure how to describe the difference Let’s say there are 2 main styles, one is called “salwar kameez” and other one is “Sari” I think outside India more people would have heard about “Sari” which women wear in India. And men wear ‘turban” ? This is called “turban”, but.. this is not valid for all of India This is from my religion, “Sikhism” But, there exists different versions of turbans from culture to culture. But in general most people don’t wear turban Have did you get adjusted to new food, new spices here? I think yes. The reason could be that I have been outside India for long time and so it was here too but, in general I am not the person who is very specific about food and certain flavour I have always tried new things, new food Here ofcourse the food is quite different compared to Canada or Switzerland And it was here that I ate fish for the first time in my life. Which cuisine is the best for you?
What? Which cuisine you like the most? Swiss, German, Canadian or Croatian? Oh, it’s hard to answer that.. but if I have to choose two cuisines I would say that I prefer Indian food, as that’s what I grew up with and now Mediterranean as well Swiss and German, I won’t say that it is my preferred cuisine e.g. I cannot eat Swiss fondue. Tell us one very specific Indian food? From my region, when it is winter time, we have one specific meal which is called “makki di roti” and “sarson da saag” We can say that is one type of spinach , the way we cook Te other is bread from….. how can I say that.. let’s say “polenta” .. is that “Naan”? No, that is different. This one is called ” Makki di roti”. “makki” is “Corn” and “roti” is “bread” Do you cook here Indian meals? Yes. I am not a very talented cook… but I cook almost every other day, if not every day for dinner. Some rice and vegetables or beans.. During the summer time many Indians visit Zadar You are the only Indian at the moment in Zadar.. So, if someone from comes from India are you happy to see them, do you socialize Last year, I don’t think I met a lots of Indians Maybe a two or three yes, but when we go for a walk in the city, one can see more Indian tourists now than before Let’s see how it goes this year, maybe more Indians and maybe I will meet some Did any unpleasant interaction happened here because you are not a Croatian rather you are an Indian? Yes, it did happened But, I don’t think that is just the case of Croatia it happend many times earlier too but thats also because a lot of people do not about various cultures in the world So, for some people just have some fear and for some it was the result of situation in Europe e.g. during the time of Syrian troubles, it was tough time and people did not know about exact situation and mix things up and I think it is a normal human behavior and not very specific to Croatia. That was the case in Italy as well. If we got to UK, even today the same thing exists.. Did you have strange interactions with police e.g.? Yes, I did First time it happened, when I was working as Volunteer close to Obrovac. Thats was … a time just couple of days after an incident happened in Paris and ofcourse police was little bit sensitive There were 2 of us. One American and I were working together as volunteer We were waiting for our host to come and pick us up and police was curious why are we sitting there for 30 min. so, they came to check our IDs and passport. Ofcoursse we had all papers and thats all.. So, it means no big problem after all.. Not really. They were not sure why these 2 strangers are here for that too long and that too in “Obrovac”!! On the scale of 1-10 how would you rank Zadar? Well, I like Zadar Ofcourse there is always something that can be better but for my likings and the way I have my life here.. I would say, I will give 7 If I can make badminton more popular here, then I will increase my ratings as well… How do you spend your days? How do you spend your days? You have badminton trainings of course, but what about free time? ah ha, OK At the moment almost every day I think something about badminton about club and what else can I do more e.g. today I was in School “Zadarski Otoci” and tried to find out what can we do there for kids Recently we met director of Sports center Višnjik to talk about the plans for next year and we have tournament coming up so we need to work for that We also wrote a project for summer camp for badminton for kids We are not waiting for an answer from the district administration as we wrote the project for co-sponsorship to make a summer camp in Zadar Yesterday, I talked to the president of Croatian Badminton Association to align on future plans So, almost 50% of day has focus on badminton Rest of the day is for some walk in the city, by sea shore, some sun Everyday I learn something new from computers, for health or other topics.. Now I am waiting for summer to start my swimming lessons in the sea once again How old are you? I am now 38 years old No idea where did all those years went by… Where do you see yourself in 5 years? For next 5 years, I see my self in Zadar as just today I wrote the first draft of 5 year plan for our club. So, I have to be here to execute this plan and in 10 years? In 10 years, I don’t know. Thats is too far and I never though for that long. If i would have made that long term plans, then I would have never reached Zadar That’s how my life is. As the life choose its path, I move with it. I don’t think I will go another city e.g. Zagreb It is not just about badminton, but the city as well I like Zadar, not Zagreb It is perfect city for my lifestyle so, surely I won’t go to another city just for a contract. Since you came in Zadar, did you travel to you home in India? yes, we went during the new year holidays My wife and I both. She visited India for the first time It was a completely different world for her. It was for the first that I was away from home for 4 years at a stretch.. earlier I went every year. How did your wife adjust herself in India? In India, with India with new something new in her life? You meant how did you felt here? For her it was completely different for her. Almost everything was new for her. Even when we went out for a walk She was actively watching around, which side to walk, where to walk how to walk in the crowd how to eat different food and how to interact with people, completely different world How did you two meet? How did you come to know each other? I mention earlier that when I came here for the first time, I went to coffee bar “Doma”. and that’s where we met .. So, she is your biggest attachment in Zadar?
Good bye! Thanks a lot.
Many thanks to you..