August 16, 2007

I arrived here in Italy on 06-06-06, a coincidence. We, I am with other 2 guys who are welders, are only Indians in this part of Italy. We are stationed in Codraipo, Koh_the_rra_ee_poh , in Udine regione, north-east of Venice, 125 kms away. I completed one month of stay & now find myself comfortable with people, atmosphere here. We are not finding time to move around as we have 6 days a week ( and it is costly too) But I will share a few observations, which are out of my stay in medium sized town & occasional visit to big cities like Udine, Venice. Italy seems to be country of rich culture, we are greeted everyday by number of unknown people.
The factors which I appreciated here : The respect for human-being:Very polite in speaking ( I found Italiano language very sweet), no high tone in voice, I didn't find people raising voice or fighting in last 20 days even in my company which is similar to L&T & the picture is 180 degrees opposite of L&T.

The discipline:I didn't see police force anywhere, not even near the police station. They are least troubled people here. The traffic police is absent but the traffic is so disciplined that on the city roads & gully roads, which are all two-lane, the cars speed at @100 km/hr speed. Wherever the sign 'STOP' written on road, the vehicles will stop 100%, see & then go. My first surprise was when our van driver who picked up us at airport, stopped twice on the auto-strada, highway, for red signal, when there was no vehicles on the road, no police on the road at 11
p.m. in the night. Punctuality is the next visible part of discipline. Our water-heater was not working, I was told the technician will come at 8.20 a.m. in the morning, he was there at 8.19 a.m. He had to come thrice during next two days, he was there at the said appointed time, 12.30 pm. once, 4.00 pm & next day 8.20 am again. I was envisaging a football fever here, but people talk on football only during lunch time, No other discussions during work time. This is the kind of discipline I had only dreamnt or heard of.

The family ties: The family values are still very deep in Italian psyche. People are seen around with their families, but only on Saturdays / Sundays. I found family photos on my colleagues' PCs / tables. But Most of the old people stay alone. I have heard divorce rate is going up, yet to confirm. This is because in general the girls / ladies / wives here are outspoken & firm. The male generation look softer. Social ties are very weak. People only greet, but they don't talk beyond weather in so called gatherings. People will have only 5 to 6 friends, of which 1 or 2 close. Social gatherings are very few, festa ( festive gathering in city centre open space ) on Week-ends, They dance a lot in pairs (with spouses I suppose) in festas. Thats all, \n\u003cbr\>that is their social touch. People keep to themselves.

The openness: Sex is integral part of our being, I realised it here. I was surprised to see the calendars of naked posed ladies on shop floor / in offices. I thought the GM who was taking us around will try to hide but he was normal. The stores office had two such big calendars with two staff-ladies sitting in that cabin. The calendars were at par with our McDowells bikini calendar which is a big issue in India. But there was no vulgarity in the behaviour noticed, anywhere be it office, be in super-market, be on road. Very descent behaviour. My boss later told me that the thinking in the ladies here is that the good body features will be / are to be appreciated by men same as the chubby 1 year old child is appreciated by anyone. We pick up such a chubby child instantly, O but lady is to be appreciated & not to be picked up. I didn't find ladies wearing vulgur clothes. Very formal clothes in offices. Very few ladies wear miniskirts.

The nature: Very very beautiful country sides. Plush green, many trees, big green fields, professionally harvested. I also noted that there is as less interference as possible in nature. Even in so-called crowded cities, no pollution. No smoke, no horns, absolutely no noise. The houses here are so well laid out, beautifully constructed, clean & photogenic. The waste disposal is the best professionally done, hence everything is clean everwhere.

I don't know how this is possible. I have yet to come across poor people, beggers ... Everybody has a car for him, very few people on bicycle or bike. ( even our company provides a car ( & a well furnished apartment) for all foreign workers here, there are quite a few foreign workers here, mainly from poor parts of Europe, Croatioa, Serbia, Hungary ) How all this was achieved. There are no morchas, dharanas, rasta-rokos or forget there are not even discussions on political issues. I am yet to find anybody who is active socially and I am staying in a area which is quite representative if Italy. Unlike other parts of Europe, even church-service is not part of Italian's social life.

I am managing without tea, chappatis, newspapers & relatives & friends. I am good at adjusting myself. I am enjoying the storms in my mind about how India can be brought at par with such a society.

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Thane, India
Project Management Professional, PMP Director, Fabtech CE Pvt Ltd, India Currently in Italy for marketing activities in European Engineering Sector. Politically and Socially active, currently active with small political party "Samajvadi Jan Parishad" and social movement promoting intercaste marriages in India "Pratibimb Mishra Vivah Mandal"

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