For the second time, E52 organises the annual Expat Top-10. There are a lot of internationals in Eindhoven who have done a great job for the city, and by this, we put a spotlight on them. This year’s theme of the Top-10 is ‘Sport & Leisure’. Every day we present you an interview with one of the winners. In this interview, you can read about how they ended up in Eindhoven, how they put an effort in the city and how they look at the Eindhoven with their international perspective. Today: Siva Ram Thadigotla.

Siva Ram Thadigotla
Born in 1978
From Kadapa, India
In Eindhoven since 2007
#1 on bucket list: “organise an event for a good cause, with all Indian communities”

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He likes to be a busy man and he certainly is. Next to his job as business intelligence consultant, Siva Ram Thadigotla runs a restaurant and catering business, Lekker India, together with his wife. Besides these jobs, throughout the year he organises events for Indian communities in the Netherlands.

“I thought I would never return to the Netherlands”
The first time that Thadigotla set foot on Dutch ground was in 2005. “I already worked in India in IT. There I had a job at a company that worked for Philips. I came to the Netherlands to work on a three-month project. After this project, I thought I would never return.” But it was definitely not the last time Thadigotla made a journey to the Netherlands. “Two years later there was a new good project. So in 2007 I returned. After this project, I got the opportunity to start at a small Dutch company which worked for Philips. So I returned to India just for a few months, to go live in the Netherlands for good.”

“My children go to an English school and they speak Dutch. If they’ll only do that they’ll forget their mother tongue.”
“People who live abroad tend to loose grip of their own culture.” And that’s why Thadigotla organises festivities and events for Indian communities in the Netherlands. “Because India is so big, it has a lot of different regions and languages. I organise most events for Indian people who speak Telegu, as I do.” Thadigotla makes it possible for Indians to celebrate Indian holidays. “This year we celebrated Pongal. It’s a farmers festival where we celebrate the harvest. We also celebrate Indian new year. The exact date of this depends on the position of the moon. Normally it’s somewhere in April. Last time we celebrated, there were more than 400 visitors.”

“We also did a meet-up at High Tech Campus, to show what the Indian culture is about. There were dancers, traditional food, clothing and decorations. You saw all the colours you can imagine.” The High Tech Campus also is the place for the annual cricket tournament which Thadigotla organises. This year it’s the sixth time that the biggest sport of India is represented. “With most events we bring Indians from the same region together. But with the cricket tournament, companies play against each other. By this we bring also different Indian cultures together.”

“With the events we do not only connect ourselves, we also raise money for the needy in India”Siva Ram Thadigotla, – Winner Expat Top-10

“We don’t just want to serve food, we also want to explain the taste”
Thadigotla grew up in a family of farmers. “You know that I have also been to a lot of farmers in the Netherlands? Since Indian vegetables were getting more and more popular, I was thinking of learning about the agriculture and starting a farm. But in the end it costed too much time, next to the job I already had.”

When his children were old enough to go to school, Thadigotla and his wife had some more spare time. “In 2012 we already started a catering, but then it was too busy with the children. In 2016 we started again. My wife can cook very well.” With this idea, Lekker India was born. “We really want to serve authentic food. We tell our customers about the best combinations and how we eat our food. For example that you have to mix your food to release the flavour. Besides that we don’t have a fixed menu. It’s a buffet because we prepare it freshly every single day.”

“Eindhoven is a dynamic city, there is always something going on”
“We like that Eindhoven is an international and dynamic city. It’s always improving itself, for example on tech level. We also like the structure, it’s easy to access. In India it would cost us more money to come from one place to another, here we go by bike.” Thadigotla finds the people in Eindhoven as open as the city itself. “People are very friendly and approachable, although they are more straightforward.”

Thadigotla and his wife love the scenery of the Netherlands. “Everything is flat but we like the green. We did have to get used to the weather here, especially winter and in the beginning our children found it weird that they had to go to bed while it was still light outside.” The children as well as their parents know the Dutch differences. “You do everything by yourself! In India we have a gardener and a help. They change lightbulbs and do the laundry for example. Here you really have to be rich to lead such a life, haha. So by living here, we learned a lot because we had to do it ourselves.”

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