Sergi Garriga didn’t know what to expect when he landed in India for the first time almost two years ago. Slated to take over as the Indian MD of Italy-headquartered premium motorcycle brand Ducati at the time, his career has seen him work in countries like Vietnam, Indonesia, Italy and his native nation Spain.
Since then, 46-year-old Garriga claims he has “discovered an amazing country"; India’s diversity in terms of art, history food and culture came as a pleasant surprise to him. “I am very happy to be here. My wife and I both agree that this is by no means a boring country. It offers a lot of professional and personal opportunities," he says. Garriga currently lives with his wife and two children in Gurgaon.
India and Ducati – a match made in heaven
Garriga and Ducati seem to have some sort of a cosmic connection. “The only bike I have ever owned was a Ducati," he says. It is obvious he loves the brand, which is why when he was offered the job in 2017 he decided to take it. “India was an interesting country from a personal perspective." The brand was just two years old in the country back then, which gave Garriga the chance to dig his heels right in and build something interesting.
As the head of a motorcycle company, Garriga is also impressed with the multitude of landscapes and terrains India offers him and bikers, in general. He says, “The geographical diversity here provides endless options. You can organise different trips across India and have completely opposite experiences. I discover new things every single time I am out on the road."
First days at work
Considering a lot of professionals in the automotive industry, especially MotoGP pilots, are Spanish, Garriga didn’t have to field any curious questions about his country. “It was challenging to adapt to a completely different culture and understand newer ways of doing things, but it became easier over time and experience," he admits. He says that not much changes in terms of systems and processes of a legacy bike company are concerned; they are similar across countries. Things, however, get interesting when colleagues enter the mix, bringing with them local cultural nuances and flavours.
“The people here are extremely skilled and have a lot of passion," he says, about his team, and Indian professionals in general. “One thing I notice is that families are important here. Even the daily work I do with my team is more personal; I really appreciate that." Indians’ strong familial ties remind him of Spain and Italy, also places where the family plays a vital role in an individual’s life.
What needs to change?
There isn’t much Garriga doesn’t find likeable about India. In fact, he found it quite hassle-free to do most things–registering vehicles, visa extensions, and the works–in the time he has spent here. Having said that, he does wish a few things took a turn for the better, though.
“We can agree that life would be easier and more enjoyable in India if we had lesser pollution and more safety on the roads," he says. He finds that that will allow people to use cars and bikes more often to discover new places. “However, I can see that the government is focusing on making this happen. I hope we can see an improvement in a short time."
While there is some hope for pollution levels to dip in the future, there seems to be no remedy for Gurgaon’s weather. This makes Garriga often miss the weather back in Spain. Unfortunately, not much can be done about that, but he has found other ways of bringing a piece of his home country back with him after each visit. “I get back food with me, whether it is olive oil or the cold cuts that Spain is so famous for."
The indispensable role of jugaad
Garriga is quite impressed with people’s ability to find quick solutions to unexpected situations in India. “My team immediately shows the motivation to find an answer when something unexpected happens. In fact, there is a word for it– jugaad¬– of coming up with quick resolutions in unforeseen situations."
Famous last words
The famous Indian jugaad has taught him how to be flexible in professional situations, he says. And what words of wisdom would he give anyone considering moving to India for professional reasons? “I have learned that you should plan things, but must always adapt to situations that are going to change due to growth of the country and the market. Plan things patiently, and be ready for an extremely exciting journey."
Expat Speak asks foreign nationals living in India what clicks and what irks them about the work culture of the country.