Spotlight on Bhavika Harjani by Susannah Grant

by Susannah Grant posted on 14 June 2018

This month we take a peak into the life of Mumbai-born,  former board member of the Indian Sindhi Association of Madrid and charity bocadillo chef extraordinaire: Bhavika Harjani

  1. What brought you to Madrid in the first place 24 years ago?

I came to Madrid when I was 24 years old. I came along with my husband who had just started a new business in the centre of Madrid.

  1. Madrid and Mumbai are poles apart, do you have any stories about adapting to life here in Madrid?

The language barrier that prevented me from communicating with the rest of the people living in Madrid, was especially difficult as it restricted me from doing daily chores.

  1. How does the Sindhi faith differ from regular Hinduism?

Sindhi is one of the regional branches of Hinduism. The Sindhis were originally from Sind, a village in India. There is a Sindhi temple in Madrid and we all contribute to the Indian Sindhi Association here.

  1. Tell us about your involvement with the Indian Women’s Charity Association of Madrid

I started volunteering my first year living in Madrid, as I had some time to spare. Our principal task is preparing sandwiches every third Wednesday of the month, as well as supplying milk, breakfast and basic necessities depending on the requests of the place chosen to volunteer that month. At Christmas-time we give out hampers and toys to various organizations.

  1. What is your favourite part of Madrid?

Pozuelo, as it’s an area I much admire for its peace and quiet. I initially lived in the centre of Madrid when I arrived but after a year I moved to Pozuelo which I love as it’s full of greenery and full of  warm, welcoming people.

  1. As a keen cook, where do you source Indian ingredients and which are you favourite Indian restaurants here?

I buy all my Indian and exotic ingredients from Foodland in Calle Amparo, 99. My favourite Indian restaurant is definitely Swagat.

  1. Has anything surprised you about Spain/Madrid and its people?

One thing that definitely impacted me in a positive way of Spanish culture is the midday siesta and the amount of holidays. Here I find myself more relaxed and chilled whilst back home every minute is busy.

  1. How has this city changed you?

I have had to change my mindset to one that is more open and to adjust to the way children are brought up here.

  1. How has raising your 3 daughters in Madrid influenced their upbringing?

Our children have been brought up within the parameters of Indian culture although many of their beliefs and ways of doing things have been influenced by Spanish culture.    10. What Spanish customs have your family absorbed into your own culture/family life?

I haven’t actually absorbed anything as such, I still try to restrain myself to my own culture but I have had to adjust and take on board the fact that my children have spent most of their time with Spanish people so they have been influenced by the Spanish way of doing things. This has meant that I’ve had to be more open-minded and accepting of many things I wouldn’t have done back in India.