Kudix Mug Holder of the MonthMeet the Frenchman who identifies with being an Indian more than anything else.
At Toit, our customers have always been our primary focus. They’re the ones who bring life to the place, create memories and end up giving the place its familiar, friendly vibe.
And there are so many different kinds of people who come through our doors daily, that we wanted to get to know their stories.
The Kudix Mug Holder of the Month is our little way of celebrating our customers, and their unique stories.
Meet the Frenchman who is more Bangalorean than French, and possibly more Indian than most Indians. Say hello to Matthieu Marcel Paul Roy, our Kudix Mug Holder of the month.
*Little trivia, but Roy is common French name which means King. And that should set the tone for this interview.*
We ask this of every Mug Holder. Why do you think you were selected?
Because I am an alcoholic! I mean, I spend a lot of time here and I mingle quite well with all the waiters and everyone.
Do you like beer a lot then?
Beer, not much. The waiters here call me Bacardi here, because I drink so much Bacardi. I used to only drink that, but now I’ve shifted to beer during the weekdays and Bacardi during the weekends.
The waiters here call me Bacardi here, because I drink so much Bacardi.
What do you do?
I’m head of finance in an IT company. It’s been about four and a half years now.
Where were you before this?
I was in Delhi for 6 months, and before that in Hungary, and before that in France. I was a student before, and when I came to India, it was for work.
So, what did you study?
Accounting and auditing.
Is that fun?
Lot of fun. Not. At all! But it’s really interesting.
What brought you to India then?
I don’t really know. I was always attracted by India, I don’t know why I chose to come here. I came to Delhi for a training, fell in love with this country, got a job in Bangalore, and now, I can’t leave.
I was supposed to be here only for six months in Delhi to give it a try, but I fell in love and I found a job.
What exactly did you fall in love with? Let’s say the top three things.
Aaaah! The hectic streets, with people all around. I like that! The food as well, and I mingle really easily with the people here. I have a lot of close friends here.
I was always attracted by India…I fell in love.
Where do you stay and where is work?
I stay in Indiranagar, and my office is in MG Road. I take the Metro there, it’s so convenient. It has changed my life, the metro!
What made you move from Delhi to Bangalore? Why didn’t you stay there?
There’s a French organisation, and they find jobs for freshers, and when I applied I got two opportunities to work in Chennai and Bangalore.
I chose Bangalore, because in Chennai, it was for this big French company and I knew that nothing challenging would be there in it.
This one here was a startup, so I thought I’ll go for this. I would start from scratch.
Is it a hectic job?
Yeah, it is! It’s not running-around kind of hectic, but there is something everyday. And it is a startup, so it isn’t organised like a big company. Just a few people doing a lot of things. I don’t just do finance related work, but a lot of other things too. But it’s interesting. When we started we were 24, and now we’re 75.
How did Toit become a part of your life?
Actually, through these expat parties. At one of these parties, I met Shwetambari Shetty (owner of Tribe Fitness Club) and she told me she was about to open this gym.
So I thought ok, I will give it a try and I went there. Then I met her husband Vivek and all of these people who come to Toit.
So, have you been doing Crossfit or is it just here?
On and off. Just here. I used to play football when I was young, but when I came to India it stopped. I like outdoor sports and that’s difficult here—you have to travel to someplace to play and there’s all this traffic. Back home I used to play for a small club in my city.
I could have ten pegs on a Monday night and be fine. But the next day at work gets more difficult.
How often do you come to Toit?
I think four times a week, at least!
How did you make the switch to beer, for someone who likes rum so much?
I think I was drinking so much rum, that I couldn’t stop. So, I could have ten pegs on a Monday night and be fine. But the next day at work gets more difficult.
With beer, I cannot drink too much of it. So I shifted to beer during the weekdays.
Do you have a favourite beer here at Toit?
I like the Tintin.
In all the time you’ve been coming here, you must have seen and been a part of a lot. What is the craziest/most memorable memory that comes to mind?
Crazy-crazy, you can’t really do anything crazy here. Craziest thing in my life, I cannot tell you! Really!
So what is the most fun or craziest thing you can tell us, then?
I don’t know! I need to take another look at the definition of crazy then. I don’t have any middle crazy thing.
Oh, but the most fun we had in Bangalore, was when we did a pub crawl. We went to 15 pubs and finished at Toit at about 1 am. It was a lot of fun!
That’s a super safe story!
Of course, I want to be safe because I know this is going to be written about. People will be shocked and look at me weirdly after. *laughs*
I danced on a table at Toit once. But they stopped me. I’m a good dancer, but they stopped me.
I danced on a table at Toit once. But they stopped me. I’m a good dancer, but they stopped me.
Do you dance, then? Have you learnt any kind of dance?
Freestyle dancing. Nothing formal.
Whose style of dancing is yours most similar to?
John Travolta! Saturday Night Fever!
On a scale of 1-10, how French are you?
Loving my country, I would say 10. About being French, if that can be defined, I would say 5.
On a scale of 1-10, how Bangalorean are you?
I would give myself a good 8.5.
Do you know any Kannada?
If someone was going to France for the first time, what would you say are the most important five words they should know?
So, there are three words that my parents always told me to say—bonjour, merci and s’il vous plaît.
I would add ‘ta gueule’ to that, which means ‘shut up’. It can be useful. And also, enchanté, which means ‘nice to meet you’.
We used to say that all the nice, sophisticated words in English come from French. *laughs*
Do you keep shuttling between here and home?
Not much, maybe once a year. But this year I have been back a lot, already three times, because one of my sisters’ got married and one also had a baby.
We used to say that all the nice, sophisticated words in English come from French.
Do you miss France?
Yes, I miss France. I am happy to go there for two weeks, as a break. But after that, I want to come back here.
Because I know my life is here. Bangalore is so nice to settle down in. All my friends are here as well. I just miss my family, but I am happy here and my parents know that.
What do you not miss about France?
Sometimes, the laziness of the people. In France people are always complaining about working 35 hours a week and how that is too much.
Here, I work 50-60 hours a week, and so I don’t understand the complaining.
Do you have any typical French traits? The whole cheese and wine?
Of course! Wine and cheese, I love. We have quality meat there as well. So, the food is also great.
In France, we have a long dinner or lunch. Like, you invite people home at 12, and you can finish at 6 pm. You can eat, discuss things and I miss that here. You can share a lot with people there.
With such long lunches and dinners, how do French people end up staying so healthy then?
I think it’s because we walk a lot there.
You said you like Indian food right? What’s your favourite Indian dish that you’ve had so far?
I think the Bhetki Paturi, which is a Bengali dish. I love it!
…Bhetki Paturi, which is a Bengali dish. I love it!
So, Bhetki Paturi or cheese?
Bhetki Paturi for main course, and cheese for dessert! *laughs*
And Bacardi, wine and beer. In order of preference.
Well, it would be wine, Bacardi and beer, in that order. I don’t like the wine here so much. India is starting to have really good white wine, but red wines not so much.
Also, here it’s expensive. A normal bottle here is about 15 euros, and in France you can find a better one for just about 3 euros. So, it’s quite difficult for me to find good wine here.
If I want to buy wine here, I would go for Italian or Chilean wine.
Still going to hold out on that crazy memory?
Ummm! Back in France, this one time, I was in a nightclub and it was 4 am and I was going back home.
One guy in a big BMW stopped close to me and asked me directions to somewhere. So, I said it was very close to my place and if he wanted he could drop me off and I’d show him where it was.
I got into the car, and he told me he was living in the city centre and asked if I wanted another drink.
I said sure, because I just got out of the club. So, we went to his place, he served me the drink and then sat close to me on the couch and put on the tv—a porn movie!!!
And then, he asked me if he could see my tummy!
And then, he asked me if he could see my tummy! He wanted me to take off my shirt. I had the glass in my hand andI told him “you better let me go right now or this glass will be in your face.”
I ran out of that place! So when my mum said don’t go in cars with strangers, that meant don’t go ever!
I was so scared, and also later I thought about it, he had served the drink in the kitchen, so maybe he mixed something in it. Fortunately for me, he started playing the movie before I took a sip, so I didn’t have anything!
Wow! Back to Bangalore then. What is the one thing you would never change and the one thing you want to change immediately?
One thing I would not change is how it is a cosmopolitan city. People from all over the country are here, and you can see it most here—you can meet Punjabis, and Gujaratis, and Mallus, all here. It’s pretty cool!
The thing I would change is infrastructure. The traffic is too bad!
Me, I don’t live like an expat, I live like a local.
Is it nice and easy being a foreigner staying here?
It depends on how you live in the country. Me, I don’t live like an expat, I live like a local. So, it’s easy for me.
I don’t behave like a French expat—the whole I want my wine, I want my cheese. And I don’t complain. I love being here, and people can feel that, so they are easy-going with me as well.