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GOING NATIVE

At home in Hyderabad

A stay-at-home mom in the US, Robyn Smith discovered a new side to herself in Hyderabad

Photo: SANGEETHA DEVI DUNDOO

TIME ON HER HANDS Robyn Smith

You can easily spot an expat who has lived in Hyderabad under a year from those who’ve stayed here for long, says Robyn Smith, a homemaker who has been actively involved in voluntary work in Hyderabad. “When you are new to a place, you tr y to fight the system by saying this is how things should work. With time, you get accustomed to how the place works,” she explains.

Has Robyn got accustomed to Hyderabad? Here are two signs. Number one, when she hears the price being mentioned in dollars she immediately makes a mental calculation in rupees and two, she knows it’s alright if the plumber turns up at 4 p.m. on Friday when he had promised to appear at 10 a.m. on Wednesday!

Robyn has been in Hyderabad for four years accompanying her husband Scot G. Smith, director of operations, Deloitte Tax Overseas Services. “When I came to India, I knew I’d get time on my hands. I knew I could watch more television and have a house help. I thought it’s the right time to write a book. I wanted to write a murder mystery, how an American housewife stumbles upon a corpse…” she trails off. She is yet to put pen to paper. “My frame of mind is different now. I will eventually get down to writing.”

Unlike most expats who dread Hyderabad’s traffic, Robyn is at ease behind the wheels. “I like the freedom that comes with driving. Most importantly, I love driving listening to music,” she says.

A stay-at-home mom in the US, she discovered a new side to herself in Hyderabad. She volunteered to help Dr. Pat Bidinger, who runs a rural health studies programme. “I’d pack medical equipment and other things her group needed to carry to villages. One of the items in this kit is a candle. Dr. Pat told me they operate by the candle light if there’s power failure. That’s when I realised how lucky we are to lead comfortable lives.”

Robyn has also helped with voluntary work for schools in a Lambada village and treasures her experience.

Now, Robyn helps expats who are new to Hyderabad settle down. “It is here that I got to meet people from France and other European countries than when I lived in the US.”

SANGEETHA DEVI DUNDOO

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