When you meet the Mexican ambassador to India, H.E. Pedro Gonzalez, he greets you with a namaste which makes you hastily withdraw your out-stretched hand. He speaks fluent Hindi but can’t fathom why “people always reply in English when I talk to them in Hindi.” Interestingly, he always knew he was destined to be a diplomat. “My nick-name in school was ambassador, since I was always solving disputes between my friends,” he tells us.
And in 1968, when he passed out of the School of Political Science and International Law in Mexico City, a notice by the Foreign Services ministry caught in,” he says. And his first posting was in Delhi in 71 as third secretary in the Mexican Embassy. “India was an exotic faraway land and I was scared of coming here, but when I got here, I realised that Delhi was very livable. There were no flyovers and everyone travelled on bicycles. I checked in Hotel Ashoka, which was then the only five-star hotel I still remember there was an elephant at the entrance to welcome guests,” he recalls. But that first visit introduced him to a different pace of life. “I took on a new attitude, and now it seems as if I have not been anywhere but in India,” he smiles.
His love affair with India continued when he came back in 1980 as a counsellor, in 1990 as the Ambassador, and again last year. “I still enjoy the city. High pollution levels don’t bother me. I love my morning walks in Ledhi Gardens and have adopted two dogs from there whom I have named Chucho and Lupe,” he tells us.
DIPLOMAY’S DIARY / PEDRO GONZALEZ
Gonzalez is a self-confessed animal phile, an art lover and, enjoys shopping for food in the INA market and is also a movie buff. Apart from the Satyajit Ray films which he likes, he reels off a long list of favourite Indian actors. “I like Nargis, Rekha, Aishwarya and Preity Zinta,” he smiles. The one film he enjoyed? “Shahrukh Khan’s Dil Se.” And guess where he goes to see Hindi films? “PVR Priya1, PVR Anupam 4, and Regal. After a film show at Regal, I pop into Nirula’s for dinner and ice-cream,” he says.
Having been all over the country, from Srinagar and Ladhak to the back-waters of Kerala and Madurai, his two favourite cities still remain “Mumbai and Kolkata — because of the sidewalks where I enjoy walking,” he signs off. This Mexican truly has an Indian soul.
By — SHIKHA MISHRA