'Bangalore is a melting pot of culture'

Expat Zone

Travel writer, entrepreneur, wonderful wife and mother, and an extremely passionate Varied Experience : Melody and Barry Massey.individual; these are the roles that describe Melody Massey, an American expatriate, who has been in Bangalore for the past eight months.

Melody says she seeks out authentic experiences beyond conventional tourism to promote and write about. “I focus on niche travel and lodging that reflects the local environment and culture. Living in India is great because there is so much diversity here.”  

This is Melody’s third expat experience after New Zealand and Germany; she lives in central Bangalore with her husband, Barry, an IT professional. “I’m lucky that my husband’s work has given us the chance to experience new places and cultures which has enhanced my career path too,” she adds. 

Melody calls Bangalore a ‘melting pot of culture’ not only for expats but also for people from across India.  Friends have treated her to home cooked North Indian specialties and authentic Mangalorean cuisine, and during Deepavali she had the opportunity to sample a variety of traditional dishes from different regions at a special ‘potluck’ luncheon.

“I have always loved Indian food. Even in Munich, our favourite restaurant was an Indian restaurant Swagat. Living in Bangalore I’ve become a big fan of masala dosa. But, I am actually surprised that the food here isn’t as spicy as I expected. I think there’s a perception that foreigners don’t want like hot and spicy food. Personally, I like it when my eyes literally water from the spice,” she says with a grin.

Besides Indian cuisine, the couple frequents neighbourhood restaurants like Fireflies, Shezan, Sunny’s and the UB City restaurants. Barry is a regular at Aroy near his office in J P Nagar, and among their favourite dining out experiences was a leisurely Sunday lunch at Grasshopper off Bannerghatta Road.

Among the highlights of Melody’s day in Bangalore are her early morning yoga sessions on the rooftop terrace of her apartment building. “I have been doing yoga for about 10-15 years in other places. But here, I’ve felt more benefits in a few months than ever before. I haven’t been this flexible since my 20s and can hold a headstand now!”

Besides the physical benefits of yoga, she enjoys wrapping up her practice by hanging out on the roof witnessing the City as it wakes up.

Describing her experience with the locals, Melody says people in Bangalore are friendly and helpful. As an example, she tells of a recent chance encounter with two sisters and their mother at UB City during Deepavali.

They asked her to take their photograph which led to a conversation about their sense of style which led to an exchange of phone numbers and an offer to take her shopping soon. “That kind of thing doesn’t happen elsewhere, but here I’ve had similar experiences on several occasions.”

Living in Bangalore isn’t always easy though, according to Melody. She’s had to adjust to things not happening, as and when they are supposed to; she finds driving tough here and has to struggle with walking on footpath that is not conducive to walking. Plus, she is aggrieved about same problems with which Bangaloreans have been plagued with – trash and traffic.

But, she quickly adds, “If you look beyond those things, you discover a beauty in the spirit of people here that inspires you to embrace this place.”

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