A tryst with traffic and 'methi chicken'

Expat zone

A tryst with traffic and 'methi chicken'

Many expatriates who move to the City take a while to settle down, but there are others like Jonas Olssol who say, “Even though my roots take me back to Sweden, Bengaluru has become my home. I moved to the City seven years back and have lived here since.” Somewhere in between, he had to go back for two years but he adds, “I couldn’t be away any longer. I missed the place so much that I decided to come back and settle down here. It’s safe to say that it was one of the best decisions of my life!”

The director at Volvo was given the option to move to the City a few years ago. With his love for music, the trained Western classical singer has also travelled around the country to conduct workshops and choir practices. “My passion for music allows me to travel across the country and it has been a thrilling experience. But Bengaluru has been my favourite place so far. The diversity of people is very interesting; there’s a great mix of culture here.”

Born and raised in Gothenburg, Sweden, Jonas finds the City’s population quite overwhelming. He says that it probably has seven times more people than Sweden. “It’s pretty amazing how a city this populated gets along so well, especially when
it comes to the chaotic traffic.”

To many, food has always been a problem. But Jonas has adapted to the lifestyle pretty well; with a little help from YouTube, he experiments with Indian dishes. He says, “I did struggle a bit with the food when I came in, but now I absolutely love it. I even cook some of them when I am at home. The other day, I made ‘paneer masala’ and it turned out great. Believe it or not, YouTube has been my saviour and teacher! It has turned this amateur cook into a fairly decent one. But if anyone offers me some homemade ‘methi chicken’, I will forever be grateful to them.”

During his weekends, he loves to explore different parts of the City. It usually starts with a hearty breakfast at CTR, Malleswaram, a swim in the Banashankari pool and a walk in and around 100 Feet Road in Indiranagar. He also enjoys going to the Chinnaswamy Stadium to watch cricket matches. “I love the 100 Feet Road; I think it’s a one-stop destination for everything — plenty of shopping places, restaurants, bars and pubs to keep one entertained. Also, thanks to the plethora of restaurants, I don’t miss my home so much,” he says.

Jonas visits Sweden usually once or twice a year, but his friends and family visit him more often. He enjoys taking them to Nandi Hills and the Mysore Palace, spending a day at Grover Vineyards, and going on the Bangalore Watch Bus to roam the City. He notes, “These buses are a great addition to the City. They stop at particular locations and give us a chance to explore the area on our own.”

While one often hears that language can be a barrier, Jonas assures that English works just fine for him. His friends and colleagues have helped him out in situations, if that doesn’t work out. “Many expats hesitate to come down to a new country; they worry that they won’t be able to adapt to the vibrant culture. But I’ve been lucky to have some great friends who’ve helped me whenever I needed anything. They have been my rock, fort and shelter and a great welcoming gang,” he says. Though he appreciates the amalgamation of cultures and age groups in the country, he wishes the City was more punctual. “It’s more like ‘Indian Stretching Time’ here and that becomes frustrating after a while,” says Jonas. However, he’s thankful that the City has been good to him so far and is happy to call it his “home away from home”.

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