A bouquet of vivid experiences

Expat zone

A bouquet of vivid experiences
There are many who believe that it is not worth confining yourself to one job or one place. Ziv Shalvi, Deputy Chief of Mission, Consulate General of the State of Israel in Bengaluru, swears by this.

Ziv spent a better part of his growing up years in Tel Aviv, Israel and joined the military service when he was 18 years old. “It is mandatory for young men and women there to join the Israeli military and navy service on turning 18 for a period of three years. After this, they are free to choose a career of their choice,” says Ziv. 

 He says that he enjoyed his stint as a marine commander in the Israeli navy for six years. “After that, I completed my BSc in computers and worked as a software engineer at prominent IT firms in Israel. Then I decided to make a career shift and joined the Foreign Service when I was 38 years old,” adds Ziv. He expresses that his experience in holding challenging positions in various jobs has enriched his professional life. 

 Bengaluru is the first city in India where Ziv was posted as a diplomat. He has been here for four years now. “My team and I were instrumental in setting up the office of Israel’s Consulate here in Bengaluru. We didn’t have a spacious office when we first came here. We set up everything from scratch. That is why this city and its people are special for me,” shares Ziv.

“I seized every opportunity to strengthen the relations between India and Israel,” he adds. He further states, “My tenure will soon come to an end. As we are getting ready to celebrate Israel’s 69th Independence Day here tomorrow, I am emotional about leaving my friends and will miss the warmth of the people here.”

 Ziv’s wife Shira Bauberg-Shalvi has found her circle of friends and places of interest in the city. The couple has made some close Indian friends here over the years. “We’ve been exposed to Indian festivals, food, culture and the way of life by our Indian friends. We’ve never missed celebrating ‘Deepavali’, ‘Holi’ and ‘Sankranti’,” says Ziv. The couple take keen interest in understanding the history and significance of each of the festivals of India. “It was during ‘Sankranti’ that we witnessed a cow festival near Domlur. My children had a good time decorating the cows with flowers and painting on them. We also played ‘Holi’ and enjoyed getting drenched in colours,” he adds.

Ziv’s culinary experiences in the city have also been quite interesting. He says that he did not relish spicy food before he came to India, but now his meals must have a spicy twist.“I feel something is missing when my food isn’t spicy enough. We relish Indian food, especially the ‘biryani’ and chicken-based dishes,” he says. He also likes to have ‘idli’ and ‘dosa’ for breakfast.

 Ziv and Shira have also explored a few restaurants in the city. Topping the list of their favourite eating joints is ‘Phobidden Fruit’ in Indiranagar, ‘Toast and Tonic’ in Ashok Nagar and ‘Café Noir’ and ‘Toscano’ in Orion Mall. “When I want to spoil my friends with some good Indian food, I take them to ‘Karavalli’ at The Gateway Hotel,” he says.

 The family has travelled quite a bit across the country, and explored a few places in Karnataka as well. “I’ve been to Hampi at least three times. The boulders, rocks and landscapes look as though god has created the place. It’s so picturesque! We’ve also been to Mysuru, Bandipur, Chennai and Ooty,” he says. Ziv adds that they also never miss a chance to holiday in the backwaters of Kerala and enjoy revisiting the beaches of Goa. “We have taken a couple of our friends, who were visiting us from Israel, to Goa for a holiday.” 

The couple’s shopping revolves around Commercial Street and some of the malls. “We also like walking around in KR Market because that place reflects the true essence of what India is. You don’t get that feeling in a mall,” he says. He adds that his children enjoy travelling by autorickshaws. “We try to avoid travelling by the car when we are on a casual outing and like our autorickshaw rides,” adds.

 Once his tenure is over, Ziv hopes to visit India again with his family and catch up on all the places that they missed visiting this time. 

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