'I was trying to discover myself'

'I was trying to discover myself'

Exploring the unfamiliar always fascinated Guyroy Ndelle, an expatriate from Cameroon. After a holiday for a couple of months in Mumbai in 2010, he was so fascinated by the country that he knew he had to come back. This urge brought the young musician to Bengaluru in  2014.    

"I was trying to discover myself and India was one of the places where I did not have family. I wanted to be somewhere where I had no relatives and Bengaluru fit the bill," says Guyroy, who goes by the stage name 'Roy SoulChild'. He still remembers telling his mother that he was moving to India. "She was  not pleased. It took a few months for her to warm up to the whole idea, even after I had moved. She is proud of my identity and my work now though," he says.  

In 2014, Guyroy flew to Mumbai but he had researched about  Bengaluru and was advised by a friend that the city would be a perfect mix  of arts and culture.

"The climate is to die for. But more than that, there were many other things I loved here. The city is an IT hub which meant that there were going to be people from across the world here. That itself brings in a variety of thoughts and interests; this gave me hope about the diverse music I could experiment with here," said Guyroy.  

When he moved to the city he found out that Bengalureans enjoyed music, varying from rock to pop.  

"I instantly knew that Bengaluru would work for me.  I felt really encouraged to stay on. I wanted to make special music. I was looking to explore things that I hadn't already done," he says.

Prod him about his stay here and he says, "It's been one hell of a ride. Coming from Cameroon,  not everyone knew the place I was from. I would try and connect to anyone who looked like me, even if they weren't from my place. It wasn't easy. I was staying with a South Indian family and they were very loving. I instantly felt at home but I knew that I had to be on my own so I moved to another place," he says.  

Guyroy faced initial roadblocks as people  weren't ready to rent him their house but he slowly found his own space.

"Every place has its own 'good, bad and ugly'. I met great people too and found a house. I used to address the landlady as 'Amma'. I stayed for a while after  which I was house-hunting again. Then I started staying with Robert, who is from Romania. Now, we host fun house parties and karaoke nights at home. It's all fun!" he says.  

He has learnt a lot about the culture and the city through his work experiences. "Bengalureans accepted me with open arms. I found that my music fit in and I had an audience which connected to my music. There were times when people were surprised that the instruments I  used were familiar to them, like the guitar or the keyboard. Music here has triggered many interesting conversations," he says.

Guyroy feels that he has gelled in well now. "Staying here is a learning process. I don't feel like a stranger. As the saying goes, 'When in Rome, do as the Romans do' and I have learnt to respect the laws, the nuances of the city and go with the flow. Bengaluru is Bengaluru and there is no comparison to it," he says.      

While Guyroy can be seen grooving to music at different spaces or working on productions through the week, when he is not at a gig, he enjoys chilling at 'The Humming Tree' and 'BFlat'.

"On Sundays, I don't step out of my house," he adds.    

When it comes to the local cuisine, Guyroy enjoys an occasional 'dosa', 'idly' and 'sambhar'. "The food experience is very diverse. It was almost similar to how it would be for a vegetarian who was becoming a non-vegetarian. I love spices but not a lot of them together. It was tough in the beginning but I have got used to it now. I soon realised that I couldn't live on burgers forever so I slowly adjusted my palate," he says.    

"There's a lot of life in the city," he says.  

While Guyroy enjoys the vibrancy here, he also loves being at the parks here. "I love how  one can just step away from the humdrum, right in the midst of crazy city life. I have adjusted well here. I call myself an Afro-Indian now," he says.

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