Mrs Prem says: "The idea behind it was to get together, have fun and help each other. Today, the group's popularity has grown. We organise Independence Day and Diwali celebrations which are for families and help our kids stay in touch with their roots. Our Valentine's Day and ladies' night events were also hugely popular. Now, the dads in Melville also want to be added to the Melville Moms group."

Like the Melville Moms, the condominium has many groups formed by residents to improve community engagement. A cricket team made up largely of Indians which, according to team member Prem Bhagat, "has lost more matches in the last few months than the Indian team, but still stands united". A cycling group that regularly pedals to East Coast Park or Changi Beach on weekends. A Melville Park Facebook group, with 374 members, where residents exchange information on rents and property prices, and share photographs.

The IT condo

Melville Park, which opened in 1996, is often also called the IT condo. Its proximity to the Changi Business Park, a hub for technology businesses, has led a lot of Indians in technology to take up residence there.

Mrs Gowri Rajesh, who is part of the management council at Melville and looks after social and public relations, says: "Almost 60 per cent of the residents are Indian. It's a great option for those who work this side of town. The condo is a stone's throw from the airport.

So for those whose work requires excess travel, Melville is the ideal place."

Mrs Rajesh, her husband and two daughters have been living in the condo for eight years and have applied for Singapore citizenship. She adds: "There is also a fourth university coming up, at Changi, the Singapore University of Technology and Design. So this place is really becoming the hub. It is well-connected, with buses heading to all parts of the town from right outside the condo."

She stresses the condo has all the amenities, but the real highlight is the sense of safety and camaraderie that the residents share because of their common background. "Kids have so many playmates. There are kids in every age group. And even if a family were to return to India, the children would not feel out of place," she says.

And yet there are some Indians who opt not to stay at Melville Park because of its Indianness. A management executive, who lives in the western part of Singapore, says: "We don't have long-term plans of living in Singapore. So we wanted to make the most of our time here and live in a place which had a mix of nationalities.

"My wife has made friends with her Singaporean and Australian neighbours, who have given us a peek into their culture. Living in Melville would be like living in any other Indian city."

Residents of Melville Park obviously see it differently. They say Melville helps them cope with homesickness. For, it has the cricket. It has the curries. And all the Indian festivals are celebrated with as much pageantry as a Karan Johar film.

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