Thursday, April 23, 2009

Spring in Sweden and Elections in India

Though it is extremely tricky to make such statements given the unpredictable weather in Sweden, I will still venture to declare that finally, Spring has arrived. I think the flower on the porch, and the temperature on my kitchen temperature indicator are pretty much insistent about it. There has been no snow for some time and the temperature has managed to remain at a respectable level above zero. Not to mention the short showers and the pretty flowers. Yes spring has arrived and I am happy.. and so are most people, if you can judge happiness by the noise levels of the Stockholm metro.
It is a very interesting phenomenon for me, this whole season thing. In India, I think we have 3 seasons only, Summer, Monsoon and Winter. There is no fourth season. So its either cold, or hot or raining cats and dogs. In most places. Some places, like Manipal there is only one season, the Monsoon, and it rains 7 days a week, 365 days a year. And so I spent a good part of my geography classes in school wondering why people have come up with wierd seasons like Autumn and Spring. Well I got my answers now. I wish they had mentioned that in school. I am sure the kids in Sweden wonder what Monsoon is like (if they have ever heard of it), rain to them means a drizzle, and it is certainly not important enough to be classified into a season.
Is it common for bloggers to be influenced by other bloggers and write on similar topics? I have lately found that I am doing that a lot. If I read about something that is relevant to me, and think a lot about it I usually blog about it.
Shobha De has been writing a lot about the Indian elections. The couple of decades of my life that I spent in India, the elections had very little direct impact on me. Of course the effect of Indian politics on the macroeconomics of the nation had an indirect effect on me, but other than that I did not feel much. It could be because I have lived in 6 different cities of the country and never had a chance to vote from my hometown. It could also be because the political scenario was so complex that though I had views on political parties, I did not have an opinion on the local candidates. Yes, I have abstained from voting most of my life, hence its a bit wierd when my European colleagues ask me if I have voted this year, sitting here in Stockholm. And I have to answer, no, I havent.. because a) India yet does not have an electronic system for NRIs voting from abroad and b) Because even if they did, I would still prefer to abstain from voting. It is tough to explain why to my European colleagues. I did try explaining the whole situation, and though my Indian friends nodded and smiled from their desks, my European colleagues thought that I was not really a patriotic guy because I was not interested in voting.

Shobha De talks about a lot of 'common men' contesting the elections this time. I thought this was typically the Shobha De talk... but recently found out that the father of one of my classmates from business school is contesting the elections. I was impressed and amazed. Is there going to be a major shift in the mind set of the Indian junta? Is there a transformation already in the pipeline? I shall wait and watch and meanwhile continue to cheer all 'common men' who leave the comfort of their lives to plunge into the muddy waters of Indian politics.

I cant but help come back to the topic of Europe when I talk of my European colleagues. Today, one of my European colleagues made a random remark about something Asian and I started saying "Being an Asian..." and he interrupted me and said "But I thought you were an Indian". And for the nth time I had to explain that India was in Asia and so in effect, I was an Asian. It is inexplicable image that everyone has about Asians... that they are either Chienese, Japanese, Thai, Malasian or other races with small eyes and a chinese script. It is tough enough trying to convince the Europeans that India is a part of Asia, I can understand how tough it will be for a person from Iran or Turkey to convince them that they are Asians. And for someone who is a citizen of Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, Republic of Tajikistan or the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste, well... they will have a tough time convincing people that their country actually exists. For those who are confused, you are advised to brush up your Asian geography here. And for those of you arent, please consider us humble Indians when you generalize the 'Asian' culture and think of 'Asian' cuisine (though I am totally stumped by what either one of these generalizations refer to)
Irrelevant fact of the day: The swedish word for the number six is 'sex'. Now before you call me cheezy for finding that funny, let me tell you that the swedish word for sex is also sex. Umm.. now that can get a bit ridiculous. When I go to a counter which sells peppermint strips, I say 'Give me six'. I wonder what the swedish guy tells the lady sitting at the couter ;).

1 comment:

  1. We have elections coming and i won't vote too:)) though i am an european..:) and so far "Asians" i have to say that i always think about China or Japan too..:) do not know why:)))