Friday, January 29, 2010

Some more snow, this time at the crossroads...

I am at the cross roads. Did I hear some one sigh and whisper “not again”? Well, ok, I admit, yes, yet again. It’s not my fault you know, I try choosing the straight roads with minimum intersections, but damnit, I always end up with ones with the maximum. But what the hell, if that is what destiny has in store for me, so be it.

There have been so many of those in recent years that I have almost come to a point where I shy away from decisions. I try procrastinating to the extent possible. Till the point when I really cant run away anymore. I wasn’t always like this, but there is a limit to which a guy can make random gut-based decisions in his life. Phew! Believe me I have had my share. But it just keeps piling on like there is no tomorrow.

So here it is once again. After innumerable promises to my family, my friends and most of all to MBF and myself, of returning back to India for good, here I am rethinking it all over again. I can see the despair in everyones eyes as I say this, but I hope they can see the angst in mine. Its not easy you know. To keep hopping… mind you, not just cities, but from life to life. (More of this HERE, HERE and HERE, seems to be my fave topic on this blog). Whether I like it or not, Stockholm, yes the Stockholm you see in the picture above, is the place which I call home. And though its tough because deep inside my mind home still means India, I still have to know this is where I am most settled in right now. Maybe, some day I shall move back, but now I think I can allow myself the luxury of feeling upset about leaving my current home, Stockholm. Call it the Stockholm syndrome if you will.

Finally the weekend is here. I have successfully completed a week in Sweden. Its tough to imagine that exactly a week back I was in Bangalore, whizzing around in a car in shorts under the hot sun and 18 degrees with the air conditioning turned on maximum and loud music from the car stereo trying to drown out the traffic sounds. Tough to imagine now, sitting here (still in shorts though :P at least inside home) with minus ten degrees, a divine silence engulfing everything and snow all around. I had serious doubts if I will survive a week in Sweden, I almost thought that I will land at the airport take a look around, and head to the counter to finalize my trip back. But it was quite the contrary. I got completely awed by the beautiful snow. No, its not that nice to trudge through, and very unpleasant when it gets in your shoes and mixes with dirt to become a muddy mass at your apartment entrance. Its not nice when it settles at the tip of your nose and manages to give you a bad cold. But gotta admit, its still beautiful.

Weekend plans include badminton, a small party on Saturday and gadget shopping on Sunday. And if time permits, some more blogging!! Heres a toast to getting back to blogging :).. and to a fabulous weekend!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Snow, Stockholm, Sweden and some other things :)

The sea is frozen, the chill in the wind bites through your clothes and the sun hesitatingly comes out once every few hours in a day. The dress code in the city is unanimously shades of black and grey, the mood is unanimously dreary. There is a strange silence as I sit on the train on the way to office. As the train comes out of the tunnel sometimes, the city is covered in a beautiful quilt of snow. Its like when you accidentally spill a can of paint in the kitchen, the color of nature is unanimously white. Its beautiful to say the least. It kind of takes your breath away. It makes up for the minus ten degrees temperature, the biting wind, the lack of color and the lack of laughter. You cannot enjoy the winter if you don’t let your mind take the bend of the philosophical and let it find the hidden message in those hexagonal snowflakes. Let your eyes wander on that vast white expanse, and then rest it on that single man dressed in black trudging across the snow to his workplace.

Yes, I am back. To Sweden, and to a winter which they say is colder than it has been in the last decade, or maybe more. Though it has snowed every winter, I haven’t seen this much snow in the last 2 and a half years I have been here. I guess the Gods had decided to reserve the best for the last. After incessant snowfall yesterday, as I trudged through the shin high snow, something made me look up. And suddenly I realized why they say that snow can make you feel closer to God. As the snowflakes drifted down from the white sky, I realized how it made everything feel like when you watch it in slow motion. And I closed my eyes, and experienced the amazing silence that snow brings with it. I am sure it can be explained scientifically, because snow absorbs sound or something, but it’s a silence that can make you feel more at peace. More conscious of yourself, and of the beauty around you.

Everyone around me, friends in Sweden and India were curious to know my reaction when I landed here. Would I be disappointed? Sad? Homesick? After all it had been a very long trip to India. So long that when my client (during a client visit to India) asked me where I lived in Stockholm I went "I live in... errr... ummm... damnit, I have forgotten where I live...!!!" No kidding, I couldnt recall the street I live in, it took me a full 2 to 3 minutes to get the name. Yes I was THAT disconnected. So everyone was curious.. what is going to be my reaction. It was tough to explain what I felt. It was like being transported into a completely different realm. And its not just about the weather. It’s the colors, the noise, the smells, the feel, the people, the language, the accents, the complete experience. Somehow, for some reason it is not comparable. I cannot and will not compare my life in India to my life in Sweden. I cannot say this is better and this is worse. I can only say its different, very different. And I can enjoy the bits that I like about both places. And about where I shall finally decide to settle down, we shalt see.

The days are becoming longer. The light is not that bad as it used to be in November. My European friends are awesome as usual, so are my NRI ones. Life in Sweden, from afar, was somehow more scary than it seems once I am here. I shall live. No, I will not have a zillion friends I have to meet, nor a million relatives who will invite me home for breakfast, lunch and dinner, I will not have the chats, the bhel puri and the Indian ameriacan choupsey. I will not have the luxury of getting into the car in shorts and a t-shirt and grabbing some dosa when I get hungry at 10 pm. I shall not have the Ayurvedic massages. But I shall have the beauty of the snow, the peaceful noise-free life of Stockholm and European football at O’Learys.

Do not be disappointed. It always begins on a philosophical note. And then it flows into the more mundane. I shall not fetter you with more of this abstract nonsense, but sometimes, just sometimes, it should be allowed. A lot has changed. That too in a very short while. And I wonder...

But as I said, all in good time...