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...


  1. Hi Merlin, so good to have you "back".. couldn't relate more to your paragraphs 3 and 4..

  2. Ms Overthinker? You couldnt relate to it... you you did relate to it?

  3. So you are back from the hiding! :)
    Day in and day out, dreary weather for weeks...makers me want to kill myself. Its been snowing here since yesterday, at least makes everything look pretty, and the sun is also peeping through, off and on, taunting and palying hide and seek...
    You are right, the moment a snowflake lands on the black glove, you momentarily forget about the depressing weather and smile at the marvel of those amazing snowflake patterns, always makes me smile no matter what!

  4. welcome back Merlin..and I can see your second post on board too...hope your trip to India was a good :)

  5. @Jas: It is beautiful, but maybe we should dedicate a post to the depression that winter brings!

    @Iya: Thanks!

    @ Neha: The trip to India was awesome, thanks! :)

  6. :) i feel at peace just to read the calmness in ur post :)

  7. All these places with extreme climates have this harsh beauty to them in pics - be it the desert or Stockholm...simply beautiful.