Love or Fun?

A Girl’s hand twisted at the back of a boy’s neck and boy’s hands at the back of girl’s waistline or even little below and their lips sealed with the feeling of love…naaah not love!! Infatuation…… or whatever they call it… But defiantly not love in my opinion. That’s how I saw a couple today on the street where I live when I just walked out of my home. Infact, that’s how I see them quite often in every other lane, on the bus stop, in the train, in malls, in coffee shop, in every other public place. The other day, I was coming from my friends place in the train and the couple sitting in front of me and another couple sitting besides me were all lost in their own worlds. Both the couples almost entangled with each other making me wonder do they even know where they need to deboard the train? Well, sitting so close and trying to ignore them makes me feel embarrassed and uncomfortable. I am unable to understand the so called ‘relationship module’ here especially with young couples. One day a girl is immensely in love with a guy and another day she coolly says I broke-up and thus simply change her facebook relationship status to ‘single’ announcing and inviting other guys to approach the available candidate, if interested.

Being an Indian, this culture shock is not easy for me to digest. My values and beliefs in rich Indian culture taught me something else... For me there is always a dividing line between how to express your love with spouse in a bedroom and in a public place. Maybe I am sounding a bit conservative, but that’s how I feel. I simply don’t like the exposure of expressing the love the way they do it here in public. I am not cursing the culture here…. its just that I am uncomfortable with their unpleasant actions. I know it is just fun for them but there are many other ways to have fun in life!!

Julie and Julia

I watched the movie “Julie and Julia’ today. Based on true stories of two women, the movie shows how Julia Child’s cookbook inspires Julie Powell to try 524 recipes in the span of 365 days. yeah!! Such a great inspiration to me as I related small bits of their lives with mine!!

Julie is frustrated with her office job and takes up her cooking challenges after coming back from work. She has a supporting and loving husband who encourages her to write a blog. He typed the first blog post for her while she was dictating and here she goes…... Afterwards, she started blogging daily and her blog became very popular in New York, the city where she lived.

What she taught me about blog writing is that its all about sharing experiences, observations, ideas and thoughts. You don’t really need a topic to write a post. Every human being has thoughts and it’s about sharing it with the people. It conveys the message so beautifully that I realized that hey, it’s been quite a while I have written my blog and I started writing.

Another thing which I learned from them is passion!! Julie’s passion to learn from her idol Julia is truly remarkable. And when Julia got married she didn’t even knew how to boil an egg; she started her culinary career in her late 40’s. Both Julie and Julia had passion to cook. Its not about cooking, its all about passion!! Whatever you do in life…whatever you want to achieve… whatever your dreams are.. do it with enough passion and everything will fall in place for you.

Suitcase of Happiness!!

Thrilled!! Excited!! Curious!! That’s me, all charged up with these emotions every time when my papa is back from his official trips. When I was a kid… infact, even when I am grown up… papa’s official travel always meant - a new gift for me. I loved opening the door for him after eager restless wait. His arrival always made me bounce in excitement and joy. As soon as my hugs and babbling hearing was apprehended, my eyes were all focused on papa’s blue suitcase.

A Barbie doll (one Barbie doll in toy collection meant a lot for a kid of those times) or a dazzling ravishing dress or toys or…….. ?? Given all the possible gift options, I always urged for a dress (frawk) fading out other gift options. My longing for gifts doesn’t end here!! I was so curious for small-small stuffs… mini size water bottle, sweet toffees in a tray and wet face wiping tissues given to him in a plane always fascinated me more than a beautiful Barbie doll. Thirst quenched with that water bottle, sweet taste of those toffees and the incense fragrance of wet tissues always accelerated my level of excitement!!

That’s the beauty of childhood…never allured with charisma of premium expensive things. Rather its all about enjoying the beauty in small-small things.

I remember… I miss…

Living away from my home country in the land of Swedes made everything different for me – whether for good or bad, that is indecisive. One thing is for sure that I never delved into these deep thoughts ever before. Is this the repercussion of cold country? or may be the warmth of my home land? I don't know. What I know is...I miss.... I remember…. remember what? miss whom? Well, it would be difficult for me to adduce them all in single blog post as the count is beyond any number.

I find myself thinking back to my childhood days in Nimri Colony, when the mango tree leaves immigrated to our balcony at first floor. At times, we bounced toward the tree holding a long stick, craving for few mangoes to fall. I miss the sweet taste of those mangoes….

I miss seeing my office friends everyday. No matter how bad my mood is when I reach office, morning chit chats at barista coffee table with close friends always returned smile on my face. Evening tea (chacha ki chai) break at a tea stall just below my office building always did wonders.

I remember my all pink room (not bigger than 10x10) before marriage with everything pink in it. The curtains.. the wall colour… the bed spread… and sometimes me too… all dressed in pink clothes. Notwithstanding the room size, it had everything in place, from my computer…. to music system… to a big size mirror…. to a capacious book rack….I loved it!! Now my lovely niece adores it too and spruces it up with her favourite Disney characters stickers. I miss appreciating her creative artwork on walls…

I remember the nights spent with my cousins in the same 10X10 room chatting and gossiping with Jagjit Singh ghazals melodiously swinging in the background….

Driving my Swift at the speed of 110 km (shhhhhh…. mom!! this one is not for you) on Gurgaon flyovers tuning 93.5 Red FM…. Though I miss the traffic cribbing sessions too....

I Miss.....

long phone calls with friends and fixing up the plan to meet on weekends or after work….

bhaiya theek theek laga lo...bargaining while shopping at street markets.. kamla Nagar….Karol Bagh…

getting my eyebrows shaped in a beauty parlour for only 10 Rupees....

glimmer sparking white light of a tube-light…

delectable divine Punjabi food made by mom...

the sweet smell of geeli mitti after it rained…

gossip sessions at family get together

window view from my office seat….

wearing cotton kurta with churidaars….

festive occasions and celebrations with family….

paapri chat and gol gappe…ummmm

and the count is indefinite….these may sound trivial to some but mean significant to me.

Culture Street

While walking on the slushy road this morning (as temperature in a week’s time has nudged to +1 from -25 prevailing snow to melt), I encountered another revelation of Swedish culture which made me curiously stop for a while. The group of 30-35 people including kids of all ages holding gifts, wine bottles and bouquet gathered outside a house. All the eyes focused on a balcony on the other side of lane. A couple just appeared in the balcony and in a courteous welcome gesture widened both hands, delivered few words (well…seemed ‘welcome’ to my minuscule knowledge of Swedish). Gratifying the same, the whole gang started singing a song….which again looked like a birthday wish to me….People passing by also started enjoying and singing while walking on their ways. All pepped up, I also joined the song in my own way. Standing on a decent distance from them I started singing 'Happy Birthday to you.....' drawing smiles from the passersbys. :)

Is he a Milkman?

I moved back to affable flashback this morning when I took out milk (‘mjölk’ as they call it in Sweden) from my refrigerator for making tea.

Last year.…one morning, I was busy packing lunch for me and my husband, when the door bell rang. I walked towards the door and tried to peek from the net window. The vision was opaque so I opened the door. There I saw a fair complexion teenager guy with average height and black specs on his eyes. At first glance, he seemed a society neighbor to me. Swiftly his hand stretched forward offering me milk plastic bag. ‘Didi, do you need bread, curd or paneer’? He asked in his persuading voice with a sweet smile on face. I was shocked to realize that this young guy is my new milkman. ‘why are you doing this job? Instead, you should concentrate on studies at this phase of life’ I questioned him in my state of shock. He was excited to be asked and in his whimsical zest he told me that he has completed his schooling this year and pursuing his first year of graduation (B.Com) through correspondence. He proclaimed his interests in computers as well and told that he did a short term diploma from a private institute. This milk delivery job was assistance for his basic necessities of existence. I was touched!!

After few weeks… Another busy morning and I was already running late for the office. Door bell rang and I expeditiously opened the door and took the milk bag from him. I was about to close the door and I heard…. ‘Didi I need to talk to you’.‘Yes quickly I am getting late’ I said. He started articulating himself and I inferred that he is not just another milk man. He told me about his dreams and ambitions in life. So focused and all motivated!! He showed his interest in higher studies and fulltime office job. It was a complete counseling session with him about his studies and job prospects. By that time I was totally engrossed into the conversation keeping my late office attendance by side. He was looking for my guidance in studies and help in getting a job. ‘It will be difficult for you to manage full time job and studies in parallel. So look for a part time job’ I suggested.’ Don’t worry about time didi, I will manage my nights’ He replied. I reassured him by saying that I will definitely try to look some option for him. He was eased and his smile showed a felling of gratification. I drove all the way to my office retrospecting my friends and colleagues contact list who can help him in getting a job….

After two days of discussion, he didn’t turn up and my milk was not delivered for couple of days till the time the shopkeeper couldn’t find another milk man. Strangely, I was happy irrespective of the inconvenience of milk not delivered at my home. I strongly feel that he must be on his way of fulfilling his dreams….

When a person wants something with enough passion, everything seems to go perfect!

Snowy Frosty Experience - Kiruna

Ice Ice Baby…yeah!! I had an amazing vacation two months back in December to Kiruna, located up north in Sweden. This snowy land is situated in Lapland and is sparsely populated. Kiruna boasts iron ore mine that is the world’s biggest mine and town's primary economic resource.

26th Dec 2009…. This morning was not a usual morning as I got up at once by the sound of my alarm without snoozing it further. My loving husband, Nikhil and I got ready and we took a bus to reach airport. I was alarmed to see almost empty city airport as we reached two hours before our domestic flight departing time. Besides, only couples of flights were scheduled on that freezing cold day. I spent my time by watching the sights from huge windows and later surfing the information guide screen, getting the glimpse of the city. Nikhil spent his time by playing his favorite time pass game, Sudoku in one of Swedish magazines.

Our plane landed on a beautiful snowy landscape which I have always admired by beholding and day dreaming my desktop wallpapers. It was a beautiful start though I was freezing with cold and a bit nervous as the temp touched -30 degrees by that time. We hired a taxi and reached our hotel. Our hotel ‘Scandic’ was absolutely wonderful and warm inside. Our stay in the hotel was comfortable and my favorite part was definitely breakfast - I truly relish it.

Next Morning, we went to Ice Hotel located in Jukkasjärvi, 200 kilometres north of the Arctic Circle. It was extremely beautiful. I was amazed to see the incredible snow sculptures and architectures by renowned creative artists. It was really cool to see the artwork of suits and ice bar. Both of us started posing and capturing number of photos with our individual cameras though it was becoming difficult to click with gloves in hand. I had a small digital one with me and Nikhil was enjoying new SLR camera which we bought just a day before our trip. Our guide gave a small tour and provided brief and interesting introduction about the hotel. I remember few… some people choose this place to offer a proposal to their girlfriends; some marry in the ice church…. interesting!!

Another excursion which we experienced was snow mobil. It was such a fun ride which will always be treasured as my adventurous memories of lifetime. All dressed up in our warm clothes and helmet we started our 3 hrs tour of snow mobile. We drove all over frozen river and crossed snow forests. Experiencing snowmobile in -35 degrees was a once in a lifetime experience. And guess what ….on the midway, one of my gloves fell off!! huhuhuh!!! I tried to scream at my highest pitch of volume sitting at the backseat. I shouted ‘hey stop! stop! my glove fell off’ but my volume couldn’t cross my helmet borders. It was so cold; I was wearing 3 gloves one on top of the other. After few minutes my hand with 2 gloves was all numb and I was unable to move it. After a while, we stopped to take a break and Nikhil told me a way to cover it between his back and my front. I somehow managed to cover it and we continued our journey. It was better afterwards. Alas! I was alleviated from cold.

All in all, I loved my trip and suggest it to all. For anyone going to Sweden, Kiruna is worth a visit!!

A Bouquet...

There are moments in life when situations and circumstances bring you back nostalgically your beautiful memories of life. There are moments of joy, compassion, glory which makes them wonderful achievements of our life. These moments remains forever with us. We don’t really value them when we have them. I can not think of a situation better than this to value the assets of my life when I am remotely so far from them in Sweden.

Today is the day when my parents tied the knot of divine eternal relationship – ‘marriage’. It has been 37 glorious years of their journey together. Few days back I called and asked my mom about their anniversary celebration plans and as usual my mom said… ‘beta is umar mein hum kahan jayenge…’ my mom works for semi govt. organization from past 36 years and my dad has also retired from the same institute and works as a guest faculty now. The moment I got to know that my dad has a lecture program on anniversary day, I planned to wish and surprise them by sending a huge bouquet of flowers along with an anniversary card to their office. I told one of my close friends to book it, as he stays near to their office. He booked it and it was delivered. I was very happy and excited before calling to wish them. When I called my mumma, the first sound I heard even before a ‘hello’ was the sound of television in the background and I assimilated the fact that she has not gone to office and was at home today. My papa also cancelled the lecture and stayed at home with mumma on the occasion of anniversary. I got so upset to know that my plan of surprising them was all ruined. After that I told her that I am upset as I had sent you a bouquet and it couldn’t reach you… As soon as she heard this, she was so thrilled as if she saw a bouquet in front of her eyes the very same moment.

This is what a “mother” is. She can read the mind of her child and show them the immense feeling of love and compassion by saying what they want to hear. Her reaction made me feel on top of the world. I was overwhelmed and intoxicated with joy.