This is page all my personal interest will go.
The streets of Stockholm. The vibe amongst the people who try to pretend that things are just the same and that we’re not in any pandemic. When you try to embrace the same feeling and go out for a walk and take a coffee in a nearby coffee shop, you’re told to wait outside in the freezing cold before they can serve you. The rules are 3 people in the queue at the same time. I obey to the rules, of course. I am greeted and pay for my coffee and in the next moment find myself being thrown out of the place, because they don’t have enough seats for everyone and we have to “keep our distance”. They return the money and I wander onwards. Walking the cold streets of Stockholm as if we’re part of a dystopian world where nothing is the same anymore. I walk into several chemists to try to get hold of an adrenalin shot that I need for my anaphylactic allergy towards peanuts. After the third chemist within 30 min I give up. No one has my important shot in store, which I find very strange. My toes and fingers are starting to feel numb. What started off as a feeling of motivation and hopefulness and a sort of adventure when I left my house, is now starting to feel hopeless and in vain. I start feeling defeated by everything around me. I long for warmth all around me. Not only the weather to be warm, but the people around me. Tired of feeling this unwelcome and cold atmosphere around me. It’s so heart wrenching. I guess it’s better to go back home to bed, to the warmth and find the joy in my dreams instead. Let’s wake up another day and hope that the world is a better place. Let’s hope that people know how to act friendly and that there is no more pandemic in the world. Let’s hope that there is warmth in people’s hearts. That’s what I hope for.
Peace and Love,
It’s been such a long time since I checked in here and I am very sorry about that. Last year and the start of this year has been a little crazy to say the least. I think I can speak for the whole world’s population for once and say that most people would agree with that.
At the end of last year I left for Gothenburg to spend time with my family and meet a couple of friends. It all went by so fast and in a haze because many were sick and we had to be careful about not making each other sick. I eventually did get really sick when I arrived in Åre (north of Sweden), the same evening. So probably I had the illness in my body and then got sick after some incubation days. When we arrived back in Stockholm, it had been some days since I had gotten sick and I noticed that I had lost the sense of taste and smell. There was kimchi we had made prior to leaving the flat and I couldn’t sense the aroma at all in the fridge. Now here’s the weird part. I was positive that this must be the ‘rona then, since what else can have this impact on the senses and the body.
Ordered a self-test and they came the same day and picked it up from outside of the flat, the whole routine and process was very smooth in Stockholm and I am very grateful for that system that was put in place to make it easier for everyone to get tested as soon as possible.
The results came back a couple of days later and it was negative. So I am not sure if it’s a false negative or if it really just was something entirely different, some other flu if that even is possible in Sweden right now.
From the 18th of January my last course, the thesis course started at university. Normally I would commute to another city 1 hour away from here but due to Covid-19 situation they have made all lectures and seminars online. It was a little bit of a relief, because I wasn’t looking forward to sitting in a train with the current situation. The course is called Food Science and Nutrition. After I am finished with the thesis in June I will apply for a double bachelor’s degree in Informatics and Food Science. I am so excited for my new journey in this field. I have a great partner to write my thesis with and he’s also very much into the same areas of interest within the nutrition field, so it’s going to be so much fun when that part of the course begins this spring.
I hope you are all doing well and staying safe. I will upload more poetry and posts like these in the nearest future, it’s been a little too long hiatus for my liking; but you can’t really control life, can you?
Peace and Love,
I was at an amusement park in a ride where a father is sitting with his daughter who is next to me. They are having a conversation in a language I think I understand. But when he talks I don’t really get it, only when the daughter replies in the cutest Hindi/Punjabi I can understand. So I ask the father what they speak, then he replies to me in Hindi. I explain that I don’t understand it so well, only when she talks. In the background of the dream music is playing, it’s Vivaldi with Four seasons, but it’s played in a very Indian way so I feel that it’s representing yoga and spiritual music in the dream. Then all of a sudden my sister and my cousin comes by and says they’ve hurt themselves somewhere while riding something in the park. But they leave just as fast as they come by. I still sit there with the girl and continues my conversation.
When I woke up, I realised that I’m that girl. Confused in between the western and Indian world.
Mental health issues have been rising during these past few months. I have personally been feeling okay since I have tried to focus all my energy on work and taking the driver’s license. There are moments when I am alone and I think about everything around me, where I feel a sense of hopelessness for the world and everything around me and within me. I don’t always know how to shake the feeling. It doesn’t always help to numb the thoughts by hanging out with friends or postpone the thoughts to another day. There is always a tiny thought that is tapping on my shoulder, and wanting some space in my mind. I don’t allow it to enter, but then the thought become larger in the background, just so I would notice it.
If one has to fight to be able to keep some people in your life, is it really worth it? Why can’t we get to see the people that mean the most more often? What’s the point of living when you can’t even get that? You can’t be in all places at the same time, I have tried. I have split myself mentally in so many pieces and I am still not enough in any of the places. I just keep missing the pieces I’ve left behind. Where will we all meet finally? In death? Why do we take out time on this Earth for granted? I have so many questions and I never want to say them out loud because they might scare people, but I wanted to write this here to unload some of the burden I have been bearing.
A piece of me is always missing. Should I stop searching for it? Is it ever going to heal the wounds? Who knows. Not me in this moment.
Peace and Love,
Driving. It’s a skill one must learn to really know what it means to be free. Completely free to travel anywhere and anytime. The journey towards taking the license in Sweden has been a long and bumpy road since 2012. I kept on pushing myself to overcome my struggles with eyesight after laser surgery to finally be on the final road to actually taking the license. It’s never going to be too late. There have been people in ages ranging from 18 to 55 in my classes. You learn about yourself and how you react to certain situations and stress while doing the intensive driving classes. Let’s dig deep into what it meant for me, especially to be back in my hometown Göteborg on the West coast of Sweden to drive everyday for two weeks. It’s not only been fun to drive, it’s been challenging, strengthening, exciting but also melancholic. Let get into why.
The driving school is close to where my parents live, it’s the same neighborhood I have grown up in and lived in up until I was 19. The classes started with a session where I was to show my current skills in driving so we started off at a parking lot and drove out onto the roads in the area. It went pretty fine from the get go. I only needed to adjust to a new car which I wasn’t used to drive in. A Volvo XC40, Diesel. Much easier to find the pull position and the different gears were also easier to adapt to. This is the car I will use on the day of my driving test, which is currently dated to 7th of September. If all goes well and I pass the other practical and theoretical tests I will go on and do the test in Sept.
When driving through every single street of where I grew up and close to each of my three first schools was more emotional and affecting me more than I had expected to. I only chose to drive with this school and this area because it’s convenient and close to home when I stay in Göteborg, little did I know that it was going to take me on a journey down the memories and feelings of the past. The further into the first week we got, the more we started to drive downtown and in areas I hadn’t been to in years, since I last lived in this city. We were joking about the fact that I am sightseeing by car in my own town and it was really a much nicer experience to drive this course than I could have ever imagined. I thought it would only be difficult and hard, but it’s been equally as rewarding for my mental health. Pushing myself when there have been some days when things started turning backwards and not going as I thought, how you learn to let go of mistakes you do while driving so it doesn’t affect the rest of the driving. The most impressive thing was how the driving instructor without knowing was able to know how I was struggling with letting go and putting way too high expectations on myself which were causing unnecessary hurdles that I needed to crush before I can succeed. He would sometimes just tell me when I went quiet and didn’t say a word, “just let go of that bad past experience, I can see that you’re going over it in your head and it will affect your driving, just let it go.”
It was amazing to see how someone is able to read me so well without knowing me.
Towards the end of the driving course there were just a couple of incidents where I wasn’t always able to think of all the different things at the same time. Driving into a highway where the roads are merging and I need to get into one of the lanes while there’s already traffic on the road and coming in with a speed of 70 km/h. I almost crashed into a car because everyone kept changing their lane at that spot and things were happening too fast at a very fast speed. I kept on being hard on myself after that and wasn’t able to let it go as fast as the other things, so I had to take a deep breath, keep driving and talk about other things to take my mind off it. He was telling me that I need to stop expecting myself to become a perfect driver and that I am putting these super ambitious expectations that no one can meet on myself. I felt as if he saw through so many of my past struggles that I have been through, not only in this situation but also when I study or work. I just needed to be more nice towards myself and what I have already accomplished. Every time he asked me how I felt it has gone today with the driving I was always critical over the tiniest things.
All in all, after two weeks my skills are on a level where I only need to drive more on my own at home for some weeks to let it all sink in. Hopefully I will get to the level which is required for a final practical test in the beginning of September. Let’s keep fingers crossed!
Peace and Love,
I started out my journey to take my driver’s license for cars in 2012 with a driving school. I came to a good level to take the exam but I took a break to do my LASER eye surgery in Dec that year. Due to the many complications and scarring I didn’t have the vision to be able to practise driving anymore and it wasn’t possible to correct the problems with any glasses or contact lenses. I put the plans on taking the driver’s license on the side to focus on getting my vision back on track by doing several touch-up surgeries in the following years.
I restarted my journey to take the license by practicing privately last year and had aimed to take the license this year. The process of taking a license in Sweden is really good and a secure way of getting the license with the most regulations to make sure people really completely know the rules before they are allowed to drive. There are two theoretical parts, one risk assessment course and another theory exam for everything that you need to know regarding traffic rules etc. There’s another practical exam where you drive on a man-made slippery road for a few hours to test your ability to maneuver the car when you lose control due to ice or snow on the road. When you pass all these smaller tests, you will then go for the major practical driving test where you will show your skills. You either choose to drive with the car that the driving school has, and the one you’ve gotten used to drive or you can drive with a car they have at the test center. They prefer that you come with the driving school so that’s the option I have chosen. The driving school has to first pass you and consider your skills to match the expectations of passing an exam.
I am currently in the middle of an intensive 2 week course where I drive every day with my teacher and study the theory on the side. It’s actually going really well and I can feel that I am progressing more and more each day I take classes with my teacher. He’s a really good and very structured teacher and exactly what I was looking for in a teacher. I am taking my test and all classes in my home town, Gothenburg, Sweden. It’s the best decision I have made when it comes to taking my license, because all the streets are so much more familiar than any other city. I love this city more when I am now driving through my old neighborhoods and observing it from a whole new perspective. I can’t wait to get the license so I can drive wherever and whenever I want. I am looking forward to that level of freedom that a driver’s license can truly give you. You don’t know what you’re missing until you have it, kinda thing.
I will keep you posted here on my progress as it continues over the next couple of weeks. Catch me on Instagram @mskimmisandhu or @moon_over_mumbai (for poetry posts).
Peace and Love,
This morning I chose to meditate on healing my inner child. I had found a fitting meditation more than a year ago on Youtube and added it to my meditation playlist but I hadn’t had the right feeling to want to listen to it. Today was the day. Something pulled me in and made me click on it today. I was uncomfortable at first, because I didn’t know what was awaiting. The need for control in the situation tried to pull me in and hinder me from going ahead, but I pulled through. I took a deep breath and lay down. It was 6:15am and I had willingly gone up early during these times despite not needing to. I feel as though waking up early really makes you want to care for your inner self and take things slowly in the morning. Before everything is about work and must-dos. You can just listen inwards and take a while to meditate and have a slow breakfast in silence. Before the world wakes up.
While I was meditating there was a section where I was introduced to my 3-year old self. I met her in the corridors inside a giant mountain in a peaceful world. She looked up at me and wanted me to hold her. Lift her up and comfort her. Tell her that everything is going to be alright. It was as if a very sensitive button had been pushed right at that moment, because my tears started to flow and I found myself crying and finding the whole situation incredibly sad and the built up emotions boiled over. I struggled my way back to the present and the breathing techniques to get back to meditation. I find that this type of meditation seem to have this impact because I need to heal this side of myself, I need to focus more attention on my childlike self. Don’t forget her. Comfort her. Get to know her needs.
Peace and Love,
The legendary Indian actor Irrfan Khan passed away. This poem is dedicated to him.
I will miss you forever. Your films were magical to me. A lost girl looking for her belonging in this world. Her roots. Her version of India. You made me curious. I will forever be thankful to you for how your films have impacted me. They left me with an insatiable desire to be curious about my culture. My real culture. Not any made up culture I have grown up with.
The way you came in
Swept across the country
The entire world of art
Only viewed by us
Through the screen
Left in awe.
Piece by piece,
I opened up,
To a world
Of roots long lost
Pulled them up
With your help
Held them close
Tied a knot
For each time
You made an impact
Left an imprint
In my artistic heart.
RIP Irrfan Khan.
Just heard this song again after some years, and it sparked an emotion in me that I recognise a lot. We need to stop being so hard on ourselves for not being enough. I need to remind myself every now and then. It’s not only about vanity and looks, it’s about people not recognising you for being yourself and doing your best even in the hardest times. It’s easy to judge from afar, but you can never know what’s going on in someone’s life and how they are dealing with their hardships. We walk around with a smile on our faces even in times of pain. Sometimes we just need to be able to take off that mask, and be free.
Roots. What a peculiar thing that can affect us so much when we least expect them to. I thought I had worked through a lot of my inner struggles with roots and identity by this age but I was so wrong. Why do I keep coming back to this country, why can’t I let it go? My father left India almost 50 years ago and I as an adult keep coming back as if something is pulling me here. Is there a stronger energy at play here that wants me coming back? What is the purpose of me feeling this way?
There are two days left of my trip and the emotions are already building up, that I am going back and leaving this behind. Once again, just like any other year, I am travelling back to Sweden. My home. Don’t get me wrong, I am very grateful for my life in Sweden and that’s all I have ever known to be my home. But I have never felt that I fully belong there, there’s just that big chunk of both my heart and soul never able to belong to Sweden and it is always left behind in India. I come back to try to find my pieces every year to try to feel whole. I have also started to accept that it might be difficult for anything to ever fill that void of never belonging anywhere. The trick is to find ways to cope with this empty feeling.
When I land in Sweden and travel back to my apartment on the smooth empty highways, it’s always a bittersweet feeling. I feel emotional over the fact that I have left something behind but at the same time I am embracing what is so familiar to me. The life in Sweden. What gets to me each time, is that I notice that my clothes smell like India and the scent of Sweden is so different. The air is much lighter. There are no noises from traffic, no unnecessary honking going on. One would think that it’s something you’d never miss about India, but it’s exactly these things that make India come alive. It’s never sleeping and you learn to be mindful and unbothered by the scents, the noise, the crowd and everything that happens at once. Once you get mindful and one with it all, it creates this feeling of presence and bliss that we have all heard people mesmerised with India talk about. The hippies.
Even right now when I am typing this, I am sitting in my bedroom in our shared flat and the windows are closed. But you can hear everything from the streets four floors down in the middle of the city centre of Colaba, Mumbai. During a few wee hours in the night it goes quiet before the city wakes up to the organised chaos. I am not someone who easily get attached to places, I like to keep my memories of people and places normally and that is what I bring with me everywhere I go. But there has always been something with Mumbai that has pulled me in. I believe it’s the contrast between the rest of India that I’ve seen (which is not much compared to how much is left to see) and the India that exists in Mumbai. There’s a vibe in this town that is hard to match elsewhere. Perhaps I am a romantic Pisces that only likes to focus on these pink cloudy thoughts whenever I describe this town, but I am positive that I am not the only one who thinks this way. Obviously it’s not the jammed traffic, the high air pollution and crowded areas that make you love this city. It’s what language it speaks to you when you listen carefully with your ears and your heart. What is the soul of this place? Does it connect with you? Why?