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.
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?
When the roots are too strong they can strangle you
When you don’t have any roots, you feel the void inside you.