• Dreams,  Personal,  Thoughts,  travel

    Roots | Mumbai Diaries

    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?

  • travel

    Open skies | Mumbai Diaries

    When I look up at the sky in the evening darkness I can still see the moon and the stars, despite the amount of air pollution contaminating the air. The breezy air flowing through my hair as I walk down the beach is captivating my senses. I don’t want to turn back. I want to just stay in this moment, where I can just be, me. Utterly grateful for the life I live and the people I have in my life who means the world to me. When you’re one moment away from losing your place on this earth you become very aware of what drives you in life and who you want to keep close. The near-death experiences can really remind you what is in front of you and important and what you need to let go of. What is no longer serving you. Who do you want to hug extra tightly? If today was my last day, would I be happy with the life I am leading? Have I told you how much you mean to me?

    To be continued…

    Peace and love,
    Kimmi Sandhu

    PS. I write small pieces of writing when the inspiration strikes me throughout this trip to Mumbai, India. Follow this every day to see a new post, there is always something on my mind to let out in to the world.

  • Personal,  Thoughts,  travel

    My roots | Mumbai Diaries

    My roots have long been malnourished and fragile, protected against outer influence. I have found my way back to watering them and slowly but surely they are growing stronger and establishing ground in places I never could have imagined. The journey to getting here has been long and lonely. When the tree is starting to blossom, not many would know the effort and pain it took to grow the tree so fertile so that flowers can bloom. The result can be intimidating just like inner growth. I didn’t realise what I have been missing in my life; a sense of belonging. I have always stood out and been the rebel for so long, that it becomes your identity. It becomes what you expect because there is no room for just being you. When you find your way back to your roots, you’ll never look back again. I wish I could have told this to my confused and suicidal teenage self. Things wouldn’t have had to be this hard.

    To be continued…

    Peace and love,

    Kimmi Sandhu

  • Health,  Personal,  Thoughts,  travel,  Writing

    Silent scream | Mumbai Diaries

    The silent crack between my teeth after I had just bitten into a peanut that was inside a Punjabi Samosa, was sounding louder in my head than to anyone else. I knew what was wrong. The apparently nut-free samosa had deadly peanuts inside of them. I was sitting by the palm trees along the beach near Marine Drive at a café. So far away from any hospital and so far away from knowing what I would do if anything severe happened. Million thoughts always run through my head in these moments, and it might sound like a cliche but it’s very true. I believe I am not the only nut allergic person who have these near-death aha moments.
    – What if this is it? This is the moment when I die.
    – Do the people I love know that I love them? Near, far and everyone in between. I’m not even close to being good at expressing my love for certain people in my life and what they mean to me.
    After such an experience I become very emotional and mellow, as if I don’t know anymore what really matters. The core values and the core most important life ingredients are being questioned and once again reevaluated. These short moments of fear become eye-openers and make me wake up.

    To be continued…

    Peace and Love,
    Kimmi Sandhu

  • Dreams,  Inspiration,  Thoughts,  travel

    I am in Love | Mumbai Diaries

    If there are any places that could seduce you with their vibe and attractiveness, it would be Mumbai. I am in love with this town, more than ever before. I feel like a hummingbird flying freely around in this mad town; the place where everyone is equally longing for this escapist feeling. It’s hard to describe it to anyone who isn’t feeling this either. You will either love it or dislike it here. The smell, the noises, the rush, the heat and the amount of people everywhere. The pathway along Marine Drive is crazy in the evenings and the vibe is so hard to find elsewhere. Sitting by the water and seeing the skyline is magical. I don’t know why it is, but I feel like it is a place like home. The people who know me well knows how hard it is to feel at home somewhere, it’s rare.

    To be continued…

    Peace and Love,
    Kimmi Sandhu

  • Personal,  Thoughts,  travel,  Writing

    Mumbai Dreams…

    It’s been 2 ½ weeks since we came back from India this time around. The India fever has been running high ever since I came back home, been binge-watching Hindi films during these past few weeks to try to grasp for the last few straws of India that I had left in me from the trip. Why do I feel this way these days? Am I making up for all those years when I didn’t feel that I belonged neither here or there? Am I getting more sentimental with time, more than I already am? I don’t have an answer to all these questions, all I know is that writing has been my only saviour; it helps me cope with my complicated and scattered emotions about belonging.

    I just started reading the book The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri and have also watched the film by Mira Nair based on the same novel. That film hit a spot in my heart and I can’t help but to cry tears of recognition and melancholy. The pain and the suffering is too close to heart. Writing these words after watching the film, aren’t written without a tear in my eyes. At least they clean the vision and hopefully I can see clearly now what I have long wanted to see. Me and who I truly am. There’s never been a need to pretend but I didn’t realise that when I was younger. You don’t have to try to fit in when you know you don’t. Being unique is what is best.

    Ever since the second day of visiting Mumbai in November, I knew that I had found my missing piece of inspiration. My long lost inspiration for writing my story, my book. I found it again, in the heart of Mumbai. I could see the waves coming into the shore and we were driving by the south side of Mumbai, feeling the breeze from the opened window. My hair was getting messy in the wind, but I didn’t mind at all, I felt at peace. I knew I had found my way back, to my core. I think that’s why I have had my “identity crisis” with the endless watching of Hindi films, trying to see if I can relate to any of it. I don’t feel the need to relate anymore, I already know what was missing all along. My acceptance.

    Peace and Love,
    Kimmi Niroopinder Madeline

  • Cooking,  Photography

    India Trip 2016: Food Pictures

    I have gathered some pictures of different types of food we had in India throughout our trip. Everything, everywhere we went, was absolutely amazing and delicious. I don’t think I ate anything not worth it ever during the whole trip. Of course I have loads of more pictures of food, but I didn’t want it to take over the whole post so here’s a bunch of my favourites. Hope you enjoy and that you’ll be interested in making a food trip to India sometime soon!

    Peace and Love,
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  • Writing

    India Trip 2016: Mumbai/Bombay

    Bombay. Mumbai. Whatever you’d like to call it, this great urban city of India that Bollywood calls its home. So much diversity and so many nationalities in the same city, living under the same rules – freedom. There’s a sense of freedom in India which cannot be found elsewhere, you can do as you please, come as you go and just mind your own business – there’s no problem. Anything is do-able in India. If you have plenty of time and patience. Don’t rush it and things will fall into place – eventually.

    I will be travelling down to Bombay by air from North India, and it’s amazing how you only get to half of the country in 2½ hours with flight. It’s the same distance as Stockholm to London, it’s incredible how large this country is. When we get to Bombay (which is what I still call the city most of the times despite the name change back to Mumbai) we’re checking into a hotel near the airport to freshen up and get some rest. We’ll be doing some shopping in the city the first evening in Bombay and then just take it easy because of all the travelling. The next day is planned for sightseeing and local shopping, and hopefully to meet a dear friend of mine.

    I want to capture and take in the whole experience of being in Bombay for the first time. Travelling with someone who’s never been to India is also very special, you get to show what you’ve been accustomed to since childhood and also see it through their eyes. How do they look at the surroundings? What do they think of the mad traffic and driving on the “other side”? What are their first impressions when coming out of the airport? The smell, the people and the rush. Either you love it or you dislike it, that’s what I believe. Either you’ll love India and it’s randomness and the need of being present all the time, or you’ll be fed up in no time if you haven’t got the patience. If you remain open throughout the whole experience you will probably love it.
    What would you think when you see the huge gaps between the rich and the poor? How do you react to the people begging openly in the streets? This is the whole experience and not just go to the tourist places and turn back to Europe after the vacation is finished. When you’re here, you need to see the whole 360 of what India has to offer you. From the 5 star hotel restaurants to the roadside dhaba’s, from the fancy and exclusive shopping malls to the local crowded markets, from a private taxi to a rickshaw or a 3-wheeler. Then you’re able to judge it with real open eyes, without judgement and without fear.

    Peace and Love,
    Kimmi Madeline