Landing in India

The flight is due to land at Indira Gandhi airport of New Delhi and the plane is travelling across the large city, passing through the thick layer of clouds, smog and pollution. When the plane is close to landing, the whole large metal cylinder is filled with a familiar smell or scent of India, something that others might find repulsive. But to me it’s filled with memories, emotions and a touch of belonging. Tears are filled up in my eyes when the plane hits the ground. I’m home. Once again.

The hotel we stayed at isn’t worth mentioning due to the overall experience wasn’t all too well, but there were some highlights of the service level and staff that is worth mentioning. The two nights in Delhi were a good touch-down base before our onward departuring to Punjab. You get a moment of acclimatising to the Indian climate, food and the senses get hightened. 

I have been writing a lot through the years about belonging and identity since it has always been a struggle for me, being born in Sweden and having roots from such a colourful culture that is India. The clash between these two extreme worlds has been both a blessing and a curse, since it has opened me up to so much inner personal development I never would have been striving for if it weren’t for being torn in two directions. I have previously written about being a TCK in a world of being around people that have almost no other mixed background, which makes you feel different and strange from time to time. When I during the recent years found myself searching more inwards in my own identity crisis and started to accept that I am fine the way I am, both Swedish and Indian, I was able to grow strength to be able to tell my story. I felt for the first time that I was able to connect with other people that have a similar background, and my creativity became more heightened. 

The last day at the Delhi hotel, we ate dinner in the restaurant at the hotel to be a bit more convenient and also to not have to rush around in Delhi traffic at that hour. No matter if we choose to or not, we eventually adapt to eating at Indian times, which is quite different than dining times in Sweden. Back home in Sweden one would eat dinner at 6-7 pm and lunch at 11-12 am. When we’re in India the dinner times are around 8-9pm and lunch around 1-2pm. I think it might be due to the fact that people go to work a little later on and leave later, which makes the whole day shift a few hours.
When we were dining at 8 pm at the hotel, the waiter asked us if we were from Sweden since he could see it in our booking. Obviously he could tell we had some sort of Indian (desi) background so he asked if we were here for the first time. I responded, no we’ve been here many times before since our background is from Punjab. He asked if we were born here or in Sweden, and this is where things would have been confusing if I were to trust my past experiences of being put in a box. His response to us being born in Sweden, was the sweetest I have received in India in a long time. He said, then you’re just as much Indian as you are Swedish and he smiled and giggled a bit. I agreed and he went on to talk to other guests in the restaurant. He probably didn’t know what that sentence meant to me, how much it meant that someone would acknowledge us as being part of this society and still be able to keep the other identity. He truly saw our Indian soul. We didn’t have to feel torn and puzzled between the two cultures. Not being forced to choose when someone asks us which one we consider our home, or which one we like the most. There can never be a clear answer to that question, I am always searching, and the more I search, the more questions I get. 

The best part of being born in two cultures is the richness it gives to my life, to be able to live a life with both influences on a day to day basis. To be able to pick and choose (most of the times) what we like with each culture and keep those aspects in our life for the next generation. Coming to India annually means much more to me than can be put into words, it can never be explained, the emotions that run through my body when I land 7000 km away from Sweden. Despite being more restricted to do exactly what I want as a woman, to come and go at any hour, and having difficulties adapting to the lifestyle here; I still feel more alive and free. There’s a freedom and acceptance in the air in India one cannot find anywhere else. I might be biased, but that’s my truth. 

Sat Sri Akal, Namaste, Peace and Love,
Kimmi Madeline

Travelling is my Drug | Nomadic Traveller

Travel isn’t always pretty. It isn’t always comfortable. Sometimes it hurts, it even breaks your heart. But that’s okay. The journey changes you; it should change you. It leaves marks on your memory, on your consciousness, on your heart, and on your body. You take something with you. Hopefully, you leave something good behind.

– Anthony Bourdain

I can’t seem to help it, this underlying urge to always leave and be on the road to somewhere else. I love the feeling of not belonging to one place, I like belonging to the world. Open. Free. Endless possibilities. I believe it has to do with my two cultures, Swedish and Indian. I love them both, almost equally. Almost. I weigh them back and forth, compare and contrast, which one do I like the most. For the moment.

Being a TCK (third culture kid) or more like a CCK (cross-cultural kid) in my particular case, one will always have to deal with these emotions of not belonging to a certain degree. Rootlessness. Mixed cultural belonging. Struggle to fit in. All of these things are all based in a TCKs/CCKs childhood of being brought up in a mixed cultural environment, where the guidelines of how to deal with it has been missing. Especially during the 90s/00s in Sweden. Growing up in Sweden, in an area where there were no immigrants, has its impact in the long term.

The travelling aspect of my life doesn’t only have to do with physical travelling from one place to another, I am almost always somewhere in a bubble. Typical Pisces behaviour, for those that know astrology. It’s a hard struggle to always remind myself to come back to reality, but when dreaming becomes part of your everyday life to survive, it’s hard to resist. If I knew how to astral travel, I’d be addicted to it. Sounds like such an amazing ability to be able to visit both places and people in all kinds of spaces.

Someone was describing how a TCK walks through life, as if we stand constantly at the airport gate, anxious, waiting for our flight somewhere, walking back and forth until we board our flight. That’s when we calm down and relax, in the window seat of the plane, viewing the endless skies and clouds overlooking everything. That feeling makes me truly feel alive. Never understood why, until I read about being a TCK. Check out my other post on what it is about and my experience up until now, here.

Peace and love,

Kimmi Madeline

Essential Shopping in Copenhagen

Shopping in Copenhagen. I’m not normally a very avid shopper since I try to live my life pretty minimalistic when it comes to buying stuff that really doesn’t provide any value to your life unlike travelling and eating good food. But since I’m here in Copenhagen and there has been some sales, I figured I could stock up on some of my essentials and must have items in my wardrobe. Here’s a list of places to go to for shopping in Copenhagen.

Köpmagergade.

Fisketorvet – this is a mall so for anyone who likes that type of place it’s good enough. But it wasn’t quite my cup of tea, and they didn’t have any exciting restaurants or cafés other than Starbucks and Espresso House (which we also have in Sweden)

Illum – it’s more high end and good brands in here and if there’s sale you might make a good deal or two for better quality items. I for example found amazing stockings which I can use all year since they’re more durable. Normally I would have problems with cheaper versions since they just tare or the toe creates holes in the front very quickly.

Magasin du nord. – similar to Illum in many ways since it’s a huge department store. Great shops and brands.

Field’s.

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

my missing puzzle piece.

India, it’s been a while since I told you what I really feel. It’s not like I didn’t care or forgot about you, but I guess I hadn’t found my way home. In my heart. And my aching soul.

While growing up I lost a piece of me here and I couldn’t find it for over a decade. I was always looking to find my way back to that part of me. It was disconnected for so long. I almost forgot. I almost lost you. Disconnected.

I never understood the lump in my throat. Hidden emotions stacked under the surface. Ready to burst at any moment. Triggered by the invisible pain. Deep down in my soul.

A ray of infinite light has enlightened me now. I can see you clearly now. You were always there for me. Right in front of me. Day or night. Dark or light.

It was here all along. My forgotten puzzle piece. It was so hard to find. I didn’t forget about you. I was just lost. But you, still accept me for who I am. For that I am grateful. For that I am proud. Proud to call you my home.

What am I escaping from?

I tend to ask myself that a lot after travelling somewhere. I’m currently in the flight back to Stockholm via Frankfurt. Flying and travelling always puts me in a state of reflection. Why do we travellers always have to have more journeys planned ahead when the last one isn’t even finished? I question whether I really am travelling because I want to explore and see the world, or if I’m escaping something. I would like the answer to be simple and clear and that I’m just looking to expand my horizons, by seeing more than just what I call my home. If we (travellers) really dig deep inside ourselves I believe there might be a reason for all the searching for answers. But I still don’t know the question. 

I wonder if it all comes back to soul searching activities. Everyone handles the questions differently and we all have different means to explore the answers. Some people are expressing it through art; whether it be painting, music or writing, they’re all good ways to expressing our inner core of emotions. The emotions that we don’t let anyone see or come near. My favourite way of unraveling my soul matters is to write. Writing poems, long complex outlines, blog posts and journals.

Vienna / Wien | Travel Photos

Photos from my journey to Vienna during Easter holidays in 2017.

Wien. Vienna. Austria. Österrike. Such an underestimated city that has so much to offer to a traveller. I have been here since last Friday and I love the vibe of the country. At this moment I’m sipping on the last moments of being in this town, since we’re going back in 2 days. I’ve got some pictures to share with you all that shows some of my best captures of this journey. 

I’ve got no more travel plans set in stone currently although I have some ideas of the next visits. The US, California. Roadtrip in Europe. Rome. Berlin once again, since it’s been some years and I feel the need to breathe in some Berlin air quite soon. Long overdue. 

Hope you have had a great Easter holiday and enjoy looking through the pictures below and be inspired to make a trip to Vienna yourself. 

Peace and love,

Kimmi Madeline 

Picnic with Indian food 

@ Cafe Neko – visiting some cats in this adorable cat café 

@ Cafe Sacher 

@ Jonas Reindl Coffee 

Sad reality

So much sadness overwhelms me when I close my eyes and think about poverty in the world. It’s so unfair, this world. What is karma, really? I can’t believe that everyone deserves what they’re given, if what is given is nothing. Nothing to work themselves up from. I’ve seen a lot while travelling, and it’s just made me more humble and wanting to help people in need more than before. I just don’t know what to do, what can little I do? Charity? Volunteer? Not sure if volunteering here is going to help against poverty by being here in Sweden. I like my home, and I like where I am, but I can’t just sit and watch.
Been surfing around for charity organisations from Sweden and they all have this message they want to reach out with, which I’m not sure what to think of, since I think it affects you emotionally so much that you want to give more than you can afford if you’re anything like me. “How many children do you want to help off the streets?” That question… insane to even ask. How many?!
Well, anyway enough of me babbling about this, it’s not going to help by me feeling sad about it. It’s just reality…