It’s now become 10 years since I first went to my yoga and meditation class in Gothenburg. I remember how I used to love those 90 min classes late in the evening because it was a time that was only dedicated to myself and my practise. My teacher was from Norway but he lived and worked in Sweden. He had changed his name to an old Indian version of his own name, and he had practised yoga for over 30 years back then. I recently looked up if he’s still a teacher at the same place, and he is, isn’t that amazing. 40 years of yoga knowledge. He was the first teacher that inspired me to pursue yoga for my own mental health and spiritual evolvement. Years passed and I had some rocky years in my early twenties, but I still always came back to yoga, even if I had a longer break. I took classes of yoga at the gym, did some on my own in my student flat, whatever so that I didn’t totally lose the connection.
When I moved to Stockholm in 2014, I took some yoga classes at the gym and there were many different teachers there. Most are only into yoga as a fitness alternative and that isn’t the whole experience of yoga according to me and many other yogis, it’s a much more wholesome and spiritual and inward experience and development that is beyond anything physical. Out of all those average yoga gym teachers there was one that stood out in the crowd, he always used the right terms for all the asanas and always referred back to the ancient traditions of yoga; unlike many other yoga teachers in Sweden.
Although I didn’t stay for very long in that gym membership and for some reason got stuck in a 2 year membership at a place I didn’t enjoy as much.
I recently switched back and booked a yoga class and to my surprise the same teacher is still there and having classes. It seems that he’s been practising yoga for 30 years and is such a huge inspiration not only to me but everyone who comes to his classes. The class always begins with some 5 minutes of talking about the intentions, the planet movements and moon placement in different astrology signs and what it means to us. I love the feeling of being totally connected to the 25-30 people in the class and share the same experience as I do in the same time and space. That feeling is quite remarkable and powerful, it can truly change the world for the better.
I plan to attend a yoga retreat in the end of the year in India, although I haven’t decided on what or where to go for it. Would be nice with some place in south India, such as beautiful Kerala or similar. I will let that thought mature in my head through the year and decide on it until summer time.
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.
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.
Goa. Candolim. Sunny endless beaches with sand dunes that feel amazing. There’s India and there’s Goa; the Indian paradise and the go-to tourist place in India. During winter-time it never gets cold, it’s a never-ending summer time in Goa. The beaches are probably like no other beach in the world; where animals such as cows and stray-dogs can wander freely and openly without anyone bothering or judging. It’s the type of beaches where everyone is welcome and that’s the beauty with it. People can bathe in bathing suit, full clothes on or even bikinis – nothing is considered strange here. I love Goa for what it is – India’s beauty. With all its flaws and wonders.
We were in Candolim, Goa for 4 nights during the end of December 2016 and it was the best time of the year to be there. The weather is always nice and sunny with a temperature that is bearable and comfortable – 34 degrees Celsius during the day and 25 during the evening. You can wear long dresses that are airy and free and just put on a cardigan when it’s evening time – I haven’t had that type of freedom in the choice of clothing in a long time. The weather in Sweden isn’t allowing that type of clothes even during summer; one must always bring a thin jacket for evening times in Scandinavia – it always requires planning. That’s something that doesn’t work in India, nevertheless in Goa, planning can be done but it won’t really last throughout the trip. Things will change from one day to another. That’s also one of the great beauties of India, you never know what is expecting around the corner – so don’t plan too much in detail. Be spontaneous and free. Be open-minded and things will resolve and open up to new possibilities themselves.
I will be posting a clip on my Youtube channel in the coming day or two where I’ve gathered some footage and images from the whole India trip. So stay tuned for that! Meanwhile, you can enjoy a few of my favourite images in the below gallery.
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!
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.
It's been very inspiring to read other people's promises and goals to accomplish during the next coming year. I want to take a moment and document at least some of the things I would like to do and complete during the year of 2017. Without goals and something to look forward to it's easy to just get stuck in a wheel of the same mundane things.
(The list is not ordered chronologically.)
Travel. A weekend in Berlin, London and Scotland is already on my list for short 3-4 day trips. Other trips will be planned depending on plans and/or business plans and vacations.
Vipassana meditation. I really hope that I will be able to complete a Vipassana during a trip to India or in Sweden. I believe it might be more possible with India since I can go during next winter. I don't think there will be time for that during summer in Sweden; and I want to have good weather when I go to the Vipassana centre. I'd rather have that experience alone but I'll ask a friend or two if they want to join. Share the experience.
Writing my book. I have had a long break from my book writing due to personal reasons. I need to reevaluate my story direction and almost start over my writing, unfortunately. I will make a plan for the book during my current India trip now in December 2016.
Meditate daily. I know I've been having this on my list for ages, and it comes back every now and then, but it's crucial for my mental health to wind down and be peaceful on the inside.
Exercise 2-3 times a week. Yoga, Pilates and weight training.
Improve my stamina by starting to jog. Apply for a 5km run with a friend to have as a goal.
Practice to be more mindful.
Watch Darren Hayes' musical in London or somewhere in Europe whenever he is finished with it.
See the one-man-band Assemblage 23 live for the first time (of many). Waited for around 8-9 years. Those lyrics he writes are some of the best in the genre of futurepop/EBM.
Practice riding a bike and become more confident again. It's been years since I knew how to, and I guess you never really forget, I just need to be good at driving it in traffic as well.
I don't plan on taking my driver's license during 2017, but I plan on practicing driving again and be more confident in traffic. I knew how to 2-3 years ago but that was before my laser eye surgery. Now I need to spend weekends every now and then to just get into the routine and then eventually when it's in my priority I will apply for and take the license.
What's your bucket list for 2017? Share and link to yours below so we can all take part and be inspired.
I’ve made a new video on YouTube where I answer some questions about my ethnicity. The video is inspired by the tag that is circulating around on YouTube. It’s intended for you all to get to know my background a little bit more, at least my Indian side. Let’s connect over at YouTube if you haven’t already subscribed to my channel, the link is pasted below.
Questions answered in the video:
1. Where are you from?
2. When was the last time you visited your country?
3. What part of the country are you and your family from?
4. Name one ethnic food that you enjoy the most.
5. Name one household item that best represents your culture.
6. Do you speak your language?
I am finally announcing what my side-project is all about! I have for a while now been thinking of starting my own business, within something I’m passionate about. Too much time has passed since it was all thoughts and ideas, and I thought to myself that it’s time to not look back and just take action. I have been researching into all kinds of related subjects since this is a huge topic which mostly is pretty new to me. I’ve chosen an e-commerce platform to use and I chose Shopify. It seems pretty easy and scalable if and when the business becomes larger and you have a lot of products listed. I’m already super excited to get my e-boutique launched and be able to share it with all of you.
You might wonder what my shop is going to be selling. 🙂
I’ll be selecting unique and special pieces of jewelry (silver and other materials) and accessories from India, Thailand and South Asia, with an oriental and special design that I find too little of here in Sweden or in the West generally. Of course I will also buy in all kinds of popular trendy jewellery that can be used for an everyday look. I will begin with the Nordic region, and quite soon expand to ship to the whole Europe, and when I’m more stable I’ll include the whole wide world; so everyone can enjoy a piece of the East in the West.
I’m also looking into specializing in more cool Indian accessories that I can easily get hold of when I travel to India next time. More focus on quality material that is specific to India and that region, which is great for scarfs, clothes and accessories.
The second aspect, and the key to my business is that portions of the sales will be donated to charity organisations I’ve chosen to work with. One of my greatest wishes for the world is for it to be less poverty, and I can only do so much on my own with my contributions to try to work towards changing the world. Therefore I would like to ask for your help to help the world, to give back to the society and to help people in need. The smallest gesture can help, buying a piece of jewellery from my shop will contribute to charity organisation working specifically with women and helping them getting a solid income so they can provide for their family and themselves; thus becoming more independent.
UPDATE in Aug -16: Due to some delays in some tasks the launch of the online jewellery shop will be planned for to the end of this year (2016). I will be sharing more details regarding the business as I get closer to launch date. Stay tuned!