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,
Aja in Chandigarh, Punjab, India
Radisson Dwarka, Delhi, India
Leopolds, Mumbai, India
Chocolatti café, Candolim Goa
Chocolatti café, Candolim Goa
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,
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.
Peace and love,
My heart is pounding hard
Hands are reaching out for more
It’s never been so difficult
To breathe in this familiar air
I’ve been gone for too long
This place is no longer mine
My memory is failing me
Falling deeper and deeper
Into this well of clouds
Wandering about endlessly
Always looking for something
To capture my heart
Always looking for a hit
To preserve my sanity
Walking amongst the bouncy clouds
The endless clear blue sky
Tip toeing through it all
The only thing driving me is,
Salty tears falling from above
Peace and Love,
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?
Peace and Love,
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!
Peace and Love,
My relationship with my native country India has been up and down throughout the years. Since I’m born and raised in one of the most opposite countries to India, culture wise, that is Sweden, one can say it’s been the major reason for my very mixed cultural experience. While sitting in the flight back home, via Turkey, I’ve had my fair amount of reflection time, as I usually do while travelling places. Growing up it was a natural milestone to travel to India every other year to visit family and relatives; my parents wanted us to get a glimpse of India and our heritage from an early age. When growing up and being a teenager I found it particularly hard to motivate myself to travel there again and again. Relatives moved far away from India and soon everything I had associated with the trips would no longer be awaiting us, and perhaps it was my way of not wanting to accept change, but I briefly lost interest in India overall throughout those years.
This summer I’ve had a rewarding and thought provoking trip to India where I’ve reached a whole new level of my relationship to India, in a very positive way. Of course these kind of thoughts don’t come over night, it’s been an ongoing process mentally over the past few years, embracing my heritage and being a Swede with Indian roots. I am more than ever interested in Indian languages and regret not going from learning Punjabi to knowing Hindi at a more earlier age, so that I could be fluent while travelling all over beautiful India. I’ve come to terms with accepting the country for what it truly is; a great independant nation with all kinds of people, religions and cultures gathered in a country as big and wide as a continent. I can see the beauty in what I see out in the streets of the captal, New Delhi, or just as well travelling between cities and seeing agriculture, old houses and slums being side by side with 5-star fancy exclusive hotel chains. Watching how people help out each other in the streets while parking your car in the most narrow street with all kinds of difficult obstacles you wouldn’t cope on your own, or just simply reaching out for each other despite being strangers. Walking side by side with the lowest ranked citizens of India’s caste system, while on the other side seeing people unbelievably wealthy. Everyone has a place in this giant naton called India, despite all injustices that exist. I just wish I could do more for the poor people, I want to save them all from this horrible poverty. By travelling to a country like India, you can’t help but to involve all your senses and emotions, even the ones you thought you have forgotten about in comfortable and safe Sweden/Scandinavia, they all become alive and floods through your system and it makes you more compassionate. You embrace the world with all its flaws and don’t just take your calm good life for granted when you get home. The important thing after all is that these emotions and thoughts don’t stop or shut down just because you travel home. I will forever be grateful to my family for introducing me to my heritage and home country so I can in turn make my future children know where they came from and also feel this sense of pride that I finally can say that I do.
Dedicating this poem to my dear grandfather (papaji), who just recently passed away.
Saying goodbye in my dreams
Your time had come to an end
It was time to leave this all behind
Moving on to another world
Find peace and calmness within you
There’s no more pain to be felt
No more hard days to come
No more unkind nights to live through
Only tears left behind
Of all those who held you so close
We will always cherish the memories
Remember you with joy and laughter
The tears and pain will have to take its course
Love is endless, beyond this life on Earth
We’ll meet on the other side
Where there is endless light
I’m going to share a little piece of what my book is going to cover. This is something that I’ve been thinking about for the last few years and it’s a very personal topic, and I’ve been very unsure over those years whether or not to share it with the world.
The topic is: arranged relationships (or marriages) vs. love relationships and related stories. It’s going to be a very personal book, very close to my heart and it’s going to be about cultural differences between western and a mixed Indian culture.
I don’t personally have any experience in having to be in an arranged relationship (thank God!) but I am very interested in the subject and how it’s still a problem for some young people to get out of (if they wanted to). They are usually expected to follow the family traditions and they therefore agree to go through with it to avoid bringing family shame or damage the family honour.
Why would there be family shame if they choose their own partner? Why shouldn’t we be able to love whoever we want and choose to spend the life with that person be enough to please the family? Those are some very difficult questions to answer but I’m very eager to dig deeper into the whole concept and find out more about the pros and cons of such an arrangement. Isn’t the individual happiness what should be in focus, since we’re the only ones who are going to live our own life?
Another interesting observation is how girls and boys are treated differently and the expectations and pressure are also very diverse depending on if you’re a boy or a girl. A boy might be able to date more openly before a marriage in some families, while girls should not even talk to a boy before she gets married. I know I might take the most extreme examples, but they do exist, unfortunately.
From a Western perspective I have a hard time accepting or believing that one would ever want to marry a stranger and build a family with them, but somehow it’s not hard to accept for true followers of this tradition or culture.
What is interesting to know about Indian culture is that it’s very intertwined with religion; so there is really a fine line between the two. One can be non-religious but still follow all traditions and celebrate religious holidays, just because it’s natural to them. I compare it with celebrating Christmas for example, not many people in Sweden are religious but we still celebrate Christmas here. It’s fun to receive gifts and have the whole family gathered – but it’s more for the social aspect than it’s ever going to be religious. At least here in Sweden, which isn’t a very religious country.
I guess growing up in a very nonreligious country together with having a family which is Indian and having that Indian culture with me has made me question many things while growing up. These are just a very few of my thoughts that have triggered my need to write my story, as raw as it might be, because I believe that it’s necessary to shed some light on these topics in today’s modern society where we might think that everyone has a free will. At least here – in the West.