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

Piku|Hindi Movie – My Thoughts

“Apni roots unko agar ukhad do, toh kya bachega..”

– Piku.

I have watched this Hindi film around three times in total. I rarely watch a film more than one time unless it’s a film that has left some impact on me. It’s a very simple film with many layers of importance and deeper meaning that really show when you start looking deeper at what is happening.

The whole aspect of accepting your roots and where you really come from, to be at peace with that is necessary to be able to live a full and complete life. She struggled a lot with the idea whether to keep the house in Calcutta or not when her dad will pass away. When Irfan Khan’s character tells her the sentence that’s written above, which roughly translates to: If you rip out the roots, what will there be left..

I got shivers down my spine, and felt instantly very emotional, because of how I could relate that so well with my relation to India and my roots. I started crying, at first without really knowing why. It’s been a very rocky road to get to this state of mind, for me to accept and be open and fine with being multicultural. Today vs me 10 years ago are entirely different people, and I am so thankful for that. I am ever grateful for being able to say that I enjoy these layers of my roots and accepting them, not ripping them out and hope that there would be something left. I can’t believe how one is suppose to build anything without the roots.

Highly recommend the film to anyone who like an Indian cultural drama which brings up any everyday topics in a both light manner but also to end it with a lot of different emotions. It is truly a roller coaster ride in your inner world, especially if you’re anything like me and have had struggles with acceptance of roots and a mixed background. I do believe that it might only be fully appreciated by someone who understands the quirks of growing up in an entirely Desi environment.

Peace and Love,

Kimmi Madeline

Poem: Sunrise in the Himalayas

The sun is rising over the mountains
Breathing in the precious prana
Watching everything,
Every moment come and go.
Just like this second
Every feeling of our lives,
Turn around and face it.
Underneath,
The moonlit sky.

⁃ Kimmi Madeline 🌸

Instagram: moon_over_mumbai

Yoga for Mind, Body and Soul

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.

Peace and Love,
Kimmi Madeline

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.

India Trip 2016: Goa

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.

Enjoy! 🙂

Peace and Love,
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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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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

Bucket list for 2017

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,