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An Indian woman who moved to Sweden after her marriage, the author shares an unusual aspect of what coming home means to her.
When I was betrothed to an NRI fifteen years ago, I have to say I was over the moon. It wasn’t specifically the NRI part; lots of my friends were married to men in the US or UK.
It was the country I was to settle in, Sweden.
Scandinavia for me was relatively untold and unheard of, as I had only read about it in my geography textbooks. And here I was, all set to spend the rest of my life in the country that boasted of the lowest crime rates and happiest people.
I had the time of my life post marriage at Malmo, marveling at the Oresund bridge connecting Denmark and Sweden under water, weekend trips to Stockholm and Norway, vacations at Finland…
I have to say these are some of the most beautiful places on earth with snow- capped mountains, pristine lakes, clean roads, polite people, all that I had never ever experienced in my life.
I don’t know when the rot set in and when things started losing their sheen. It was all very hunky dory in the beginning, but gradually, the peace, the tranquility, the order started killing me. Still does.
I walk to work, on the streets of Malmo at nine in the morning, to find absolutely no form of life around me. The occasional tram or bus that passes by is almost deserted, the shops all closed. On the streets, or in the residential building I stay in, the silence is deafening. Cars don’t honk and people don’t talk. Moreover, the sun just doesn’t set in the summers, and I still mistake 1 in the morning as 1 at noon.
Winters make matters worse, with just four hours of daylight and the silence gets eerie. On those days when I don’t walk to office, I have to drive myself or hire a cab from home, I of course can’t hail a cab in the middle of the road. Eating in feels better than eating out, as all so-called Indian restaurants serve similar dishes with exactly the same taste.
Every day, I yearn for some huzzle- buzzle, some activity, some kind of noise, but I guess I am used to it now, I can only dream of all that in Malmo. So, the month long Christmas break is what I look forward to, all year.
As I come home to Mumbai, I see people talk to each other, I listen to the loud conversations, the angry call-outs, the bickering, the warmth of my native language. The traffic jams on my way back home and the honking of vehicles are sheer music to my ears, because I feel happy, alive. The bustling activity till late night, the din of the street-side vendors, the overcrowded trains, all oozing with energy, I marvel now at how flourishing and beautiful my city is and what I’m missing in search of a peaceful life, unpolluted and opulent life.
Image source: pixabay
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