Sweden in Summer

Sweden in Summer
Sweden in Summer
Welcome!! Swagat, Dumela, Valkommen, Jee Aayan Noo, Tashreef, Bula, Swasdee, Bienvenido, Tashi Delek. Thanks for joining me.....

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Threaded Glory

Its painting of sorts. Painting made of thread.  Since it is framed and covered with glass, you can see the reflection of festive strips were behind me when I took this picture, last year in December in Delhi Haat. I walked past it and then returned, because so many people were staring at it.  When I came closer, I realised why.  The entire thing is done in thread, that too on a machine.  The man who did it says he taught himself this.  Before doing this, he worked at a bank or something like that.  Today this is his business.  Not an ordinary talent, not an ordinary profession.  I still feel as if not only is it a photograph but actually I can feel the man's eyes breathe!!  Talent is a gift from the heavens.  Each creation a unique sonnet.  All one can do is bow to the mystery and beauty of this planet!!

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Almost Two Months of Absence

I apologise to the readers for not writing for such a long time.  But as you can see from the entries that the last year this has been the trend. 

Its been a crazy year. I had to take sick leave, as concentration etc. had become really hard. I have had that issue for several years.  Even when I was working on my doctorate.  But being strong I pulled through it all, but life does become difficult when you have to constantly be in a situation where you have to constantly make decisions and be always in a learning environment.  If it is not learning about a new country, then it is about learning about new forms of library and information storage as every university is different, finding out where to shop, how to make international calls.  Only since the last 8-9 years when I transferred all my calls to Skype, even calling landlines, since I add money to my Skype account, has it been a bit better.  Then there is the banking system, or the local and interstate and international travel system?

Meiji Shrine, Tokyo

Always being in that mode takes away energy from my career and other personal decisions, and so there was a break down.

Regardless, I wrote papers during this time.  I had a meditation/Peace Revolution conference in Budapest in April, then again in late April a one day workshop in south of Sweden, and then in May I started writing a completely new paper on India studies.  I had never done this before but I am really interested in these civilisational issues.  Especially seeing the damage that western way of thinking and Abrahamic religions that not only borrowed so much from the pagans but cut off from nature, have wrought on the world.  This conference allowed me to write a few things that will help me go into that direction.  It is a dangerous route, but I know that it seems like my svadharma--(action, choice of profession or a path according to our natural inclination).

Tourists at Meiji Shrine, Tokyo

I finished the paper after 3 weeks of sleepless nights, on June 3rd when I had planned to meet a friend for dinner.  I finished around 2:30 pm and thought since I am meeting the friend at 5:30 I will get an hour or two of nap.  But got a call from the university to take care of some material.  I changed rode my bike to school, needed to come back to get some documents, fixed all that and it was 4:50 pm already by that time, I parked my bike at the university and went to town.  On 4th and 5th of June, I had to clean and organise the house, leave my plants to a neighbours to get watered, ask some other housekeeping to be taken care of, oh yes, as always pay the bills, and the most important and difficult and time consuming task, PACK....well enough to have all kinds of shoes, and clothes that allowed freedom after work was over. 

I left for a conference in Japan on very early morning of the 6th of June.  I did not sleep the night before--had to fix my bags, make sure all the presentations were intact and all the print outs of the bachelors essays that I was grading were there.

I did not even register that I was going to Japan, a country I love so much.  On the plane, I fell sick, threw up and slept most of the 9 hrs of first leg of the flight.  

When I finally landed in Japan, there was something that made me smile and say, 'Konichua to Japan---will write about that later.'

This was my second time to Japan, and even then I had hardly researched. I was staying in the country 5 days after the conference but had not planned a single day.

My first paper was in Tokyo.  I arrived around midnight, woke up early brushed up my presentation and presented, back to the hotel and off to Fukuoka via the bullet train, for which I bought the ticket after I got there.  

First day in Fukuoka, I actually spent in town.---having a simple vegetarian meal while finalising my comments on the essays.

That evening I had two bachelor's essay defense via Skype.  Went to bed quite late, and I had an early presentation.  During the conference which lasted nearly a week I had four presentations, three meetings, and two essays to comment on, both before and after defense. 

So even in the five days of vacation, I was actually responding to students, what they should improve in their thesis etc.

I never really got over jet lag in the 14 days (including travel and stay).  I returned and had to attend a one day conference the day after.  By the time I realised how much work I needed to do, I was sad and depressed and one point crying.  

I had to leave on the 3rd again to attend a conference in India starting on the 6th.  The last time I slept in the bed was the first of July.  On the second, I went to do the last minute shopping, which always reminds me that I come the last.  Because I truly needed a bag that I had been eyeing a bag that I need, but I went too late that day and the shop had closed.  I just bought a few sweets and other goodies to take as gifts (which I am trying to reduce now, just going shopping has become stressful) --and returned.

I did not sleep on the 2nd night, and got about 2 hrs sleep, and left on the early morning of the 3rd.  Arrived in India on the 4th evening, and left on the 5th morning for the conference in the south of India, that is about 3 hrs flight from my home city.  But the night of the 4th I was working on the presentation for the conference which was due that night.  Arriving late on the 5th on one of the most beautiful campuses I have ever seen, IIT Madras (Indian Institute of Technology at Madras).  At any odd moment a herd of deers would just stop by around us, as if it were nothing unusual to them to have people, vehicles and laughter around them. 

Deer at IITM: Picture Courtesy of IITM Website

My presentation was on the middle day and so I stayed up the night before, finishing a 5 minute video that accompanied the presentation.  I went to bed at 4 am.  And the last day of the conference, we were all so excited about the topic of the  conference that we all stayed up till 4 am again just chatting about the 'nature of reality and many other topics surrounding Indic civilisation and thought.'

The day after my mom arrived, and I took her on a two day travel of Puducherry, Kanchipooram, and Chennai

Returned only 1.5 days ago and am back to work.  Meaning serious work, reading and writing --things that need to be done.  Still have to deal with the heat.  But I kept thinking I must document how hectic it is all for me, and how exhausting it can be, and what tolls it takes.  And for that reason I have stopped writing or calling or doing many creative things.  But I do remind myself to be grateful.  For travel is exciting on the outside it is quite draining otherwise.  But what it does do, it you have the energy to learn, is to see, that the world is beautiful as it is.  The more I think about it, karma, reincarnation make more sense.  There is so much out of our control and to simply to say, 'God Has a Plan' does not work for me. I think we ourselves had had that plan and in some ways we wrote our own histories but we are bound by our 'sanskars' which are embedded tendencies from many lifetimes and affect our decision making.  We make good, bad, wrong right decisions because how our karma direct our thinking.  And yet, karma is not fatalistic, once we are aware, we can make changes.  And yet, some things are hard to change. 

I am in the process of analysing how much do I change, what can I change and in what direction shall I move the rest of my life.  IN many ways I am grateful, in many ways holding my breath, for my life to start!!

Saturday, May 14, 2016


Malmo is Sweden's third largest city. I had to be Lund 2.5 weeks ago, and took the train to Malmö which is only 30 minutes away from Lund. I did not venture far from the train station due to time and cold. It was a cold rainy day....but when I saw this old church, I had to walk in. 

Oh yeah, at at a restaurant called Satori. Other than just loving the name, I wanted to try something 'asian'.  This salad was delicious

I also found some friends on the ground.  No, I was not trying to show that restaurant was not well kept or nice, because it was.....but for me, it was a sing of something else.  Up here, we do not see these little buggers.  I saw them in millions in Fiji. So just seeing this made me feel that Malmö must be warmer than our little town!!


I love these videos, from the train station.  It shows this running video, that opens up this space, makes the train station looks bigger than it is.  Allows us to dream in an industrial area, and gives a feeling of movement even when we are still. 




And always nice to see people hug each other!!