It’s a strange place to be in. Not in space but in time. August 22nd, 2013, was the day I landed in Sweden, and it’s been full five years in Scandinavia — more importantly, 60 full months away from India.
I have written extensively about my experiences in the past five years — of joys and trepidations that this chunk of “western” Earth has had to offer. However, in this post, I am hoping to go to places that I previously have not. Dwell on the less dramatic and probe into the more somber aspects of my time away from home.
There is a sense of — I wouldn’t call it loneliness — a deep longing that germinated that very first day I moved out of Bangalore and has been growing ever since. It is not the soul-crushing melancholic feeling of homesickness, that one encounters in prose, poetry and pictures. But it is, in my own calculative way, a lacuna created by the lack of purpose in certain spheres of my personality which is conditioned on living in India.
Now that I think of it, it might even be something very selfish: an altruistic yet shallow sense of purpose that I want to derive from being, part of and, connected to the culture and people I know the most about.
Or, did I just define patriotism in a contrived manner?
Or, am I just being plain cynical?!
This longing is more for the people than the country; for the culture than for the landscapes ; for the struggles than for the triumphs; for the chaos than for the comfort.
In a recent reminiscence about Bangalore with my friends (I don’t miss an opportunity!), I was describing how some amenities that are taken for granted (like uninterrupted power, running water, punctual public transport, safety on roads, high-speed internet) are less of a norm and more of an exception. But it rose more out of a sense of nostalgia than an excuse to whinge. I could see myself sounding a romantic. And longing does that to you. Aspects of life that one would otherwise crib and complain about are the ones we look back with fondness. As with art, it seems that the imperfections are what define our memories and, hence, also the longing.
This might be one of those posts that derailed after the first paragraph. Nevertheless, it seems to me that the essence of my five years in Scandinavia is defined as much by the positive space of Scandinavia as the negative space of being away from India.
Until we meet again.