The little things

Station Triangeln, Malmö

After the terrible twos, a parent can only hope that things improve. But little do we know that when they turn 3, kids become threenagers!

Threenagers are a species with unlimited energy! Unbound curiosity; always listening; attention back-holes; and fearless adventurers!

They listen to everything you say and use it in contexts unimaginable to you — causing potentially embarrassing situations. You’re surprised at the transformation from the monsters at 2, to turn into mini-lawyers at 3. This species is adept at negotiation, masters at manipulation – they know how to react to each parent based on their moods; also know whom to ask when and how so that the decision is in their favor.

They are incredibly attentive to detail and so good at picking up patterns!

The photo above is what you would see if you looked out of the train window at the Triangeln station in Malmö. The following exchange occurred between me and my 3-year-old when the train stopped here:

Me: S, do you know which station this is?

S: Yes, it is Triangeln.

Me: (surprised, because he could not recognize it before that day) That’s right! But how do you know?

S: Because there are triangles here.

Me: (searching for a triangle all over the place, gave up) I can’t find it. Where is it?

S: (pointing at the wall) There.

I travel there every day, but failed to notice the tiny triangles in the pattern on the wall! It made me realize that growing older trains us to look at the bigger picture so often that we miss looking at the little things.

ಈ ಕಾಲದ ರಾಜಕಾರಣಿ!

ದುಡ್ಡಿನ ಮದ ತಲೆಯೇರಿ,
ಅತಿಯಾಸೆಯ ಭೂತ ಬೆನ್ನೇರಿ,
ಒ೦ದು ರಾಜಕಾರಣಿ ಕೂಗಿದ,
ನಿಖಿಲ್ ಯೆಲ್ಲಿದ್ಯಪ್ಪಾ?

ರೇಶನ್ ಅಂಗಡಿಯ ಸಾಲಿನಲ್ಲಿ,
ತರಕಾರಿಯ ಮಾರುಕಟ್ಟೆಯಲ್ಲಿ,
ಒಮ್ಮೆಯೂ ಕಾಣದೆ ಜನ ಕೇಳಿದರು,
ನಿಖಿಲ್ ಯೆಲ್ಲಿದ್ಯಪ್ಪಾ?

ತಾತನ ತೊಡೆ ಹತ್ತಿ,
ಅಪ್ಪನ ಭುಜ ಏರಿ,
ಜನರ ತಲೆಮೇಲೆ ಕಾಲಿಡಲು ಬ೦ದಿರುವ,
ನಿಖಿಲ್ ಯೆಲ್ಲಿದ್ಯಪ್ಪಾ?

ಅರಹತೆ ಇಲ್ಲದ ಅಸ್ತಿತ್ವ,
ಬುದ್ಧಿ ಇಲ್ಲದ ಜ್ಞಾನಿ,
ತಾನೇ ಎದುರು ಬ೦ದಾಗ,
ಕನ್ನಡಿ ಕೇಳಿತು – “ನಿಖಿಲ್ ಯೆಲ್ಲಿದ್ಯಪ್ಪಾ?”

Nature makes the man

I have always wondered why people live in places with harsh climate – why struggle every day as if it’s a battle to be won? Having been in Sweden for a while now, has brought some perspective into that thought.

For most people, their place of birth is their home – the place where they feel most comfortable, experience a sense of freedom and a confidence of security. I miss this. How long before I can feel the same way here? I don’t know. If this is my feeling after choosing to be here, I cannot begin to imagine the plight of people who are forced to leave behind their war-torn homelands and start anew seeking asylum.

I truly believe that immigrants forced to leave their countries would happily return if social and economic safety is guaranteed, but that’s another discussion for another post.

Speaking of harsh climates, Sweden isn’t the toughest to live in. The winter was bearable – coming from an Indian, this is remarkable. However, my wife and my parents would vehemently disagree. The spring is beautiful and has brought everyone out of their homes.

Irrespective of the weather, Swedes generally have an active lifestyle. Soccer, ice hockey and skiing are the top favorites. There are people jogging at all times of the day, come rain or snow.

As a person who had never experienced temperatures below ~10°C, I couldn’t have imagined the effort that goes into keeping the roads and tracks working during the winter. Trains are still functioning, nevertheless with some delays and cancelations. I had taken a lot of things for granted.

With lesser population, manual labor is expensive the concept of DIY – do it yourself  – is the norm. People assemble their own furniture, fix almost everything themselves – from kitchens to roofs – and building an entire house isn’t a far-fetched idea. I feel like I’m inadequately equipped to be here.

I feel nature keeps people on their toes, challenging them every season to adapt and live many lives, plan better and be self-sufficient.

As a side note, I am yet to find a place which isn’t accessible by a differently-abled person. Every place has a ramp, elevator; busses are equipped with designated spots for wheelchairs. It’s so nice to know how disability doesn’t have to make a person lose access to the same life as everyone else. This is such a contrast from how pathetic things are in India. 😦

P.S.: A roller coaster ride had an elevator for persons on wheelchair! 🙂

Hej Sverige från Indien!

So, it’s been a while since my family and I moved to Sweden after weeks of planning and packing. We were more worried about finding Indian spices and ingredients for our daily food than anything else.

Our first weeks in the country we were surprised by how much of history Sweden was able retain over centuries. Old, yet strong buildings, cobblestone streets and picturesque bridges made up the ‘Gamla Stan’ – the old town, connected to the the more modern areas by a well-planned transit system – buses, trams, trains, subway and ferries.

There is so much to admire about this country and its culture and I wish to dedicate a section of the blog to it.

Before I go, I have to say, one would wonder, that people who have lived here for all their lives, seeing at least 50 winters come and go, they would be used to it, but no. Nobody likes the winter and ever since I landed here, everyone said – “Winter is coming!” with all the seriousness of a Game of Thrones character. 

You know nothing, Jon Snow. But you’re right about this. 😛

P.S.: The photo is the Drottingholm Palace in Stockholm. 

Photo by Jonathan Hoxmark on Unsplash

The perfection block!

I’ve been reading Seth Godin’s blog and been watching a few videos of him talking and I admire his way with words and how simple he makes everything seem.

One of the things that struck me was the idea of how the “writer’s block” isn’t actually a feeling that stops you from writing anything, but it is the one that stops you from writing something imperfect.

Elizabeth Gilbert shares her views on how after she wrote the international bestseller – Eat Pray Love – she was immensely bothered by her own success. She describes that the success of her book overshadowed her drive to write the next one – because she feared the next one wouldn’t be as good.

Seth calls the writer’s block a myth. He says that a person does not simply stop writing, his fear of writing something substandard overrides his will to write – ‘Oh, what if it isn’t good enough?’ – this is similar to what Elizabeth felt. Seth says, ‘show me 50,000 words of bad writing, then I can probably agree that you have a writer’s block’. He suggests: ‘Consider the alternative to writer’s block: the drip. A post, day after day, week after week, 400 times a year, 4000 times a decade. When you commit to writing regularly, the stakes for each thing you write go down’. And he has been doing this for several years now.

So the next time you are having a writer’s block, a coder’s block or a painter’s block, ask yourself this – the probability of success is higher when you do something than when you don’t, isn’t it? 🙂