People who are part of my online social network must be thinking that something must have gone wrong with Raghav that he has gone gaga over the new city he’s moved into. It’s been less than a week, and how can one go crazy about a new living place as I have?
No. It did not even take a week! It happened within the first sighting of the city and the first few hours here.
I have never lived out of Bangalore. Never liked living in Chennai, Hyderabad or Delhi (these being the cities I have frequented most in India). I myself was skeptical as to how I would adjust to another city, and that too far out of India; How would I respond to the people, the culture and the burden of living away from the home, where I’ve grown up and lived for the last 25 or so years.
A small digression before I answer that question. Couple of things not many know about me:
1. I love to travel, and although this is my first trip outside India, I have always fancied the idea of going to a new place, getting surprised by the nuances of the culture and to relish the food, what come may.
2. I am a blue person. Not in the sense that I am gloomy (never liked that attribution to such a wonderfully expressive colour). I love the colour blue. Hence, the sky and the seas have been most favorite natural solace seeking places.
3. Fan of clouds. The enigmatic patterns in the clouds, have always enticed me with the ‘open to imagine platform’ that they offer to me.
4. Never been a summer person. Winters have been my favorite. Of course the coldest weather I have faced is in Delhi, where the temperature was about 3-4 degree celsius.
These factors taken into consideration, let me talk about the first few minutes into the flight after the pilot announced that we will be landing in Gothenburg.
All I saw was green and brown patches of islands surrounded by the most elegant of blue hues for the water, the everlasting and ever calm blue in the sky with clouds that were herding like a flock of sheep immediately elated me. Until then an exhausted international traveler that I was sat upright in my seat and was all ecstatic.
This first impression, added to the reputation of the Swedes who had already interacted with me during the scholarship challenge, made it more conducive for me. Just before a couple of hours, I was at the Brussels International airport and maybe because of the trauma of the previous flight and the burden of the impending flight I did not like the place at all. Not that airports represent a country, but the feel was not right after all. Whereas, the same feel in the Gothenburg airport was so much more relaxed, and cosy.
After that, it was to learn how amicable the local people were. That just made it irresistible for me.
It’s been 5 days in Gothenburg as I write this, and if anything, all these spontaneous observations have only been ascertained with deeper insight into the lives of people here and the culture that as I have heard is so unique to the city.
But, when I do express these elated expressions to my new acquaintances here, most of them have only one thing to say – “Wait until the winter pitches in”. Of course, I am trying to prepare mentally and wardrobe-wise for a winter, that might even be bad. But how does that hamper one’s experience in this moment, right now? And if the weather is going to adverse too, I am going to try and brace it like the people here do. It is part of the package, and I am at least hoping that I won’t end up cribbing about the cold weather.
All said and done, I am not simply a traveler. I am on an agenda of learning – academically and also the society as it is here. Without the endurance, if I may call so, I shall be a bad student of nature.
Göteborg it is, and I love the place.