lights getting drunk in Helsinki

Helsinki has treated me quite well since I came back from Amsterdam, although I cannot deny I have been relatively confused about being back at home. I have this problem of grasping events when they happen and things hit much later, often with an added element of melancholia. Needless to say I have attempted to train the trait out of my system, but it is something that has been quite persistent in the life I carry. And I am not too sure if it is so bad, as long as it somewhat controlled and something that controls one’s life.

I have always had this strange sensation of longing back to the past events, because I know they will not be repeated ever again and moments that have could had taken place at the time are now lost chances. Regardless I have not ceased to appreciate the present, which before was extremely difficult for me but now Helsinki has offered me memories that I must share with the rest of the world, but especially with you my dearest. I know you have never seen Helsinki and I know we have never met either, but I do look forward to the time when our paths cross.

While I missed out on the light festival organised in Amsterdam, I experienced the annual Lux Helsinki that brings glittering, beamingly colourful lights to my precious hometown.

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I fell in love so deeply that the after the first night of witnessing all the beautiful artwork throughout the city, I had to make the same tour the following day. There were dancers with fire who expressed their emotions we all shared in front of the most picturesque monument of Helsinki. An artwork that I am not quite sure what it represented, but included needles and other medical equipment. It was dauntingly haunting. A booth where you could anonymously do whatever you wanted to and it would be projected on the Finlandia-talo, which all tourists supposedly should see during their visit in the city.

There were about sixteen sights to witness but admittedly I missed one because it was too cold outside and I had no desire to freeze my hand to a level where I could no longer type. The first night we only had the map on my phone so I had to check it after every point to find out where we should walk next. I remember how I came home after touring the different works and having a nice cup of tea at a jazz-club and my right hand being still purplish blue. I know they have invented some kind of touch-screen sensitive gloves, but they could try to make similar ones for Finnish winters as well.

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The festival was not the only out of ordinary experience I had. I went to the cinema as well, and I know dear it sounds nothing particularly extraordinary but it actually is one of the greatest things that has ever happened in my life. Well, first let me tell you that I actually went to cinema three times, but two of them was with my friend Hanna who appreciates the same ingredients in a movie as I do; pretty much it has to be late 1990s/early 200s, romantic comedy, a boy meets a girl, they fall in love. Quite a simple recipe, no? And yeah I have been pretty much in love with all the romantic comedies that have been released in that period, but unfortunately enough most of those films I only saw on a television while rest of my family would be chatting something to disturb my pleasure.

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Of course afterwards I have seen the films on DVD with my friends, but I had never had the privilege to see some of my favourite films in cinema. Luckily the National Audiovisual Institute in Finland had realised the demand there was for those movies to be shown in the cinemas and therefore organised several shows in last six months. I saw Cruel Intentions & Bring It On last two Saturdays and oh how I wish I could explain you the sentiment I felt when I saw the movies in an actual film theatre.

It was not as if someone had brought you back fifteen years and placed you in a cinema, it is not like what the people experienced when the movies actually came out. The experience was larger, greater and better. I could had never imagined hearing people clapping and wooing in the end of Bring it On, but now I can cross off that from my bucket list. And darling, I hope one day you would do the same favour to people of yours; everyone loves classics, especially your kind.

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But these movies are not supposed to take the leading role in this letter I write you. Rather the experience of me going alone to a cinema to see one of the nicest movie that guarantees a smile upon one’s face. I had never went to a cinema on my own, ever. Because, well… you do know, to be honest. Everyone knows.

I cared what others would think of me when showing up in the cinema on my own; I still care. It just feels awkward, you know? A movie is supposed to be something shared, kinda of, no? It feels awkward to exist the cinema and see everyone else sharing their opinions on what they saw and then actually realise that there is that lone person who is just looking the ending credits to the very end without much movement, no words since the film ended and there is this overwhelming sensation of… well, I guess we call it empathy…? I just felt strange to see people alone in movies, but to be honest I just felt sad to see anyone alone in a public place like cinemas or restaurants or clubs…

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Anyway the thing is that I went to see a movie on my own and it was one of the greatest experiences ever. I just decided one morning that fuck it and went to see this French movie called Qu’est-ce qu’on a fait au Bon Dieu and I had never laughed aloud so much on my own yet still together with everyone else. It was such an exhilarating moment in my life, precisely because I had decided to face the demon of being alone in a situation where you are supposed to be with someone else. Well, let me frank; had the movie been miserably bad I would had not enjoyed the situation at all, but luckily my taste on movies is (generally) so good that I do not really have to be wary of what is on screen.

Qu’est-ce qu’on a fait au Bon Dieu was such an amazing movie to start my experiment of going to the cinema alone that I have now decided that I will go and experience movie theatres, alone or with a friend. I cannot deny that the next time will not be difficult for me, but I hope over the time I will be able to overcome my fear of being witnessed alone. While outsiders might think there is that one  poor and lonely soul wondering, I myself will feel more stronger than ever before for doing what many others cannot do due to the prevailing norms in the society.

In spite of how I saw the movie, it was brilliant and I recommend you to watch it. Perhaps the film lacks the most original approach, but nevertheless it made me laugh and cry at the same time. The plot touches upon the most contemporary issue at the heart of politics in the most Western countries, namely multiculturalism as three daughters of a conservative Catholic French family have decided to marry a Muslim, a Jew and a Chinese person. The parents put all their faith on their fourth and last daughter who ultimately wants have a family with an African immigrant, which brings all sorts of reluctance from all family members, not just the parents but her sister as well. But the situation is not as simple as one might assume, because also the father of the to-be-husband is opposed to the marriage and you might already imagine what this special ingredient adds to the whole plot of the movie!

In the end there is nothing mind-blowing happening in the movie, but it does manage to arouse feelings of comfort, love and happiness. All the elements that I appreciate in a good film where present in Qu’est-ce qu’on a fait au Bon Dieu. Things I want to have in my own life…

I guess in short seeing the movie on my own was quite an experience, that I am looking forward to go through again. I might cry again and yes tears might reflect the sadness I am holding back, but ultimately it is good to get them out of my system rather than bottling them until everything explodes.

So I promised myself that I will go to a cinema every month even if no one else wants to join me and perhaps even because of that… I need to be able to experience things on my own.

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Also last week I attended a celebration concert in honour of equal marriage passing at the parliament. I had received an invitation to attend it, but there was no avec included and the tickets were fairly expensive for my friends to attend. Nevertheless I decided to go there, well partly because that afternoon I received a text message from a friend who was going to play in the concert and I am glad I went. I saw various amazing acts, all of which were over the moon about people like me for finally being able to get married in Finland. Everyone was so joyful and happy that in Finland love had won the battle against prejudices that still tightly holds the power in most part of the world. It would had not been possible without all the Finnish citizens who firmly believed in the right to love, the right to establish a family, the right to relate a person whom you love the most in the world regardless of the sex of that being. The world is moving forward. Slowly, but surely. We should never give up.

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And before I end this, I should let you know another achievement of mine as well: I mastered the Japanese way of folding t-shirts! I bet my future husband will find that skill quite handy… if not, he can fold his own t-shirts!

So this all has happened in just the first two weeks of this new year. I cannot wait for the rest to take place. It has been long time since I felt like this, dearest. I hope you feel the same. It is a wonderful feeling.

Lots of love,
Nitin

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