One cold summer evening

Dear Helsinki,

One cold summer evening I approach my door step. I have just bought it a couple of months ago with him after living some years in different cities and for a certain period even in opposite sides of the world, but what we shared with each other was so strong, so determined, so much in love that she decisively carried us to this moment when I am about enter a home that is ours. That very evening as I place the key in the door and turn the knob, I reminiscence the past. Against all the odds we had made it. Had someone bet even a dollar on our chances to survive, he would be a billionaire now. Perhaps that is the reason bookmakers never take bets on love. It is unpredictable and unlike in sports you can never do match fixing.

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In the beginning we had nothing else conversations online; we had met briefly after two weeks talking to each other, it was an afternoon that lasted no longer than a Woody Allen but the moment captured a myriad of feelings that no director has ever been able to portray in her works. Two men who met in a small Indian town and fell in love with each other at that very first time when their hands secretively brushed against each other. No art form is able to depict the sensation of being with him, listening to his luring voice as he tells you about himself and every single word he mouths is so tastefully articulated that it almost sounds as if he is reciting 13th-century Persian poetry. Those three hours wits him is something that you happens when miss Ordinary makes love with mister Wonder and it is just perfect.

We had just that for next six and half months. I was in Finland and he was in India, I was a student and he was a student, he wanted to study at Oxford and be part of the social change that makes this world a better place and I was still uncertain what to do with my life. Continue reading

Stories that restore your faith in humanity

Dear Helsinki,

This morning I woke up to the sound of your tears landing on the roof. I have never seen you as sad I have witnessed you this summer, but you never tell me what is wrong because you do not wish to distress me with what you think are trivial issues. You not telling me what makes you experience this lugubrious colour does not prevent me from feeling concerned for you, my darling. I care for you and I will always worry about you because in the grand scheme of things you are the only who has been there my entire life, even through the most abominable moments where I mistreated you. You never left me and you keep telling me you will never leave me, that you will always love me no matter how apart we would be. And I believe you.

Your melancholia was contagious and I am also wistful, wandering aimlessly in my mind. Irrational thoughts spiced with gloomy despair have gathered in my head to compete in the world championships but the opening ceremony has been delayed, because I am struggling to give in to the solicitous sorrow. I am not too sure how long I can resist any longer and perhaps that is the reason I write you this letter; I have been thinking about writing about love and compassion of strangers for so long, but there is always something else that requires my attention so I never got around it. I did not want to think of too much about the morose speculation that seems to have made a reservation in mind for this week, so I think right now is the perfect time to tell you a couple of moments that have strengthened my faith in humanity and made the world look so much more beautiful than she already is. To remind you of it. And to remind myself.

I do not think I told you but I work two jobs presently. The mornings I spend in the office working on human rights reports among other administrative and office work that requires little interaction with the people. After seven hours there I go to my father’s shop to do three hour shift; my dad has traveled to India and my mother is unable to stand in the shop for twelve hours every day so I agreed to help them out for three weeks my dad is absent. And I have come to enjoy so immensely because of the few customers that come every night.

We are complete strangers, but yet we ask how we have been doing during the day and get to know about each other’s life, work and even love. It is a wonderful feeling to learn about them; we have never asked names and we will probably never meet outside of the shop, but we have established a special relationship despite the limited space of our interaction. I cannot explain it well. But I am always learning something new about the few customers who spend just a minute longer to learn about me. And that, perhaps oddly, brings joy to me.

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I wrote you some time ago about the kindness of people who were unknown to me, but here are three other stories that have impacted me greatly. There are many more, perhaps even more groundbreaking than the ones I am about to share with you but at the moment these are the tales I keep closest to my heart. I hope you can tell me about your buoyant encounters with strangers because I am certain we all have experienced them. No matter how small the deed, moments like these nurture our souls with the magnanimous love that in the sullen times remind us of how amazing the world is. I think hearing your stories would give me strength to evict the morose speculation in my mind. But here are mine, my dearest. Continue reading

Music blasting in India (June 2015)

Dear Helsinki,

I expected that I would not be able to send you the songs of last month because I had rather patchy access to Internet and I did not know if I could update my scrobbles on beloved last.fm. But it all worked out in the end and here are the artists that controlled my ears last month; the list does not include many new names with a few (major) expectations because did not really have the time (or the Internet) to discover new artists. Regardless I hope there is some pleasure in the songs I am sharing with you now.

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Love that the world loaths

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Dear Helsinki,

Several years I have been fighting for my rights to be recognised. The language of human and fundamental rights have become an integral characteristic in the way I speak to decision-makers, general public and other stakeholders about legalising the love my heart longs for, desperately. I quote significant individuals who have come out in support of the battle I am struggling with, I refer to the international human rights instruments that protect all humans from oppression and discrimination and I compare the situation to other states which have made remarkable advancements. But this time Helsinki, I no longer wish to convince the rest of the world with abstract notions of love, rights and equality. I want to tell you my story. And I wish you to help me understand what it is about my feelings that still today make most of the world shiver with disgust.

I met a man in India a few weeks back. We started conversing on Grindr, an application for gay men to meet each other, and that alone felt strange as I never have a conversation on it. I use it for my own amusement and maybe three or four times a year I actually respond to someone, but his message and profile sparked my interest instantly that I responded without thinking the possible consequences.

We sent each other long messages, getting to know each other and soon enough I discovered myself having a chat with him every single time I had access to Internet. I would stay up until 3am every night, just talking about our lives, dreams that kept us going on, people that we had loved in the past and TV-shows that entertained us. It was effortless as if you had been discussing with a person who had known you the entire lifetime. Without realising I had let all my guards down with him, I had allowed him to enter my life and to access all parts of it without a hint of caution. My heart had not experienced such a magnitude of attraction and desire in years and she yearned to have more of the infatuation.

He had asked me a few times if I was able to visit Chandigarh, the city where he lived. I had been planning to travel there before we had started to talk, but then I realised it was four hour drive down to the mountains and as I was with my family my freedom was constrained. My lungs were thirsty to see him and the crippling thought of not seeing paralysed my entire body. Just a week before I was leaving the town, he found a compromise that worked for both of us: we would meet in Solan that was two hour ride away for both of us and have a coffee there. It was not much, but it was all we could have and I was willing to take it even though I was certain that the moment that meeting was over, the yearning for him would intensify conspicuously. Continue reading