Books and music and TV shows

Dear Helsinki,

This evening was the first day since I landed to your feet a month ago from India when I had almost absolutely nothing planned. After work I had all the time in my hands just to enjoy the beaming sun that has been visiting you for a couple of days and go to my favourite bookstore. I love that place. I discovered myself wondering around the shelves for hours and before I realised it was almost closing.

I bought four books: Intersecting Voices by Iris Marion Young, one of the best political philosophers I have read. Then my hands discovered Frances Harrison’s Still Counting the Dead that is about the survivors of Sri Lanka’s civil war. The third book is The City of Devi by Manil Suri; I am somewhat obsessed with fiction set in India, so this seemed to be a good option. The last book is a collection of essays by Finnish politicians, academics and journalists about the role of the EU in van-guarding human rights. I was not planning to buy any books; usually I leave a bookstore with a couple of notebooks that I never use, but they had amazing sales now and the four books costed me just 10 euros. I am tempted to go there tomorrow evening again. Continue reading

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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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Eurovision & kindness from strangers

Dear Helsinki,

Last weekend I hosted a Eurovision party that simultaneously served as a celebration of me turning one year older and also as a housewarming. It was a brilliant success, not just because of realising what amazing friends I have here in Helsinki but also because I discovered what tender kindness exhilarates in the neighbourhood that I am blessed enough to call home since April.

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On Friday I posted on a local Facebook group a request and the response I received exceeded the imagination I have. Notifications popped on my iPhone like there was no tomorrow; within hours random strangers donated me decorations that they no longer needed, lent me their disco balls so I could throw a party so that my friends who disliked Eurovision would not be able to hide their excitement and even those who could not offer me anything wished me best of luck with organising the event and asked to see photos from the party. Continue reading

Happiness, oh dear the happiness I have experienced

Dear Helsinki,

I turned 26-years-old last week. My birthday is not my most favourite event of the year, particularly because I have never enjoyed growing older and each time the day takes place I seem to look back at my life and wonder all the things that I was supposed to achieve but still have not accomplished. I build so many expectations for my birthday and set the bar so high that I have rarely been able to enjoy the day the way I should.

But this year it has been different; for the first time I decided to let go and embrace the amazing things I have in life. I have been blessed with an amazing loving family, I have friends who love me like regardless of my flaws, I have a job where I feel I make a difference, I still travel and experience new countries that keep capturing my hearts and let us not forget all TV-shows that take me another place whenever needed.

I might have not published my debut novel yet or visited all the countries in the world or in love with a person who loves me back, but I am not worried or anxious either as I would be on my birthday. Rather I am happy with the abundance of great things I have in life and I am certain I will continue to doing great stuff this year as well, not just because I am an amazing person but also because I have lovely people supporting me on my journey.

Letting go is perhaps one of the hardest thing to do, at least for me but last week it finally happened and I had perhaps the most splendid birthday week one could ever imagine. Without expectations and with unsuspected events I experienced this comforting feeling of happiness that gently embraced my soul. Not only I enjoyed the world beneath my feet, but I also took a full advantage of all the treasures yielded in my life.

I visited cherry blossom celebrations that I have yearned to see for a couple of years now, but always missed for apathetic excuses that you make when you wish to skip a class. Visiting your Eastern suburbs where the pink flowers beamed against the blue sky and presenters spoke both in Finnish and Japanese kindled a feeling of belonging to a world without borders. Then the sky became grey and it poured rain, but my friend and I decided to cherish the situation and take pleasure in watching the art of melancholic Japanese dance. Continue reading