Contrasts – Part två

So after 8 months in Sweden, I finally visited my home in India. The first time I noticed a difference in the two places was during my stop over in  Abu Dhabi. In the Arlanda airport in Stockholm, there is just one person on the ground who checks your boarding pass before you enter the flight. When I got off at Abu Dhabi, there were at least 10-15 people waiting for me. This included some cleaning staff, a couple of people with walkie talkies and a couple of people in-charge of the bus. The contrasts in the value of labour was the first thing that struck me. Industries in Sweden always consider the cost of labour. Labour is really expensive here. In contrast, in India most families have a maid and a cook. Its one of the first things I noticed. Then as soon as I entered the Abu Dhabi airport, I noticed there were people to guide you and show you directions. haha. It felt very strange. And it was very crowed as well. It felt a lot like India, even though I hadnt even reached India.

I also happened to attend a StudyinSweden event that happened in Bombay. There I met a Swedish girl from Kiruna, one of the northern most parts in Sweden, who studied in KTH and went on to do her MBA from IIT Bombay and has settled in Bombay now! It was absolutely fantastic to see each other adjusting to the countries. Me learning swedish and she learning hindi. She trying not to be cheated by auto rickshaws and me trying to get accustomed to using google maps everywhere. She was boasting about having a cook and a maid while I was getting bored of my own cooking and found it a royal pain to clean my own room! She had started calling older people ‘uncles and aunties’ while I had stopped calling people uncles and aunties. We both have hardly spent time away from our home countries and just by having the shortest of conversations we could see how much we’ve changed.

Another thing I noticed in India was people talking on the streets! It was insaane. Taxi drivers, shop keepers, people walking by everyone seems to be talking! People dont talk so easily in Sweden. It was also really cool to notice, people were way more expressive on the streets. I could clock pictures like these:


This is something I miss in Sweden. Maybe in the summer people will be out more and there would be more expressions to capture, but the chaos in India paints such a vast canvas that at any given moment there are so many things to notice and capture. Also SO colourful!

To end, here are two cycles from Bombay and Stockholm :


A Post Script goodie: A strange thing happened on the subway yesterday. A middle aged lady smiled at me. I smiled back, and for the shortest moment we both felt happy, I guess. We were standing and the subway was crowded. Next I did not know what to do. Of course, the smile was fun but neither of us wanted to talk or converse. What to do if our eyes met again? Smile again? Talk? Next moment we trying the hardest not to look at each other haha. Looking up, down everywhere but at each other. I even thought I should just get off the subway. It was so awkward. hahaha. I told my friend this incident and he replied ‘You are now Swedish’

Part 1 –


Written by Raghuraman

08 May 2015