Murmeli goes India

An AIESEC traineeship in Hyderabad, India

Bye bye

The time of departure is slowly approaching. Tomorrow at about 9PM Finnish time I’ll be landing in Hyderabad with Pike. I told a friend of mine yesterday that I’m not really worried. I also told that I’m fully (?) aware of the conditions there, so it is not that I would be going there with false assumptions or high hopes. It will be hot, polluted, traffic is ridicilous, there is a big chance that my stomach will protest against the all new cuisine and I don’t know what to expect from the work I’ll be doing. Despite all this I’m looking forward to the whole thing. More about that at the end of this post.

Nice group pictureI had one more meeting with my friends two nights ago in Kortepohja at Henna’s place. It was a really nice event indeed. We just talked for a few hours about India, China, football, music, Mexico… I liked it. We had some blueberry pie, tiger cake and rum tee and, lastly, goodbye hugs for desert. I don’t hate goodbyes that much really… I think they are important. It is also important to say goodbye approriately. What is the last thing you say to a friend before you go makes a difference. Or the discussion you have at the end, that’s important. Imagine if you first say goodbye, you give a hug and all that and then your friend asks you to take the garbage out and you say OK and they you say bye to each other… Damn, what an anti-climax.

A friend of mine gave me this book yesterday, River of Gods, by Ian McDonald. It takes place in India at the time of the 100th anniversary of its independence (so that’s 2047 for those of you who don’t know). My friend told me how excellently the book portrays the many faces of India. There are all kinds of people from all the different social classes living together in something that can only be described as a brilliant mess. For a foreigner that can be exhaustive, scary, fascinating and mind-boggleging, all at the same time. I wonder how the natives see it… I would like to find that out while I’m there, but it is a task that may just be too much for me.

Last night was the last night for me at the cottage until who knows when. So I naturally tried to make the most of it. However, after a few hours I realised that you just can not take sauna enough to make up for at least six months of saunalesness. The weather was, again, excellent last night. After sunset there was hardly any wind at all, birds were chirping, the mist was beginning to take over the lake and there were no disturbing sounds, apart from the infrequent and distant roars of lorries from a distant highway.

I went swimming at about 11PM. Afterwards I just stood there on the sandy shore, as naked as on the day I was born, only with a towel on my shoulders keeping away most of the chill. I was just listening to the birds, looking at the sky, the mist and the water. I could feel a mosquito stinging my left buttock but I didn’t care, as this was Finnish summer at its best and I was experiencing it for the last time before going away.

I went back to the sauna and stayed there for a good two more hours or something. After having had enough (yeah, right…) I reluctantly receeded to the shower. I opened the door to get some air into the bathroom and cool myself down. There I was, taking a shower with the door open, a view at the lake, birds chanting and a cool breeze I could feel all the way down to my… well you get the picture. After washing myself I walked to the doorstep. I stood there at the door, inhaling that excellent summer night air and wearing not even a towel… and that’s when I thought to myself: “Fuck, I’ll never be able to do this in Hyderabad.”

Because of all that being-in-the-flow and experiencing-this-and-that-for-the-last-time I even forgot to open the latest edition of Tuulilasi magazine I had brought with me. It has a special report on the winter driving abilities of a Porsche Cayman. Yeah, I think that counts as one of those Western vanities that are more or less nonexistent in India. Still… India has its upper class and it must strike out in a land with 300 million poor. So if there’s someone there who owns a new, Finnish-made Cayman, I’ll surely witness it.

On the way back from the cottage I passed our many cows who were dining on the fields, probably also engaging in sophisticated cow-talk about the weather and which field has the best grass. Someone has said that gazing at cows should make you feel relaxed. I think that’s true. I touched the head of one our cows. I’ve done that many times of course, spending all my childhood on this farm. In a couple of days I’ll be seeing a lot of cows in an environment that is clearly not the right place for these peace-loving and grass-eating animals. These ultra-modern city cows I’ll come face to face with are considered holy by the Hindu and therefore no one dares to kill them. They are everywhere in India with a total of 400 million of them in the country. Since it is hard to find food to feed all these cows they wander to the cities. Sometimes their owners actually drive them into the cities on purpose. (Culture Smart India) If that was in USA one might suspect those people were fishing for a hefty lawsuit… “City versus Cow”, or something. Anyways… I won’t be able to carry that scent of a cow in my fingertips all the way to India. You have to admit that it could make a good first impression, right? But, frankly speaking, I don’t think there is a way to bribe Indians into liking you. They value honesty, friendlyness, working hard, patience and respecting their country with its traditions and even with all of its suffering and misery. So better leave that t-shirt with a picture of a cow at home.

This is the last posting I’ll do in Finland. I don’t know when I’ll be able to do the next one. I hope that will already contain a couple of pictures from Hyderabad. I think I’ll be just fine. I think this will be a mind-blowing experience. I just… I just want everything I have here to remain the same. I can feel comfortable about going anywhere for any period of time as long as I can feel that there is something I can come back to. People, places, things, interests, passions. But the people are the most important. If there are people there are passions. With passions you get interests. The places are what the people make of them. And the things become irrelevant.

Right now I have that comforting feeling of belonging somewhere, despite going far away for an undetermined period of time and having left my flat in Jyväskylä. But I have the people there. I have the people and also a place here in Hankasalmi, and from this place I am today embarking on the longest, craziest, most challenging and most likely the most rewarding trip I’ve ever taken.

Bye bye.


June 30, 2006 - Posted by | Leaving Finland


  1. Have a safe flight, have fun and enjoy your time.

    Comment by Tuukka | July 1, 2006 | Reply

  2. I went swimming at about 11PM. Afterwards I just stood there on the sandy shore, as naked as on the day I was born, only with a towel on my shoulders keeping away most of the chill. I was just listening to the birds, looking at the sky, the mist and the water. I could feel a mosquito stinging my left buttock but I didn’t care…

    You know, you’d make a great novelist… what a talent of description!

    I guess where you are now you will experience constant sauna just walking outdoors, so probably you won’t miss it that badly.

    I hope you’ve got settled ok by now and can soon share some news and pics from your first experiences! 😀

    Comment by Tanjuska | July 2, 2006 | Reply

  3. I laughed when I read your comment about saying goodbye and taking out the garbage, because Pike and I took the garbage out right before we said goodbye to each other outside Kantsu flat on the last evening (when you were in Kantsu too). But it was not an anti-climax, because life doesn’t stop there when you say goodbye. You’ll meet the people again, whether it’ll be next to the same garbage boxes or somewhere else. (Well, hopefully in a nicer place next time… 😉 There is always some pressure to say nice and smart things when you say goodbye to someone, but I feel that the important thing is to just be yourself.

    Well, I’m looking forward to reading stories from India. You have a cool way of writing. By the way, why doesn’t your blog show on what day you posted each story? The comments are dated, but the actual postings are not.

    Have a great time in India!

    Comment by Krista | July 4, 2006 | Reply

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