Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Helsinki as I saw it

I have to start with this -
I have always had trouble in placing my carry on bag in the overhead bin, thanks to my height and strength! So most of the time I have travelled alone it's some guy who helps me put it up but this time in the Frankfurt to Helsinki flight when I lifted my bag as if I needed no help (I do this every time :D) and after it was evident that I needed help, I saw a lady get up and say "I'll get that" and she put the bag up there and smiled beautifully and took her seat. I thanked her with a big grin and my joy knew no bounds.
Then it was not difficult to notice that in Helsinki women were less hesitant than men. It also looked like most of the jobs that needed interaction with people frequently were taken by women. Later my colleague put it rightly that in Finland women socialized more than the men.

Next the weather -
Almost all the days I was in Helsinki it was bright and sunny. It was cold, yes, the lowest temperature was around -32 deg Celsius but it never was gloomy. The fresh snow and the brilliant sun was a perfect combination to brighten the mood. And there was Sauna to beat the cold anyway.

And then the people -
I have always thought these Finns are wonderful people, based on my interaction with a whole bunch of them at work and of course because I was a big fan of Kimi before I interacted with any Finns. A trip to Helsinki only confirmed that, they are simply nice and honest. Maybe the Finns in Helsinki are rawer. That's probably why I saw a guy cycling at -7 deg Celsius (and it was dark already) or why a taxi driver knew so much about Nokia, mobile platforms, Meego, Apple and the ecosystem they created etc. or why it looked safe for people to walk around the bus loop at 2:00 am in the night or why an elderly man tapped on my shoulder and asked if I was okay when I was sitting on a couch in a mall (I was all tired and jetlagged).
And then there were my friends from Bangalore, it was great to meet up with them and spend time talking like there was no tomorrow. And as a cherry on top I had the pleasure of sharing my trip with this gentleman from Vancouver who I call an-unusual-Finn as he can talk more than me!

And their art -
Like the people their art was also raw, honest, straight and some were brutal too, specially the contemporary art in Kaisma (Sara's Ekstrom's Limbus was on exhibit there). Ateneum had the Illusions of reality with the theme of paintings being the realities of a modern society and everyday lives of people.

And finally the roads -
It was so hard to walk on those slippery roads, it demanded my full attention. It almost felt like they were saying this - Stop running towards something all the time, do some justice to me, look at me, be with me, walk with care! And I did appreciate those roads in more ways than I imagined :)


Ratna Rao said...

lovely post, great pictures... who is kimi?

Rashmi said...

Beautifully written. Love the alternative look on things. Someday you should pen a travelogue.


shrivatsa said...

really nice article, all my old memories of helsinki intact, though not the art connoisseur part ;). I still love that quiet charm of the place, maybe tampere a bit more.

The taxi driver, he may well have been one of the ppl laid off by Nokia in the recent reorgs :(.

ashwini bharadwaj said...

Ratna aunty,
Thanks much :)
Kimi used to be a formula 1 driver, well known was racing flat out :) Kimi Raikkonen is his full name.

Thank you dearie :)

Ratna aunty and Rashmi, I am glad you both liked it as it means much coming from you two excellent writers!

Thanks kaNo and glad it brought back good memories :)
And thankfully no, the taxi driver said he was a photographer.