Sunday, July 20, 2014

My Stockholm Diary - 9

Our trip to Stockholm, as usual, is full of social interaction over lunches and dinners. The current good summer days have made our visit all the more enjoyable. Apart from eating and socializing, walks in the lap of nature and visits to water fronts in and around Stockholm keep us busy. We are extremely happy. Stockholm generally is a bubbling city on friday evenings accept the month of July. In July-August, people, almost 5 million and half of total population, tend to go out on Semester (vacations) which an important activity of Swedish life.

We relished a good family dinner with First Secretary of the Indian Embassy Bimla Chander on July 16. We had known each other since long. Her father Pritam Chand, who was my colleague in the MEA, was a good friend. We availed of the occasion to revive the memories of our association. Before the dinner, we enjoyed the scenic beauty of the Häggvik lake in Danderyd.

On July 18, Damini and Naresh Lakhwani, family friends of Naresh and Anju, treated us to a sumptuous dinner at an Indian restaurant Rajdoot. Rajdoot is owned and run by a fellow Jalandhari Rajinder. I found Damini and Naresh Lakhwani a perfect couple as ´made for each other´. They were fully reverential towards us which we appreciate with gratefulness. Naresh Lakhwani is an established business person in Stockholm with a fully supportive and gracious lady Damini. We wish them all the best in the years to come.  During our stay in Stockholm in the first half of 1990s, there were only a few Indian restaurants. But it seems Indian food is increasingly getting accepted. I am told that now there are more than 100 Indian restaurants in Stockholm alone. These are own mostly by Bangladeshis like the UK.

Today, July 19, is a good day of sun shine and occasional drizzling. Naresh,s friends and yet another hospitable family around invited us for ´Sukhmani Sahib´ path at their spacious house. It was very good for my mind and soul, away from home in India. It is a beauty of our cultural roots that we carry our faith and spirituality with us even to foreign lands. Inderpal Singh, a young man from Ludhiana, not only recited the Sukhmani Sahib path but also sang Gurbani on harmonium - ´Mil mere pritma jiiyo´ & Áukhi ghadi na dekhan deyin´. It was a pleasant surprise. Bibi Manjit Kaur enthralled the Sangat (audience) with melodious and all meaningful Sabad-Kirtan (singing of Gurbani). It is believed that Sukhmani Sahib´s path has the latent and potent spirit of bringing in Sukh (happiness and well -being) all around. 

Nanak ne jis chaman mein vehdat ka geet gaya,
Mera watan wahi hai, mera watan wahi hai.

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