Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Fire and Ice

On 19th of August was the Finnish fireworks championship. The 1855 bombardment of Sveaborg (Soumenlinna Fireworks with the moon in the backgroundIsland) barely touched Helsinki (but for a couple overshot shells), and the population even gathered on hills to watch the dramatic 'fireworks'. This event refers to the bombing of Viapori, when the English and French navies bombed Suomenlinna (Viapori) while Finns watched on from the hills of Kaivopuisto Park. The best places for watching the Finnish Fireworks Championships are along the coasts of Kaivopuisto and Katajanokka, as well as the end of Hernesaari Island. The fireworks this year started at 10:30 pm, strategically timed with a full moon night. As I prepared to reach the venue I was 'shell-shocked' to see the crowd accumulated at the tram stop. For a place like Helsinki, that's quite a sight. Suddenly there were too many ppl, more than the tram stop could accumulate, forget the tram itself. I realised just how much out of touch I had been with jostling around in crowds. As the feeling of inadequacy started creeping in, it got overpowered by my natural skills honed particularly by travelling in DTC buses. Out came an arm clutching my handbag under it, the zipped side firmly against my person, my unduly long plait in front of me rather than behind as it has a tendency of getting stuck in zippers (of bags all ye perverts) in the most painful The full moon nightmanner. At long last the tram made its way through crowds in its way, to the stop itself. I could see people packed in like sardines. As luck would have it, the tram stopped with its doors right in front of me and I felt like I was drowning in a sea of scurrying (make that jostling) mice. I somehow made it into the tram, well versed with situations like this and held onto the first handrest I could get my hands on. I couldnt fathom just where all these ppl were going. A lit up islandIt was unusually crowded even for a weekend, and then I realised that they were all headed to watch the fireworks near the harbour. Unfortunately I had the daunting task of getting off somewhere in between and not at the destination, where I would have just flowed out with the rest of the human mass. Experience has taught me to start making my way much before the stop arrives and that's what I did. After getting together with some of my colleagues, we all started walking in the direction that we saw the crowds going in.

The harbour looked beautiful, bathed in the full moon light. The water of the Bathed in the full moon lightBaltic sea gleamed and the *huge* moon peered down. I had heard that the moon is supposed to be as big as a thaali in these parts of our planet compared to the katori in our parts, and I saw it too. Swarms of people crowded around, drinking beer and generally picnicking (something they do a lot, anytime, anywhere). In sometime, the population explosion was replaced by the fireworks explosion. The crowd gasped collectively. "Poor mites", I thought as I remembered the diwali crackers back home and concentrated more on the huge thaali sized full moon, not so readily available back home. After enjoying the fireworks display, we enjoyed the huge moon and the glistening ocean, by sitting atop a hill in Kaivopuisto Park, far away from streetlights. No photography can justify the beauty of that moment.Traffic jam at midnight
Getting back was an adventure in itself. After waiting for about half an hour for a tram which was already more than half an hour late, I decided to walk till the station from where I got my connecting bus at 12:45am, back to my apartment. Anything to get away from that place which reeked so much of beer that I felt giddy myself. I felt as if I had had two cans of beer by just inhaling the fumes all around. Walking ahead, I witnessed a traffic jam at midnight probably because the majority of the population was concentrated at the harbour. I made it to the station, just in time to catch the 12:45am bus. There was a long queue for the bus, full of people acting stupid and drunk. I stood a little distance away from the queue, also wondering how I would ever secure a seat for myself for a 45 minute journey when everyone seemed to be going in that very bus. The bus arrived shortly and for the second time that day, it stopped right where I was standing and the doors opened right infront of me. Amused to the core, I stepped in, before another jostling session would have pushed me in.
After I got home, I reflected back on the full moon glory. The beauty of that black and white moment - the dark water and the bright full moon would remain a memory for all times to come.

16 Comments:

At 7:10 AM, August 31, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lovely post!

-M

 
At 7:32 PM, August 31, 2005, Blogger Finnpundit said...

I made it to the station, just in time to catch the 12:45am bus. There was a long queue for the bus, full of people acting stupid and drunk. I stood a little distance away from the queue, also wondering how I would ever secure a seat for myself for a 45 minute journey when everyone seemed to be going in that very bus.

A nanny-welfare state decides that all its citizens must be home at a certain hour, so as to not encourage excessive drinking and merrymaking. Thus all public transportation ends at a certain hour, and taxicabs are regulated so as to keep prices high for their use.

Contrast that to New York, where public transportation runs 24 hours (so as to accommodate a 24 hour economy) and there is a line of reasonably-priced taxis waiting to pick up people right at the door of any nightclub or bar... at 4 o'clock in the morning.

 
At 8:16 PM, August 31, 2005, Anonymous Ash said...

Lovely ! Good to hear you're enjoying yourself :)

 
At 10:16 PM, August 31, 2005, Blogger Twilight Fairy said...

Thanks M!

Finn Pundit, but there *is* transport till late at night, except for 2 hours in between! Well, AFA excessive drinking is concerned, seems that nanny-welfare state policy isnt helping much :p :). But that's ok, as long as ppl don't harm themselves or others during their merry making..which does happen to be the case, otherwise I wouldnt be out alone at that time of the night.

Yeah Ash, why dont you come over? :)

 
At 7:17 AM, September 01, 2005, Blogger Patrix said...

Fireworks competition sounds interesting...we have have just one measly fireworks display once a year. BTW be careful about inviting Ash over, she might just drop by tomorrow :)

 
At 6:57 PM, September 01, 2005, Blogger johnny boy said...

Heyyy fairy...
That was really nice.... Good to know that you brought home a lot of lovely memories with you!! cool...
Talking about fireworks, the place where I come from, kerala, has some absolutely amazing fireworks displays! Especially when they have these special pooja's in temples and church festivals. Its awesome, if u get a chance, do come down, and watch it!!!

 
At 9:14 AM, September 02, 2005, Blogger Pallavi said...

hahahh The moon looks like a thali in Kovalam and Kanya Kumari too..its huge and beautiful..... LOL crowded trains... I am sure you felt being on familiar ground for a moment.. LOL...

 
At 9:15 AM, September 02, 2005, Blogger Pallavi said...

and yes I do read Tarot cards... :)

 
At 11:06 PM, September 02, 2005, Blogger Twilight Fairy said...

Yeah Patrix, I know.. and in that too, you arent allowed to light crackers but just watch the display!
About Ash, well she's most welcome and so are you :)

Johnny boy, havent seen displays in Kerala, but I believe most crackers are manufactured in some village out there..or was it TamilNadu..

Pallavi, I have been to both these places, and believe me the moon is *quite* big and very low.. now I know what a pie in the sky means :)
and Tarot cards..you are tempting me now :)

 
At 9:28 PM, September 03, 2005, Blogger johnny boy said...

You are talking about 'Sivakasi' which is in Tamil Nadu... :)

 
At 10:27 PM, September 09, 2005, Blogger Twilight Fairy said...

yeah you right Johnny, that's the place :)

 
At 5:18 PM, September 14, 2005, Blogger Saltwater Blues said...

hey TF, glad to see u having such a great time in Finland.

btw, Nokia phones udhar sasta hai kya?

warm regards, SwB

 
At 10:02 PM, September 14, 2005, Blogger Twilight Fairy said...

Hi Swb, first time here I see :)
No, Nokia phones are cheaper back home. There's more variety here, but exhorbitant prices..at max kabhee kabhee sale mein outdated models thode kam kar ke they come to Indian rates.

 
At 3:17 PM, September 27, 2005, Anonymous amit said...

yellowwwwww ji .... went thru the posts after some time... to repeat the words :hmmmm u seem to b enjoyin a lot there ..great... crowded trams ..dont get me started.. i can sing songs about jam packed mumbai locals if u wanna hear them ;-)
fireworks...u said it right...nothing beats diwali back home ..sounds and lights bonanza...the snaps r great and sooperb.. here to moon is too small even to b compared to a katori :-P

 
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