Sunday, April 21, 2013

Unknown Relations

As the title of this post says sometimes we don’t know what to name some relations or can we actually call them as relations? In our day to day life we come across many strangers, we forget most of them because we do not see them often but sometimes we remember some faces. Faces of those who come across regularly in our day to day life. It is not necessary that these people are our friends, colleagues because with them you interact.

They can be any one or two out of all who boards the same bus/train as you do every day or just a person who runs a shop which you pass every day.

You don’t speak or interact to them but you see them everyday,you don’t even pass a small smile across to say silent hello on seeing each other every next day but your eyes start searching for that person if you don’t see him/her in your daily schedule and you start wondering about their reason of absence and assume it yourself. You don’t do anything about it because it doesn't matter to you at all but again your eyes start looking for him/her the very next day just to mark his/her presence.

Some times it happens that you don’t see that person for a week or two and then suddenly seeing him/her makes you willing to ask if everything is all right and why he/she was not coming but you did not do it. You just get a kind of strange satisfaction and the day to day journey continues. If the person doesn’t show up any longer then you just don’t care and forget him/her.

So, can we give such unnamed relations any name? I guess, no they are just Unknown relations. Btw, do you have any such relations?

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Tips and Guide for Linkoping, Sweden

I came here in Feb 2013 and I am writing this post based on my personal experience and all information provided by the fellow Indians who are living here since long time (a big thanks to them) to help people who are coming from India or nearby countries of India. I have tried to put the smallest details here but if you have any questions then please don’t hesitate to ask through comments.

1. How to arrive in Linkoping.
2. Preparing for travel.
3. Banks in Linkoping.
4. Local commutation.
5. Vegetarian Restaurants.
6. Shopping Stores.
7. Doctors and Medicine.
8. Finding an apartment.
9. Swedish for immigrants.
10.Swedish social insurance agency.
11. Getting your personal number.
12. Getting an contract phone.
13. General monthly expenditure.
14. Some useful links.
15. Electricity contracts.
16. Driving License.
17. Jobs.

1. How to arrive in Linkoping:

I know, the obvious answer is through Flight but I am going to tell you a cost effective way. Try to look for flight to Stockholm from New Delhi or Mumbai and then take train or bus from Stockholm to Linkoping. Turkish airlines offers much cheaper tickets to Stockholm as compared to KLM and Air France.

You can come to Linkoping through Amsterdam or Copenhagen by KLM or Air France airline but it will cost you more. Actually, Linkoping airport receives flights only from KLM and Air France.

There is a direct train to Linkoping from Stockholm Arlanda airport and direct bus to Linkoping from Stockholm bus central.
So, choose your cost effective way.

2. Preparing for Travel:

It is advisable to keep the following things for Sweden before leaving India:-

1. A good jacket, woollen skull cap, hand gloves and muffler. I will suggest to buy a woodland jacket. It works like wonder here. Overcoat also works but jacket is more easy and insulates you from every single point from where cold or wind can enter inside.

2. Shoes:
   For Men: Leather shoes, I will recommend for Woodland. It works here. You may also like 
   to buy high neck shoes for winters.

   For Women: Boots with flat heel. Boots with high heels will make them tired soon
   because if you do not have any vehicle here then the only option you have is to walk.

   For Both: Keep a pair of sport shoes as it will help you in spring and summers for walking.

3. Sweaters: I would like to recommend you to not to put your many or heavy sweaters because when you will go out then you can not survive only in your sweater, you have to wear jacket but once you are inside any building then you will not be able to tolerate your sweater or even your jacket. There is always warm inside with the help of heaters.

4. Travel card: I recommend to take a SEK travel card which you can buy from any HDFC bank or Axis bank branch in India. It helps a lot while doing shopping here and if you are not going to have some cash in your hand during your initial days then it will work for you like wonder. The SEK card from HDFC bank is much cheaper, they charge card issuance fees as Rs 125 while Axis bank charge card issuance fees as Rs 250.

In Sweden, every shop retailer has card machines as Swedish government is targeting to stop hard cash flow of lately. If you are planning to bring Euros in cash and get it convert in to SEK from money exchanger then please keep in mind that there is no money exchanger at Linkoping airport but if you are coming through Stockholm then you can find one there.

5. Travel Insurance: If you are coming here for long time then it may take some time for your personal number to arrive and with out personal number or co-ordination number you will not be able to have any medical assistance here, so, its better to take your own travel insurance for say 1-2 month from ICICI Lombard or Bajaj Alliance ( these two are going good these days) but don’t spend too much on them.

6. Medicines: Bring some medicines with you for emergency purpose. You can bring 3 months medicines with doctors subscription and put them in check in bag, generally no body checks about it but why to take chance. Do remember to put first aid small essentials like band aids, cotton, antiseptic tubes etc.

7. If you are Indian food lover than it is highly recommended to bring pressure cooker and a kadhai for deep frying. You will not find them here easily and if you get them then they are very expensive.

In Linkoping, there are no gas burners, hot plates are used so bring your utensils with flat bottom surface.

8. Grocery items for initial days. Put everything in Checkin bag and everything will pass through.

3. Banks in Linkoping:

Only Handelsbanken has Internet banking in English among other banks. Nordea bank has their mobile application in English.

Handelsbanken has no yearly charge for Internet banking as other banks has around 250 SEK/year or 39 SEK/month. Handelsbanken charges SEK 250/year for your Visa based ATM cum debit card.

Opening an bank account is a job of 15 minutes but for that you should have your personal number and Swedish ID card (it costs SEK 400). Most of the bank will not open an account for you if you don’t have an personal number and Swedish ID card but Handelsbanken can open an account for you with your personal number and your passport as identity but they will not provide internet banking un till you give them copy of Swedish ID card however you can use their Swedish mobile phone banking application.

4. Local Commutation:

For local commutation you can walk, use bicycle or take bus. You can find more information about city buses from All buses originates and ends at Resecentrum which is the central point of Linkoping, the bus station and Linkoping central train station are connected with each other.

You can not buy tickets in the bus so you have to obtain a bus card from their office at Resecentrum/Linkoping central station. First time card issuance fee is SEK 20 and you can recharge it with any amount. You can use single card for a family of four.

They have below classification for the fare amount:

For Age between 7-25: Youth, fare is SEK 12
For Age between 26-69: Adult, fare is SEK 19
For Age above 70: Old, fare is SEK 12
For Family: fare is SEK 34

Note: Once you punch the card in bus then you can travel at many places or change buses between the first hour, all you need to do is to just punch your card every time you board a bus. If you are still under first one hour then machine will give green signal otherwise it will give red signal and then you have to do take tickets again.

Ex: Suppose you boarded the bus at 10:00 AM then you can change the bus and go to other place in the same price till 11:00 AM. However, after 11:00 AM if you board the bus then you have to again swipe your bus card to purchase ticket.

5. Vegetarian Restaurants:

If you are a vegetarian then you don’t have to worry much, you will get limited vegetarian options in restaurants here.

1. Mc Donalds:  Mc Donalds have vegeterian options in all over Sweden. You will get Mc Bean burger and Mc Veggie wrap (Similar to Paneer wrap in India). They use Kidney bean (Rajma) tikki instead of Aaloo tikki. You can find many outlets in Linkoping.

2. Pizza Hut: There is only one outlet of Pizza hut present in Linkoping and that is near Tornby Centrum. You can take bus number 10 from Resecentrum to IKEA and walk from there or you can take bus number 1 from Resecentrum to Skaggetorp and walk from there.

Pizza hut offers good options for vegetarian pizzas, they also have vegetarian Salad options.

3. Yogi: The only Indian restaurant which is present in down town at Platensgatan 5.
Despite of only Indian restaurant in city it does not has good reviews for Indian food.

4.Tapas: at Sparregatan 5 You will get good vegetarian options but its not Indian.

5. Meze: Its a completely vegetarian Lebanese restaurant

6. Burger King: They keep vegetarian burgers.

7. Max: Its an Swedish version of Mc Donalds and you will get vegetarian burger.

8. Subway: Vegetarian Sandwich named as Veggie Biff is available in Subway.

9. Spicy India: Another Indian restaurant located in food court of Skaggetorp centrum

6. Shopping Stores:

6.1 Stores where you can buy Furniture and general house hold stuff:

1. IKEA: Provides the most cheapest furniture, kitchen utensils, textiles and many other things. Check

2. Rusta: A big General store. Check

3. Biltema: This store is a house for all mechanical things like electronics, bicycles, tyres, hardware etc. Check

4. Coop Forum: A big General store.

6.1.1 Second hand stores:

5. Myrorna: A second hand store. People donate their used things in this store which is sold at cheapest price and the money goes to Salvation Army of Sweden. You can get used stuff but in good condition like Sofa, furniture, textiles, clothing at non beatable price. Its good for buying furniture and house hold decorative items. Check

6. Heart to Heart: A second hand store like Myrorna but it is much  bigger as compared to Myrorna. Check

7. Linkopings Stadsmission: an another second hand store at St. Larsgatan 43A,58224 Linkoping. Its across the street to Netto.

8. Erikshjalpen:

6.2 Stores where you can buy general grocery stuff:

The good thing here is that you will get most of the things in terms of vegetables and fruits and one thing to keep in mind is that every store has its own price for the same product,so if you find something expensive in one store then you may like to take a chance to look for that same thing in other grocery store.


This is one of the big grocery store in Sweden and it has several outlets in Linkoping so you can check your near by areas for it. It has its branch in Linkoping downtown near Swedbank.
This store has good variety of vegetables. You can get Indian Mangos and Indian Pickles here.


This is the cheapest store among all Swedish grocery store and it has its several outlets in Linkoping so you can check your near by areas for it. It has its branch in Linkoping downtown near Mc Donalds. Just look around Mc Donalds and you will find it.
If you do not find any vegetable or fruit here then you can visit nearby Hemkop for the same.


It is a general grocery store in Sweden and it has several outlets in Linkoping so you can check your near by areas for it. Its prices are between Hemköp and Netto.


Same as others but one of the expensive grocery store but it has large variety of vegetables and fruits as compared to Hemköp and Netto.

Siam Shop:

It is a Thai shop and it is very near to Hemköp in down town. You can get good and fresh Lady fingers and green chillies from here. They get fresh stock every Wednesday.

6.3 Stores where you can buy Indian grocery stuff:

Salam, Skaggetorp Centrum:

This is an Iranian store,they keep things imported from Pakistan, Iran, Afghanistan and you can find many of the Indian items at good price. This shop is in a big mall which is just in front of Skaggetorp centrum bus stop. You can take bus number 1 from Resecentrum (central bus station) to Skaggetorp and same bus number to Resecentrum. There are one or two people who understands and speaks English.
You can get following things from here:-
  • 5kg/10kg packets of Shakti bhog Aata.
  • 5Kg/10kg packets of Indian Basmati Rice (Unfortunately no Indian brand but few brands from Pakistan which has Indian basmati rice).
  • Haldiram’s namkeens, bhelpuri.
  • Gits instant mix food item like rasmalai, gulab jamun, idli, uttapam mix etc.
  • Gits or Haldiram’s ready to eat food packets.
  • All kind of Indian Masalas, daals, chole (Chick pea), rajma (Kidney Beans).
  • Poha, soozi (Semolina in Swedish), ghee (from one of the Pakistan's Brand).
  • Suzi toast (rusk), Haldiram’s pickles, Sun flower Oil, Indian Tea (Chai patti), Rooh-Afaza.
  • Chicken Tikka Masala and other stuff for Non Vegeterians.
  • Vegetables like Lady finger (Okra in Swedish) and other.
  • All kinds of Dry fruits.
Below is the Salam store layout:-

Days of Operation: Mon-Fri:08-21, Sat: 08-20, Sun:10-19
Tel :+4613176901

Frukt and Nutt, Ryd Centrum:

You can get Indian Masale, daal and other stuff here as well but it is a bit expensive as compared to Salam. I mainly go here to pick Haldiram’s paani puri and namkeens. You will get Poha, soozi and good variety of Haldiram’s Namkeen. This shop is in a mall at ground floor which is just behind the bus stop of Ryd Centrum. It is a fourth or fifth shop from the entrance at left hand side. This shop also has flower shop so you can recognise through it.
You can take bus number 3 from Resecentrum to Ryd Centrum and vice versa.
Tel: +4613172205
Address: Mårdtorpsgatan 27, 584 32, Ryd Centrum, Linkoping.

Stores where you can buy cloths:

Lindex and H&M are two good stores in down town. Go to down town and you will find them.

Stores where you can buy shoes: 

There is a shop called Diechmen in Granden Mall at Down town. Here you will get shoes at reasonable price with lots of variety.

7. Doctor and Medicines:

Once you get your personal number then you will be allotted to a clinic based on your residential area. You can call clinic’s 24 hours number to talk about your problem and take appointment to see the doctor. You have to pay initial amount ~ SEK 1000 in a year and if your expenditure goes beyond that then it is covered automatically by your health insurance. So no more payments in hospital for any kind of hospitalization after SEK 1000.
You will not be able to purchase prescribed medicines with out doctor’s prescription and you will also not get any medicines with your Indian doctor’s prescription. You need to pay ~SEK1200 for medicines in a year after which you will get it for free.

Prescribed Medicines for Children till age of 18 years is free.

8. Finding an apartment:

Well, you will not like the system here for renting an apartment. In Sweden, everything goes on queue system (In most of the stores you will find a token machine in a corner and you need to take your token and wait for your turn) so once your dates of arrival gets finalize register yourself to one of the housing websites to earn queue points. Normally it takes around 3 months for a person to get an apartment on rent. However, the jugaad system is present here in this case. If you ask your employer for it then they might help you in this or if your employer knows any landlord directly then he can help you in making a deal.
Like India, there is no 2 months or 3 months rent as a security amount system here. You just need to pay the rent for next month by 30th or 31st of every month. The house rent normally includes laundry, heating system and sauna bath in it.

Below are the links which may help you in finding an apartment in Linkoping:-

9. Swedish for Immigrants:

SFI is a program run by Swedish government and it is totally free for people who are new and from outside of Sweden. You need to register for it once your personal number arrives.
Note: You can not do anything with out your personal number here.

10. Swedish Social Insurance Agency:

In Swedish it is called as Försäkringskassan  and it is agency which insures that you get your benefits and allowances you are entitled to. The Swedish social insurance covers everyone that lives or works in Sweden. It provides finan­cial protection for families and children, for persons with a disability and in connection with work injury, illness and old age.
Visit this link:

As of now this was all in my mind which I wrote here but I will keep updating this page so keep visiting here.

11. Getting Your Personal Number:

As soon as you arrive in Sweden the first you should do is to get register yourself at Swedish tax office which is Skatteverket This tax office is in downtown, check their website to find exact address.
All you need to do is to take your passport, visa, marriage certificate (in case you are along with your spouse) in originals with you and fill out an form for personal number. They will make copies of your documents and register your request. Your personal number will arrive soon.

12. Getting an Contract Phone:

If you are new in Sweden and you want to purchase a contract phone with one of the phone operators like Telenor, Telia, 3, Tele2 etc than there are different conditions applied by these operators so its better to check with them. Generally, these operators require your stay in Sweden to be minimum six months or sometimes two years before providing you the contract phone, some of them will even ask you for your Swedish ID card.
If you are here to work for more than two years then you can give them your work contract paper and they may give you a contract phone, at least Telenor gave me a contract phone based on my work contract.
You can also buy an smart phone on cash i.e. with out any contract but I would say a big no for that as electronics is much expensive as compared to India, so, its better to buy your smart phone in India and use it here.

13. General Monthly Expenditure:

Well it depends from person to person on how much one likes to go restaurants, shopping and spend money on movies and all but if I have to give a general idea then it generally goes around SEK 15000 to SEK 20000 for a family of two (husband and wife) including monthly house rent, electricity bill, telephone bills, Indian grocery items and two to three times lunch or dinner at restaurants.

Go to Top

14. Some useful websites:   -->   Website for sale and purchase like and in India --> Travel website like and --> A comparison website for comparisons of Insurance, electricity charges etc. --> This is the cheapest airline to go on different places in Europe. --> Online electronic items store.      --> Online electronic items store.          --> Online electronic items store.

15. Electricity Subscriptions:

If your apartment's electricity is not sponsored (if you are working at University and staying in an apartment provided by University then electricity contracts and bills are taken care by University) then you are the one who needs to take up an electricity contract.
In Sweden, electricity is traded like commodity in market so there is always variations in the rates of electricity. Here, two companies are involved to provide electricity in your apartment, one company is responsible for laying down the electricity wiring network and the other company is responsible for sending power to your apartment through electricity wire.
You can choose different between electricity (they call it as Energy in Sweden) providers as they have different rates for per kwh but you can not choose between different electricity wiring network providers.
Every consumer has to pay two bills, a fixed yearly charge for using electric wiring network and your energy/power/electricity bill based on your consumption.
You can use website to see comparisons for consumption charger per kwh provided by different electricity vendors and the electricity price-kwh is normally cheaper during summers and expansive in winters so if you make an contract in summer then you will pay less in winters.
You can go for a contract between three options:-
1. Fixed: The price which you selecting at the time of taking contract will be fixed till the duration of your contract (like for 1 year, 6 months, 3 months etc).
2. Movable: The price will move up or move down according to the daily market rate of electricity.
3. Both: It includes 50% of fixed price and 50% of movable price till the duration of your contract.
If you take a contract for one year then the price/kwh will be less as compared to prices in other options. It may be possible that this is not true always so better you check when you are making an contract.
Two things to keep in mind before making an contract :-
4. Notice period i.e. while making an contract check about the notice period time to be given by you to the electricity provider in case you are changing your electricity provider. It is also advisable that before making an contract with other electricity provider you call your current provider and ask them if they can give you the price/kwh which you are getting from other provider. They don't mind when you take name of other provider.
5. Type of home: If you are living in an apartment then select apartment or select villa. There is always a difference between price/kwh for villa and apartment in which apartment is cheaper then villa.

16. Driving License:

If you are planning to have a car or to drive here then there are three options but the last one is kind of a Jugaad.
1. Before your arrival here take an international driving license from India. It is valid for 1 year in all over Europe.
2. If you are here for long time then you can apply for a driving license here but this option is a costly job. You will first have to apply for a driving course at Traffic School, the driving course takes around 5-6 months and after passing the driving exams you can apply for Swedish driving license.
3. If you are on a contract job here which is longer than 1 year then you can apply for a temporary license through Transport authority and it costs between 600 SEK to 700 SEK. The validity of this temporary license will be till the end of your contract date.

17. Jobs:

Well, this is a tough part here. For getting a job here has a requirement of knowledge of Swedish language. Although, if you know any Swedish person who can refer you then this compulsory thing of Swedish language gets ignored. So Jugaad yahan bhi chalta he.
For part time jobs also they require Swedish language so apply for SFI classes as soon as you arrive here.

PS: There is also an second part available of this post which you may also like to go through, please visit it here

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Life in four suitcases.


I am back here after a long time and this is first time I am writing in this New year 2013.
Well, where was I? I was not very far from Internet but did not felt to write here among lots of things going between December 2012 and March 2013.

Its been two months since we came to Linkoping, Sweden from India, from our home in Noida to a new home here.

From the time we took decision to move out of India suddenly life became very busy, busy in planning various things or I should say it got busy in planning to take our married life in four suitcases that to with the weight limit put by International airlines.

Its strange to realise that life can be moved around in any corner of the world with just four suitcases and yes we moved from one part of world to an another part of world. Its just not moving, its a change of culture, change of language, change of weather, change of environment, change of lifestyle but fortunately no change in food in big manner.

So, we are now kind of settle here but still in planning mode i.e. when we were in India we were planning on how to rearrange or sell our house hold stuff and now we are here so we are planning which household stuff to buy and when. So, this planning mode is going on right from the day we got our Visa to Sweden.

One of the strange thing is that when you are in same country with your family then you don’t interact very frequently but when you go out of country then interaction becomes quite frequent. Till the time I was in Noida My father never did interaction with Whatsapp or Skype  but now these applications are boon to us. Yahan aakar ghar waalon se itni baat hoti he jitni kabhi India me nahin hoti thi. Mom and Dad have become now Skype and Whatsapp experts.

So, things will go on like this till the time we are here, the day we will decide to go back to India I know we will again end up in just four suitcases.

Wo ek dialogue he na kisi film me “Ghar kya he? Jahan aapki family or parivaar ek jagah rehna shuru kar de wohi Ghar he chahe wo kahin bhi ho…. makaan ghar ban hi jaata he”