Solang Valley to Sweden - A Brief Interview With the Indian Junior Ski Team

by Michelle Job20. March 2017 06:00

Last Wednesday, Search Indie was privileged to interview two unsung heroes and their coaches! Alwyn Kanwar and Anil Chand - two of the leading Indian skiers proudly represented India alongside 41 countries at the 2017 FIS Junior World Alpine Skiing Championships that was held at Åre, Sweden! 

Alwyn Kanwar & Anil Chand - Indian Junior Ski Champs at Åre, Sweden. Photo: Bhola Ram

Alwyn Kanwar & Anil Chand - Indian Junior Ski Champs at Åre, Sweden. Photo: Coach Bhola Ram

Seated in the comfy little Indian Street Food & Co Restaurant with the Indian aroma wafting through the air, we asked the players and the coaches what it meant to go after a sport that is rarely spoken about in India. For that they replied, "To pursue Skiing in India requires a lot of perseverance, dedication, hard work and heavy investment from our pockets."

Coach Bhola Ram with the Champs. Photo: Bhola Ram

Coach Bhola Ram with the Champs. Photo: Coach Bhola Ram

Coaches Bhola Ram and Ludar Thakur recall, "We grew up in the scenic Solang Valley of Manali, India. Skiing was a part of our lives. As kids we used to  go to school on wooden skis. It was later when our hometown started getting famous for tourism, we began to see international tourists and the ski equipments they brought along! We then requested our friends and family abroad to buy us professional skis."

Coach Ludhar Thakur with the Champs. Photo: Bhola Ram

Coach Ludhar Thakur with the Champs. Photo: Coach Bhola Ram

"Our love for skiing took us to the National Ski Institute, Gulmarg, Kashmir. After completion of training, we participated in several contests and won laurels. Today, we are privileged to train these two exceptionally talented and passionate sportsmen!"

Coaches Bhola Ram and Ludar Thakur. Photo: Michelle Job Photography

Coaches Bhola Ram and Ludar Thakur. Photo: Michelle Job Photography

Alwyn is a BA Psychology student and Anil is a BSc Computer Science student.They are the leading skiers in the Indian Junior Ski category. They were selected for this year's Junior World Alpine Championships based on their merit and their FIS score. They contested in both the Slalom and the Giant Slalom. Although they did not win the championship, they optimistically shared, "We received a lot of appreciation and encouragement from the European contestants. Meeting other contestants, watching them Ski, exchanging ideas and techniques, gave us a world of exposure!"

Alwyn Kanwar & Anil Chand - Leading Indian Junior Ski Champs. Photo: Michelle Job Photography

Alwyn Kanwar & Anil Chand - Leading Indian Junior Ski Champs. Photo: Michelle Job Photography

"Given the conditions in India - lack of facilities, equipment and financial support from the Indian government, it is extremely challenging to rise to international standards unlike contestants from other nations. Since our mountain slopes are not manually groomed for skiing, we travel to countries like Turkey, Italy and Japan to practice and partake in competitions."

"Except for a very small percentage of financial aid from the International Ski Federation, we do not have any other support. It is our families, who believe in us and our talent, who invest in us!" 

With so many odds against them, we wanted to know what drives them to go after this sport. Alwyn replied, "It is in me. It has been my life. My parents are skiers and it was passed on to me from birth. It is my passion. My everything!"

"Our life's dream and goal is to participate in the Olympics. We are striving our very best. If we could have financial support from the Indian government, adequate recognition and motivation from the Indian media and our countrymen, our dream can come true!"

It was almost time for us to wrap up our interview as the team had an appointment with the honorable Indian Ambassador to Sweden & Latvia, Ms. Monika Kapil Mohta. While we shook hands and conveyed our best wishes for their future, we popped our final question - What does Skiing do to you as a person? What do you feel when you Ski?

"Happiness!" said Anil.

"Joy and peace!" said Alwyn.

"Thrill and joy!" said Coach Ludar.

"Each time I ski on some of the worlds most spectacular slopes, I feel very close to God!" concludes Coach Bhola Ram!

The Indian Junior Ski Team with Honorable Ambassador to Sweden & Lativa, Ms. Monika Kapil Mohta. Photo: Indian Embassy of Sweden

The Indian Junior Ski Team with Honorable Ambassador to Sweden & Lativa, Ms. Monika Kapil Mohta. Photo: Indian Embassy of Sweden

Here are two simple ways in which you can extend your support to our Junior Ski Champs -

  • SHARE THIS ARTICLE on your social media and spread their story and talent! Let's show our young sportsmen how proud we are of them!
  • SPONSOR - there are different ways in which you can invest in these future olympians! Write to us and we will tell you how!


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Blog | Interview | Sport | Stockholm | sweden

Truecaller - One of Stockholm's best Startup

by Administrator1. June 2014 15:43


What is Truecaller



Search Indie had a brief discussion with Truecaller at their HQ at Kungsgatan , Stockholm on March. We decided to meet Truecaller once the great news of Investment from India was announced and 3 Indians working with them.


Kim (Marketing Manager) along with Tanu(Test Lead) participated in the discussion where we discussed extensively about Truecaller early days , culture , India , Investment , Tanu’s experience with previous companies and Truecaller.

Why Truecaller ?

Tanu :  I was working with Plingm(now Zaark) when I heard of Truecaller which was again a startup. So when I explored more about Truecaller I felt that it's really an interesting app and has a huge growing presence in India . Moreover I have had already worked with big companies in India , so thought working at a startup that too in Sweden will be fun. 

Your Experience back in India ?

Tanu : I worked as CDMA Protocol test Engineer in India  on various telecom technologies and companies like Sasken , Alcatel Lucent, Qualcomm & Reliance Comm.

Experience working with Startups?

Tanu :  Its really fun working with startups since most of the population in Startups are young people who have lot of ideas and wants to do interesting stuff , which is not the way a traditional big corporation works. There is less hierarchy in Truecaller, we sit with our CEO during work and have lunch together.

There may be risks working with startups, but I am open to face those, because I feel there is equal risk in working at big companies too when recession hits.

Work culture in Truecaller and experience back in India ?

Tanu : The work culture in the companies which I worked back in India and in Truecaller is truly different both on the professional and  personal front.

There is lot of energy in startup companies whether its new ideas or process or new way of working and I am free to do different kind of activities like helping HR andMarketing people with some new ideas related to my culture and people.

We can go and tell our crazy ideas to boss and others and make it happen , but working in a big corporation I rarely get a chance to reach the management and raise my opinions/ideas , since most often we are provided with specifications and we are supposed to work according to it.

Since I have a family here , I am totally able to manage my work-life balance very well.

What are the India plans and how do you think you can contribute?

Kim : We will continue what we are doing now. We will of course put lot of focus and money to grow the market in India considering one of the biggest and fast growing market in the world. We haven’t done any marketing for Truecaller, since the product itself did the marketing for us.

But of course we do some marketing but we will clearly look on the benefits we going to get by doing a campaign or advertisement. We are not sure whether we do some big marketing campaigns with film stars or sports stars.

 We had a partnership with Shah Rukh Khan last year.


As a marketing manager my goal is to make any money we put on marketing efficient and cheap as possible.

How do you keep the vision/goal/culture at Truecaller where there are people from different countries work together?

Kim & Tanu:  The people who comes here are not coming to work, they come here to do something they love, and something they are passionate about, so then we don’t need to drive them, they are self-driven. We make sure that we recruit people with the right attitude and technology and skills comes as the 2nd priority.

Since we have good culture and vision in the company , after a certain period the new recruits will easy gel with the new work environment.

We are a very multi-cultural company, 70% of people don’t speak Swedish. Our vision is very simple, we want to become the world’s largest verified mobile community. Any small step/task we do will lead us to this goal.

We are transparent in our company and to our stakeholders , as soon as we feel we achieved something , we share it with everyone and always try to celebrate it , which helps the employees motivated and keep the momentum.

If we look at culture wise, the 2 things which unite every one may be the ping-pong table and the awesome food of these different cultures J

We feel the major factor which unite us is respect to each and everyone’s culture and country.

First expression on hearing the big news about Investment

It’s of course one of the best moments for any startup to have such a great investment from one of the reputed Investors Sequoia Capital, since they are really choosy about the companies they invest.

It’s of course a big motivation for us for all the hard work we done, and we celebrated it’s a big way.

 We had 3 important people joined us for the celebrations , Sweden Trade Minister Ewa Björling , Her excellency Mrs. BANASHRI BOSE HARRISON Ambassador of India to Sweden and U S Ambassador’s wife Natalia Brzezinski.



But we are not going to take this success to our head and celebrate it in a big way , Truecaller has a big vision and really good roadmap so we going to spend the money really wisely rather than spend lavishly on the office and employee facilities.


 Photo Courtesy: Embassy of India

Will Truecaller be more active with Indian Events/Festivals happening in Sweden or back in India?

Kim : We have strategic decisions for India so we try to work with meaningful campaigns which gives us good output. We already have brand ambassadors in India who work with Mobile operators and others to see what’s good for Truecaller.

I have travelled to India recently to meet the ambassador and Truecaller community to understand more about the possibilities for us.

Photo Courtesy : Truecaller Instagram

Mr Alan Mamedi, Truecaller at India Unlimited Event.
Photo Courtesy: India Unlimited.

 Tell something about Truecaller team

Truecaller Team

Since Truecaller is a global product, we have a very diverse team, we have employees from many parts of the world. This makes us a really interesting company since each of the employee can contribute a lot when we have customers from those countries, say it is translation, understanding culture or happenings in local market.

This concept also makes our product very unique since we can design/develop our product for a truly global market. We celebrate many festivals in our office and share opinions with colleagues about the political/social happenings occurring around the world.

The team is super energetic that we have a tough time managing the ideas we get from all the employees. Since we all work towards a common vision and goal we all know what is important for us right now so we prioritize all these wonderful ideas. Our company is very transparent so each one has the opportunity to tell their ideas and play multiple roles during some point of the project.

 We concluded our discussion by visiting Truecaller workplace where all the action happens and having short talk with other employees and taking some photos.


 Here are the recent News about Truecaller in Media

India is our biggest market with 29 million users: Truecaller founder Alan Mamedi

Truecaller raises $18.8 million in Series B funding

Twitter partners with Truecaller to increase user base in India

Truecaller’s Scorching User Growth in India: 22 Mn & Counting!

TrueCaller born out of anger says co-founder Alan Mamedi



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startup | sweden

Experience India - My 1st Onam Celebrations – Jennifer Sandström

by Administrator30. December 2013 00:00

Jennifer hails from Gällivare currently living in India , she is an incurable dreamer in love with life. She just finished her internship at an IT company in Kochi, within Sales and Marketing , now setting off for new adventures. Jennie tells her experience about the wonderful Onam celebrations she had at her office in Kochi


 Onam was celebrated in grand way at my office Brigde Global IT Staffing. We were all dressed up according to the Indian traditional way, the women dressed in saris and men dressed in Mundus.




This is most of my colleagues here in India. The artwork on the ground in front of us, it's floral artwork can be seen everywhere these Onam times (and even in the grocery store that is so small and tight, they put out these flower leaves on the floor). It is to welcome the king who according to the saga comes to visit his land once a year.

So this is why Kerala is celebrating Onam and it is one of the biggest festivals here, comparable to Christmas I guess.On the main day of celebration everyone is free from work, and eat lots of food (Onasadya) with their loved ones.


This is Shintu and Aswathi, two colleagues that I work very close to. They are part of our marketing team.



The foreigners. This is the two Germans who just started their internship at the Bridge and whom I also live with, Judith to the left and Moritz to the right, next to me.


This is the dance they perform on Onam and it was very beautiful. Indians love to dance and sing, and I love it! Would you like to see a little video clip that I shot of the dance, you can do it here


Then, it was time for food. We hung out at the balcony on the roof of the office and they rolled out long mats for us to have the food at. Then they ran around and served 'Onasadya' or 'meals' as they are normally called, on the big banana leaves. It's a very classical type of dish here; lots of little dips, all vegetarian, with rice and pappadam (a crunchy 'fried' bread). You can eat as much food as you like and it’s very yummy.



The Indian women are so incredibly beautiful in their saris. I feel mostly like I’m a wannabe who is just imitating, I don’t feel like I’m supposed to wear this kind of dress. The saris in bright colors matched with golden jewelry looks stunning when the Indian women wear them with their black hair and dark skin tone – I watched them with envy.


Getting dressed sari is an art - not even all the women here know how to do it. I think most Indians find it very comfy to wear, and I might look so at first glance – but I found it very hot and when walking in the stairs it was really just in my way. But in summary I found it a nice experience and I’m glad to get the opportunity to take part in real Indian celebrations like Onam. 


Read my adventures in India here :

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Through the roots of India - Malin Mendel Westberg

by Administrator12. December 2013 05:18


Malin was born in Göteborg where she completed her Journalist education and Studies in International relations. She travelled to many Asian countries like Burma, Nepal , Thailand and Sri Lanka for various Swedish channels like SVT, Swedish Radio and TV4. 

From 2005, she is working with SVT as a foreign correspondent in India, where she produce news and other programs as well as documentaries. She covered the violent gang rape incident happened in Delhi during Dec 2012. 

Currently she lives half a year in India so tripping between Stockholm and Goa with her husband  and 2 kids.  

Malin's roots to South Asia started from her childhood days when her father was working for Volvo at Lahore. In her new book Bombay Take Away she explores India through food. 

Why India ? 

When I first came to India in 2005 it was a feeling of home-coming since so many colors and flavors reminded me of Pakistan from my childhood. I could also notice a strong demand from Swedish media for coverage of India, so it was a good place for me to work from. After some time I also learnt that India has so many stories to tell that are exciting to the rest of the world and it is a great place to explore as a journalist. People are very nice and of course I also love the food. 

How do you balance your life in Stockholm and in India? 

Both places gives me valuable experiences since Sweden and India are very different, so the whole family learn a lot about the world as well as about ourselves being part of the two cultures. 

Does your childhood aquitance to Indian food and culture made you write 'Bombay Take away'? 

Yes, but also the fact that food is so important for the identity of people in India and so diverse, so almost everything in the society can be told through food I think. 

Is there any plans to have the book in English for Indian market? 

Yes my publisher is working on that, and I really hope it will reach the Indian public soon. 

Stockholm still don’t have an authentic Indian restaurant , did you mention that to Shanti Restaurant owners during the book launch there? 

No I think Shanti has very good food, and the owner has also started a Bengali restaurant to highlight his own roots, and he recently won the title of Best Bengali restaurant outside UK, in the British Curry awards. 

What do you cook at home when you are in India?

 I cook bhendi masala fry, fish curry, yellow dal fry, veg curry, kicheri, rogan josh, kebabs, chicken masala, channa masala, chapati, palao, fisk tikka and many more. 


Malin joins with Lakshmi and talks about Food , Report from India

Event :  Spice Root to India , Stockholm

Photo : India Unlimited

Event :  India Unlimited Launch, Stockholm

Photo : India Unlimited



Event :  Book launch at Shanti Restaurant , Stockholm


Buy Bombay Take Away




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Veronica Tjerned och Den asiatiska dansakademin

by Administrator16. October 2013 16:11

What is this burning desire… ?
What is this yearning, beating inside of me?
Why me, being born here, constantly longing to go there… To find its gone.
( Ur, Jaga en dröm © Veronica Tjerned 2010)

In my early teenage, I experienced a vision during one summer holiday. I realised I wanted to learn dance and to use my body to express a story. The same autumn I investigated all dance schools and found a small advertisement for Indian classical dance. It was exactly what I wanted, expressive, rhythmic and story telling.

That was my starting point and after that followed a long rocky path where I not only tried different classical dance styles from South India, but I also tried to tame my body into the western dance system. Being a Swede and being a western girl, I should stick to my roots! But my body doesn't correspond well to Western dance, and it just felt like simple make up, while the Indian opened up something deeper inside of me… a craving and a need, something bigger than life. So started my quest that made me sacrifice a good career, money and family.

In 1999 I received a scholarship to study in the UK and there I got in touch with kathak dance, the classical dance form from Nothern India… it was like coming home. Since then kathak has been the beat of my blood stream. And finally in 2013 I received an ICCR scholarship to learn kathak for a longer time span in India. My teenage dream finally fullfilled!

For three years I studied kathak at Bharatya Vidya Bhavan in London 1999 - 2002. It was not my plan to move back to Sweden, it just happened and in 2003 we organised our first Indian classical dance and music event at Skulpturens hus / Vinterviken, with guest musicians and dancers from UK/ India. That event was the starting point for our organisation, Den asiatiska dansakademin, which is celebrating its ten years of existance in 2013/2014. Its called academy as our aim is to invite top class artists and musicians with an academic background to enhance and develop the general knowledge of Indian classical dance and music in Sweden. Every year since then, we have arranged camps for intensive training where students can receive talim in North Indian classical dance and music. Also, dance projects have been organised and performances with guest artists arranged. We also try to promote artists living in Sweden and to nourish the second generation of kathak dancers and hindustani musicians.

Sometimes I wish the students could understand how fortunate they are to receive everything they need here. They don't need to leave Sweden to learn, as I have done, and honestly every step learnt I have spent almost one year to get. 


I will spend most of the academic year 2013/14 in India and some of my senior students will run my classes. It makes me very happy to know that there has been a small imprint of all the hard work I have done during my ten years in Sweden trying to create a space and place for kathak. 

What are the future plans for DADA ?

The goal is to develop DADA further, to arrange more camps and invite more dancers and artists as well as boost our younger generation. To foster a knowledge that Indian classical dance is an artistic expression and when you can master it, you can express all the sentiments of human nature.
We have great plans on how to celebrate DADA's 10th year anniversary and I will let you know more about that in the beginning of next year. So far, I am happy to know that my dance classes are going to start on Sundays at Sensus, Medborgarplatsen, Stockholm.

How are you gonna spend your time in India this year and next year

My present life in India contains studies in kathak, tabla and hindustani singing. Its such a fantastic experience to feel I have time, with no stress; just me, my Gurus and to learn. And what ever I will learn, I will come back and share with you in Sweden… 

India has the oldest and greatest dance tradition in the world. Please don't let it down. In the UK some of the biggest cultural exports in recent times have been British born with South Asian origin. Let us help the young generation here to develop their artistic sense and knowledge and not to dilute it into some multicultural, kitsch, colourful and non complicated entertainment at city festivals. It deserves the same respect as our stage art forms being presented on stage in Stockholm. Good art is always good art and should never be simplified; it should be respected and given space. 

Brief history of Veronica Tjerned and Den asiatiska dansakademin.


Project run by DADA and Veronica Tjerned:

  • TAAL – Två sidor av mig. 2008. Kathak dance and music project for young kathak dancers living in Sweden. Music composed by Debasish Mukherjee, Kolkata.
  •  I min del av stan, 2009. Kathak dance and music project for young kathak dancers living in Sweden. Music composed by Debasish Mukherjee, Kolkata.
    Both projects dealt with identity, to be born in Sweden with Asian origin. Can I become a kathak dancer without having to leave Sweden? Can I listen to hindustani music and Hip hop?
  • Siden vägen – sidentes väg 2009. A poetic story based on silk and emotions created by silk. Music composed by Debasish Mukherjee, Kolkata.
  • Dance production for children. Min storasyster Anarkali. ( this production was selected by Stockholms länslandsting, för Kultur i vården för barn.
  • Solo performances with live music. Debasish Mukherjee on tabla.
    Stockholm water price, Blå hallen, Stadshuset.
  • Vox Pacis. Stallet. Stockholm sangeet conferens. Oceanen, Zebra dans m fl.
    Soloperformances to recorded music.
    Nybrokajen 11, Musiker utan gränser.
  • Stockholms kulturfestival. Brokiga Bengalen. Internationella steppfestivalen/ Södra teatern. Zebra dans.
  • Veronica gives workshops and lecture demonstrations all over Sweden and Europe and has develop a unique style to teach indian dance and culture to younger children.


Guest artists

Musicians associated to DADA.
Debasish Mukherjee, tabla. 

Kathak dancers that have been connected to DADA.
Hanna Mannila, Quincy Charles, Nikki Grainger, Prasant Shah, Lajja Sambnath, Natalia Ivanova, Sushmita Ghosh, Sujata Bannerjee and Mitul Sengupta.


Veronica is educated, danspedagog, at Dans och Cirkus högskolan i barndans, pilates och kleinteknik.
Skapande dans steg 1, 2 och 3 på Stockholms musik pedagogiska institut.
Aerobics instruktör S.A.F.E
Balett akademin yrkesförberedande. Kulturamas danslinje, Härnösands folkhögskola och Commediantlinjen.
Bharatia Vidya Bhavan. London.
She has been connected to Hari Mohan Surabitan institute in Kolkata between 2007 – 2013 and is an ICCR scholarship student at Ballygunge Rhythmosaic school of dance institute 2013/14. 


Veronica Tjerned





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