Gautam – Superman for a day

We locked him up on the roof once. No idea why. We were six, all under the age of 10 and I guess before internet, this is how we had fun. I suppose you could consider it equivalent to posting silly nonsense on someone’s FB wall.(Lavoonie: reference)

Anyway I digress. We locked him up and shouted out from below – ‘Haha, you can’t come down!’

Gautam looked aghast from the roof. He scurried down the steps to find that the door at the bottom of the stairs really was locked.

So he did what only a 4 year old would do. He jumped.

And as he jumped, he said ‘I don’t need the stairs, I am superman, I can fly!’ 6 kids saw him fly from the roof and land with a thud on the ground below.

Mouths and eyes wide open. With Respect.

I cannot recall exactly what happened afterwards. Ofcourse he fractured his ankle and there must have been parents, and hospitals and casts and punishments. All I remember is the jump.


His belief that six kids were not going to stop him was far stronger than the necessity to succomb to circumstance. I cannot say if that was a smart thing to do or not, but I am all set to test this logic in 2012.

If I end up with a cast, I hear you can get it in color now.


Like a lizard

My sister, her best friend, a lizard and I shared a room during college. We had the beds and it had the walls. My sister and friend were human size, the lizard was the size of my hand in length.

It was beige, skinny with big black eyes and a longish tail. Sometimes it had a friend for company, and sometimes they did things. But most of the time it was on its own – just stuck to the walls and doing its best to keep them from falling.

Unlike my other two roommates, this lizard was quite un-demanding. I didn’t have to feed it or talk to it or love it or be nice to it (smirk;). It was just there.

Yesterday I was painting mugs at an art shop. I painted the the lizard on one of the mugs.I wanted a reminder that sometimes its okay to do nothing and just be there – lizard-like and undemanding.

ps: To make it stand out on a white mug, I painted it green rather than beige. Added a little more meat around its middle and shortened its tail.

Let the truths parade in disguise
Left to fend for themselves
the truths just look like lies


When my father bought my mother a cow (Animal series part 8)

The milkman used to deliver milk every evening at 7 PM. One day my mother made him an offer. She offered to pay him as much as he liked if he stopped mixing in water to the milk he delivered.

The milkman contemplated this for a second and then shook his the Indian way. You know – so it could mean one of three things: Yes, no or maybe. He really just meant no – the temptation to mix in water would be too high.

My mother, in response, shook her head in HER special way that meant ‘”¤#”%¤#%¤#&&’. And that in any language means only one thing.

So to make sure that their four children got decent milk to drink, my father bought my mother a cow. It was a terribly exciting time.

The cow came with a man, who came in twice a day to take care of her. He let me (try) to milk her once – and I still remember the kick I got. I remember her being brown and warm – but not very huggable. Mostly I remember the mooing and her looking as if she had something else on her mind than me, while all I did for the first few days was think about her. Early lesson in unrequited love.

Anyway, the cow in the house didn’t quite work. It’s a lot of work, even with a cow man.

Soon she was sold or donated or something I don’t remember.

Now my mother buys milk from the supermarket. The skimmed, watered down kind.


The rats won’t leave me alone.

I swear, it’s been following me around forever. It was there, living under the seat of my parent’s sofa – with its three little baby rats. You could hear them squeak under you. It was in the winter clothes trunk eating up all my winter sweaters, including the blue school sweater which I loved. It ate the money out of my mother’s money box.

It was even in school, in 9th grade, in tiny cages in the biology lab.

My parents got one too. It grew humongous and ate bread under the table during dinner. Even the cat loved it.

Then I moved to Oslo, and WHAT absolute relief there was, when I leart there were no rats in Oslo.
What a fabulous feeling it is to live in a country with no rats! But suddenly, people started to make movies about them. Stuart Little. Rattatouille. Narnia. Douglas Adams was perhaps right about rats ruling the world.

Yesterday I saw one look at me outside my London flat. This little brown thing squeaked, it saw me, and then scurried under the car otside my apartment.I shivered,my hair stood up on my head and I gave myself a little shake

Maybe the rats aren’t going away.
Maybe they will always stay
But I will get over them, really I will.
And that will be one beautiful day.



I called my mother yesterday and asked ‘How is the weather today in Dehradun?’.

She said it’s picture perfect.

There is a cool breeze blowing and the sky is bright blue. You can see the white peaks of Mussourie in the distance.The trees are full of ripe red lychees, your favourite berries are growing all over the backyard and we are having watermelon for dinner.

And I say to myself – what a wonderful world 🙂


Do you know where the parrot came from?

I recall that around the time I was 12, we had a green parrot with a broken wing. We lived in a flat on the 7th floor of a tall building, surrounded by other tall buildings and no trees. We did not have a balcony, so it could not have flown in. Still, the little green thing was there and it ate out of our hands.

Then one day the parrot’s wings grew back and it flew away. Or maybe it died, and my mother ‘said’ its wings grew back and it flew away.

If I ask where the parrot came from, I might also inadvertently find out the truth about where it went.

This is the truth, but also an analogy.

Dare I ask.


The 2nd happy thing

When you leave a country, you leave a lot of real life people behind and their life changes and your life changes. Its all very distressing and leads to a sense of displacement.

Somethings however stay the same. NewYorkTimes is just as good a read in Oslo as it is in London.

Mr Paul Krugman
Nicholas D Kristoff
Gail Collins
Sunday magazine
and to the lovely Modern Love column I love waking up to.

Thank you for the continuity you provide to my Saturday mornings – no matter which time zone.

Annoying update: Who had the bright idea to charge for NYTimes???!