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For the love of Oslo – Part 0.2 of 1.


(Preemptively and profusely apologize for the all the superlatives used in the following articles but..) I cannot simply leave without letting you know how much I will miss this city.

If you are ever here, you must go to ‘Mat og Mer’ in Sagene and admire their most attractive servers and chef. The burgers ( which they serve only until 1600) are the best you will ever have. It also has music that can make anyone fall in love. Perfect to go on dates:).

After a nice meal, you can walk down the beautiful Akerselva river until you reach the little ‘Godt BrΓΈd’ cafe in Nydalen for dessert. This cafe serves brownies with white chocolate. Disregarding any weight issues, do have one of those brownies. In addition, you must remember to pack one and take it home as well. You will wake up in the middle of the night wanting another bite of the little piece of heaven, and then as you have packed one, it will be alright.

If instead you are in the mood for something French, instead of going down, simply walk up the river instead. You will discover this tiny little shop that serves french crepes next to the Birkulunden church. It can only seat 4 people, but it is just so pretty and so French, its impossible not to love it. It smells good too.

I also want to tell you about some lovely Italian places, a hidden Mexican gem, a fantastic Tapas place and the best Indian food you’ll ever taste before I leave … just assure me that you will keep giving them your business, so nothing ever changes?

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Fly a kite


Yesterday I looked up at the sky and realized something. The answer to life, universe and everything is not 42. It is flying a kite.

The blue sky was dotted with several – two yellow ones, a blue and a red. They were trying to cut each other. I so wanted to fly with them but I couldn’t get mine high enough. Then my dad taught me how. And after several failed attempts my kite touched the sky. The thread ran out all together and it soared high in the wind. I tell you, it was almost like I touched the sky.

They sky was blue
The sun was bright
My kite, it flew
And made everything alright.

πŸ™‚

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The animal series part 6 – Monkeys that lunch


The monkey family of four comes over for lunch around noon. They take the same route every day and jump over the gate at about the same time. The older monkeys lie on the grass and take in some sun. The younger ones play on the swing set in the lawn. They eat the old bread left for them on the roof, and if still hungry, dig up the potatoes and other root vegetables growing in the back. Yesterday, they dared to find my half eaten sugarcane left in the backyard. Their teeth apparently are much stronger than mine.

The mother and father have the same worried impression as most parents have when their kids don’t stay still. The little ones ( one of whom is without an arm) smile, play and run around. I think they might even shake my hand, if the older ones weren’t keeping guard. You can see it in the parent’s hungry eyes that they don’t like humans, as much as they depends on them.

Humans in turn aren’t kind to them for good reason. The monkeys run away with clothes from the clothes line, eat their fruit or throw open the trash on the street in search of food. There isn’t much of a jungle left to send them to and they just seem too human in how they look and act to be petted. I think if they weren’t afraid, they might follow me inside the house one day – might learn to open the fridge, might learn to switch on the television, might learn to lie on the bed. All such exciting thoughts!

Yet, I don’t know if it’s such a good idea to leave my parents with four such permanent guests. You see, I have been told that in polite society guests invited for lunch shouldn’t stay longer than 4 PM.

It’s almost noon here and the monkeys are coming πŸ™‚

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Easy cabs of New Delhi


It’s not just that the Delhi airport has turned awesome, it’s finally possible to get around in Delhi. I am terribly excited about these new conveniences, and thought I’d share what I learnt:

The driver pays 1000 Rs ( 150 NOK) to the Easy Cab management every day. In exchange he gets a car and bookings through the online booking system. The driver must pay for his own gas, for small repairs to the car and the toll on toll roads.

Normally a working day extends to 16 hours or 100 to 150 KM per day. The driver cannot charge more than 20 Rs per KM, where gas costs are approximately 3 Rs per KM. Thus the total gross earnings are between 1600 Rs to 3200 Rs, depending on his speed and efficiency or net earnings between 300 Rs to 1000 Rs per day.

The trouble is that the driver must pay the 1000 Rs to Easy Cab on Sundays, on days he takes off or in case he is sick. This can bring a driver’s net earning down from a decent 15 to 30K month to much lower, even make it go negative.

To offset this, drivers tend to stay on the road for as long as 20 hours on good days and share the cab with unregistered drivers illegally on bad days. Driving to the airport costs them 80 Rs extra each time…I could go on.

More power to them. ( and hopefully someone will start an insurance scheme for the off days….)

Dial 43434343 πŸ™‚

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A word to 2011


I have never been to prison or had to stay in the hospital for a long duration. I have always had food and shelter. No one has called me nasty names, no serious social injustice has ever happened to me and I have always had friends and family to call my own.

Despite all the above, 2010 has been a difficult year.

It has also been a year of learning. I’ve learnt to calm down ( a little bit!), developed some backbone and have started to appreciate how lucky I really have been in life. Still, here is a word to 2011 – if its listening.

Go easy on me… okay? Go easy on everyone.

Happy New year.

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Hypocrisy


The reception nurse at the Sharjah emergency room asked ‘Which country is the patient from?’ in her Arab accented English. What does it matter if the patient was Indian and not Arab? It’s an emergency and the question seemed baseless. I felt indignant, self-righteous and so angry when I was informed of this question.

An hour or so later, we were informed that the patient was being seen by a surgeon. We were relieved. But do you know the first thing that crossed my mind after initial relief?

I wanted to know which country the surgeon was from.

Someone smack me on the head.

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Eating tadpoles


We were 8 children in the house. We would try to catch/eat the little tadpoles from the dirty water sometimes. The oldest of us could swipe the slimy creatures out of the water in one shot, open his mouth wide and swallow it hole.

The rest of were not so brave. I think I managed it once.

I wonder if kids still do that.
I wonder if I still could
If we were 8 all together again
For old times sake,
I think we really should!

Have fun in Dun.. Vidisha, Sandeep, Sagar and Parul..

Missing you..Eat the tadpoles πŸ˜‰