Storms ruled the first thousand years of life.
By the time I claimed my room, I turned into a zombie...
Suspended somewhere between the worlds within and outside...
Vaguely aware of either...
But then, existence needs more meaning, and spectacles need a windowpane...
Right here, I found mine…

Who am I? An average woman - trying to work on my share of maze through layers of haze...

Friday, June 28, 2013

Pipi's Summer (Part-II)

The train rocked violently – but there was music to it. It was nowhere close to the ‘ku..uuu jhik jhik’ Pipi was made to expect, but rather a thundering form of ‘ghanta ghatang ghanta ghatang ’ in a never-ending loop.  It was a rhythm that initially sounded scary – as if the train was being ripped to pieces, as if the boxes were being crushed with a monstrous hammer - and her heart thumped wildly to the very same music. But when enough time passed, Pipi came to like it. Just in the way she liked the howling of wind during a raging storm, or the roar of thunder amid the pitter-patter of rain. 

She braced herself up and walked to the first bed of their box. “Hi, I’m Pipi.” – She introduced herself. “I’m going to my mamabari for the first time. My mamabari  has Dadu, Dida, Boro Mama, Mejo Mama, Oli Didi, Riku Dada, Chhoto Mashi, and… and… ”. She briefly paused to remember all the names Ma had told her. But everyone around giggled and pressed her cheeks so hard that the girl got all messed up. Grown-ups sometimes did things that Pipi despised with all her heart. It always hurt her when people pressed her cheeks. They turned rosy and tingled. And grown-ups found it funny!

To add insult to injury, a very plump lady then tried to lift her up to her lap, with complete disregard to the frown on her face, and offered her some toffees. Didn’t Pipi immediately know that she was in the hands of a kidnapper! She hurried off to the other beds, her heart pounding again to the rhythm of the train. 

Fortunately, no one tried to kidnap her again that night. Rather, people on the rest of the beds opened their eyes wide in surprise when she told them that her Shona Mama could play a REAL mandolin, and that her Ranga Mama had a pet German Spitz! The girl gained a dozen of new grandpas, grandmas, uncles and aunties in the next couple of hours.

“Trains are good places to be IN”, she told herself, although she couldn’t stop imagining what it would be like to sit ON the train with her Mom and newfound friends, and touch all the clouds on their way to the land of mama-s.

Finally Pipi came to the last bed in their box, where a knight sat reading a book! On the opposite bed, Snow White munched an apple! They had hair of gold, their eyes were as blue as the evening sky, and they were taller than anyone Pipi had seen in her entire life! The girl was so astonished that she stood looking at them for a very long time, trying to figure out if they were fairer than the banana milk shake Ma would often prepare for her. Finally, running back to Ma, she asked her to come and have a really good look at them so that she could find such a boy for her to marry. But Ma burst out laughing and no one knew why!

Pipi went so grumpy at this latest instance of despicable-grown-up-act that she herself asked Ma to put her on the highest and scariest bed in their area. And there she lay all by herself, occasionally making faces at the bunny-toothed boy sitting a few beds away. Luckily, the boy replied by rolling his tongue in and out while pulling his right earlobe down with his left hand and vice versa. Wasn’t it by far the BEST new thing Pipi had learnt in that entire day? She couldn’t wait to demonstrate it to Papa once he rejoined them at mamabari!

Shortly, Ma climbed up to lie beside her. And as usual, she right away went to sleep hugging her so tight that Pipi could no longer sit up to look around. With nothing else to do, she thought and thought. Were all babies born with black eyes, and did only a few pair of eyes ripen later to become blue, brown or green? If it indeed did work that way, would Pipi’s eyes turn blue as well when she grew up? Wouldn’t enough talcum powder make her look fairer than Snow White? 

Finally her thought-train halted at the hair of gold, and Pipi missed Papa again. Rapunzel, Cinderella, Snow White and most of the fairies, dwarfs and princes in her picture books had strands of gold on their head, but none in their apartment block had so. The girl had crucial questions to ask, but Papa wasn’t there. And all her thoughts had left her in yawns. So she dug her face into her Ma’s neck and cuddled up under the blanket.

And then the train, the first real train Pipi had ever seen, rocked her away to the station of sleep. 

Notes and Translations:

Mamabari: Mother’s home or maternal uncles’ place.
Dadu: Maternal grandpa
Dida: Maternal grandma
Mama: Maternal uncle (mother’s brother)
Mashi: Maternal auntie (mother’s sister)
Boro: Eldest
Mejo: Second eldest
Chhoto: Youngest
Didi: Elder sister or female cousin
Dada: Elder brother or male cousin


  1. Really loved the world from Pipi's perspective -its surprises, joys, vexations and gruelling questions. I am getting hooked to her world. Do carry on!

    1. I didn't expect many readers for a rewritten blog post (exception - a handful of close friends who can be threatened at gun-point to read anything that I may post :p), but I'm surprised and overjoyed to see comments from an avid blogger as you, Umashankar! Many thanks for your appreciation and encouragement :-).

  2. I liked the earlier one as well. But I feel the new writeup is even better. Also like the way the story is progressing in Part II. The illustrations are very cute as usual. As I mentioned earlier, narrating from the perspective of a child is quite difficult and you are doing it brilliantly through your picture-book story. Will look forward to the upcoming posts

    1. I know it's impossible to retain the readers' interest unless I pick up pace in publishing the subsequent chapters. Let's see how early I can start working on Part-III. Meanwhile, many thanks for taking the pain to read through revised write-ups. The reviews/feedback help me tremendously :-).

  3. Loved the first two parts. It reminded me of my annual journey to Mt. Abu, my Mamabari. Looking forward to what Pipi experiences next.

    1. Thanks a lot Khushboo :-). Though I'm the laziest soul the Earth has ever seen, I'll try to publish the next part as early as possible!

    2. Hope you do :)

      P.S. I love the glossary you have provided at the end. I am learning so many new words!