January 18, 2013

From Mom with Love

A month ago, I got a time-machine. It didn’t exactly drop from the sky- most probably Mom sent it to me from Heaven. The gift was wrapped using shining golden paper with ‘God loves U’ printed all over. There was an oval silver clock with a microphone attached to it. And I couldn’t have known it was a time-machine but for the following gold engraving-

‘He doth maketh twelve-day- journeys across any land thru time,
Who useth the mic to speaketh his wandering mind…’

Wow! As the reality of the masterpiece started dawning on me, I was overjoyed! Only Mom knew how much I wanted to visit different countries on Earth, and now she was giving me a magical chance! Having read about the fascinating ‘Land of the Midnight Sun’- Norway, I was captivated by her fjords, fishing grounds, rich history, festivals, mouth-watering cuisine and friendly people. Without doubt, I decided to travel to the enchanting country of Norway. I spoke on the mic- “Take me to Norway during the era of the majestic Vikings! Make me a sea-faring Lady there who is tough yet charming!”

Lo and behold! I was on a ship of Vikings! Most surprisingly, I felt my hair pushed back and braided neatly. Also, I was in a beautiful long flowing dress with red-and-black checks and black gum-boots. The dragon-ship called ‘Gokstad’ was wobbling crazily on the sea under the moonlight. Some heavily built, stern-looking men came towards me. As I had never been on a ship, the wobbliness was making me dizzy. I was moving like a drunken person and the Vikings looked at me queerly. One among them thundered-“Who are you and what brings you here?” I was scared but with a sudden spurt of courage I thundered back- “I’m the Moonlight’s Guide! I’ve come to protect this ship from Evil Powers!” The Vikings bowed in unison and said some prayer which I couldn’t understand. Then they took out their pan-pipes, drums and cow-horn bugles and we all sang, danced, ate and drank. The din made enemy-ship Oseberg’s bugle inaudible. We jerked out of merry-making when a spear landed in our midst. Instinctively, I pulled out the spear and hurtled it towards the enemy-ship. While they gazed, surprised by the presence of a sea-faring Lady, our Vikings started raining a heap of spears on Oseberg, which lost a few men. The others sailed away, unfurling the ‘White Flag’. Our victorious Vikings celebrated with music, wine and praises for me! I thanked them for the wonderful time, quickly took out my time-machine and said on the mic- “Make me a Norwegian folk musician of 1756, give me the countryside fun and thrills!”

Wow! I was now a merry folk musician, holding the Hardanger fiddle! In a bright blue-and-red frilly frock, stockings and brown boots, I attracted attention in the village of Kandal! The countryside offered great sights- lush green fields; canals carrying sparkling water; majestic horses; belled cows; farmers working enthusiastically under an azure sky. Soon other musicians with drums, bukkehorns and langeleiks also joined. The resulting music was foot-tapping; it wasn’t long before all villagers started dancing joyously! Later, the kind village-folk invited me for food. Then, I went about exploring the countryside with the youngsters. They showed me old churches, waterfalls, lakes and animals like deer and moose. They were very curious about my whereabouts. Each time I blushed and asked a different question like whether they went to school, or if they played cricket. Since they didn’t know cricket, I taught them! Thus my three days in the countryside passed quickly with music, dance, bonfires, excellent food and games. I thanked the villagers post bonfire of my last day there for making my stay thoroughly enjoyable. Then, under the star-lit sky, on the mic of my time-machine I said - “Allow me now to live a quiet Norwegian painter’s life, take me to a place where Sun shines at midnight”.

 So I reached Komsa, a small town beyond the Arctic Circle. Though past midnight, I was beholding a miracle- the Sun was still shining! Thankfully I was in jeans and a furry jacket, for it was cold. I walked upto the line of houses and discovered that it was a painters’ town! I knocked on one of the doors and was welcomed by a couple- Norman and Mary. They gave me a fresh canvas, brushes, colours and took me to the ‘Painters’ Point’. I was speechless seeing the pristine beauty of the fjords and sparkling blue waters. The sky was a demure violet. Norman said it was the perfect time to capture the awesome scenery on canvas. So, they left me to be one with Nature. I painted to my heart’s content. In between, I pinched myself to ensure that I wasn’t seeing a life-size picture-postcard or a dream! When the couple returned after some hours, they were surprised by my ‘exquisite’ painting and said the ‘Painters’ Market’ beckoned it! I visited other painters, was awed by their unique paintings, had Grilled Salmon and participated in the glorious celebration of Sankthans! Long after midnight, we started out for ‘Painters’ Market’- the art-lovers’ paradise. Buyers came from the world over. They had a difficult time choosing which painting to buy! Mine was taken by a sweet old French couple. I thanked Norman and Mary for the past two memorable days. I took out my mic and said-“Now make me a fish-catcher of Norway, allow me to witness the currents meet and the fabulous Northern Lights display!”

And I was at Ballstad, wearing bright orange fisherman gear! A fisherman was about to start for the sea. I said- “I’m Anna, a fish-catcher! Can I catch fish with you today?” “Sure! Please join us! I’m Griffin and meet my wife Rosy!” said Griffin. We started out seaward. The water was ice-cold! Soon we reached the deep-sea fishing point where we spread a huge net and caught myriads of fish: cod, halibut, mackerel, haddock, monkfish! The surprise catch- a 37 kg skrei, fought with Griffin and when its gills gave in, we held the giant proudly! After another two rounds of catch, when Griffin’s half-ton dish was brimming with fish, we decided to return. Rosy said she cooked traditional fish dishes of Norway well and requested me to stay at their rorbu cabin. I gladly accepted. Griffin’s rorbu was small, yet cozy and his Grandma stayed there too! After a glorious supper of Torsk and Fiskesuppe, I was awestruck seeing the splendid Aurora Borealis. I felt as if dazzling lights were dancing all across the skies to the ethereal music of our Universe! Grandma told me the wonderful Nordic tales of Twelve Wild Ducks and The Husband who Minded the House too. Early next day, we shipped our catch and earned lots of money! To treat me, Griffin took us exactly where the warm and cold currents met in the sea! Miraculously, the waters had different colors; the multi-colored plankton was unlike any I’d ever seen! After returning and finishing a sumptuous supper, I thanked my hosts for the two blessed days. I promised Grandma that I’d listen to more fables during my next visit. The mic took my voice command again- “Make me a ski-guide on the Norwegian slopes so snowy, allow me to make snowmen with kids and ski expertly!”

So now I was a professional ski-guide for kids on the picturesque Hemsedal! I found myself wearing snow goggles, skis, thick woolen wear and surrounded by ten chattering kids of different nationalities! First I taught them how to wear and remove the skis. Next, on the gentlest slope, I skied a few meters and showed them how to start and stop motion. The kids started skiing. While the Norwegian and Indian kids were keen observers and picked up fast, others lagged a bit so I personally skied with them. With the beginners’ lessons over, the kids scurried to their parents. After lunch break, I kept a flag some distance away which the kids would have to bend away from and go ahead to reach the finish line. Then I announced a snowman-making event. The kids were overjoyed! The next day, I put more flags on the kids’ ski paths and found they had perfected the bends! Since the kids’ snowmen were half-covered in snow due to overnight snowfall, we even rebuilt the snowmen. By now the kids had mingled well and started throwing snowballs at everyone! The parents and kids thanked me for two days of enjoyable skiing lessons. Thanking them too and adoring the gorgeous slopes, I said on my glittering mic- “Take me to the modern capital city of Oslo; allow me to experience Norway like never before!”

Wow! After the various roles, now I was myself- a tourist experiencing the sights and sounds of the beautiful city of Oslo! I was wearing a colorful floral dress with fancy sandals! I first went to the Viking Ship Museum which had the two dragon-ships- Oseberg and Gorkstad! I couldn’t believe there that I had already been there and done that! I visited the Oslo court where Anders Behring Breivik’s hearing took place. I felt sad that in the country where I’d met the friendliest people, there was also a mass murderer.  Also I visited Vigelandsparken Sculpture Park, Oslo Harbor and walked on the roof of The Opera House! Holmenkollen, TusenFryd and Natural History Museum were simply mind-blowing. I went to the Nobel Institute too, and felt as if I had won the Nobel Prize! Two fun-filled days just zoomed by. Mixed emotions engulfed me- warm, happy feelings in my heart; also sorrow at the thought of leaving this amazing country that had become my Home for the past twelve days. Under the bright lights of Karl Johansgate Street, I spoke on the sparkling mic- “My marvellous twelve-day Norway journey has come to an end, so take me back to my hometown my Time-Machine friend!”

And I was back in my room, with the glittering time-machine in my hand. Still unable to believe it all, I thought- had I seen a dream or was my time travel for real?! The time-machine winked mischievously. Just then a sudden wish sprang in my heart. I instinctively said on the mic- “I know you can take me through the past till the present, now give me a glimpse of future travel!”

And magically, I was transferred to a lavish party. Many dignitaries were present- both Indian and International. I was wearing a rich, traditional Indian Saree. Many of them were giving me flowers and congratulating me. I was baffled. I felt lost, yet kept smiling, for everyone’s attention seemed to be on me. Just then, I turned and looked at the huge banner put up behind me. It said- “Welcome Ms. Amrita Sabat- Indian Ambassador to Norway, 2022-2027”! Oh my God- I couldn’t believe it! I realized that my future was to be charted in this way- I was to enter the Foreign Services, be trained and posted in other countries for some years and then in 2022, I would become the Indian Ambassador to Norway! The realization thrilled me immeasurably! I lived twelve days of my future as the dignified representative of my country at Niels Juels Gate 30, Oslo! At the end of my stay, I said on my shiny mic- “Thanks to you I know what my future holds for me, now take me back to my present so I’ll work to live the future I’ve just lived!”

Back at my bed at home, I started capturing all the wonderful experiences of my first time-travel through Past, Present and Future in my diary. My time-machine has been twinkling in my cupboard ever since. Did you ask where I’ll go next?! To Norway yet again- to be in the shoes of : a Norwegian baker, farmer, hiker and tour-guide!            

This was my entry for 'I Dine Sko' or 'In my Shoes', an Indo-Norwegian Fictional Writing Competition. It did not win yet this writing is very close to my heart. In the New Year's first post, this is a gift to all my readers. And I definitely will visit Norway- completely enticed, awed and in love with Norway! :) This is NOT an advertisement of Norway- it's a writing helped by my month-long research on the country and its people. And all thanks to blessings of my Angelic Mom. This completely is for U....


  1. really great ... read ur stuff after a long long time !!

  2. Thanks @ashona111! Welcome back and hope U keep comin! :D

  3. Your submission "by my month-long research on the country" .... Prompts me to ask, “this symbolizes thirst for meticulousness, precision in writing or immense love & affection resulting in total absorption”

    1. Well...everything of what u hv mentioned holds...:-)
      Thanks fr reading n commenting Sachin! I love your comments for they r alwez profound!

  4. Norway is now a dream for me now!
    Awesome researched material!

    1. Thanks so much Indrani! Glad U loved the stuff abt Norway I've put in! :)

  5. Enjoyed reading it Amrita.. :-)


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