Friday, March 6, 2020


Chapter 1

Once when I was six years old I saw a magnificent picture in a book, called True Stories from Nature, about the primeval forest. It was a picture of a boa constrictor in the act of swallowing an animal. Here is a copy of the drawing.

In the book it said: "Boa constrictors swallow their prey whole, without chewing it. After that, they are not able to move, and they sleep through the six months that they need for digestion."
I pondered deeply, then, over the adventures of the jungle. And after some work with a colored pencil, I succeeded in making my first drawing. My Drawing Number One. It looked like this:

I showed my masterpiece to the grown−ups and asked them whether the drawing frightened them.
But they answered: "Frighten? Why should anyone be frightened by a hat?"

My drawing was not a picture of a hat. It was a picture of a boa constrictor digesting an elephant. But since the grown−ups were not able to understand it, I made another drawing: I drew the inside of the boa constrictor so that the grown−ups could see it clearly. They always need to have things explained. My Drawing Number Two looked like this:

The grown−ups' response, this time, was to advise me to lay aside my drawings of boa constrictors, whether from the inside or the outside, and devote myself instead to geography, history, arithmetic, and grammar. That is why, at the age of six, I gave up what might have been a magnificent career as a painter. I had been disheartened by the failure of my Drawing Number One and my Drawing Number Two. Grown−ups never understand anything by themselves, and it is tiresome for children to be always and forever explaining things to them.

So then I chose another profession and learned to pilot airplanes. I have flown a little over all parts of the world, and it is true that geography has been very useful to me. At a glance, I can distinguish China from Arizona. If one gets lost in the night, such knowledge is valuable.

In the course of this life, I have had a great many encounters with a great many people who have been concerned with matters of consequence. I have lived a great deal among grown−ups. I have seen them intimately, close at hand. And that hasn't much improved my opinion of them.
Whenever I met one of them who seemed to me at all clear−sighted, I tried an experiment of showing him my Drawing Number One, which I have always kept. I would try to find out, so, if this was a person of true understanding. But, whoever it was, he, or she, would always say:

"That is a hat." Then I would never talk to that person about boa constrictors, or primeval forests, or stars. I would bring myself down to his level. I would talk to him about a bridge, and golf, and politics, and neckties. And the grown−up would be greatly pleased to have met such a sensible man.

Monday, February 10, 2020

Literately incredible India

Mumbai is an amazing paradox of hope and chaos, magic and madness. Where the changing modernity of India has been experienced most intensely. From Gandhi’s arrival from England in 1915 to the protests against the Simon Commission in 1928, Bombay, now Mumbai, has been home to many key events of the freedom struggle. And the struggle continues today, the hunger for change that one can almost feel, as a tourist is hard not to be fascinated by it.

Can we start with the ridiculous cliches that portray this country and this city is such a negative light when in fact most if not all of them aren't true,  from only buy street food prepared by women as it's more hygienic, the only place worth visiting is the Taj Mahal, Indians are friendly but don't expect to be part of the family, a real pashmina will fit through a ring. Yes, boys ask for discounts. Yes, it is not the easiest place to be Veronica but I still love the madness here.