She was 15, I never met her before. She took me out to cut grass and held up the two sickles to make a heart.
It was that day I forgot. The massacre of 2 days and 2 years ago in Norway. To me the most ugly thing anyone has ever done. Then in the aftermath came a more sincere and real response than I had ever felt in the country.
Look at this boy. He smiled spontaneously, a working lad. Like everyone in this village he starts young. Running after the goats, climbing steep mountains, cutting grass, weeding, harvesting. Kept an eye on, often by not just one but several dads, and then all those women! Like the 7 who invited me down to hear them sing this morning. Attracting a bunch of stray children.
Stroppy teenagers? No sign. Yesterday splashing in the rain two young men played for hours with a group of kids, running, laughing.
Last night I asked the lovely looking old woman who had cooked our supper what she enjoyed most as a child. Without a pause she said ‘Herding the goats on the mountain.’
Last summer in North Norway, I’d heard almost the same from Gerd, ‘Herding the cows on the mountain we regarded as paradise.’
Ok neither India nor the past has the recipe for perfect childhoods. But the children I’m meeting here seem motivated and content.
Storytelling? I’ll go into that later. But the little girl on the left carrying water told us this …
There was a white tourist who was trying to get to sleep and was bothered by mosquitoes. He turned out the light and a load of glow worms appeared. ‘Woah, the Indian mosquitoes are advanced, they carry torches!’ he said.