A note on my three blogs

A note on my blogs

(1) vio; in love with india - this one is the main blog about my Indian adventures, which started in 2005. I don't write much on this blog these days because I prefer to write privately in the confidential blog. But check out the categories and the index to figure out your way. I have kept some older posts not about India but which I still find interesting or relevant in Old words. Also check out my new, fun category Only in India in which I post photos of funny, unique, Indian situations...

(2) sounds of india - this is my blog of sounds, because India wouldn't be as incredible if it was not so vibrant and just so full of incredible sounds!

(3) vio; confidential - this an extension of my main blog in which I post entries I do not want to reveal to the entire webspace for privacy or sensitivity reasons. You must receive an invitation from me and then accept the invitation to be able to read it. You may email me if you are interested in receiving an invitation.


Friday, 25 December 2015

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

The story of Niklas and Lili

Eight months no (proper) post!

We are back in India (Khajuraho) after three months in Europe.

I thought I would start blogging again with a story that started three and a half years ago. I remembered this incredible story when Ram Gopal passed by the house this morning...

It was in January 2012. We had some friends visiting from Belgium and we took them to one of the neighbouring villages for them to see some picturesque India. A very small village. I had visited it many times before, but this time, I can't remember why or how, we visited one house I had never seen.
The family members were very excited about our visit. At some point during the evening after having our chai - it was getting dark - the ladies invited me into the kitchen. A very rustic, minimal kitchen, with a bitten-earth floor and an old-fashion clay stove. One woman was making chapatis and she asked me to roll one. As I did so, pretty well, they all got amazed and excited and I felt like I was their all-time heroine!

After a while I came out of the kitchen to sit with my friends, around men and children in the courtyard, and we were presented with a new-born baby boy, who was just a few days old. They put him in my lap, then in one of my friend's lap... and then the main family man asked me to... find him a name! I was astonished by this request! I didn't know if he was serious but I started to think about it anyway. All I could come up with was the name of my sister's son, Niklas, who I thought would be easy to pronounce for Indian people. I suggested it, and in turn they all tried to say "Niklas". They did pronounce it nicely, they liked it, and so the decided to keep it!

I felt very special. It was an immense honour to have been given this precious responsibility, and it was a very foreign name for the family to accept and still they had. As they had accepted the name, a little ceremony was performed. Not much was involved. Vijay told me that as I had no sweets to give, I should put a 100-rupee note in the hand of the child, as it was custom. I felt a bit annoyed about this constant involvement of money in Indian ceremonies; however as I had felt honoured to have given the name, I accepted and did it. Shortly after this we left the village en route back to Khajuraho...


Over a year passed and I completely forgot about the story... Until Ram Gopal, the baby's uncle who had invited us to visit his family house, came by our shop. "Do you remember him?" Vijay asked me. I rolled my eyes and pulled a face in embarrassment. "Niklas's uncle!" he said. Oh my God! Niklas was more than one year-old now, and it had been serious all along! His name indeed was Niklas! So a few days later we went back to the village to visit the family. I held Niklas in my arms. He was responding to the name I had given him! It was really moving.

Then Ram Gopal told me there was yet another new-born in the family, one of his cousins had just had a baby girl! She brought me the girl and guess what? She asked me to give her a name! Again!!! As I had given Niklas the name of my own sister's son's I immediately said "Noemie", her daughter's name. Niklas and Noemie in the Indian family, just like in my sister's family! The Indians had a hard time pronouncing it however, finding the combination of two vowels ([o] and [e]) difficult. I guess it would have been too perfect or something. Or too obvious. So I started thinking about a name. "Sophie" came to my mind but I thought they would have ruined it, because the sound [f] is closer to an aspirated [p] in Hindi, and they would have difficulties with spelling it. I paused some more and suddenly it was it. "Lili" popped in my head and it was cute and it was the easiest. "Lili!" I exclaimed. They all pronounced it in turn and it was indeed very easy. They all liked the sound of it, and so we proceeded to the little naming ceremony. I placed a 100-rupee note in the girl's hand, kissed her forehead and gave her back to her mother.


Over a year has passed and Ram Gopal passed by our shop this morning. "How is Niklas?" I asked. "Good!" he said. "And Lili?" I continued. "She's well". And then he added: "So when are you coming to visit our house?"

Friday, 6 March 2015

"Children of the stars"

Not inspired to write at length these days, but here is my new creation:

A website for my beautiful friend Marie-Fran├žoise Bisson and her new school for children with autism & Down's syndrome in Varanasi.