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Diary: God bless Bill Watterson

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April 28, 2003 16:22 IST


What do you want from Bangalore?" I asked Rashmi.


"CALVIN," she screamed over the phone. "I want Calvin."


"Er… Calvin?"


It was my introduction to the 6-year-old and his stuffed tiger Hobbes.


"You want a comic book from here!" I double-checked. "Sheesh..."


That evening, I found myself checking out the cartoons section, much to my embarrassment. These type of books were for kids, weren't they?


And there they were, a whole bunch of them. I opened one.


'I guess the reason we dream is so we can play with each other even when we sleep,' says a pyjama-clad Calvin to Hobbes.


'Ok, buddy,' replies Hobbes. 'See you on the other side in two minutes.'


And I was hooked.


This was a few years ago. Subsequently, I have got closer to Calvin, Hobbes, and my girlfriend Rashmi, in any order permutation allows. And together with Rashmi, I have followed their every adventure, from the drooling monsters under the bed, to the deranged mutant snow goons to the weirdos from outer space.


Somewhere along the way, I started fantasising about Calvin's life, and admired his attitude, the way he turned simple household scenes into potential adventures, basic math into dinosaur play and every trip to the principal's office -- and there were quite a few! -- into an alien interrogation of the fearless spaceman Spiff.


Rashmi and I have spent countless hours trying to caricature the duo's every expression. Inspired by Calvin's attempt to write an autobiography, I sat down one night to pen mine. I didn't get even as far as Calvin, whose opening -- and closing -- line went something like:


'I've had several interesting incidents and insights in my life, but frankly, none of it is your damn business. The end.'


Determined to put pen on paper, I came up with this. Although it doesn't come even close to measuring up with any of his adventures, it sure serves as a forum to tell my mother I gave my heart to the girl who made me discover the wonderful world of a 6-year-old and his tuna fish-addicted stuffed tiger.


God bless Bill Watterson.


Illustration: Uttam Ghosh

Hriday Balachandran