The kingdom of the child


Rajesh Kochhar

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At a recently concluded international academic conference in Hefei in the Anhui province of China every body’s darling was the young son of a Chinese participant. A fellow participant from Europe later narrated this incident. When he took out a packet of biscuits from his bag the boy asked for it. Thinking that the boy wanted to eat the biscuits the man handed the packet over to the boy. But no, the boy opened the packet and returned it to the owner. The boy did not need the biscuits. He needed to demonstrate his skill in opening the packet.

I myself had a memorable experience in a tourist village called Huangcun. I said hello to a small boy whose mother goaded him to say hello in return. Since the boy was plump and bald I patted on his head and knocked on it. The boy’s response elicited laughter from every body within earshot. The mother explained to me that the boy said in Chinese: Grandpa.

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