Yes, I know. Two posts in a day! No, I am not turning into Falstaff. That would be a little too depressing. I am off to India tomorrow morn and there are so many posts to put up - one on Stockholm, a few on Berlin, a couple of conversations now that I don't have a job, etc., but I am not sure when amma will allow me near a computer, so I figured might as well put this up now.
By rights, this week should have a Bergman theme but since enough people will do that and I have nothing insightful to say anyway, I will do the next best thing and do a series on The Rooster and The Bear, both from Bergman's beloved Svenska. The Bear we will come to know soon enough. The Rooster, otherwise known as Emil from the Great City of Lund, turned up in London the past weekend and proved to be an endless source of entertainment, so I think its only fair that I spread the joy. Just to give you an idea of how much of a success The Rooster is, let me tell you how popular he was when he happened to be in India for a wedding a few years ago. Amazed (and more than a little puzzled, I guess) after seeing a few apartments and houses in some of our cities, The Rooster whenever he was introduced to anyone immediately put on his best Swedish smile and said: "Hi, I am Emil. From the Great City of Lund. Where do you fuck?" Needless to say, he was a great hit.
In case you think he is some sort of an uncouth fellow from the Northern parts of the world, The Rooster wants you to think about the question he raised. Please note that he did not ask people "How do you fuck?" - now that's just silly and plain rude. Instead, he asked "where", which is really a very thoughful question - these are all small, open style crowded apartments that he saw, how the hell does a country get to one billion people here, he really was puzzled, you see. And if you still not satisfied, the Rooster, among other things, hobnobs with the co-founder of the Feminist Initiative, alright? You better love this guy. (Emil, I know you are reading this. Happy now?)
So anyway, the Rooster comes back home after a hard day's work putting on his best Sergey Brin act (he had on the perfect pair of torn jeans) and impressing a bunch of City bankers.
"Did you hear the news? Its a sad day for Sweden, eh?"
"Yes, I did. He is so timeless. Can you believe that he's dead?"
"When did you hear the news?"
"I was in the meeting and I received a text message. I couldn't believe it. I said "Holy Shit. Bergman's dead" and these damn Brits looked up and said "Bergman who?". It was so painful"
"I will read you the newspapers. Everyone's writing about it. In Sweden, Bergman's next only to Bamse"
"Bamse? As in Bamse, the Bear?"
"No, you don't talk that way about Bamse. Bamse is not just a bear. Damn. How do I explain Bamse to you? Bamse is just Bamse. Bamse is Svenska"
"Let me put it this way. You know how in America there are Republicans and Democrats and all those other people?"
"Yeah those bad people. Yes"
"If you take Bamse and introduce him to Americans, do you know what will happen?"
"There will be no Republicans. There will be no Democrats. No bad people"
"There will only be Social Democrats. And everyone would ask What would Bamse do before going to stupid wars"
"Ah, I see. Bamse is a propaganda machine"
"No, No. Bamse is no such thing. Bamse is the strongest bear ever. He gets strong when he drinks thunder honey"
"He drinks what?"
"Thunderhoney. Now if you and I were to drink it, we will get stomach ache for three days. But Bamse gets strength"
"Bamse is not the just strongest bear, he is also the kindest bear in the whole universe"
"You can go read about him in Wikipedia if you want. Bamse has values. No racism, no bullying, no violence. He is very clear about his values"
"No capitalism too, I suppose?"
"Not really. But the villain in the Bamse stories is an evil capitalist"
"Bamse is the reason we do so well. It is the reason for our high per capita income"
"Well, I thought its because the capita, which is the denominator in that calculation, is you know, close to zero"
"Zero? Nine million people. We are nine million people"
"If you say so. Bamse is also the reason then I suppose there are no Starbucks in Sweden"
The Rooster suddenly looks unhappy.
"I guess so. Bamse wouldn't approve of it"
Back story: The Rooster is actually the perfect example of how rampant American consumerism and capitalism destroys young, innocent boys from Bamseland. The Rooster, in his seventeenth year, spent a year in Seattle as an exchange student. Up until this point in his innocent life, he's had zero cups of coffee and two cans of Coke. Yes, in seventeen years of existence. In Seattle, he had one Mocha Frappuccino and spent two weeks roaming the streets of the city completely stoned. He became a convert and since then, he roams the world in search of mocha frappuccino and spends every night dreaming of the day Starbucks will open its doors in Sweden.
"So you have to choose between Bamse and Starbucks"
"Like that's a real choice"
"Yes, but you still fly to London for the mocha frappuccino"
"Once in a while, its okay. Bamse wouldn't mind"
"Are you sure?"
"Of course I am sure. Hey, I need to figure out what time I need to be at the airport tomorrow"
"International flight. They will say three hours"
"That's what BA says. I am flying SAS. They were brought up on Bamse. They won't lie"
"What are you guys doing? Tax returns?"
"Yeah, these Brits are crazy. There's about 35 sheets to fill"
"We don't do anything of this sort. We just have two lines A and B. You put what you have in your bank and all other savings and send it off. Thats all"
"And you never hear about it again"
"Yeah, they calculate everything and the money goes to Bamse"
"What does he do with the money?"
"He uses it to buy thunderhoney"
"And then he becomes strong"
"Yes, but he is also the kindest, remember? So he takes care of everything"
"It all makes sense now"
"Of course it does. Good night now"
Coming up: The friendly neighborhood Swedish terrorist, and The Scandinavian Pick-Up process
 Little over a week at home in God's own country, then to the city by the sea for a couple of days, and a longish weekend in the pretentious city by the river to see the in-laws. The first couple of places I can entertain myself but any suggestions on what to do in the East will be muchly appreciated.