Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Leading Bhai example

They say that couples that are together for too long start to behave like each other. Sometimes, the effects last even after they split.

Today, I saw the proof.

Why does this... 👇🏽


...remind me of this? 👇🏽


Bhai-Kat this song, I say!




Thursday, September 20, 2018

Thinking out of in the box

Because eating at the dining table is too mainstream...



Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Rolling with it

As promised, here's part II of my earlier post.

Over the last few months of skating, I have encountered a lot of interesting people. This post is about them.

The bus folks
So Xena and I take a bus to the beach where our skating rink is. Ideally, we should be skating from home all the way to class but we are not yet comfortable with the idea of that, given that there are several roads, slopes and an underpass we need to cross. So we take the bus, lugging our skates, safety gear and helmets along. I have a skating rucksack which holds my gear and helmet and has two slings on the outside for the skates to hang from. The whole thing is about 7 kg in weight, and then there's Xena's bag with her skates and gear, bringing the total weight I carry on my back to about 10 kg. Ow ow ow. (Xena carries a small bag with our water bottles and a snack box.) We get a lot of fascinated stares from people as we get in, carrying all that. Most think I am a soccer mom taking my kid to a class before they spot the giant skates and do a double-take. And because I'm mostly dressed in tropical Singapore's national attire (shorts, a T-shirt and flip-flops), I do not look like a skater at all. It's very amusing to see the looks on their faces as they try to figure out what's going on.

The magician teacher
When I was in levels 1 and 2, the instructor who taught me was so fantastic, I can easily call him one of the best teachers I've ever encountered. You know how the difference between loving something and hating something can just be that one teacher? Yeah, he's that guy. Extremely patient, totally goofy, and with the eye of a hawk, he can point out little technicalities that make a hell of a difference -- bend your left knee a little, speed up a bit more before you do the move, lean to the right, keep your feet parallel, etc.  I think of him as a magician. Here I'd be, struggling with something, and next thing I thing I know, one quick glance and 4-5 words of wisdom from him and I'd have mastered the move. 

The badass-hardass teacher
My current teacher, who is like a stunt artist on skates, is a toughie. Even though he's probably the youngest of them all (he's still studying), he's the most no-nonsense. Maybe that's why he prefers teaching the higher levels; he simply can't deal with the nonsensical chatter that accompany 3-4-year-olds. Almost all the students (including me) are a little scared of him so when I moved to level 3 and was assigned to him, I was terrified. But I got over it after about two lessons. Somehow a mutual trust had been established. And now I can totally appreciate his teaching style too. It works well for me. He doesn't praise; a 'not bad' or a thumbs-up is all he will flash your way to tell you you're not a complete disappointment. But he's a total rockstar.

The dadsplainer
Some of the kids' dads stand around the rink to watch the lessons. While most are content just watching or proudly taking photos and videos, some will start shouting out instructions to the kids. It really infuriates me when these folks try to dadsplain over the instructor's teaching. Some have the audacity to literally walk into the rink in the middle of the lesson to deliver their lecture! Some leave their kids in tears. (Come to think of it, I've not encountered any momsplainers though. Hmmm.) I can see that sometimes a third person's perspective can help see where you're going wrong but that perspective doesn't need to come in right in the middle of the lesson.

The hubsplainer
Not that there are a lot of adult female students in the rink, but once in a while you do encounter one who's trying her best to learn but simply cannot because the hubsplainer thinks that he's such a good virtual skater that he knows better than the instructors. Someone ask these guys to join the lessons themselves. I think hubsplainers are the main reason why we don't see many mommy skaters. If Viv ever hubsplained to me in the middle of my lesson, I think I'd bop him on the head with my helmet.

The curious mommies
I cannot tell you how many times I have been approached by mommies of my little classmates asking about my experience with the lessons. Most of them seem very keen to join the classes but sadly, it never happens. Some cite age, some kids, some a hectic schedule, some fear. I want to bop them (lightly) on the head too and say, "You want to do it, right? JUST DO IT!"

The 'which state in India are you from?' ladies
Okay, so if there is any group that I want to bop on the head more than anyone else, it HAS to be these Indian ladies. I have always found it irritating when people you've literally just met want to know which state you're from. (Surprisingly, not a single man has ever asked me that; it's always the ladies) I feel like it's an attempt to bracket you in some kinda category before they get to know you. For me, the state is insignificant and maybe more like a 4th date kind of a revelation, if at all. And it has to come up organically, if at all. My face, name and accent probably don't betray any particular state and I guess it drives them mad. But how does it matter which state I am from?? It's infuriating when someone approaches to ask me how I got started on skating and as I'm talking, I can see the gears inside their head turning, not absorbing a bit of what I am saying, but just wondering if I'm from the North or the South or the East or the West or the Centre. And as soon as I'm done talking, they smile and ask, "Which state in India are you from?" Most of the time I immediately drop my friendly demeanour and say, "I'm from Singapore. I came here as a teenager and it's been 20 years now. So yeah, I'm from here." And then they will say, "No, but BEFORE you came here, which state were you from?" Gaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhh! And that's when I skate far, faaaaar away from them.

The fast kid
So there is a 7-year-old boy in my class who is the fastest kid I have ever seen on skates. He's also in level 3, so a lot of times we have our lessons together. Sometimes, towards the end of the lesson, the instructors conduct fun games for the kids to improve their speed and reaction time, like catch or ice and water (if you get caught by an instructor, you freeze till another kid comes along to thaw you) or polar bear (a hilarious game that tests the skill of falling safely; as soon as an instructor approaches, you fall and get into a crouching position with face, hands and legs tucked in; you basically turn yourself into a polar bear camouflaged in the snow so you can't be caught). Sometimes, by virtue of being an adult, I'm made part of the catching team. Initially I was quite slow but I started getting better and ONE DAY I CAUGHT THE FAST KID OMG. I was so pleased with myself. That was the highlight of my day. Can I put it on my skating resume, pretty please?

The blessing uncle
Okay, this is really cute. One of my little classmates' grandpa had come to watch the lessons. During the break, he came over to me, put his hand on my helmeted head and said, "I want to bless you for what you are doing and how well you are doing it for your age. I know many ladies would like to do this and you're setting a good example. I'm really happy that you are doing this." I was a little amused at the "for your age" bit, but I know he meant well.

The people who mistake me for an instructor
As we learn right next to the beach, we get a big audience — joggers, cyclists, dog-walkers, couples on dates, families on beach outings, etc. Many people are curious and fascinated about the lessons and want to find out more. Sometimes, they mistake me for an instructor and start asking me about the class schedule or fees. Normally I tell them that I'm just a student (getting very amused looks) and point them to an actual instructor, but there was this one time everyone was busy and I was taking a water break when this couple approached me to ask about fees and stuff. So I just skated over to get a flyer and gave them all the details and answered all their questions! Muahaha!

Roller-skating uncle
Saved the best for last. Whenever I feel too old in class, I look at this 70-something uncle who glides into the rink on his old-styled roller skates, puts on Chinese classical music, wows everyone with a dance routine and glides back out. What an inspiration!






Sunday, September 16, 2018

Wheels in motion

So Xena started inline skating lessons a few months ago.

But this post is not about Xena's skating.

It's about mine.

Xena's skating lessons happen during the weekends next to the beach, and initially I'd arm myself with a book, or take photos and videos of her, or chit-chat with other parents to pass the time while she was in class. Viv would be away at cricket most weekends anyway.

Then one day, as I sat there, my eyes alternating between Xena in class and a (terrible) book I was reading, I asked myself, "Why am I here when I could be there?"

I knew that the minimum age for learning was 3. But was there a maximum age? The lessons looked like they were obviously catered to very young kids, with plenty of fun and games all around. In fact, the instructors do not even go by their real names, but nicknames that feature various food items! You can only imagine how much more fun and approachable a teacher would be if they asked you to call them Watermelon instead of Walter. Some of the instructors, by the way, are about half my age so it was with a beating heart that I asked if I could try it out. They were very welcoming and told me that they taught all ages.

So I went for a trial to check it out. And as soon as I got the skates and safety gear on and started skating, I knew I was exactly where I was meant to be. Even though I was nervous and wobbly, I was high in the clouds. That feeling was incredible and something I still find hard to describe. Maybe it was the first time since Xena was born that I was doing something that was for myself and myself only. Maybe because at that moment, I was no longer Xena's mom. I was nobody's nothing. I was just a person trying to learn something new and fantastic.



Once you learn the basics (rolling, falling safely, etc.), there are five levels you need to pass. There are several skills/stunts in each level, and as you progress, the skills/stunts get harder and harder. However, the process is extremely rewarding. One weekend, you're staring in total awe as your instructor demonstrates something really cool, telling yourself, "Oh goodness, I'm NEVER gonna be able to do THAT!" and the next weekend you're casually doing the exact stunt while chit-chatting with your 4-year-old classmate. It's the perfect combination of awesome teachers and a very sincere student who just really wants to learn. We've all heard the phrase 'practice makes perfect' but this is the first time that I am literally seeing it work. Skills that I struggle with initially become better with practice. The difference is visible, it's measurable. Of course, it's only been a few months, and there is still lots to learn, but I am so excited that it shows. I wait for weekends, I have dreams of skating, I go through techniques in my mind whenever I can. It's like falling in love — I'm constantly thinking about it. And I get depressed on Sundays (not about Monday; I love my work) because the next skating lesson is soooo, soooooo far away.

The classes are split not by age, but by skill level. It's mostly kids, of course, and a few stray adults who turn up once in a while. It was a little strange initially when I was in level 1 and the only adult in the class. Some of the kids would turn and give strange looks to "someone's mommy who has suddenly put on skates and gear and joined the class" while others would earnestly ask if I was one of the instructors. But now, we're all friends and even the littlest ones address this 'classmate' of theirs by her first name.

Except for this one little girl who doesn't. She's not 100% comfortable with me being in the same class, and things took a turn for the worse when both of us passed level 1 on the same day.

That little girl is my kid, Xena.

"But Mama, you joined a month after I did! How could you pass level 1 on the same day as me???"

Oh boy, and here I thought I was competitive.

So I tried to explain to her that as a kid I used to roller-skate (kinda true; I did discover an abandoned pair of roller skates — the old-styled self-balancing kind — during a summer vacation at my grandparents' and that summer they became my primary mode of transport, but only from room to room and sometimes up and down the stairs), that some people already have a good sense of balance that helps (kinda true too), and that some skills are easier for adults to grasp (omg not true at all when it comes to skating), but the most important bit was that she shouldn't compete with me, or anyone else for that matter. She's coming to terms with it, but I have to keep reiterating that her only competition should be herself.

"Don't look at others. You can be inspired by them, but don't compete with them. Think of what you were last weekend. Are you better than that today? If not, work on it." I tell her. She nods. Hopefully she will take my advice. Because this advice will help her loads in adulthood.

In a way, I think this whole skating thing has been a life-altering thing for her as well. It teaches her perseverance, resilience and helps her deal with failure (some skills are really hard and can take weeks and weeks to master and you will fall, and fall, and fall again). It helps her see that age is just a number, as there are kids tinier than her who are at higher levels. And very importantly, it helps her see me as a completely separate individual and not just her mommy.

One of the other significant things that has happened is that I am learning new things about my own body. I have never been very coordinated (ask me to sing but never to dance!) or flexible, and I have a bad knee from a fracture (which actually happened 20 years ago but it was so bad that it still hurts sometimes when I skate or walk uphill on the treadmill). So all these years, I have always slightly favoured the bad knee. However, the thing with skating is that you can only pass a skill if you can demonstrate it using both legs. There are literally checkboxes marked 'left' and 'right' that the instructors will tick for each skill. So that has pushed me into pushing my bad leg a bit more than I usually do, with some very unexpected results. For some skills, I have found myself performing better with my bad leg in charge, something that has surprised even my instructors. Very interesting.

However, I remain the extremely practical person I've been, and constantly tell myself that being surrounded by kids doesn't mean I am one and that I can throw caution to the wind and go ahead and break a few bones like it's no big deal. Like the mommy of my 6-year-old classmate gently reminded me, "Old bones heal slow."

So I try my best to remind myself of my old bones when I feel a little too adventurous.

It's not easy, to be honest.


My first time doing a "fish" — a basic slalom (obstacle) move 

Mommy and baby out for an Urban (skating on the roads)

Stay tuned for part II of this post, where I'll introduce you to the weird and wonderful types of people I have encountered in my two months of skating lessons. 



Tuesday, September 11, 2018

This job stinks!

This afternoon, we were preparing for Xena's Hindi exam. One of the topics is 'occupations' and the list has a lot of words that we don't really use in our daily lives, no matter how much we converse in Hindi. Words like kumhaar, kisaan, darzi, dhobi, gwala and halwaai hold no meaning whatsoever for kids living in Singapore. So Xena was struggling a little, trying to remember all of them.

Me - Okay, what is darzi?

Xena - Uh... postman?

Me - Nope. That's daakiya. What is darzi?

Xena - Uh... I don't know...

Me (showing a sewing action) - Look! What am I doing?

Xena - Sew...

Me - Correct!

Xena - So darzi is... a... 

Me - Yes?

Xena - I know! A SEW-ER! 



Monday, September 10, 2018

Nailed it

So we have been attempting to grow our own cherry tomatoes (Xena calls them cherry tommy plants) with a moderate level of success. We planted seeds that grew into four plants (christened Tommy, Tammy, Timmy and Tom by Xena) and so far we have harvested 3 gorgeous tomatoes, while 3 more are ripening on the plants.



We have also been trying our hand at composting in order to reduce waste and 'create soil' for our tommies. The other day, Xena and I were talking about the Singapore landfill situation and what we can do about it. We tried to think of all the non-recyclable things we throw and whether they can go into our compost bin instead.

Xena - Ooh Mama, can we add cut fingernails to our compost bin??

Me - YES! (Yeah, I had come across this when I was researching composting.)

Xena - Ooh. I have a GREAT idea. Let's have a small box in which all three of us put our nails after we've cut them. Once the box is full, we can add it to our compost pile!

Me - Err... sure! A bit gross but hey, anything for the planet, yeah?

Xena - Yeah! And you know what we can call that box?

Me - Uh... what?

Xena - OUR NAILBOX!

Me - ...

Xena - Like mailbox? NAILBOX. Ha ha ha!

Me - :|  



Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Flight of fancy

Xena wanders into my room, holding her bowl of pasta that she's been struggling with for about 45 minutes. I'm taking a break from my work, so she eyes my work chair, places her bowl on it, rolls it over, places a regular chair in front of it and sits down. I'm ironing shirts.

Xena - Mama, look! I'm sitting in an airplane, eating my airplane food.

(Ouch. That's a below-the-belt blow to my cooking.)

Me (*in full parent mode*) - Oh really? But why aren't you belted up?

Xena (quickly grabs a pillow from my bed and places it across her chest) - Now I am belted up!

Me - Good.

Xena - Mama, you're the captain of the plane.

Me - Hmmm... And why is the captain of your plane standing up and ironing clothes inside the plane?

Xena (thinks) - No, Mama, the buttons on the shirt you're ironing are the buttons to fly the plane!

Me - Ah ok ok.

Xena (watches me turn the shirt over) - And when you turn it over, the plane changes in direction.

Me - Nice.

Me (watching her take her time with her lunch) - Ladies and gentlemen, this is your captain speaking. As we are going through some turbulence, you need to quickly finish eating your lunch.

Xena (giggles and takes a bite) - Oh, I like the announcement. Can I announce too?

Me - Ok. What are you going to announce?

Xena - Captain of the plane, this is your passenger speaking. There is a lost diplodocus on this flight. Please help to find it.

Me - But how can a diplodocus fit into a plane?

Xena - It's a tiiiiny diplodocus.

Me - Ok. Ladies and gentlemen, this is your captain speaking. I have been informed that there is a lost diplodocus on this flight. If you spot it, please inform a flight attendant.

Xena (rings the 'bell' and looks at me) - *RINGGGG*

Me - Wait. I'm the pilot AND the flight attendant?

Xena - Yes.

Me - Ok. Hello, ma'am. You rang the bell? Did you happen to spot the lost diplodocus by any chance?

Xena - I *am* the lost diplodocus!

Me - Oh, you are?

Xena - Yes.

Me - Ok, let me go inform the captain.

Xena - Ok.

Me - Ladies and gentlemen, this is your captain speaking. I have been informed that the diplodocus has been found. Does anyone know how it got into my flight in the first place?

Xena - The captain forgot that she had brought along her own pet diplodocus.

Me - Oh, I have a pet diplodocus now? And that's you?

Xena - Yes.

Me - And why are you on this flight?

Xena - To help you.

Me - Help me? What can you do to help me?

Xena - I can change into a dog!

Me - You can change into a dog?

Xena - Yes. Woof!

Me - You're a dog now? And why are you in the flight?

Xena - To find dangerous things in the flight.

Me - Like what?

Xena (points at her towel hanging over a chair) - Like that.

Me - That is a dangerous object?

Xena - Yes.

Me - It's a towel.

Xena - Oh yes, I forgot that it's my own towel.

Me - Hmmm... this dog and its owner don't have very good memory now, do they? One forgets she brought along her pet diplodocus to work and the other thinks its own items are dangerous objects.

Xena - Hehehe yeah...

Me - Ok, so what else does this dog do?

Xena - The dog has ice powers and it can make a person who is feeling hot feel cooler, and it can sniff very well and also hear all the bad guys' plans.

Me - But how will it tell anyone about the plans? It's a dog.

Xena - It can talk a bit. Like woof woof hello woof woof!



Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Catch-up #12

Hello, bewdas and bewdis!

I usually do a catch-up post right after I receive a concerned email from a bewda or two asking why I've fallen off the face of the Earth. So thank you, A G, for your email and getting me back to this page. Sometimes, even the most regular bloggers need a little nudge (or a kick in the ass) to get going.

So I thought I'd do a catch-up on what's been happening.

- We got back from a holiday in the Gold Coast a couple of weeks ago and it's officially my new favourite Aussie holiday destination! I'm currently trying to update my travel blog with the details. However, I'm also inundated with deadlines this month, so everything is in a mess at the moment. I hope to sort it all out soon.

- Speaking of holidays, someone please suggest a nice holiday getaway for (a) Northeast India and (b) Kerala. These two have been in my travel bucket list for too long and I don't know where to start. We will only have 3-4 days, so ideally I'd like to focus on only 1 or 2 cities at the most instead of trying to bhatko firo everywhere with a map and a bag of thumbtacks.

- Like the rest of the world, we had been following the ordeal of the Thai boys stuck in the Chiang Rai cave. Every single day, Xena would come back from school and ask me if there was any update on their situation and I would tell her whatever I'd read. We would then talk about how the kids must have felt in that dark cave with no food and little hope, and how they'd have coped. My head is still reeling at how the whole thing played out. Absolutely mind-blowing. I think I will remember this as one of the significant world events that happened during my lifetime. Something to tell the grandkids.

- I organised a 'back to school' reunion for our batch of university friends as this year, we complete 20 years in Singapore! 16 of my batchmates turned up, and one of them even flew in from India just for this. It was unbelievable walking down memory lane with the same people, but two decades later. Two decades. Man. I can't believe it. Sometimes I wonder if coming to Singapore as a teenager was written in my stars so I could successfully carry out the whole 'do Engineering but don't be an Engineer' thing in peace without getting any Sharmaji ka Engineer-MBA ladka talk from concerned relatives and neighbours and watchman bhaiya and doodhwale chacha. Or maybe it was the kaaynaat plotting for Viv and me to meet. (We'd never have met if we hadn't gotten the same scholarship to come study here.) Or maybe it was just for KK hospital to give me a second life. Whatever it is, these twenty years have been spectacular, full of ups and downs and laughs and madness and I wouldn't change any of it.

- I watched Sanju and was very disappointed. Other than Ranbir nailing Sanju's looks, there wasn't much to the movie. Why do they call these things biopics when they change names, change storylines and totally omit important details of the person's life? Not to mention that I wanted to slap every single female character in the movie. Why are they so badly written? Why didn't Anushka, Sonam and Dia roll their eyes at the script and go, "Thanks, but no thanks"? Also, you expect so much from Rajkumar Hirani that when he starts going down the Imtiaz Ali path, it's very disappointing. I read somewhere that he's writing MunnaBhai 3 now, though a trailer had released some seven years ago! Guess that's abandoned now. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

- I saw the trailer of Dhadak and no, no, no no no and no. Ishaan shows promise, but Jahnvi no no, no, no, no no no. Call me harsh, but no, no, no no no. Maybe the movie will prove me wrong, but if not, Jahnvi should stop herself before she goes down the Abhishek Bachchan path, and do something else with her life that she's good at and that she enjoys. I have been told that the Marathi original Sairat is very good and I'm thrilled that it's on Netflix. Will catch it when I get a breather.

- Meanwhile, we started watching Sacred Games on Netflix on a friend's recommendation, and boy, is it addictive. Kinda like Da Vinci Code meets Game of Thrones. We have watched only a few episodes though, so don't post any spoilers! And I know Radhika Apte is getting rave reviews for her performance, but I don't know why I don't get the RAW agent wali feel from her. (Not that I know any real RAW agents, but still.) I keep thinking of Sushmita Sen in Samay and how she came across as such a strong character and how I'd have loved her or someone with that kind of powerful presence to play this role. But maybe there's a twist somewhere about why she is the way she is, and I'll be a convert once the season ends.

- In completely unrelated news, Xena and I have joined inline skating lessons and there is so much to say about it that it will need a whole other post. Soon soon!

Until then, be good. But not too much, ok?
Cheers,
Sayesha




Saturday, May 26, 2018

Happy Meal

We were having breakfast at McDonald's by the beach.

Viv (to Xena) - When you're in secondary school, you can work here during your holidays.

Xena (excited) - Really??

Viv - Yes. And Mummy and I will come here and you can serve us food.

Xena (thinking) - Oh, I cannot serve you food.

Viv - Why not??

Xena - You will have to give me a kiss and a hug first.

Amen to that. 😃😍



Friday, May 18, 2018

Going loony

No no, don't go by the title of the post. Though it sounds very similar to my previous post's title, I'm not about to inflict another stunning "song" on you. This post is about entirely something else.

Like almost the whole world, I was a big fan of Hergé's Tintin comics as a kid. Well, even now for that matter. The only difference is that now I know that the author's name is not pronounced 'herj' like I did as a kid, but air-zhay.

I couldn't wait for Xena to get started on Tintin. So when I found out that a neighbour was giving away a lot of books, including five Tintins, I JUMPED. Not just with indignation that someone should be giving away their Tintins, but also with excitement. You see, my Tintin collection is probably still at my parents' house in India and considering the number of times my sister and I had devoured them as kids, I don't think they are in a state to be used by Xena. So I JUMPED and got the Tintins from my neighbour.

With a flourish, I handed them to Xena. I waited with bated breath for her to fall in love with them instantly.

She read a page and a half and then returned them to me.

"I don't understand anything." She declared.

Of course. I should have known.

Even though they are comics, I'd momentarily forgotten how grown-up they are. There is a lot of geography and politics and social commentary and other elements I was unfairly expecting a 7-year-old to grasp on her own. So I told her how much I used to love the books as a kid, and read one out to her. It took us about an hour to get through about 10 pages because I was pausing and explaining literally every dialogue and every scene, and also answering questions like "Is this a bad guy? Is that a good guy? Why does Captain Haddock love whiskey?"

So over a few days, we read and re-read all the books together. Slowly, she started to laugh at the parts that I had laughed my guts out when I was a kid. It started to feel like a worthwhile effort. She would giggle whenever Thomson and Thompson made an appearance, or sympathise with poor Snowy and the number of accidents he had.

"Mama, Snowy is not really talking. He's a dog. He can't talk. But he can think. The speech bubbles are showing what is is thinking, not what he is saying." She 'explained' to me. I nodded.

And now, finally, she's on her own. Consuming Tintins at such an alarming rate that the library can't keep up. Thankfully, like me, she's also re-reading them a lot.

Last week, I popped by the library and got her 'Explorers on the Moon'. Unfortunately, they didn't have the prequel — 'Destination Moon'. Nevertheless, she was thrilled to see a new one. We have been reading it together because it has way more complex concepts than she has gotten used to. And because she hadn't read 'Destination Moon', she needed a lot of background information.



The other day, Viv was reading it to her while I was making dinner and a thought struck me. Did Hergé actually write the two Moon books before the 1969 Moon landing? As a kid, I had never really given it a second thought, but now I was dying of curiosity. So I flipped to the first page to see the year of copyright and I almost fell down in shock.

Not only had Hergé written the books before Neil Armstrong and co. got to the Moon, he had written it even before the Space Race had started, even before Sputnik I had gotten to space! A quick Google search revealed that the Moon books were printed in strips between 1950 and 1953, and converted to books in 1954. I'm still reeling from the accuracy shown in the books, given that space travel had not started, and people didn't know much about the Moon, and there was no Google.

Even though he had consulted aeronautics experts in order to write the books, a lot of it was his own imagination and extrapolation of things people had not seen or experienced, e.g. the details on the Moon, the blobs of Captain Haddock's whiskey floating inside the spacecraft and how astronauts on the Moon would be 'hopping' instead of walking.

What a genius.

And oh, I also found out that after the Apollo 11 landing, Hergé sent Neil Armstrong this picture as a gift. Hilarious!