There Are No Helmets in Heaven

It’s too hot to get mad when the temperatures rise to 115 degrees.

Still, I manage to dig into reserves of mad when I order my iced coffee at the school coffee shop and they tell me that there’s no ice.

There’s ice in Old Delhi though.  People are lying on blocks of it to stay cool.

We don’t talk about the “heat index” when it’s 115 outside.  My friend Cecile said it best on her Facebook page in her beautiful French-English:  “How to explain?”

Her husband, Peter, can explain.  He says it’s so hot in their living room, the unlit candles are drooping.

Recalling one exceptionally hot summer, a biologist told me that he was sitting under a  tree to rest from tracking tigers when a freak gust of wind blew and the birds in the tree fell to the ground, dead.

Even stranger, Eddie put himself to bed at 7:30 the other night.  No books, no snuggling, no negotiating.  He was already asleep when his head hit the pillow.

Still, all this heat doesn’t make leaving easier.

Some places ask more of you than others and India asked a lot.  It is a good bit Hell and a good bit Heaven.  What lies between the two is complicated.

And so is saying goodbye.


It was nice to have my long and dear friend, Karen, visit from New York.  She jumped into the chaos of our last three weeks and while this could have been a disaster, it wasn’t.  I returned to places with her that I hadn’t seen for four years and she helped me bring this chapter to its end.

I will not forget our bicycle ride through Old Delhi.  And I can safely promise that I will never visit  this urban maze on two wheels again.   I sacrificed a few of my remaining lives on the trip, and stole a few lives from people who nearly found themselves under my wheels.

My favorite memory of the adventure:  Karen turned to me as she was trying to negotiate through a traffic of cars, cows, rickshaws, goats, and ox-carts to shout:  “I’m surprised they don’t make us wear helmets!”


It was difficult to take photos while negotiating the streets of Old Delhi, but we managed a few:


A bit of California comes to my neighborhood every Sunday at the “Organic Farmer’s Market”….

It’s all rather shabby chic:


And a few other photos from our last weeks.  The kids and I have ten days left.

15 thoughts on “There Are No Helmets in Heaven”

      1. Maybe…I’m in CO end of July-but didn’t see that on the list! NC is an option, depending…or come to Orlando, I’ve got free Universal Studios tickets and blow up beds!

  1. Have loved reading your blog about India! I’ve learned a lot! Hope you’ll keep it up in Rome!

  2. Beautiful photos, Theo. Keep clicking for the next ten days. I know leaving must be difficult. How are the kids doing with it all? I can’t picture you all saying goodbye to Bina and Jag Mahan without tearing up, so I know you must be dreading it. I echo Judy’s comments about your wonderful blogs. Hope you consider gathering them into a book. Let us know your US plans.

    1. I need to start printing the posts… slowly (there are so many!) and make my own little memory book.

      George and Lala are a small mess. Jim says that this is the first move in which they are people and not baggage… with little lives of their own that they will miss and find difficult to let go.

      Eddie is cool but probably boiling somewhere inside. He’s pretty silent about his feelings. Reminds me of the penalty kicks he made in soccer recently – winning hinged on both and he nailed them, then quietly walked away. I love that steeliness about his nature – so unlike me.

      We are all waiting for the note that Paxton has arrived…

  3. Thank you for keeping us all close. We have enjoyed learning about your home for the past 4 years through your exquisite writing and colorful photos!
    I so regret not coming to visit, but Veljko and I will be in Rome in November for a conference!
    I don’t know your summer plans, but I’m in OC right now and back to Houston June 18. Love you all

  4. D: No Houston this summer… but a month in CA if you want to escape and visit us there. We are house-sitting in Menlo. (Serious invitation…)

    If not, then it’s Rome in November for sure! We can plan then for our summer 2014 in Croatia… xt

  5. Love to read about your adventures in Delhi! We did exactly the same bike tour last July…together with our kids 🙂 I was indeed happy they start that early, because after two hours it was just too crowded to ride a bike. But we loved it!

  6. I finally arrived. I made your blog!

    and, once they get settled, I think the loving, secure home you give all 3 your kids will have a far greater influence on them than where the home is located.

  7. Theo,
    I’ve loved reading about your adventures in India. I feel like I’ve kept up with you and your family, although it has been a very one-sided communication (you write and I read.)

    I wish you all the best with your move! New beginnings are exciting, but saying good-bye is hard. I hope we will have a chance to see you in Europe soon! We drove to Rome 2 years ago, and had a great trip.

    You are always welcome in Berlin!

  8. Oh Theo,

    you will never forget what you have seen in India, so the leaving will be all the more sweeter.

    and Rome now. that will be fun and very close to us in Bibury so expect some spontaneous trips both ways.

    we love italy. would love to introduce our dolphins to each other again.


  9. Theo,

    When will y’all be in Menlo, CA?? I’m planning a visit out this summer to the bay area to visit friends/family and check out law schools. Would love to meet up!

    xx, hannah

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