Jigmet Motup, a member of the much coveted clan called Class three bee and a Ladakhi superkid talks to Yash Srivastava, a guy who has no class. (Puntended)
“Haddh hai. Not more than ten trees in the entirety of Ladakh” I complained to a friend. The eerie landscape of Ladakh was getting to me; something that is bound to happen to a humble landlubber on his eighth day among the esoteric mountains of Ladakh.
“I can see more than ten outside, look! 1,2,3,…24!”
Jigmet Motup, class three bee: perennially positive.
Jigmet Motup (class three bee) was right of course. His counting? Impeccably accurate. There were precisely twenty six trees sitting at the edge of the tiny valley, a plantation of sorts. The tiny transit town of Upshi fits snugly at the bottom of this valley; an egg in a nest.
Conversations with Ladakhi superkid, Jigmet Motup #1 The one with the trees
Jigmet Motup, age 8, class three bee, loves a freebie, the ones that bag of crisps companies put in bag of crisps.
“Look what I’ve got!”
“A ghost, look!”
Jigmet Motop wriggles his thumb at me menacingly.
“It’ll never come off my finger” He whispers conspiratorially “It’s a ghost!”
Jigmet Motop, age 8, class three bee but going to fourth bee, on the supernatural significance of lazily mass-produced rubber thumb puppets
Conversation with Ladakhi superkid, Jigmet Motup #2 The one with the thumb puppet
Jigmet Motup, age 8, class three bee (soon to be Jigmet Motup, age 9, class four bee) is the sole inheritor of his parent’s homestay at Upshi, where yours truly stayed for a day.
“Want to watch a movie?”
I’m sitting on a mattress. The mattress is lying on a floor, The floor lies over a roof, the floor lies on four load bearing walls which stand on the foundation of Jigmet Motup’s homestay.
(Of course he does, he’s a kid)
“Minion waala movie hai?” he asks, a little tersely, spotting my minion themed laptop jacket.
“Minion wala movie hai” I say, reassuringly and open my laptop:
‘Windows’ flashes and waves on the screen.
Meanwhile, I conjure up a chocolate coated granola bar from my rucksack and offer it to Jigmet Motup, presently three bee.
But Jigmet Motup, knows better than to take strange food from strange people.
“No” he says and shakes his head and sits, cross legged, in front of my laptop and clicks on the VLC file titled Minions: The movie, it’s right there on the desktop.
I sit beside him and unwrap the granola bar.
Well, more for me, eh?
Conversation with Ladakhi superkid, Jigmet Motup #3 The one with the granola
Jigmet Motop, three bee and Penn and Teller ka baap, introduces a novitiate to his art…
The deck consists of ten cards, each collected very painstakingly from within ten bags of crisps.
I identify the card with the frog on it and draw it out at every turn.
It never fails to elicit a bout of gleeful giggling from Jigmet Motup, Cardistry artist.
Frowning, I ask “Why am I only getting the froggie Motup?”
“I know what you’re doing Motup. All these cards have froggies on them, don’t they?”
“No” he says, laughing a Pu-Tai laugh “Only one of them has a froggie on it, look”
He turns the cards. Sure enough, one froggie and nine sundry animals.
But I know that already.
“Choose” He says, shuffling and stacking the cards back again.
I scrunch my brows in suspicion and pick the one with the slightly frayed left corner.
I turn the card, look at it, give an overdrawn sigh and hold it up for him to see.
Jigmet Motop laughs, the scoundrel.
Conversation with Ladakhi superkid, Jigmet Motup #4 The one with the frayed card
Goodbye, Jigmet Motup, hope your tummy always remains filled with giggles!
On my way back, the bus stopped at Upshi.
I buy a handful of chocolates and run up to the Inn. I can see Jigmet’s mother, cooking breakfast for her guests
“Jigmet hai ma’am?” I ask the inn keeper.
“Woh so raha hai” She says
The bus, it’ll probably leave by the time I get back.
“Here” I say to Mrs. Motup “Give these chocolates to Jigmet?”
“As soon as he wakes up”
I thrust the chocolates in her hand, turn around and prepare myself for what seems like a hundred mile dash.