Why I Spent Two Decades Looking for a Little Blue Alarm Clock

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'On days when my mother hadn’t already wound it, I was allowed to. Winding that alarm clock gave me a great sense of accomplishment. Like I’d graduated to big-girl land.'

It was one of those orange-skied evenings, two years ago now, that Berlin does exceptionally well.

I’m looking down at an array of East German memorabilia. Everything from silver coins, emblazoned with the words “Deutsche Demokratische Republik" to bank notes and an assortment of medallions. This is at one of many stalls that line a street near Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate. Nearly all the makeshift stalls have memorabilia from when the Wall stood. I spot a couple of brass clocks, but they don’t come close to what I’m looking for.“We have a beautiful old clock in our mantle.

I don’t know what was different that night. I don’t know if it was luck or dogged determination or the fact that I really didn’t want to go back home to Bangalore with a little orange clock instead of a little blue one. I moved from page after page of Slava and Vityaz alarm clocks, wondering if I should cave and buy one of those.

With my eyes almost closing, I added the word “mini” to the search bar: “Mini Russian Alarm Clock”. Suddenly the results were more promising. I found something that looked similar, and it had the word “Paketa” on the dial. It was a Raketa alarm clock! I added the word Raketa to the search bar and hit enter. I found a detailed post on a forum on how to open up a Raketa Mini Alarm clock. And a YouTube video on how to wind one up. And then, there it was.


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