‘Must Have’ for a happy home: A puppy..

If you haven’t had a pet dog, you have missed a lot in life.

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It was just last day when I was watching a movie named “Marley and Me’, typically a story about a dog and its owner and their own little (mis)adventures. This movie always leaves me sobbing at the end, when the family parts with Marley. Only a person who has/ had pets, especially a dog, would understand the sentiment.

A dog is in fact in every sense man’s best friend. The most affectionate creature one would ever find. I am fortunate to have grown up around dogs at home.

The first dog I remember was a German Shepard, we called him Rocky. We adopted him when he was hardly a few weeks old. I remember him as a round fluffy ball of brown fur, stumbling across, as he tried to walk around the house. I used to love his warm touch, and when he licked my face while playing. Oh, how I miss him. I was in third standard at that time, me and my two sisters found a new playmate in Rocky. He used to chew up our shoes, our toys, and any other thing he could find. We have often woken up to slobbered foot ware. Winters in our city used to be brutal, with the temperature dropping to/below 3 degrees. Rocky used to climb on our beds under our quilts, and we would only notice him there by his squeals when we would turn on our beds. We practically grew up together.

And then, when I was in secondary school ( junior high), we had to put him down. Unfortunately,  he grew too big for any of us to handle and started hurting people around. The only person who was able to handle him was my Dad and he was very close to Rocky. He was an civil engineer, and had to be on-site for weeks at a time. And if he ever left without saying a proper goodbye to Rocky, Rocky would create havoc after he left. He wont eat, he would keep crying and would destroy anything in his reach. And whenever my dad used to come back, he used to sense it, before he appeared in front of the house. My dad had to meet him first after coming back, as a rule. Rocky would, lick him, jump on him, crying for at least a good half to one hour, before we had a chance to meet dad. I guess it was because of him that we grew so close to each other, that we were and still are able to understand each other so well.

The day we had to put him down was during Navaratri, Dad was on-site as usual and wasn’t supposed to be back until a few more days. But the he suddenly came back the very next morning after Rocky passed on. He said he wasn’t feeling good at work and had this overwhelming feeling to get back home. He was looking for Rocky when Mom told him that Rocky passed on. That was the first time I ever saw him cry, literally sobbing. Rocky was like a son to him. We all missed him so terribly. Dad fell sick for sometime after Rocky passed on, which we believe was because of the grief. Every one was sad and no body talked much around. This whole event left a void in our family. Those were few very hard weeks for us. We used to miss having him around messing with everything.

Mom used to make Tomato sauce every winter to be used for the next year. She would buy kilos of huge ripe red tomatoes, and Rocky just loved them. He would quietly sneak in and get a mouthful every time mom was out of the room. It was another ritual of our home. Mom knew he would do that and she would intentionally leave a basket for him, as he wont be satisfied till he steals some. After Rocky passed on, even tomato sauce and ketchup were no fun. 😦

It was after a while that we found a new pet. This puppy was a mix of a Pomeranian and a Doberman (weird right). But was the sweetest thing ever. We adopted her when she was around 3 weeks old. I brought her home in my school bag! She was so tiny and was trembling through out. Poor thing. She would take a few steps around the hall and then pee a drop, then a few more steps and another drop. This continued for two days, till she familiarized with the house. We set up a small bed for her in the living room, where we spent most of our time. She would hardly sleep on the mat, and rather on my Mom’s lap. My mom used to stitch at that time, and Tutul (thats what we called the puppy) would just sit in my mother’s lap all the while. We used to set our beds down in the hall during that time, and obviously Tutul would always sleep with us.

One day we were all trying to wake my baby sister up, and she would just toss and turn and to go back to sleep. When we all gave up, Tutul went ahead and started to lick my sister all over her face. She wouldn’t give up until my sister woke up. It was the cutest thing ever. It was as if Tutul understood just everything we did or said.

This is not the real picture. My sister was in third standard at that time. But this is so close to what happened that day. Image courtesy Lori Thomas Dickert from allpetnews.com

This is not the real picture. My sister was in third standard at that time. But this is so close to what happened that day.
Image courtesy Lori Thomas Dickert from allpetnews.com

It was I who named her Tutul, after one of my sisters friends. I wasn’t a big fan of that person, so just for fun I started calling my puppy Tutul. And strangely she responded to that name. So from that day we had Tutul for ourselves. Although we had to make sure that friend of my sister never visited us home. Tutul loved eating cauliflower, carrots, green peas and of course tomatoes. After a few years of being together we had to giver her up, when we moved to a flat, as there was not enough room for a dog there. We made sure Tutul was taken in a by a family we knew and was comfortable there. We used to visit her very often.

The third dog we had was after a long long (almost 10 years) while. It was my mom who along with my step dad adopted the puppy and named her Ruby. Ruby was a mix of German Shepard and Pariah. She was very loving and caring. She loved to have Marie biscuits and we used to buy that specifically for her. She wouldn’t let any stranger in, and would not let anyone carry anything out of the house without her inspecting it. The only person allowed in the house easily was our milkman, well because he would always give her some milk on his way out.

Once my Mom was home alone with Ruby, and wasn’t feeling very well. She was having high fever and that day her blood pressure level went way down than normal. She was almost unconscious. Ruby was by her side the entire day, and when she felt that Mom wasn’t responding to her and wasn’t moving at all she tried to pull her hands and her blanket. When there was still no response she started running around the house and then in a flash she went outside. Just opposite to us was an office where my step dad had an acquaintance. She would bark looking at the office and the dart back in the house, this continued till one guy we knew noticed Ruby and came home with her. This person took my mother to the hospital, and she was given timely treatment. Had it not been for Ruby, we don’t know what would have happened that day.

We grew up and moved out of the house to different parts. I do not have a pet right now, but am eagerly waiting for the day when I would get a kennel home.

I think its a must for people to have at least one pet at their homes, specially if you have kids. Having and taking care of the pet can be the best social learning any one can have. By pet I really mean a dog, I am biased to dogs. I find them the most loving being ever.

Cheers to all dog lovers.

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Mind your Manners!

Lately I have been witnessing a barrage of inappropriate behaviors from people in the least expected circumstances. Th last instance just threw me of balance, I couldn’t fathom the depth in which the etiquette of people in modern times have fallen. One should not forget that your communication is the scorer in certain situations, like a sales pitch, a job application etc.

I recently was contacted by a person from ICICI bank. This guy portrayed himself to be a manager, and started the conversation telling me how his tele-caller has contacted me in March ( mind you he called me in September). Then he went on asking me about my family details, with questions like, Are you married? Where are you staying? Is your husband in the same city? etc etc. And in spite of me asking him to call me later as I was at work and in the middle of a task, he was going on and on. At last I had to raise my voice and ask what was the purpose of the call. He said he wanted to talk about some investment options (no surprise there). After wasting a good 10 minutes of my time he finally hung up. I thought this weird event was over, but I was so wrong. The very next day he started sending those annoying  random texts ‘Good Morning’ ‘Have a nice day’ Good evening’ etc. I was furious. But these messages were no reason enough for me scold him, so I had to cool myself down. But then he went ahead and sent me message on Whatsapp ‘Nice display pic. Is that your husband?’ There, that was it. That was the button for me. When I called and scolded him for crossing the line and for being unprofessional, he gave me the lamest excuse in the text book ‘I just texted you as I had your number on my phone’. Like hell. So if you have the number of the state chief minister, don’t hesitate even a minute, just send all sort of random texts, its totally allowed!!! Although blocking him from whats-app wasn’t enough for me, and I wanted to report him to his officials, I didn’t do so as per my husband’s advice.

That guy never realized that because of his unprofessional approach towards his prospective client, he lost business. Me and my husband were looking out for investment opportunities, but after this episode ICICI is definitely out of the picture.

And this is not the only experience.

We went to Big Bazaar to buy our monthly supplies. I was looking for dark chocolate as I wanted to make a Chocolate cake. I went to the salesman standing at the confectionery counter and asked him where can I find dark chocolate. He first bent down checking his stall, then asked ‘What chocolate do you want Maam?’. I wonder what he was looking down there all this while. Anyways I told him ‘Dark chocolate’. He said ‘Ohh that’ (suddenly realising what I was talking about) and motioned me to follow him. I went behind him walking across more than three aisles, and that’s when he handed me a packet of ‘Bounty’ which basically is coconut stuffed chocolate.

He thought Bounty was dark chocolate

He thought Bounty was dark chocolate

My problem is not that he didn’t know, although not knowing the product he is selling is a question on his credibility, but I was more baffled by how he was making me walk around aimlessly with him, when he should be asking someone who had a clue about it. And when is super saw me asking him, saying he knew where dark chocolate is placed , he came up to us and made a scene of scolding the poor guy (here the fault isn’t of the salesman alone, if isn’t able to provide proper service or lacks product knowledge, he is just poorly trained! ). And then with pride he brought me to the aisle where all chocolates from Cadbury were displayed. Still no trace of Dark chocolate. I don’t know why he was scolding the salesman when he himself didn’t have a clue about what I was asking. I finally had to settle for Bournville, which was placed on a different aisle. Cadbury-rich-cocoa-bournville-fine-dark-chocolate-500x500

This makes me wonder if people even take their jobs seriously anymore. A sales guy with no clue about his product, a customer service guy with no normal etiquette whatsoever. Is this where we have come? Even if you look outside people now seem to have forgotten the basics of social etiquette.

I happen to work in a Special Economic Zone, the place is booming with big shot tech companies. The workforce is highly qualified and well educated. Yet one will come across a lot of bloopers. You will see people bumping into each other on doors, every one wants to get out first. Weren’t you taught some chivalry in school, on how you let a lady or an elderly out first? Weren’t you told that you should hold the swing door for the person just behind you, and not let door bang on his/her face? Haven’t you been told that you should park you vehicle in your parking spot properly so that adjacent spots are available for others to use? Every day I have complains about wrongly parked bikes, covering more space that what they should.  I think the question here is ‘Do you really want someone to tell you all this?’ Its amazing how people are becoming more aware of the environment around then and of latest technologies but are losing touch with the very basic requirements. They know how to get a job, but not how to perform it with elan.  They know how to flirt with a girl/guy but not how to respect another individual they meet. Unless its someone they know of, they aren’t bothered about social etiquette.   They know all about latest gadgets but not how to hold the door for a lady. People jealous of the Men in uniform of how they always get the ladies. They fail to understand is, apart from the very brave jobs they have its their chivalry that makes them so desirable.

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I just hope people go back a bit to the basics..Soon. This way of life is really weird. Its not about the branded shirt you put on or the expensive cologne you use or the amount of makeup you apply, it all boils down to how you conduct yourself. A company might hire you for your technological prowess, but how long do you think you can go, if you don’t know how to behave properly a business setting!

Hell Yeah! I can shake a leg..!!

 

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I recently went to a pub/disc (Thanks to my sweet husband ‘K’!!) and I had the time of my life. All the inhibitions I ever had about myself, my appearance were shed in the red-green-yellow light of the disc. I have always been on the heavier side appearance-wise, and right now would be the worst shape I have ever been in. But that dint stop me from having fun. Yes, people were watching and probably some were even commenting on how funny I looked on the dance floor, but none of that mattered to me, not at that point of time, and definitely not now. My reaction to all of them would be ‘Hell yeah. I can shake a leg!!’.

I have got some very lovely people around me, who have made me feel comfortable in my own skin. I have gained my confidence back and truly, I don’t give a damn of what other people might think of me anymore. I am happy about myself.

I was skeptic about going to a disc as I dint wanted to be out of place in the crowd there. But after a while with my kind of music (which basically is any kind of music 😛 ) things just started flowing. We just danced the night away. I had so much fun dancing, all credit to cheesy Bollywood numbers. My clumsy imitation of Bollywood jhatkas dint seems so bad after all. My lovely sister-in-law ‘L’ made it so much easier on me… Love ya L…

Well I guess what I am trying to say is there are events that may seem ordinary or not worthy of your attention but for someone else they might have a deeper and greater effect. This particular event has made me feel connected to L in a different level. I guess am more closer to her now. And my husband has finally seen the fun side of me :)…

When you have people who love and care for you by your side, anything and everything seems plausible. You have the confidence to go that extra mile to get a smile on their faces. There need not be a huge intervention from an external force to make you realize your worth. Any small gesture, maybe in the daily chores may give the nudge you need to come out of your cocoon and flap your wings and fly.

I have been blessed to have a great support system, in terms of my family and friends. But for people who think they lack in this area, my only advise will be to make the most of what you have. Identify those small small things that you can relate to and use them to nourish your confidence. Don’t kneel into the little setbacks you may face. Nurture the love and warmth you feel around you in whatever form it may be there.

Love your life ( it may be cliche but its true).

Hands Up!! This is the Moral Police…

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After coming to Kerala i have witnessed many an occasions of the ever so talked about “Moral Policing”. Which might give out an impression of a bunch of people protecting an ideal society where all things are in place. Where all relations are maintained with reverence. But if you look under the covers you would see a society with is full of sexually repressed people who are ready to harass/assault women at the drop of a hat!

I remember sometime back in 2010 when I was working with a consulting firm and was staying in a PG nearby. At one evening when I was returning from work I saw a few people talking very loudly in a house near by. At first it seemed like some kind of a meeting but then when I saw them hold a man from his collar and talk in crass way, I sensed something wrong and just ran into my PG. There our landlady told us some association (don’t know what it was) members were tipped that the new tenants in that house are in fact involved in sex trafficking. Later only it was revealed that they were newly weds and dint have much contact in the locality as they moved from somewhere in North India. The couple shifted to another place soon after the incident. Now comes the funny part, the guy who we was assaulting the tenant that evening is someone we see often in the locality visiting a lady in late evening hours and leaving in wee hours of morning. Apparently he was having an extra marital affair with that lady, who herself is married. This of course dint stop him from being the moral police to harass innocent people.

This is however only one such example. There are plenty of cases being reported in news papers and a lot more which are swept under the carpet. Although am citing the example of Kerala it may be there in other states too, but frankly I have witnessed this moral policing only here.

Every other person you would meet will be part of MPD (Moral Police Dumb-asses). But are they pure themselves??

Hell No.

The people here are living two lives, one where they pretend to be guardians of Kerala’s culture and the other is their true self, which is sexually suppressed, selfish, narrow minded and tuned by money/muscle power. They don’t miss any chance to cup a feel of any girl they can get close to, be it a shop, road or a moving bus!! If you are a girl who has traveled in KSRTC buses in peak hours you would know what I mean by this. The girls are harasses in every possible way, by the stares, by indecent comments, by unsolicited touch. The reason I shifted to a PG instead of traveling to-n-fro from my home which is not too far from my work place was one such (actually a few) incident. One evening while coming back from work I had to board a stuffed bus, since it was getting late in evening I dint wanted to wait for the next. After a while I felt someone’s hand moving over my back side when I looked around every man standing there was giving me a dirty smile. I just moved a little away from there. But those sick bas**ds followed. Luckily I got a seat, but it was next to the aisle itself. That sick bas**d stood next to me rubbing himself against my shoulder and every time I asked him to move away he would say its too crowded and every one around would just take it lightly. Those 45mins in that bus that day were the worst I could imagine. The silence of my co-passangers or rather their ignorance was enough encouragement for him. At one point of time he just unzipped himself and rubbed himself again. Since no one was helping I thought of doing something. I took the umbrella of the girl sitting next to me and hit him with all my strength right there. He screamed in pain. Every one started to ask what happened. May be it was what I did that made some ladies to get up and protest. They made the bus stop and that guy was asked to get down immediately. I cant tell you how many times I washed myself trying to scrub away the feeling. Over a period of time I was back to normal. But immediately moved to a PG near my work place to avoid travel.

Where was this so called moral police then? Why dint anyone come to my help? Would you let it happen this to your own sister? These are questions no one can answer. There are some people out there who are worse than the villains one has grown up watching on television. They will sneak up on you and you wouldn’t even know.

Don’t give-in in such situations. Protest. Even if you are alone to do so. Its your virtue. They have no right on earth to make you feel miserable.

I just wish someday they would realize that the Kerala culture they keep mentioning to harass people is long dead by their own hands.

Time for change…

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Lately I have been thinking why are we, ‘women’, so tough on each other and of course on ourselves. No matter where you go you can find a bunch of girls trashing another girl there may be for the dress she is wearing or maybe for the way she’s talking to a guy or maybe for the way she is eating her food!!

I was at this party the other night and while we were trying to figure out why the Dj was playing House music on a Bollywood night, we couldn’t help but over hear a group sitting just adjacent to us. The girls who themselves were clad in Disc-appropriate dresses, were trashing a bunch of girls who were on the dance floor for their ‘slutty neckline’ ‘trampy top’ ‘vulgar moves’ and what not. And its not only there, one can see this reaction every where.

I have grown up listening all elders say ‘women is women’s worst enemy’. There is always some jealousy or temptation to pull the other women down! I never understood why was that so. We are a family of very strong (I always say that 😛 ) four women, and we have always seen each other as our support system and the source of confidence. Or maybe we are just a blessed group of women, exception to the rule!!

But if you look at it, we do tend to compare others and ourselves just too much. In the process we never look at how good we are but always look at the side which should be improved. Don’t get me wrong, I do believe that we should strive for excellence. But who decides what is excellence? Who sets the bar for you? Are the expectation which we make to other and to ourselves realistic?? Who are we to judge another person?

If a college girl is seen with a guy, she’s tramp! If a working wife is late in cooking dinner for her in laws, she’s irresponsible! If a mother is unable to help her child in homework she feels guilty for not being a good mother! If a female employee doesnt heed to any remark of male colleagues she is not managerial material! and if she gets a promotion that means she did some ‘extra’ work for the boss!!

We have a list of unrealistic expectations on women. Where did all this start? God knows! A girl has to pretty and intelligent. She has to study hard and work hard too. She has to get a job and take care of her home too. She has to be a good daughter, a good wife and a good mother ( not to forget being a sister, daughter-in-law, sister-in-law, niece, friend and all other relations one can ever think of)!!! She should dress appropirately or would be shunned as a ‘slut’. She should not get molested! She should respect all the uncles and bhaiyas around! She should be the perfect ‘daily-soap’ Bahurani to the in-laws! She should be the perfect life partner to her husband, sharing the financial burden and taking the burden of household off of him!

And, God forbid, if she is not any one of these, then she is not a Lady!

(I may tend to use too much of exclamation, but that’s just to show NOT normal all these expectations are)

I read this very interesting article by Chetan Bhagat recently. There is specifically one part that would like to quote. Partly because its something I feel is wrong with women and partly because its just TRUE..

“The first behaviour that needs to end is the constant desire to judge other women. Women are hard on themselves. They are harder on each other. An overweight woman enters the room. Most women are thinking ‘how fat is she?’ A working mother misses a PTA meeting due to an office deadline, others think ‘what a terrible mother she is’. A girl in a short skirt makes other women go ‘Slut!’ in their heads. A pretty woman’s promotion makes other women wonder what she had been up to to get the job. From an ill-fitting dress to a badly cooked dish, you are ready to judge others. This, despite knowing, you yourselves are not perfect. As a woman, it is tough enough is to survive in a male dominated world. Why be so hard on each other? Can you let each other breathe?”

Maybe before we ask the world around us to change, we should change our own outlook. We are educated and independent women and this is not 1950’s anymore. We have to come above all those outdated standards that society had set for us and break them. We make our lives. We make our rules. And if they don’t like it, then.. Well then its their problem not ours. 😛