About Me

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Mom, writer-editor, dreamer, dog lover, wannabe traveller...yes probably me

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Most people would prefer to get home a healthy pet. For us it turned out to be quite the opposite. My son Arin Chakranarayan was five-years-old when we befriended a scrawny puppy who lived outside my in-laws society in Pune. A darling for all of us, the little fellow was a must in many of our conversations. As Arin interacted with him, I could see a bond growing. I for one did not want a dog till Arin was about 9 years old - at a better age to take care of the dog instead of having me shoulder the entire responsibility. Also, he had been diagnosed with asthma. Fate, however had better plans. One fine day we found Black (as we christened him) limping. Turned out a horrid watchman had hit him badly. We further found out that they would do worse to the poor puppy who was doing zero harm to anybody. And that is how my husband got him home one sunday morning. A visit to the vet confirmed that not only was the five month old's hind leg broken in places, it was also dislocated, but age was on his side and he would be able to walk, though with a limp. Along with his bad leg, Black also had a bad heart. He was unable to go for long walks, he could not jump around like others his age and he completely disliked being hugged, cuddled or pet for more than he wanted. We don't know what lineage he came from, he was a great guard dog, not a sweet friendly one. For a naughty six year old in love these were difficult things to understand and accept. So Arin understood but worked around them to get some fun time with Black. He woke Black when he was fast asleep, insisted on hugging him soon as he woke up, and on getting him in his blanket only to get a big bad growl in return. Did that deter him? No. It didn't, not even when he got a nice nip for trying to take away his bone. Were we bad parents? No we weren't. We let them both be. Black was intelligent, and he knew Arin was the baby of the house. One of them had to learn not to react or how to act. Arin is bright so he knew where he was going wrong. "Mama, I love him, he is mine," the big round eyed boy explained very simply when I tried to explain for the nth time that Black could not be pushed. So did we do the right thing by letting the boy and the dog stay together, inspite of the health issues which caused discomfort to the dog and so reflected in his behaviour? Black lived for three years. In the last few days of his wonderful life, we found his ventricle wall had a hole so the good and bad blood was getting mixed. We also found that he had dextrocardia, i.e his heart was on the right! And we also saw a little boy very very sad that he could do nothing to help his buddy. We knew death was inevitable. But to see Arin soo concerned with Black, to watch him spend time quietly talking to him, being very very gentle, running his hands calmly through his fur and never asking questions about what would happen next told me that we had done the right thing. That adding a neat mixed breed dog to the family had enriched our lives in more ways than we can tell. My son had a wonderful friend, somebody who gave him strength, love and taught him more about life and death that we never will be able to.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

I want to be

As an adult, there are so many things I miss. The chance to disturb anybody anytime, to make the door creak coz the sound was so delicious, the occasions to dress up being any day any hour any time, the reason to scowl being that I wanted to, to smile because I wanted to, to scream and shout for the heck of it, to look into the mirror and only see my reflection, to play dr coz I was discovering. As an adult, things have changed. I can’t call on friends homes in the middle of the afternoon coz its not welcome. The creaking door makes me jump out of my skin. The reasons to dress up are parties, only. A good time is not about being on the ground, but playing the field. I scowl when I think of nightmares. I smile at the memories-of good times. I dream of the interesting hours to come. I scream coz it can’t be what it used to be. My discovery each day is how my three-year-old sees life. And that is the most beautiful experience ever. Yet, I wonder what if things were another way and I could head out rafting, travelling, becoming a beach bum as and when I wanted. If I could sky dive and sunbathe and snorkel and bungee jump. Or read books and laze by the fireplace and listen to music with a whisky. But they wont be. Coz I'm an adult and have responsibilities. But my life is fun. I'm at that age when relationships are what adults call stable or mature. Commitment issues are not a problem-I'm already married. I love the man who along with my son make the world a good place to be in. And I have great friends. Just good friends included. Don’t smirk at the quote. I want to be a butterfly, sometimes. So I can look pretty. I want to be a pig at times so I can roll in mud. I want to be a tigress on the prowl, an elephant to easily get my way, a hippo to just wallow in a pool all day, a dog so I can bitch (legally), a penguin so I don’t feel bad about being fat, a giraffe so I can reach for the stars, a whale to see the world under the ocean, a bird only to learn how to fly and a preying mantis so I can chew up my man. I also want to be a good mother so my son becomes a good man, a good friend so my friends don’t ever have to think twice about calling me at anytime just because they wanted to chat or because they need me, a good daughter-I'm not good at that, a good wife-well the husband can talk about that, an acceptable daughter-in-law, a good sister coz I love my brothers and sisters… But what I really want to be is good. As good as my Black thought I was. As good as I hope my Wag thinks I am.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Out of the window

My kitchen has a window that faces the West. Come Summer, the window and my kitchen get so hot that the swampak process is shut from 11 am to 6 pm. A couple of years ago, I noticed a pair of pigeons, sometimes a trio, roosting on top of the grill to this window. Skeptical initially, of their choice of accommodation, I learned to accept their invasion in the simple hope that lizards would be deterred from using the window for their grand entrance. It worked well, barring the two daring giants who creeped in under their wings, I suspect. So there was a healthy respect where I ignored their repeated attacks on my potted plants and cleaned their poo in their shitty corner. And time flew. Till about a month ago, I saw them collecting and spreading sticks in my window. I grimaced, collected the lot and chucked it. Not deterred, they let the day go and got to work with as much interest the next day. And so it has continued over the last four long weeks. Every afternoon, I open the window, pick up the days collection, throw it out. I tried to dissuade them by tying shiny paper to the grill. Then I tied plastic bags to the sides. But nothing scares them. The last few days, I have been pouring water into the tray they are keen on settling in. This too has not stopped them in their tracks. They ignore my feeble attempts, flutter their wings, kiss each other goodnight and wake up to a new day with new sticks for me to collect. So the doubt has begun creeping in. Am I a house wrecker? Am I a wicked person? Am I being cruel? And then sanity returns, pigeons are terribly dirty nesters. I don’t want to see their poo when I’m cooking my veggies. Should I let weakness creep in even for a day, the egg will be in place and once it hatches, I won’t be able to water the plant in my window. I don’t want to sacrifice that thing of beauty for a bird (who isn’t a joy to me) who can nest somewhere else. I definitely do not want to clean their mess or add to the marauding lot who attack my little lotus pond and hurt my guppies with strange gusto. I do love all things bright and beautiful, all creatures great and small. But, you see, for this species of feather brains lodging is ok. Boarding and laundry banned.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

In all earNest!

They took a year off from making themselves at home on my terrace. I thought Black’s presence meant their last babies here (read my earlier post) were it. I wondered aloud, sometimes mumbled about it to Blackie, Kunal, Arin and whoever else listened. This year, just before that totally wet spell, I had seen attempts to stitch up the kardal leaves in my terrace. I was whooping with joy inwards when it poured cats and dogs for days together. Gloomily I would poke around in my pots hoping to see signs of life in the leaves. Then one day, I was poking around as always and I saw her sitting in what was now a nest! The bottom bit of the leaf all dried up, the top is green and tied up precariously together in this green-brown bit in delicate threads of cotton is a tiny nest. The cotton comes from a giant tree right outside the terrace. The tree has its share of guests. Every year there’s a beehive, colourful birds, shrikes and an occasional bird of prey basking in the sun or gorging on the insects hovering around. The bee catchers are a delight to watch at work here. And then come the bats, just before the rains when the flowers are blooming and the cotton pods r coming up. They come in dozens and swoop onto the tree to eat the fruit. Fighting, talking and walking upside down, they entertain many of our evenings. This tree is also where my little bird friends hang out chattering when dear Blackie heads out to sun himself and when I water the garden. I feel terrible to get their little hearts beating so fast at least once everyday. More so coz I am responsible for creating a happy place for them to call home- with the hibiscus flowers and all that. But I’m also like a proud clucking mother who shows off the nest – from a very safe distance – to all who visit. They birds take turns in getting worms to the little ones flying in and out quickly. And they look so adorable with their long tails and fat tummies. But this cute couple is slightly crazy, I’m convinced. They have seen Blackie and I’m wondering why their fine tuned senses did not encourage them to look out for nosy neighbours. Their bird brains didn’t tell them that should Blackie bother to sniff higher than his nose, he can reach the nest and have a delicious snack or two. So, like a responsible god parent or grandparent, I’v done the needful and put a pot between the nest and the dog. Of course that’s all just a lot of pot luck.... In the meanwhile, Blackie is allowed out only when he is supervised.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

A bite of a lesson

It’s already over a year since Blacku a.k.a Black a.k.a Blackie a.k.a Daku came home. Just last week, he did what I had been dreading for the whole of last year!

He bit Arin. Right next to his eye.

I’m not angry, nor am I upset. Strange you'd think, considering I am Arin's mom and I do love him so.

Let me explain how it happened. Since we got Black home, he was teething and invariably he found my ankles and Arin's legs the most delicious chew things. So we no-no-ed him and pushed him away and on the rare occasion even gave him a thwack. He eventually limited his chewing of my ankles to the time he wanted to take me for a walk (ahem).

Arin, however, was treated like just another puppy. Definitely not a master or a peer, just an insolent brat. Thus began the games of Tom and Jerry (Arin and Blackie/ Blackie and Arin) at home.

If Black was on the floor, so was Arin. If he was asleep, Arin would put his face in his face, if he was resting, Arin would make him jump. If he was bursting with energy, Arin would challenge him to a game of "you catch my pants-I will outrun you" and so on.... of course the boy and his dog are inseparable. The first thing Arin does when he opens the door is pet the dog and the last thing Arin does before he heads out is kiss the dog.

The last few sips from his cup of milk are kept for Black every day and the days Blackie's hind leg (broken in places and dislocated sadly) hurts, the conversations between the two are full of love. If we are going out, he tries his level best to ensure that the dog comes along and if we are going to be late, the dog is told that.

Entertaining at some points - especially when we saw the bond between the boy and his dog growing, we quickly realized that the gay abandon with which Blacku was troubled everyday was unhealthy. So we sat Arin down and explained germs and rabies, injections and the top dog philosophy. All in vain.

He continued his 'playing' and having realized that he wouldn't listen, we took the bold, and in hindsight maybe even foolish decision of leaving him with warnings of an impending bite every single time it got tooo much for the dog. We figured that if he was going to learn a lesson the hard way, we couldn’t do much else.

Please note that we did try to threaten him with sending the dog to another home, but at 7, he recognizes empty threats quite easily. Daku did his best to control his temper over the last year, ignoring, growling threats and mock biting Arin – every afternoon that his sleep was disturbed, every morning that he was in dreamland and found a familiar face staring into his eyes, every evening when he was pushed to play against his creaking bones. You would think a little boy would figure that a bark is better than a bite.

Arin apparently wanted a little more.

So one afternoon last week, when I was in the bath, this little boy troubled the dog and the dog reacted. When I came to check on Arin, he was reading, the dog was asleep, and I didn’t wonder. Just that I saw a bandaid going from the top of his cheek into eyebrow. "Just like that," he explained quite convincingly.

It was only later that night after his bath that I saw a scratch and realized what must have transpired.

Then came the anti rabies shots. With much thrashing of legs and loud "I don’t want any injection" shouts, he hopefully has learnt his lesson.

But when it’s about Tom and Jerry, the peace, as we all know is only temporary.

We watch with baited breath :D

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The first 24 hours

I had never seen such gigantic ears on such a small head. I had never found the patience to say noo nooo noooo…to the sharp teeth as they chewed my ankles with acute interest. I knew those ears that heard the car horn and got the four legs running towards us. I knew the loving face that bounced along with the wagging tail came to me because I was venturing in his territory and hence a perfect teeth practise target. He counted me among the kind souls who tolerated and even played with him.

And he enjoyed chasing Arin as much as Arin enjoyed chasing him all around Sai Niwas, where my in-laws (and the providers of his spartan meals then) stay. That was till some HEARTLESS IDIOT beat him so bad that he started limping and having heard his life could be in danger, our hearts, weak as they are, melted.

But, being a cautious mom, or maybe a responsible parent, I had warned/informed/suggested/implied/insisted to my dear husband that Blackie - the stray who had made his cosy place in our lives - would not be allowed home without an anti-rabies shot.

That was till I saw him at the doorstep, scared, shy, apprehensive and yet trusting, limping a step behind Kunal, all google eyed. The choice of keeping him out did not cross my mind. Instead he was welcomed with a bowl full of rice and milk. That is how, Balckie with his all trusting eyes and always alert ears came home.

Agog yet comfortable in his new surroundings, he didn't even venture to check out the house! His territory for the first few days was limited to the living room, the dining room and the kitchen, where one of us always was. From worrying about his next meal, he now was on a full belly. From drinking drops from a leaky tap, he had his own bowl full of water.

Later that afternoon, while we were gloating in (and about) his presence, he fell asleep, curled up into a tight little ball in the middle of the living room.

Evenings in the Chakranarayan home largely mean music. There was Blacky's first surprise. Try as he might, he couldn't figure where the noise was coming from! Ears cocked, head moving to speakers across the room, he walked around looking, sniffing, wondering about the source and managed to get even more confused. Stupefied, he gave up and settled with a little thud near the stairs. Watching his ears twitch and his face express his dislike, we were in splits.

Then the TV came on. And Boy! Was that another shocker! Moving pictures were another first for the fellow. He managed a weak bark and turned to us for comfort and assurance. We were amused again. It took him quite some TV time to figure he could do nothing about it. Much later that night, he had relaxed considerably and chewed up my legs (I have scars to show for it :( grrrrooowllll...) and the night saw me getting up at midnight spending an hour with him on the terrace...so that I wouldn't wake up to a wet stinky morning.

The next morning, we were with the vet. Two hours, an Xray and two shots later, we were lighter by Rs 2000, richer by vitamin and calcium medicines, some shampoo and a confirmation on the fracture and dislocation.

While we wait and watch and wish that the bone cures itself, Blacky licks us and chews our shoes and socks, sofa and more. But we aren't complaining, dog people are like that only.

Arin of course is over the moon (I’m guessing). As for me, well I can see that I won’t go out as much, will have to manage 3 kids in the house and keep them from tearing each others hair, shoes and egos apart.

Black and brown with a bit of white and some fawn and some more shades of brown...

He came home limping out of the car. His first car ride. Followed Kunal blindly to the building, hesitated to get into the lift (his first lift ride) and walked into his home.
Sunday mid morning, April 22, 2012, Blacky travelled all the way from Modi Baug, near Mhasoba Gate- Agriculture College, Shivajinagar to his new home some 8 kilometers away.
Thus far, we had seen him around the in laws home. Found exhausted and malnourished by Ketan (the brother in law), he gave him water and Blacky found hope.
Back then, none of us guessed that hope would change to home a few months later.
That was sometime in December 2011. By January, he slowly gained a tiny bit in energy and found a following begining with the garbage collector who brought him biscuits when she could to residents nearby.
We visited often and Arin, took a fancy to him. Shortly thereafter, he christened him Blacky and declared he was his.
Proud that my son was following in my footsteps (somewhere), I encouraged the loving feelings. Sadly, Blacky started limping one day. We figured somebody had hit him. Disgusting humans, na? He was just a pup, not even atthe barking /chewy teething stage. Why oh why did they do that/ I was sad, but pushed all thughts of taking care of him out of my mind. Arins Dr (treating him for asthama) had suggested against bringing a dog home for "some more time."  I wanted a Jack Russel - when we could bring a pooch home- to get Arin to spend all his energy on the dog,  rather than on me.  Or then a Beagle or because of HTK, a Golden Retriever...
Then one fine day, people in and around the lane where Blacky stayed started complaining about him! when he actually did nothing. Thats when we started wondering what to do with him. And before I knew it, he came home!