Monday, September 5, 2016

Bowwow days

Bowwow days

Dogs have been an important consideration set throughout my life. My tryst with the canine kinds goes long before the days of YouTube. On YouTube, dogs are kind, playful, virtuous, tear-jerking content producers, garnering millions of touched global audience. In my times you found them on roads looking for food and barking in 360 degree surround sound trying to get attention. So this post is a true story mildly exaggerated as per my convenience.

Introduction and also Nicky
I hadn’t thought much about dogs till I was 6 years old, till when we moved to Pondicherry from Calcutta. On an innocent evening, I was walking back home from a shop, maybe buying biscuits, when a small black street dog fast approached barking at me, I don't exactly remember why, maybe he wanted my biscuits. My instant combative move was to take a piece of rock and fling at the dog. I thought I had settled matters and showed who the boss was. But the dog easily evaded the rock and came at me, this time, with more purpose, he wanted to get me no matter what.
I could see his teeth, I recently had lost mine. I then made a swift decision to swallow my pride and run homeward with a gentle cry of "mummmmmy ..MUMMMMY... MUMMMMMMMMMY" that grew louder as I ran 100 meters in under 10 seconds. I breathed heavily and shut the gate as the dog stood outside possibly kicking himself to have missed me by a whisker.  I knew that moment, I couldn't take this species lightly. 'Going forward I need to exercise caution,' I reflected, though a negative non-well wisher such as the reader might call it fear. That was going to be guiding relationship theme with dogs from now to have a "respectful distance and fear."

Our Pondicherry house owners had a big sized bungalow, where they rented out the first floor to us and they lived downstairs and had gardens surrounding the house for their dog called "Nicky", A Rajapalyam breed. They had even made a nice dog house for Nicky. Luckily I never had to see Nicky face to face since there was a wall with a small gate separating Nicky and our entry/exit from main gate. This distance meant I could provoke him from afar say from our balcony and just get barked at, but never bitten.
As I walked upstairs post school, Nicky would run quite a distance to get a chance to bite me. But there was the gated wall in between. He tried and every-time I laughed at his stupidity. On one such victorious occasion, my dad cautioned cutting short my chuckle with a "Rajapalyams are a wild breed can grow very fast very soon and can easily jump across the wall to have a grab at you". That was it! This new possibility played on my mind every single day. "Has he grown today?" "Will he jump on me?" "If that happens, should I run back up home or outside the gate?" I mentally practiced my escape routes. I couldn't sleep. I provoked him with caution. But thankfully we shifted out of Pondicherry to Cuddalore before Nicky grew bigger. So long.

Tiger and Sweetie

Now fast forward to 6 years, I am in 7th standard and we shift from Cuddalore to another town in Andhra Pradesh called Srikakulam. This time, my father did not choose a house with one dog, but one with 2 dogs. One was a Pomeranian called Sweety and a Dalmatian called Tiger. The two dogs assumed their names quite literally. Sweety was sweet and docile while Tiger thought he was a real wild animal. This time I did not have the luxury of a wall/gate partition between my house and the owners and my escape route was more elaborate. I had to climb our compound wall in the backyard and tightrope on the compound wall all the way around the house to jump into a neighborhood office space and use their gate to get to the road. The people working in that office knew me well, as the kid who is doing this tedious rigmarole to escape a furious defeated barking Tiger. The perverted peon in that office once told me, "Jumping like this everyday will make one's testicles inflate like a balloon when grown up". The thought did bother me.

Back then, every day was a battle for survival. But I kept winning.

Post 2000 - The digital era

In the wake of new millennium - in the year 2002 - I joined college and no one knew my position towards dogs. Dogs were gaining immense popularity among girls and therefore a man had to tolerate and often impress dogs actively participating in the mutual girl-dog 'awww' sessions and buying them biscuits. I think dogs have a secret marketing tie up with of Britannia and Parle. We must dig up the nexus,  30% of all biscuit sales are for appeasing dogs, I speculate.

I had kept a low profile till my final year until a day i got exposed thanks to a friend who saw my sudden rush of a fear towards a young Labrador and told the whole world about it. I was laughed at and even my college farewell book has a mention of the episode.

In 2007, I moved to Mumbai to begin work, I had lived a dog free life. a couple of incidents but i don't want to take your time describing them. You get the drift.. right? In the meanwhile, Internet penetration and bandwidth speeds was now increasing and dogs were beating billboard Top 100 in views.  It did not concern me. I did not watch those videos. Dogs were bygones.

Turning Point and the nice looking girl

According  to my folks I was  attaining a marriage-able age and they had positioned me as an eligible bachelor on  On the portal, my folks transformed me from someone who is often referred to as a  useless lazy bum to now being addressed as a go-getter with all virtues rolled into one. Great success!  

So I saw this nice looking girl and told my sister-in-law that she is not-all-that-bad and asked her to take things forward and close the deal.

"Did you check her Facebook profile?" she asked.
"Not yet,"  I said.
"Her cover photo is a big-looking dog.  I'll add her as a friend and unearth more dog photos???"  she asked with imaginary emoticons winking at me.
I replied with a blank imaginary emoticon

The dogs were back in my life.

The following week I had gone to Chennai for a friend's wedding when my dad asked me to go meet this aforementioned girl. 

"Meet her?  No way.  I don't want to marry." I said decisively. and followed it up with  "But where to meet her? Should I take any gift along?". Like i said before, the girl was nice looking.

"Of course go meet her in their home.  That way You could meet her family too," my father ordered.
The thought of the meeting a girl with her family and a big dog made weird sounds in my stomach.

"No way.  I am meeting her at a restaurant. I know one 10 km from her house," I revolted

"Why? Is it because of the dog?"  My dad quickly asked.  

"No! Errr.... It's just too early," I sighed. He laughed.

 The next day I met this nice girl at a restaurant.  After exchanging pleasantries, on weather and traffic,  One of the first questions she asked me point blank was "Are you a dog person or a cat person?" 

"I am a human person" was my reply. I thought I had come with temporary fix and a satisfactory answer.  She smiled. Maybe she thought I was trying to be funny and gave additional brownie points.

In the next 6 months, we got married,  In the courtship period I realized I am marrying a dog fanatic, a champion for the dog's purpose. She could communicate with mongrels and breed dogs with extra terrestrial powers. She had written articles on dogs for the newspaper she worked for. Angry dogs melted to her voice and wagged their tails joyously.  She addressed a ferocious Doberman as a 'ladoo' and German Sheperd with a sound that roughly sounds like  "OOONNNeeeeiiiiii". The beasts became kittens. Hard core stuff! We got married, nevertheless. 

Post marriage, visits to her house meant,  dealing with her pet dog named Cookie.
The nice girl I married, cunningly, let her dog loose against my "please tie him" please and made her intentions clear - "Either get along with my dog or get out!"  To be fair Cookie was mostly lazy but he did tend to jump on humans when he wanted to be playful. My initial strategy was to avoid any room he possible might be in. For example, I spent a lot of time in bathroom and corners of the bed. I worried I might come across as a weird guy with digestion issues, but still stuck to my hiding spots. Tough leadership calls.

After a couple of visits, Cookie quickly realized I was an important inclusion in their family.  He sensed I was the guy who walked, talked and ate with his main lady-master and tried to be nicer to me. He stopped barking at me. I used to greet him with "Hi Cookie" with respect. Slowly this metamorphosis began.   The next day he gently wagged his tails and tried to lick me a couple of times. Sensing my discomfort he stopped licking and merely sniffed me. In exchange, I patted his back and head. It was a win-win deal.

In my recent visit, I patted his back and as he sit next to me. Think Baasha. (reference pic below)
But something out of the ordinary happened, I gave him a belly rub and our relationship hit a new high. A surprised Cookie looked at me as if "Did you actually give me a belly rub or was it a mistake?" I confirmed it by doing it again. He tried to lick me, I let him do so. He was mighty pleased with my gesture. He then turned around exposing his complete belly for me to do more of belly rub. I continued doing it. It doesn't occur to one that dogs are almost always naked till you give them a belly rub. An overjoyed Cookie took his paw to my face; "My brother..." his soul told mine. I checked my emotions.

I heard tears of joy from the missus. I grew into a man that day in her eyes. she served me an additional coffee.

Today, I am more gentle to my area dogs in Five Gardens, Mumbai. I buy them biscuits when with missus and voluntarily go to YouTube and watch dog videos. A compact beagle is now a part of my medium to long term plan. Looks are important.

They are not all that bad a species you know. 

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Sinning at peace

I have always been amused by the 7 sins.

It is as if one Monday morning the Gods assembled in a conference room, hired a team from Mckinsey who came up with an optimal list the 7 bad things man could do. ”In Sum, If you look at them, dear Gods, these sins are mutually exclusive and collectively exhaustive” – the consultant might have summarized.  And Gods, no doubt, nodded in agreement and have used it as a reference checklist before making drastic decisions like who to send to hell and the degree of punishment as depicted in movies like Se7en and Anniyan/Aparachit.  Please do notice how any new sin beyond the 7 could be force fitted into one or more of the 7 sins thereby making it robust and flexible model.

All of us have in one way or the other breached the 7 sins, one at a time or all at the same time. We have our pet sins for which we feel no guilt and go all virtuous moral policing on the rest. We tolerate some sins of others and fume at them for the rest. Spending half hour on makes one think Greed is cool, half hour on YouTube comments section makes one think Wrath is the way to go. lol!Troll! lol!

But then if one were to experience all the 7 sins in half hour, then undoubtedly one's Facebook feed is the best one stop destination. 
On Facebook, I envy at another’s promotion, his new shiny Audi (EMI in USA is much cheaper, I say!),I then go into deep thought “I want a Audi too” there goes my newly found greed ignoring bank loan fellow who might opine I cannot afford Alto also, that is another matter.  I experience immense gluttony over those close up shots of cupcake pictures and fancy restaurant check-ins and “hubby cooking pasta for wife, muah muah”pictures.  Wrath over the sheer stupidity of “hubby cooking pasta for wife, muah muah” pictures, I take immense pride in my carefully photo-shopped happy vacation moment with missus, my smiling photos at European cities on office money.  And as per lust.. Hmm.. well yeah, you are all screwed (Not me, not me.), when someone hacks into facebook and releases all your maximum searched names. Then there is sloth which by definition is very much spending aforementioned half hour on FB.

I strongly recommend a monitoring of one’s pulse rate, heart rate, BP, cholesterol and sugar levels when browsing Facebook. They may swing wildly like a Waqar Younis reversing on a windy Lords evening.

I am digressing, coming to the crux of my post. I have immense practice in sloth. 30 years to be precise. I have been capable of not doing anything for long periods of time and derive of a particular satisfaction in the activity. I have never had a sense of guilt in just staring at a wall and visualizing songs into music videos --AR Rahman used to release songs 1 month before movies, I have directed movies – mostly never gone past first 5 minutes post introduction scene. I have won numerous awards at a global scale, got super model girlfriends and even lived in Malgudi briefly. All at the comfort of my couch or exam hall.
I am not saying I am always 100% idler. I have had my moments of doing stuff, but only after a satisfying bout of laziness. In its defense sloth is the most harmless of all sins. One may not have done homework regularly or kept desk clean. But no major calamity could be expected of a sloth based ideology. You don’t expect a lazy person to actively take part in any ISIS projects or contest in an election making decision for everyone else. Too much travel and talking involved.

But the world is not a friendly place for Sloth-ers, one is expected to work and grow, take responsibility and grow again, tick things of a to-do list and grow again and again. It is an endless loop of conflict, of one’s yearning to smile observantly Vs society’s expectations which is summed by taglines like ‘just do it’ “Make it large” "nothing like anything" (what does that even mean?) 
A man of a bystander, spectator-like disposition is looked down up in a world of marathon runners, trekkers, entrepreneurs, NGO do-gooders - look at those deodorant ads embodying men full of action, Hrithik Roshan types. Isn’t the product meant for fellow slob folks who don’t want to take bath?!?

Now when one marries/is a son of/is a sibling of/works under/is a friend of/ a person whose core philosophy is to display instant wrath on any visible sloth, of whom I am generally a victim of, all’s not well in loungers paradise. Slowly these folks affectionately rob you off your sexy-slow-motion-appeal and make you one of them do-ers. We live in the age of T20 and Snapchat and Netflix – gone are the couch potato days, it is all interactive, one has to search for the movie title and make a decision as to what to watch. Even the celebrated social media bios go like "Blogger/Guitarist/trekker/social media expert/teacher/photographer" now imagine all of above emanating from insides of one person. Reading them only gives me a peculiar pain in the neck area and also lower abdomen. 
I need to take rest.
Too much stress. 
A rant is the need of the hour. 

There are some days when I work non stop till 9 PM (some days only- i repeat) and have to come home and watch an episode of a hyped TV show, and entertain the spouse girl, phone calls from family, work emails from inspired souls and tolerate all those whatsapp forwards giving no room for bumming alone. I Sleep. There i end it. 

Finally, for those of you who are looking for the point of this post, well, this post does not address anything major in general, and does solve nothing in particular . 
It merely serves as a small tribute, addressing an endangered breed who deserve a pat on the back and a soft pillow for committing the least harmful of all sins.

Chalo bye Off to facebook now.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

4 years!

Wow! 4 years since i wrote something here. I miss writing as dedicating a time for a blog came from a certain sincerity to self. A blog is a better way to track one's evolution in day to day life and changing opinions and share it with a small base who would be interested in your life. Unsure if twitter or Facebook can do that. You post status messages and then they vanish amid other people's chaos.

I could have written a lot here as a lot has happened in the last 4 years - got married to a super woman, traveled to bucket-list ticking places on work, played a lot with my now 4 years old amazing nephew and now niece, thought of a lot of jokes,ideas which i am sure i have forgotten now. I improved a bit at work yet not much; friends got married- some are having kids; some have changed, some are the same. Could have documented these here but Facebook did capture them a bit and people commented & liked and instant gratified me. 

However i feel i have a lesser clarity than 4 years back on what i am. I am more confused when am 30, than i was when i was 20. I think this is in sync with world changing faster, and, suddenly there is too much exposure on every damn  topic and information overload. Like a primary teacher might ask "Is this a fish market?" I ask myself. Today, I feel like a tiny speck in the internet world and my opinion is all but gas . The brain feels like a 100 google chrome tabs opened at the same time and that  I am Alt+Tab'ing between one fleeting thought to the other.

I think for that reason I want to continue writing here to be in touch with myself and to be in touch with thinking properly.