Monday, March 31, 2014

The Princess and Mr.Whiffle

I got a copy of this book and I have to admit I've fallen in love with the theme.. The book has brilliant illustrations and starts off as a sickly sweet story. It has three endings and each gives you a different context. A happy one, a scary one and finally the real one. You can stop at any of the first two and still feel its complete. There lies the genius of the writer. He made me feel like revisiting one of those games we played at college.. Spin a yarn.. I used to love it. I admired the way the story came together and I think I should go ahead and read other books by Patrick Rothfuss.

If you have a sense if humour and can make peace with the reality around you go ahead and dive into this one. You might finally find a bed time story.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Driveway to heaven

Yesterday morning I went on my first official drive. Driving for no reason but the drive by myself and I was happy for I had evolved over time and over come one of my biggest paranoias. Road accidents still scare me but I'm careful. Losing face with car issues still scares me but I'm more careful for sometimes you've to do what you got to do and if you don't take that small step very soon you would stop walking.
I've found a path to my heave and that is paved with a lot of small steps which add up to the big ones that remind me I can do anything any time if I try hard enough and refuse to give up. And again the same road has those road blocks I have to circumvent or tackle harder to retain my sanity.

Friday, March 28, 2014

The screechers

When I walk Laika I've come across a new species.. The screechers. These are those who'll squeak or scream when any animal leashed or otherwise walks in a 1km radius. Imagine a big tiger walking near you - imagine the look in your face and superimpose that on their face along with that look you have when you step on shit. All when the damn dog is leashed. I am sad thinking about the prejudice we've built against the animals based on some random incidents.

Today morning as I took laika to the park the security guard had the cheek to tell me that dogs aren't allowed. After getting a piece of my mind they finally let me and my dog be. How do we work around prejudices without losing cool?

Midnight musings

I realized that half my problems are not because of how things are but because of how I think they could have been.

I have to admit that unconditional love and acceptance is impossible for me when people do not change the way I'd expected them to. I can manage change but if I can't even predict it to the smallest degree and if I've been so blind to it then I think the changed person is way too secretive or different. Or maybe ill have to get to know them all together again.

I love and I hate and I sometimes love to hate. Its easier to hate n move on as hatred offers an escape route that love does not. Love forces me to stand back and listen. And indifference well that's cruelty right? I think that's the worst punishment I can give someone.

I love goodbyes sometimes as they solve problems so beautifully. Its not escapism really it is but a coping mechanism.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Frustration

Sometimes I feel like the weight of the entire world is resting on my shoulders. Like I need to slowly inch my way across space when time comes to an absolute standstill. I need to crawl to progress and a part of me wants to run. That part curses me for the path I've picked and the sacrifices I have to make for that. That part keeps looking at a million alternatives.

I wonder if I am making any difference at all and instead of blazing a sparkling way forward I am not even making a miniscule dent. I go close to the borderline between the sanity and insanity.

Then there's this tiny curious face that walks up to me and expectantly waits for me to react (feed her most of the time) and all that care just flies away and I run for no matter what path I've to tread I have the four legged companion in whose life I make all the difference.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Its an unfair world

On days I spend all waking moments working, that's what I feel. No, I am not a disgruntled employee. I'm one of the blessed few that loves their work. But sometimes I am just human enough to admit its an unfair world.

There are some who earn when they shouldn't be for nothing. But then I am reminded of the millions that work much harder than me with more physical and emotional compromises I can't even imagine making and I let it be. I thank all gods and then move on. If I feel its unfair someone else does too and at least to them my life is fair.

Monday, March 24, 2014

New life

Until as recently as last august, i never realised the full value of life. Life in its full lively form. Then the gardening bug bit me and I know that no matter what, I cannot stop gardening. I will atleast have a pot. The fresh smell of water on grass, the beautiful roses and hibiscus which dance around for me and of course the cool air in the garden is such a blessing. I guess we are so caught up (at least i was) in our concrete jungles that we do not notice somethings which can change your life for the better and actually calm you.

We love sitting in the garden and sipping a cup of tea. My dog seems to also share that love. She licks the water from the leaves and tries to remove all dead leaves. Ive never seen her dig up any part of the garden though she has had opportunities. Why cant we coexist with everything around us.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Breakfast n more

This is the name of the quaint little place in Kadugodi. We found it by accident when we were hungrily driving around and fell in love. Their food is good and the service even better. I guess its one of those places which remind you how much service is essential to make a person more involved with a service Most of the dishes I've had taste pretty home made and i love their pani puri. The ambience is calm and I would definitely recommend the place. (Try their hot jalebis. :))

Saturday, March 22, 2014

The kindness of strangers

I have been blowing this trumpet everywhere (so why not here) that i drove by myself to work and back. I did have help for parking of course but it was not something i had done before.

That being said, today made me see and love the kindness of strangers. The passenger in a cab who helped me navigate a hump with an 18 wheeler (one of those big things anyway) breaking down perpendicular to the route i was in.

Then the cool traffic cop who made two lorries go back the way they came and directed me around. And of course my friend who came in the hot sun to help me drive through a stretch and park the car.

Considering some of this niceness might go unnoticed, i wanted to document this and send a prayer up to him thanking him for all that he has given me and for being my best support. Thank you dear god it is a beautiful world and there is hope for it afterall.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

The female driver

All drivers hate women. I think.. The dirty stares that go around when I drive pretty normally is one proof point. I'm surprised and sad. Why have we brought this upon ourselves ? I guess some part is the chauvinism and some part is the ease to generalise. I hope someday I can give anybody a run for their money.   Till then I'll just observe and mock and rue.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Dune Pondicherry

This is not a marketing gimmick. I just want to write about a place I enjoyed.

We were looking for a nice resort in Pondicherry as we had to attend a wedding in chennai and we remembered our glorious trip to Pondicherry in 2011 very fondly. When we'd taken our dog to a nearby shop a friendly dog owner spoke about dune and it being a slightly expensive but pet friendly resort. We liked the pictures we saw online and booked the place.

We entered the resort and as I was waiting outside the reception with Laika a friendly weirmarner shows up and stands looking at her. Madam growls and the dog walks away. The office staff were quite friendly and escorted us to a lovely room with a garden. It was love at first sight.

Laika kept running around the trees and flopped at our feet. The simple room just added on to the aura. The lunch was an unfortunate let down as I guess it was meant for people with a small appetite but the rest of the day more than made up for it. The resort has a tiny private beach we went to with Laika and no matter what she refused to get into the water. After gokarna I've become a water baby and I was happily playing in the waves. The funniest part was her standing in the beach and begging me to come back with howls and trying to run as close to the water as she could and try to get my attention. Those memories are beautiful.

The dinner was good and the ambience in the restaurant was calming. Eating outside with the dog waiting on us was a novel experience. The breakfast was definitely the best meal and we enjoyed it both days we were there. I loved the dune concept of having different types of accomodation. Walking around the campus gave one a sense of serenity and to me that was the best part of the vacation.

We hardly left the resort except to eat lunch on the second day and perhaps I would revisit the place in a few years when I just want to unwind. It's a little heavy on the pocket but watching Laika run around and looking back at the peace I felt, I think it was worth it.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Evolved survival

I am practicing positive re-enforcement with my dog. No this is not another post praising her/cursing her. Then, I realised that with time all the constant re-enforcements makes something a habit. Something you dont forget in a hurry. Now I guess thats how we evolved right, identified which plant our other hunter friend choked on and died, identified that you do not pull a lions tail, remembered it. Something we call instinct. So ideally, we should all have amazing memories as we have remembered so many things essential for survival.

Then i realised why we dont - most of the things are not essential per se for survival but are decent add ons. And there is no hungry predator waiting to eat us up if we forget something. But i came up with a list of some things we never forget that are perhaps essential for modern survival :

1. That single insult which let you down in front of others or in your own eyes (Isnt sense of self something most consider essential?)
2. How to swim/drive. You cannot afford to forget it if you intend to remain mobile and practice is going to make it perfect (The last sentence is an effort to reassure yours truly)
3. That relationship which keeps you going - not just family but in a lot of cases a friend you think is there for you ( if you are anything like me that list keeps "evolving" and becoming unrecognizable with time.)
4. The important conclusions and understandings from some of those conversations that keep you up all night (even if it is with yourself confirming and perhaps ruing your understanding of the world)
5. The music that kept you going when you were depressed and in the doldrums (Some songs can make me smile no matter what)

This was just my initial list, and i am sure it is going to become longer.

Silences

Sometimes the silences speak so much more... Silences that are heart wrenching and at the same time deceptively calming. What would i do if it were not for them? When i look back, it is such silences that brought out the writer in me. When i could confide in a piece of paper and pour my heart out there - when i couldnt where i ought to have. I know i am writing in a public blog but that doesnt actually make a difference as these words mask the right words i ought to have spoken, which i am very much unable to.

But then, thats because words have this way of coming back to you for the only purpose of haunting you. When you have to hear "But you said this", "I know you really want me to pay attention. You keep talking to me" , "Oh come on, dont lie, i know the truth" and worst of all,"I am busy"

Why is it so difficult for me to seek refuge in the same silence i used to love now? Why do i try to keep filling my days with meaningless noise/meaningful conversations? Is it because of the illusion of confidence some of my nicer relationships have given me? Just because i found a few i could trust, i assume the rest of the world will also be fine? Have i started confiding more? I really cant believe that to be the case. Rather, the rational sober me, is petrified if that is the case. How could i have become so careless? How can i betray my emotions through words? Arent they meant to be mine alone? Should i go back to my comfortable silences? Why am i searching for non existent understanding in the rabble of conversation? I really dont know.. Or is it that i dont want to admit that i have actually become dependent on those conversations for my sliver of sanity? I hope not..

Monday, March 17, 2014

Small victories

I drove 16 odd km today and parked the damn car. Through K R Puram one of the worst traffic blocks in the damn city and i am so proud of myself. Of course i know that in a couple of years or even months (depending on how often i drive), this feel of the success will slowly ebb away but i want to capture it atleast here. And feel happy on a later date.

Yesterday as well, i navigated the same stretch in the evening. I guess I soon have to relinquish the passenger seat and take control of the journey and not just the destination as i have with my life. It is a wonderful experience. I was so glad that despite everything i came home and i navigated the entire journey by myself.

As with everything in life, there was a downside to the experience. An auto came from the left and i did not give him way. I scratched the auto. He kept abusing me and i refused to react for i know i hardly touched the vehicle. Apart from that, there were a few random morons gaping at me when i was driving around. I know that being a female, driving in the city is going to be a crazy experience. I am ready for it though i doubt ill drive alone (thankfully usually i dont have to)

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Calm zone

Laika is hyper. She loves humans who play with her and starts jumping around. I read on the World Wide Web about a few calming exercises for hyper dogs. So I began them yesterday. Pretty straight forward. You take a treat close to the dogs face and if the dog moves you move the treat away. Yesterday morning I tried it and it was quite sometime before she stayed still. Evening we were in the garden and I was sitting in the ground with her. She started running behind me to get it the first two times. Third time she waited and got it. However the highlight was today.
She was busy looking away when I had a treat and hadn't given her a command. ( she gets treats/food only when she follows commands) when I moved it towards her shell quickly turn to get it. Man, calm zone my foot. This dog is intelligent. I'm gonna refine the training to feeding her only if she keeps looking at me. :)

Saturday, March 15, 2014

The real fantasy

Our fantasies are so beautiful amazing and perfect. So amazing that we are happy to be lost in them and forget reality where perfection is a myth. Then as always we wake up and are upset that the reality is so different from our fantasy and we spend a lot of time dull and depressed.

Over this year I realised that my reality is better than any fantasy I can conjure thanks to the uncertainties in it. The same uncertainties I hate also make life worth living and that's the beauty of it. So here I admit that the real fantasy is so much better any day. The lack of perfection, the sweat, the tiny wriggling creatures and the despicables also in their own way make me want to greet my world every damn day.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Spam galore

I hate unread emails in my inbox. Whether at work or at my personal account, I clear it up. Lately, my gmail has become so crazy that even un subscribing from three lists a day is not helping me. I wonder when digital marketers are going to learn to draw a line. Websites I purchased from three years ago still send me emails. How is that even logical?

Haven't they profiled me as yet as non responsive and uninterested? In this day and age of awesome technological advancement why the hell are they still going with a spray and pray approach? I have no idea. I am going to dedicate this weekend to un subscriptions. I want people to interact with me. Not random emails about things I dint even want in the first place.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Fit not freaky

I know folks who count every calorie they eat. Some of them scare me. I know those for whom calorie is probably a word they know the meaning of and nothing more. Some of them freak me out.
I want to be fit. I invest so much in my life but not half or even one tenth of that is towards my health. I want to be fit but not go too calorie crazy. I love my food. I've been trying really hard to be active. Walking playing etc etc and I wonder if its enough. Will I be too tired to enjoy anything when old? Will I just be a grumpy granny? I can only wonder.
My generations craziness scares me. The diseases we get ahead of our time just freaks me out. I cook most of my meals and so avoid one of the biggest evils - processed food. But I wonder if I might end up being a vegetable surviving with the help of machines thanks to the advancement of science. That one scene is scary enough to make me exercise every day.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Back to the grind

I had a lovely 5 day vacation in Pondicherry and chennai (more over a road trip too). I'm back home tonight and wondering about life. I wish I can always be on a vacation and live in awesome places where people wait on me and make me lovely food while I relax and read. Sigh. Heavens not temporary and I'm hoping I'm not too depressed to be back at work. 

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Casteless

A lot of us debate about the caste system in India. We put it down and wonder what's wrong with the country. The same few hunt and find "breed" dogs. Even import dogs meant to live in the swiss alps to live in the scorching chennai sun and make indoor dogs out of sleigh pulling huskies. All the while ignoring Indian dogs which have been made strays. Why do we do it? I don't know. I love my indie and I was unaware of their plight until I started researching about a dog. I fell in love with my laika.
If it hadn't been for her I doubt id have ever understood about the great injustice we do to something as ancient as our culture. The city dwelling elite import and own breeds while villagers let their cows, hens and dogs coexist in peace. How could we forget that its love and training that can make a difference and independence might not be a bad trait in a dog? They've survived decades in harsh conditions. Are loving, loyal, intelligent and so reliable.
All those who dream of a country without caste kindly extend that to dogs if you ever plan on having own. Be proud to adopt an indie and make a difference between life and death for a very special animal.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Footsteps in the sand

Today I was walking along the beach and enjoying the waves and the wind. I love the waves and the calm it bestows on me. It reminds me how miniscule I am in the general scheme of things and makes me feel just awesome.
I tried walking in my husbands footsteps for fun and something interesting stuck me. Once I had stepped in them, the foot prints no longer resembled his and were not like mine either. Sometimes or rather most times in life we walk in the path carved by someone and do not try to forge our own. The path we tread is no longer like how it was and the path that could have been is there only in spirit.

Is it always worth it? Or is the distorted foot print as much a reality as a whole one? I can only ponder. Could individuality be over rated?

Sunday, March 09, 2014

The dog and the sea

When I got laika home, I was scared I'll become one of those people who can't have a conversation without involving their dog. Many arguments and 2.5 months later I'm confident my conversational skills haven't been sacrificed in the altar of puppy love.
Were traveling with the dog and today was her introduction to the sea. A private beach in Pondicherry. Truth be told, even the wind from the beach and the waves scared her.
So I did cut short my dance in the sea and came back to the room convinced that some day like me my dog will get over her fear of water.

Saturday, March 08, 2014

Celebrity

Want to feel like a celebrity? Walk a pet dog in beasant nagar beach in the night. All strays will welcome you and follow you around. Hopefully not to bite. Enjoying my first road trip with the dog. She was happy with the drive. But pretty restless in chennai.

Friday, March 07, 2014

At some point..

At some point in our lives we have to stop expecting life to be the way we want it to be and accept it the way it is. Accept our mistakes and our perhaps high expectations and just let it go. Stop being so hard on ourselves and just move on and be happy. After all we deserve nothing less than that.

Good days

Today I looked up and saw a ray of sunshine. It was in the evening and I was driving back home all alone. I'd never tried that before and I was able to manage. The distance was short but I felt strangely empowered and a lot of shackles just fell away. Strangely a smile I'd lost was coming back to me after a slightly depressing evening and I saw the ray.

I know it might be a temporary relief from an obsession, my inherent fear of being alone, but who knows maybe this is the beginning of something new. When I finally get rid of the fears I have and I finally move on by myself. The way it ought to be. Lack of conversation and tackling one of the things I've never been able to do seems awesome. I am soon going to head out and fly away or drive away. Now I don't have to walk away from problems. I'll just drive away.. :)

Thursday, March 06, 2014

Goodbyes

I am averse to goodbyes and yet again I have to keep bidding goodbye all my life. To habits, to places, to things and unfortunately to relationships and to people. Every time that I have bid goodbye I've been upset for a bit and then seen that life's giving me nicer stuff and I evolve. I can't moan, I can't remain stuck in a past. I guess it's my tendency to imagine the worst and evolve and change myself so fast that I forget what life used to be before something happened.

Today a friend is leaving the organization and that set me thinking about my previous goodbyes to a life without a dog, to a life in a beautiful house I loved, to a life with less transport everyday and to a few other people. When I sit and think of course a lot of it comes back in vivid detail but otherwise, I don't sit and think. I am busy doing. I pray to him up above that he always gives me the courage to keep doing things and not just sit back and think and wish to revisit the past.

Of course the only thing I still hate is the process of the change. When I am deeming it right to let go. When I am trying to hold on to something I think is precious then. When I am unsure of the future...

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Conversations

I love to talk. I know i start most of my posts with an i love or an i know but i guess that is one of my quirks. Perhaps i dont know how else to initiate stuff. Set up a context build a story and then go ahead. Now, coming to the topic of initiation, one thing that is bugging me in the recent past, is how little time we spare for conversations. It just becomes an act of waiting to respond than actively listening. I try to pay attention after a recent episode where i realised i was missing a lot of things and was not able to support a special someone because i was too wrapped up with myself. However, i have to admit that it is very difficult to have conversations when i end up initiating them all the time. If i dont do it, then there are uncomfortable/not so uncomfortable silences which cannot be filled by anything. I mean how difficult is it to start a conversation?

If it is a new relationship where one person is an introvert, then you could continue to initiate the conversation. But when the person is not an introvert and is actually supposedly comfortable talking to you, why cant they begin with a hi? How difficult is that? If i resolve to not initiate conversation, i would not have half the conversations i have.

Is it just bad timing? Or is it that i am not valuable at all to a few that they do not deem me worthy of their time? Or is it just that they take me too much for granted and unless they lose what we have, they will never realise it?

I am posting something way too personal online and i dont like it, but since i have resolved to write one post per day, here this is.

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Addiction

When I was a kid, I did not have a cable connection for a long time. I got it when I was in the 6th std and I went crazy with the choices it offered. I watched it all evening and my grades suffered though my vocabulary improved. One day I got a rude wake up call and I was able to control my addiction. I used to watch bewitched, I dream of Jeannie and another series called different strokes. A lot of my friends however used to watch television serials with their parents. Serials in a regional language which nobody in my immediate family took any interest in. I used to dislike the serial watching group then. The serials were very melodramatic and I guess they still are.

A few women I knew would follow each and every tilt of a characters head, chase down sprees they wore in the episodes, argue with their husbands over the neglect they suffer and overall act very melodramatic. I found it funny and was able to isolate a serial behaviour in an otherwise decent group.

Today as I watch one of the last few episodes of castles fifth season I am able to understand those women better. The ones who sought refuge from reality in television and ultimately let it shape this reality. I feel sorry for the crazy ones and thankful that despite all the choices I have in the television now, reading always finds its way back in my priority list. Thank god for hobbies that don't involve gadgets.

Monday, March 03, 2014

Lighting up

My childhood memories invariably include a lot of quirks my family had. One such thing I remembered today was my grandmothers insistence that the goddess of wealth Lakshmi came to visit us in the evenings and to make her feel welcome, we need to switch on the lights in the front porch and leave the door open. I used to argue with her about it (just for the heck of arguing and also after a cat strolled in one such day and scratched my hand)

I am not a environmentalist and I am sure I do waste a lot of resources in my own special way which perhaps someone would write about in the future. But wasting electricity is thankfully a habit I don't have. When there are millions out there with frequent power cuts, there are folks who live in gate communities with full power back up, who leave all possible lights on. I know of folks who have glittering lights outside the house that's on from 6 in the evening to 6 in the morning. Why do we do that? Why do we like lighting up perhaps too brightly ? Does it stem from the practice of ensuring nothing unfavourable enters the house? Or is it just our way of showing off prosperity? I don't know. I am still thinking about this.

Sunday, March 02, 2014

Dog days

I love my dog. I guess I have to make that disclaimer first and perhaps I am a little too strict with her sometimes. Today when I was out with her, I realised maybe like parents with little kids, dogs too have this tendency of embarrassing you at times. I am hoping training can solve some of it but I am not sure how much.

1. She goes crazy when she sees another human being she likes while on a walk. Imagine a dog standing on two legs and raring to go at you. Imagine me at the end of the leash in front of her, so she still heels. Sigh. Doesn't happen too often but happens at least once in every night walk.
2. A happy sight of a dog eating a biscuit. Wait it's not something you gave her and she just had a hearty dinner. Has happened a couple of times with her eating off another dogs bowl and with her accepting food from a watch man.

I'm too embarrassed by these two to go any further. Maybe sometime when I can say she's over this ill start writing about the other stuff. Right now, I am figuring out ways to stop my otherwise obedient, sweet dog from acting crazy.

Saturday, March 01, 2014

The lost writer

6 years ago (almost) when I started working, I was not in love with my job. I loved writing better and a few months into my job, I thought I'd soon quit and become a full time writer. Things changed drastically when I joined a place where I fell in love with my work and even more so when hobbies I never thought I'd have like gardening and cooking started occupying my spare time. I lost touch with the writer in me and I realised I did regret it (a few days ago) when I was reading my old posts.

Unlike a new year resolution on the first of march, I resolve to write something for at least 20 minutes everyday. 10 mins for my blog and 10 mins perhaps in a secret diary. The former would be out here for viewing and I have to live with myself not giving out 10 mins of 24 hours to writing after committing in a public forum. Knowing me, I can't do that. I'll have to dish out something. Something is definitely better than nothing so here goes my resolution out in the public space. I am going to find the writer I lost and continue writing for myself.