Thursday, July 31, 2014

Enlightenment

I love traveling as it puts you in touch with your inner self and it introduces you to people you'd never normally encounter. (Of course you feel happier when you don't have to work too. )

Were traveling by train to udaipur now. When we usually travel we don't strike conversation with strangers as were busy talking to each other and watching things unfold. This time around we had to leave our bags in the compartment and requested a copassenger to watch it. After we came back we got talking after a polite thank you.

He had us at about me..He works in the social sector. The facts he told me over the last four hours have opened my mind to things I've never thought about in my life. He's enlightened me about healthcare, issues women face and how some things I take for granted are luxuries to a deprived few.

I am seriously contemplating how I can make this world a better place. I never knew south India has a lot of HIV cases. I never knew teenage pregnancy was such a big issue in the north. I never knew the far reaching implications of birth control. I never imagined the extent of strategy and communication skills required to get people to accept medicines. I was so stuck in my bubble crying for lack of recognition and cribbing about a zillion things. I've woken up now and acknowledge the need to act. I'm still not sure of the course though.

Delhi hai mere yaar

I came to delhi after ages. Delhi to me has always been the railway station I alight in enroute to pilani. I know it was a narrow view but I've never done much but visit some shops and that experience scared me. Men are scary here. The way they behave rather.

Thus time around I had wonderful company and the Delhi I saw though still crowded was not so scary and in some moments actually beautiful. I loved parathewali galli. I never eat street food and I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of food. Qutab minar was pretty but very crowded. India gate looked lovely. Red fort was too crowded to enter but I'm glad I got a glimpse of the place.

Delhi metros speed is good and like my mother pointed out we could go anywhere in a matter of minutes. The first two days of my vacation have been pretty eventful.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The musical dog

Laika loves music. She has a very peaceful expression when she listens to it. Best example is this pic of her in the kennel.

Monday, July 28, 2014

The footprints

I was watching this movie "Velai Illa Pattadhari". Not a movie I would be inspired by ever in my life. Not even one I would remember. But there was this one scene there where the hero walks in the beach after his mother's death and we see footprints in the sand next to him as he remembers her. I am not one for walking in sand, but thanks to the awesome twosome, I end up walking in it when they have to relieve themselves (Laika hates relieving herself on grass if you can believe it) If i look at my footprints agnostic of the surface I walk in, I am confident I will see two more pairs for sure, no matter what. The two who would sit quietly or jump at each other without any sound for as long as I am in a call and then start making loud noises once my call is done (if i am in a phone. i am training them for lync calls now)The two who are happy to be in the same room as me, the two who feel so proud to be near me and with me.. I am sure, their footsteps will always be there. If they knew what I was upto, I am sure they will come with me.

I just wish humans have half the humanity my dogs do. They would then see how much they hurt people and how simple and easy it is to just accept and love without any expectations and without any of that drama of how complicated they are. They would learn what just hanging out actually is. You can just hang out and make someone feel valued and wonderful. I dont have two obedient dogs which listen to every damn thing i say. That was once my dream. But I think I love these two as though they are not 100% obedient, they know the importance of companionship and real friendship. These are the pawprints I want. I know they will not live long enough. Still compared to a human friend, their company is much better. There are very very few exceptions to that rule.

Explorers in the dark

Yesterday, we drove back from Madurai to Bangalore. We started at around 2 in Madurai and the two devils were pretty ok in the back seat. We stopped for a break around 6 and started dreading the hosur traffic. A psycho who was trying to constantly over take us added to the traffic woes. I decided to check in google maps for an alternate route. Now, my phone was at 50% battery so I was not too sure whether it could last the rest of the journey but we decided to see the route and risk it. There was an alternate route from Krishnagiri to Hoskote through Shoolagiri, Perigai, skirting Masti, Malur and finally hitting Hoskote. The route looked nice in the maps so we decided to take it.

We see a road (more like a track) leading into a village market. Our confidence in google maps unshaken (it says 2hrs) we decided to go ahead. The road was tarred but it was not very wide. As we drove further in (to a point of no return as we joked), the road had no street lamps and we were the only car in the road. There were a few brave guys in bikes ( I would have never ever biked down that road no matter what) at random places who gave us company for a few kilometers but we were largely alone. My better half was driving and we were too scared to stop and exchange. After more than 3/4th of the road had passed, my phone died. But we remembered the route and drove from memory with major points in mind. I started driving about this time and in a way, I am so glad we took this route. Safety was a concern but i have come to agree that villages are safer than most cities and we had two doggies with us. Plus we had no intention to stop for more than a few minutes in any area let alone one where there was no one. (The saner me was thinking about potential punctures and praying to god that it doesnt happen here) We finally started seeing a lot more traffic as we got closer to bangalore. We also saw Lions Club of Bangalore East put up posters and bus stands all over the place. We came home in one piece - tired but happy.

While my senses screamed at me, i was happy that we took the road less traveled. I was feeling pretty safe because I had the two devils with me. I doubt I would ever take this road if they are not around especially in the dark. Still, an interesting journey. I realized there are other areas I can explore near Bangalore now.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Travel

I love to travel. I love drives and funnily I love the silence during these drives. Watch the world and your thoughts pass you by together.

I find it strange when people don't get it when I say I can find solitude even if I have company. Even if its someone I like. I find solitude in the movement, for in the world that passes by there is my universe, comprised of precisely those segments that make it perfect and all mine. Mine, by virtue of being witnessed by me. Mine , by virtue of being claimed by me.. From a car seat. :)

Doggy drives

We drove 445km with the dogs. And, it was actually fun. Zoya was a little car sick but after 200km she magically stopped drooling and was perfectly all right. These dogs are so resilient it makes me so proud and delighted to have them all for myself. I just wish India had some pet friendly pit stops..

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Neil Gaiman's Midnight Days

Gaiman always manages to shake me. Sandman gave me dreams and nightmares for the longest time and I still love the books though I do not have the guts to reread the series.

I picked up Midnight Days as I saw the magical name of the author I love. Since I have not read The Swamp Thing, i could not get some of the stories fully but even as standalone comics, they were pretty good. The last one was based on Sandman Dream Theatre I think, so i am seriously evaluating starting to read that series too.

The world of graphic novels is so enchanting and it has sucked me in pretty deep.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Fables

Thanks to leaping windows, I got my hands on this particular graphic novel which has eluded me for quite sometime. It was quite expensive and I did not know if i would like it. I guess enrolling in a library has its advantages.

I started with Book 2 - Animal Farm and I loved it. I loved the concept of the fairy tale creatures being exiled and their coping strategy. The human ones like Snow White become part of New York city and join the human world while the animals are relegated to an Animal Farm. A lot of them arent happy at being sent away and decide to rebel, to revolt. The revolt happens when Snow White visits the Farm for a routine check. What happens to her and the rebellion is the rest of the plot. The plot and the illustration are brilliant.

Often, I feel that we ourselves are creatures who live in a self imposed exile. Much like a bigger force kicking the fairy tale creatures out of their world, something or the other ends up kicking us out of the bubbles of beauty, peace and serenity we live in. It is very disenchanting when it happens.

Some of us, like Snow White in the book take charge and move on retaining dreams from the past and facing the reality. Some of us like Goldilocks revolt, some of us like Colin the pig, become rebels without a cause but for a cause and some of us like the fox, try to fight even if we are in enemy territory because we know what is ours.

In one way or the other we think, we try to cope and we are fooling nobody but ourselves when we make those choices - that we really know are not right, that we really know take us down a path of such decline that nothing can ever stop us or save us. I intended this as a book review but the more i read such novels, i become part of a fable for life at the end of the day is the biggest one of them all.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

When love turns

I think i have mentioned it a million times. I keep falling in and out of love. Yet again, love has turned into something else and funnily, I dont have an iota of regret either for the love and respect i felt or for this feeling of disdain that has crept in. One thing I am not able to control though is unintentionally bad mouthing the said thing. I am not bad mouthing per se but because I am finally seeing things for what they are, when someone asks for an opinion, the earlier me who would have stood by what i believed in would have reacted much more differently. I see her point too but I think i am right now and this state is going to last for a really long time.

I am working really hard on controlling my disdain and hopefully soon, I can reach a state of neutrality.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

The whole

The whole is sometimes much greater than the sum of its parts. I witnessed one such incident yesterday.

We had decided to go for the protest march against sexual abuse. I was too affected mentally by the event and I had wailed constantly about how nobody gives a damn. The traffic was bad and i was pretty sad as we were getting late to join the protest.

When I was near purva riviera I was blown away. We saw the procession and it was huge.  The queue was miles long. We realized we were stuck in the traffic as thousands had taken to the roads. I was blown away and humbled. The young, old, married, children and students had taken it on themselves to be out on a Saturday morning and were walking silently on the roads.

The whole was greater than the sum of its parts and Bangalore had decided to show its solidarity.

The royal look

Someone told me indies don't look royal. Guess they haven't seen well fed happy ones at all. The two I have love sitting in the staircase and I have one pic to prove that the royal look is not something just the breeds have... Any doggie which is taken care of will look good and happy. 

Friday, July 18, 2014

I protest

I protest for that's something I can do. I want to join a mob to pelt the two horrendous men who did that to. 6 yr old to death. I'm not allowed to legally so I am just going to protest. I don't have to be a parent to be shocked. I don't have to be a mother to lose my sleep over what's happening.
Tomorrow morning I will be outside the school shouting out aloud for this evil is too horrible to be tolerated.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

The cycle of life

Think about this - there is a beautiful green valley, full of life, love and beauty. The houses are par excellence and the way the roads are laid out inspires envy. There are puppies running around and deer walking rather gamboling. Then you see peacocks dancing. The wisest man dies and then another is made chief because he is the oldest around. He appoints the village idiot to help him out. While the idiot is good with jokes, he cannot understand under currents. Everything has its cracks and the two are unable to look past that and try to make the puppies (which are fast growing up) ride deer. The teeny tiny cracks start becoming bigger and slowly the migration  begins. It is a trickle initially but slowly the village empties. Only the slowest and the infirm and the extremely optimistic remain.

The new settlers who come in, start learning how to live. The barbarians from the north who have never lived in a settlement for long are in power. They discover how to close the door and slowly start reusing inventions at their own pace, often incorrectly. Their effort is applauded and new sub clans are formed. The former glory is lost but the pride is still there. The extremely optimistic start walking away too and soon, its a land of barbarians confident but still on the verge of ruin.

The breath of fresh air

I have been trying to work out everyday. In one form or another. I went cycling yesterday (12km is no joke). Today, I went walking in the evening with my darlings. Usually, I walk in the mornings or the nights with them. Sometimes as a rare treat, in the evenings. This evening was beautiful. I mean, look at the grey sky and the gentle breeze, top it with empty roads where you can run into a flowering plant and the icing is of course the two beauties, who help you notice the tiniest life form around.

The breath of fresh air really helped me make peace with all that is and all that can never be. I am not completely at peace with everything, I doubt I can ever be. But i am happy and at peace with myself, as much as I can be. Life is beautiful and I really love it - no matter who is or is not a part of it, no matter what I am going to hold on to and what i have to let go, no matter how hard some good byes are turning out to be, no matter how much it breaks me to turn away when i do not want to but have to.

I need a breath of fresh air and I am hoping some day soon it becomes easier to appreciate all that I have.

The spineless and the helpless

Ive come across this species too frequently. The completely spineless who pretend they are helpless as they do not want to "hurt the feelings" of others unnecessarily. Needless to say, you feel they are "oh so sweet and wonderful" and feel sorry for them being taken advantage of. Then you start noticing that they seem to constantly get into such situations. Thats simply because they are spineless and want to be liked by every god damn person. Unfortunately when they are in a position of power, say like the head of a family or manager of a team, they end up compromising those who trust and believe in their supposed inherent niceness. The dependents are sacrificed in the altar of self righteousness.

I really dont have any words for people like these. I mean, what is wrong in standing up and refusing to do things that you should not be doing in the first place? What is so great about pleasing people? I wish I could see that. I can never do things to please people. I know things I do please people, but they please the most important person in my life first - me. I have an opinion on every god damn thing under the sun and I am not scared to express it.I am not saying biting someones head off is fine. I am just saying that sometimes, you need to stand up. Because thats why you were given the metaphorical spine and you need to stop being a wet blanket screwing up the lives of those around you.

You are the company you keep

I know this is something obvious. This week i have had a few instances where i saw it all the more about someone i used to adore. Perhaps the one person I had made too many allowances for in the recent past. A few lines inspired by that. Like i keep seeing, life inspires me to write. No matter how shitty i feel about it :)

You are your thoughts
You are your actions
Thoughts which become actions
Whether you admit it or not

Thoughts which change
because of those around you
Whether you see it or not
Life always does

You walk around with eyes closed
and you miss the things that float away
So far away that nothing can bring it back
There are straws destined to break
the backs of camels
There are things destined to kill
Everything stemming
from simple pretty thoughts

Simple pretty thoughts
often inspired
by the company you keep
For you are the company you keep

Sunday, July 13, 2014

No thanks

Ok, this is a board game post. So bored folks stay out. We played this game ages ago- actually a year to be exact when we had friends staying over for a get together. One of our friends had got the game along and he left it behind for me to play and return later as I loved it then. We managed to get this from the US for ourselves and have had our money's worth playing it already. Since this is my first post on board games bear with me if I get too boring. (Bad pun again)

The game is simple. 3-5 players play. There are cards numbered 3 to 35 and 55 coins. Each player is given 11 coins when the game begins. The objective is to minimise the total points you get. Once the pack is shuffled, 9 cards are randomly removed and kept aside. The remaining 24 cards are placed in a stack face down. Once you decide who starts the game, the top card is flipped over and the players get to decide to either keep the card or pass it along. It's passed along until someone picks the card up. Here's the catch - you have to give a coin if you don't want the card and whoever picks the card, gets the card and the total number of coins with it. If you run out of your 11 coins, you have to pick whichever card comes. You don't have a choice.

Like I said, whoever has the least number of points at the end of the game wins. The least number of points is sum of the number on all your cards - the number of coins you have left. If you have a few cards in a sequence , say 34,35 the only 34 is counted.

This game sounds simple but it gets interesting as you play. You have to decide what your risk appetite is. Do you want a risk a sequence in the thirties given 9 cards don't exist in the pack? Do you want to pass along cards valued in the twenties as it's above the mid way mark but still not too high? Do you remember what your opponents have in hand? Let's say 33 is doing the rounds. You definitely don't want it but if you remember another player picking 34 you get all the more bugged giving him/her the coins. A good strategist would let the card do a few rounds just to collect coins. But a good strategist should remember if the opponents have coins left because they'll be forced to pick the card and you lose the card and the points.

It's a lovely game to play with guests or friends and it's super entertaining when competition heats up.

Gamed out

I've had such a lovely weekend that I just want to shout out from roof tops about it. Since I've already done a lot of shouting from my roof top in the last two days, I'll just boast in my blog.

I've recently become a board games junkie of sorts. Since my addictions are typically never that strong, I've not had to join a deaddiction program yet. We've got a few board games from different corners of the world and we were playing on Friday evening, sat night and today evening - and here's where it gets interesting, with different groups of people. We were supposed to meet a good friend today noon to play but had to skip it as we were hunting for a boarding place for the dogs. ( a post on that once I finalise the place). I realised yet again how lovely gaming is. You get to know so much more about people when you play with them.

Of the lot the ones I loved are two relatively simple games - no thanks and triominos. The latter has now got me thinking about buying dominos. I'm thinking of dedicating a section of my blog to different board games. I'll start tomorrow with instructions and few interesting tit bits.

Gaming in the terrace on a full moon night after eating lovely home cooked food, with friends you can be yourself with, is such a pleasure. Gaming on a floor with a naughty three year old as a score keeper, while smelling food someone is very affectionately making is awesome. Gaming with the cool air kissing your face and a 8 year old trying to pull a fast one on you - reminds you how much you can potentially influence the next generation. Oh man, I'm in love all over again.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Bitten a lot - still not shy

They say, once bitten, twice shy. I am the idiot which has been bitten multiple times but is still not shy. I dont know if this is what happens when you are impulsive and perhaps a little too trusting of people who dont deserve that trust. Or maybe, I just see beyond what is there to see to what is actually there. Let me calm down and be happy. Hope for the redemption of a few useless souls is actually good. Hope is a good thing, perhaps the best thing ever and good things never die. :)

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Why I am a heroine

I come back home, all tired with that stomach ache I was blessed with after eating in a dhaba. I am greeted by two beauties jumping up and down battling for my attention. I see black paws - after somehow finding and playing with shoe polish and then a chewed up cap. I cant resist petting them. I walk up the stairs and curl up under the bed spread. I hear a whine and I see the two of them very carefully looking at me and wondering whats wrong. Both try to get on the bed by putting the front paws up and try to tap me. (Dont ask me how - Laika can tap you like an adult) I ignore them. They dont move. They just stand their looking at me with a quizzical look. Then they curl up right next to the bed and lie down. I get up, they get up. They refuse to leave me alone and keep following me around. Like I am a movie star and these are my two body guards. I cant remain sick after getting such attention. I go and get the milk bikis out. Then i become an even bigger celebrity who is looked at with rapt attention.

Oh my god, this is love. Why did it take me so long to find it?!!

Spirou and Fantasio

I am lucky to subscribe to this lovely graphic novel/comic online library called Leaping windows. Ever since I made that move a couple of months ago, I have discovered so many lovely authors and so many beautiful series. After unwritten and sin city, the latest to join the list is Spirou and Fantasio, the Belgian investigators.The first book i got my hands on was "The Prisoner of Buddha". Frankly, it wasnt that impressive though there were a few very good jokes sprinkled around. The illustration was lovely. I decided to not give up and picked up another book, :The Moray's Hideout and that has sealed the deal. I am officially in love.

The mad inventor, the crazy enthu journalist, their wierd beast and of course their wacky villains - every character is beautifully crafted. The illustrations in the last one, especially around submarine design and the suit design stole my heart. I have picked up the third book - "Spirou and the Heirs" and I am hoping i love it as much if not more than the previous one. I hope i can go pick up the entire set from book worm sometime soon. :)

Chasing dogs

Yesterday, the awesome twosome ran away. The maid had closed the gate and not bolted it. Laika n Zoya just pushed it open and ran. Pretty fast. She was not able to go near them as they were always a step or perhaps multiple steps ahead.

She called her daughter for help. But in the interim, they had spotted one of six or so cats that live in a road and all hell broke loose. One of the cats owners started chasing them and at the exact same time, two security guards chased two strays and came running into the road. The two moved the attention away from the cats and to the two strays which took to their heels. By now, the maid had arrived in the scene. So the two strays followed by my two dogs and then by security and then the maid and her daughter were running amock yesterday.

Laika went and had a nice roll in a mud patch during the chase. While all this was happening, i was sitting far away staring at a computer screen, oblivious to the drama and wondering why my neighbour was calling me. Life is so colorful with these two.

Romedy now

During our dream weekend, i spent a significant chunk of time watching Romedy now. I was feeling so bad that Tata sky does not have that channel. It was so good. I mean, I have admitted time and again what a sucker i am for romantic comedies I wish I can figure out a way to watch the channel at home.

I watched a lot of cute movies like Ugly Truth, Blast from the past etc. I know they aint intellectual but they are perfect for a rainy day or any day when i dont want to think.

Munnar - somewhere close to Paradise

 The last day in Munnar was amazing. We actually went around the place in an auto and were not in the cool tree house. The day started with finding a trustworthy auto. The chef in Kaivalyam was insistent that we pick a good one who will show us the sights patiently. We found his friend and he was bang on time waiting for us. The gardener in me wanted to go to the garden there. It was so beautiful and well kept. Only disappointment was that all the flowers' seeds werent sold and the roses werent in full bloom. (I was happy that mine back home were. :D)

From the garden, we went to the dam and walked through the bridge. The landscape looked like i had stepped into a foreign location and might burst into song any minute. The mountains and the water bodies - oh my god. I so miss them now. The plastic free zone is a very good idea and am i glad we went to such a place.

From the dam we went for a speed boat ride. The driver turned out to be a wanna be photographer and he clicked a lot of lovely pics. I have finally changed my facebook profile pic after close to 3 years and that is an achievement am proud of. I want to do more adventure activities. Not that the boat ride was pure adventure. :)

Later it was time for echo point. I had a lot of 30rs cashew nut packets. I missed buying the bigger bag. Please buy cashew nuts near the echo point. Its expensive in the city. We ran into these crazy buffoons dressed in tight short clothes. I had a good laugh looking at them.

After a very heavy lunch in saravana bhavan, where we had a courteous waiter looming around and chiding me for not eating properly, we headed to the national park. The drive through munnar is beautiful and awe inspiring.
 
Eravikulam national park was interesting. We had to take an almost run down bus through a winding road and reach a place from where we had a 1.5 km trek. I really wanted to see the nilgri thar but i did not get to see it. We were however pretty happy as the trek was so picturesque and calming. The place made me realise how tiny we are in the general scheme of things.

I am looking forward to going back and perhaps even living in a place like that. I just need to save enough. :)

Saturday, July 05, 2014

Munnar the green misty beauty

We are in munnar right now and it's so beautiful. We are sitting in a tree house and overlooking a valley in a spice plantation.  It's raining outside and the pitter patter of the raindrops combined with the company makes this place even more special.

I did not realize that i would love sitting and watching the rain so much. I mean, I have done it in the past but not for so long and not in a place which is as beautiful as this. I'm watching the mist on top of the mountain racing away. I just want to jump out and fly away and i'm not doing it because its suicidal. But i really wish i had wings right now.

Discovering Kerala

I'm on this surprise weekend trip. And its started so beautifully. We left Bangalore last evening and landed in the queen of the Arabian sea. We had a chatty driver who had two sets of coolers. One for the light and another for the night. Since we boarded the cab in the evening and the drive from the airport to the city was long we were lucky enough to see him use both. He was pretty serious about the usage and told us wed get it only in Cochin.

The hotel was grand. We set out to the famed marine drive and had a nice long walk ending it with a falooda. Man Kerala is so beautiful.

We headed back to the hotel (dunes) and decided to order room service. I've been looking forward to mallu dishes and beat this they did not have any mallu veg dish. I was heart broken but had a lovely meal and watched house. That was just Friday evening. Am I lucky ..

Thursday, July 03, 2014

Sometimes

I just want to wring a neck. Very hard, very quick. But then I walk my dogs, watch them fight, check few pictures and then calm down and be happy. Thank God for life. Its just too beautiful to be wasted.

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Lost

My unbelievable poem I so loved when I wrote is missing. Sigh. Life is funny. It was about dancing on my grave..

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Not two but one too many

I guess this cliche is here to stay. Think about way leading on to way, well, thats what has happened to me right now. Earlier I thought i was completely out of options. When all the doors seemed locked up and the key thrown far far away. Then I realised that the locks were in my head and once I looked up instead of looking down and wailing, I saw so many stars. I reach out to the stars and I see so many doors standing there for me, wide open as if to welcome me. I am now delibrating which of the forked paths I should take. I am so glad that I finally opened my eyes and I finally believed in myself and all that I can stand for. I am so glad that sometimes asking the right question is all it takes to get the right answer. I am so glad that sometimes you have to fall down on your face to realise how close you were to the ground and how there are not one but a million other things that you would rather do. :)