Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Online silence

I have not been working too hard either. I do not know why i have been so quiet online the last two weeks. I am having a lovely time with Navrathri. I am going to upload the pictures from tomorrow and write long blogs. A review is also pending for the bangalore literature fest and two books i read.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

You notice

I like my maid. She does a good job and takes care of cleaning up the vessels, sweeping, mopping etc. I try to tell her a thanks everyday. But I never know my dependency on her as much as the days she doesnt come. I dont even feel like going near the kitchen. There are so many things that we take for granted and start missing only when they are no longer around. People, work they do, things and even senses. I am trying to be thankful for all the things I take for granted and that is becoming a very interesting and monumental task.

Friday, September 19, 2014

You know you have a furry friend when

1. You walk atleast twice a day. Irrespective of the weather and what you are wearing
2. Your bags and clothes have bite marks in the strangest of places which somebody else usually points out
3. You are found standing in dirty corners staring at unmentionable things to check whether the color and structure is ok. And no, it is not disgusting
4. You are found watching for frogs and slowing down for the flight of birds and butterflies in the middle of the road
5. You end up talking about the animal family to which your pet belongs to most of the time and you know a lot about them than about the current affairs sometimes.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Working across timezones

I think I have mentioned it enough times here that i love my work. I work for somebody in the US and thanks to that I have calls in the evenings and nights. Working across timezones is a very funny experience. While there are a few very obvious advantages in that the team can work 24/7, one very obvious area that has to be worked around is the communication. You cannot see your colleague, you spend a lot of time on the phone and on email. Both are mediums where non verbal cues are difficult to gauge, you have to be very careful about the communication. Add to it the fact that people come from a different culture and even your name might be very strange to them, you are in a relatively difficult situation that no communication skill workshop or college prepares you for.

Over 6 years, i have learnt to work the system. I still fumble in a few calls once in a while and I reread emails to make sure what I am trying to say gets out there. But I get along pretty well and hours of calls do not tire me and I enjoy them.

Someday, I hope that I can conduct classes which can somehow explain this beautiful, complicated and wonderful world of long distance relationships which will always remain distant unless one party shifts countries. :)

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Drishyam

Visualise a calm,beautiful night with a star studded sky. Observe those empty roads lined with beautiful houses with nice gardens. There.. You see that orang dot running towards you? You're initially scared then laugh out loud at the dog with the tshirt running into a house with a kennel. Dogs going back home after a run. Good thing you think. Then the dog comes bounding out with a bone bigger than its face. You hear an angry bark as the big dog whose possession you saw stolen realises the fact. You zoom out and see another dog in a tshirt at the end of a long leash hurrying down the road followed by a hassled looking lady in a tattered night dress.

That's Laika, Zoya n me. That devil can escape from the tightest collar when you least expect and run. I know she knows the way home and can rest easy. But I'm scared of how people in my gated community will react. Most of these guys are scared of dogs. I understand their fear. Thankfully, two other dogs were out at this weird hour and we caught Laika. She doesn't come to me when she escapes as I beat her up very badly once when that happened. I'm working on building trust right now. Some day I'll get there. Till then I'll be more careful and pray for friendly neighbours to catch the devil.

Drishyam means visual. Most people who're scared of Laika usually find her funny when she's wearing a tshirt. Thank god.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

What we did last weekend

We spent our whole weekend at home. We had two excuses - Zoya was neutered and needed some attention, there was some work going on in the car porch so somebody had to supervise. But what we actually did the weekend was watch Black list. All the episodes (except maybe 2 or 3 as I had watched them already). It was screened in Star World Premier HD and very very shamelessly, we timed our weekend around it. The 42-45 minutes the show would be on and the 15 minute break between episodes. We walked the dogs early and realised we had watched the two episodes already so got some cleaning in non tv room done those two hours.

The 15 minute breaks were used to grocery shop, walk the dogs again and of course bathe, eat etc. It was a guilty pleasure but it was fun. I cleaned up a lot of dolls for navrathri sitting like a zombie in  front of the television and I shamelessly loved the Tom-Lizzy drama and of course Reddington was hilarious.I have been using some of his dialogues. Whoever said addiction to television spoils real relationships hasnt spent hours in front of the tv watching something with their husband and dogs. I could swear Zoya was watching tv too. :)

The reward

I saw the most famous quote from the gita which i think translates to " Do your duty, do not expect any rewards". I do not know which of these three interpretations to use for that:

1. Do your duty, your duty is by itself the reward?
2. Do your duty and even if you are not rewarded for it, its ok?
3. Do your duty without expecting anything in return even the reward the duty entails?

All three boil down to one doing ones duty- agreed but the outcomes or expectations from the duty are different. I havent even spoken about how the duty should be done. Is the duty the mere accomplishment of the task or is the duty the accomplishment of the task in the best way possible? Is the best automatically assumed in the vedic period? Is the interest and devotion to the job expected as a status quo?

As someone working in the corporate world, I see very very few examples of any of the three outcomes above. Its easier to expect a reward and be disappointed if you dont get one or elated when you do (for a few minutes of course). I am also someone who goes through that emotional roller coaster often. While I do get joy out of what I do, sometimes, that by itself is not enough. These moments of self doubt vary from being few to just way too many, spread over every week. I have really been working hard on considering my duty a reward by itself but sometimes it is almost impossible and I just get way too distracted and upset. I wonder how Arjuna was able to take that bow and take aim. But then, he was getting recognition or acknowledgement for doing his duty from God himself. Was that what made it easier?

I am not very religious. I am spiritual. If I had been religious, I would have been able to surrender my work to God and remain satisfied that when he evaluated my karma, doing my job would have held me in good stead with him. I believe in afterlife. Dont ask me why. But I am not able to take the reward for my work to be the work itself every single day and say that God is watching everything and he knows. Once i am able to do that, I think I will reach my Zen state.

Funnily, despite me seeing time and again that in the long run, truth always triumphs, I am not able to make peace with a few everyday lies. Why is that? Life is truly funny.



Empathy and Animals

I was reading an article recently which spoke about empathy in animals and the crux of the article, was the stand that no animal hurts another to gain something (except man of course). I have always believed that and have admitted quite often that i would rather stay in a room with a poisonous snake than a few people because snakes are far more predictable and would never harm me without a reason.

Getting my dogs has given me a few more proof points and I am going to believe this theory until it is proven otherwise. I have two female dogs. A scenario most people say leads to a lot of hassle as the dogs will fight a lot. I haven't seen them fight to death. They rumble around a lot and chase each other of course. But whenever a stranger comes near, their senses are on full alert. When Zoya is in pain, Laika lets her be and when Laika gets a dressing down from me, Zoya is next to her, licking her as if to console. When they play, I have never seen them hurt each other. They let it go. When they play with a bigger dog, I haven't seen the big dog hurt them either. We usually avoid situations of conflict so I cannot talk about fights.

One beautiful thing I have observed is how they behave with cockroaches and frogs. They chase them around, but never ever kill them. The animal is intact. I have to say, animals behave much better, are far more affectionate and predictable and I would rather trust a dog than even the dog's owner.

I have been asked by a lot of people as to what i am going to do with my dogs when I have kids. The question is very strange to me. I have seen children in villages happily co-existing with dogs and so I am just taken aback that people think I can give my pets away. Most of them base it on the fact that these are Indian dogs and hence unpredictable. It used to anger me but now, i just find it funny.

I do not call them my kids. I have a feeling that my kids are never going to be as loving as a pet when they age. I know that positive re-enforcement is going to let my kids and my dogs co-exist. If all their needs are met, why is there a source of conflict? My dogs will be more empathetic than any other human or as much as a few humans, and I am very confident that together, we will figure it out and have fun.

To do or not to do

Every dog owner, especially someone who has a female dog has this question ( recent observation, very few people have female dogs.). Should the dog be neutered or not? You hear horror stories of dogs running away to mate and getting hit by vehicles, or having a litter you are not able to give away, or even worse dying during childbirth if you do not neuter them. Then you hear people tell you about weight gain and how the dogs development will get hindered because of them losing an important organ if you neuter them.

I knew I was neutering my dog when I got Laika because I had seen enough homeless dogs and  I felt if I ever wanted another dog, I will adopt a dog and save a life. But, even I was so upset before neutering the dog and spoke to a lot of people, to justify an already made decision, so that I could live with it. Laika was a breeze and now 4 days after neutering, Zoya is not still back to her old antics. Add to it the fact that they have shaved off one side of her body, whenever i look at her, I feel so guilty for putting her through it. I guess I have to live with the guilt for a few more weeks and cover it up by putting cute little tshirts on her to stop people from staring.

Life in a way is very cruel because we human beings have made it so. If we took care of our Indian dogs and did not go around buying exotic breeds just to make a fashion statement, so many dogs will not be homeless. A lot of those who buy these breeds do not take good care of the dogs. They are not exercised enough, they are kept tied up, they are not trained properly and they are just let free to mate. I see so many mongrel pups. Even Laika is a siberian husky somewhere and she suffers when it is hot. Thankfully she is in bangalore. What is our obsession with things foreign? Why do we brand indian dogs as fierce? They are territorial and just too smart because they have been forced to survive in the streets.

I read this article where a lady claims that soon dogs will be endangered because we are neutering/spaying a lot of dogs. But what she keeps forgetting is the litter size of dogs. 6 per year at least. One intact female can lay upto 36 pups in 6 years and even if only 50% survive its 18 dogs in just 6 years. You do the rest of the math. I wish i can have more dogs and save them from the streets. Right now, I am satisfying myself with 2 and by donating to a few organizations to take care of dogs. I do know that when I get my own farm, i will have atleast half a dozen dogs or pups. For now, it is a to neuter stand. I hope i get to change it in the future because people have become kinder and have started taking care of our dogs because it is the most natural thing to do.

Monday, September 15, 2014

A few months ago

This is Laika on 30th December 2013. Laika with her then friend Hatchi
So sweet and innocent. She is now the devil incarnate but i so love the dog. :)

This is a 2 month old pic (clicked in July end) of Laika and Zoya in the car:




Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Duty

Life becomes much easier when you accept that something is your duty and that you have to do it - to the best of your ability no matter what the rewards are or arent. Sometimes, rather most of the times, that is reward enough and nothing can take away that awesome feeling of a job well done.

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Puppy troubles

Zoya is driving me crazy. I got two lovely rajais from Rajasthan and so i had put an older comforter for the jokers to sleep in. It was pretty comfortable and they looked so divine when they slept on the same. So I let it remain as a cozy corner.
Until, Madam decided to go and pee on it in the exact few minutes I was in the loo. I am just too surprised to do anything but complain. I thought she had gotten over the habit of peeing in the house. I guess she just did not have a nice enough location till now. :(

Unfair Life

You can talk very philosophically about life being unfair. You can tell people whose rewards have been denied that shit happens and nothing much can be done about it. However, no matter how good you are, no matter how hard working, sometimes things just do not work out. When that happens, how do you tell yourself that life is unfair and move on? I always try to react and find a way out. But I dont know if it is worth the struggle. I dont know if i can blame it on Karma and find peace within. Since I am looking at external validation and I have been trained for years to get it - get the first rank, join a great institution, perform well, get appreciated, I am not able to overcome this necessity to get an external validation. I am not able to move forward and focus on things that matter as i am looking at the wrong places for validation and I am assuming it is going to help me move forward. I am assuming that when things dont go according to my timelines, they are not moving ahead at all and I want to let go and move away. I am unable to appreciate what I have within.

How am i going to reach the state of internal validation and acceptance? I am not talking about resignation to fate. I am talking about accepting life and looking beyond at things that matter and identifying my true calling. It is going to be an uphill task but finally, i know the purpose of my life for the next few years at least. Getting over the need for this validation and finding what i need within and maybe in the process understanding who i actually am.

Effortless

A lot of times in life, things that should be natural and effortless are made to seem complicated and difficult. This usually starts off with someone explaining in detail what is there and what is not and creating a document around why it is so. Take the case of making curd rice. I know people whose recipes involve keeping it overnight in water and then finding the right curd blah blah. Its the easiest everyday dish and because of this form, it becomes complicated. I have promised myself now, that when things can be effortless, I will not make it otherwise. Half my issues are because 1)I think it is someone else's job 2) I feel i am doing everything and saying that makes the task seem worse than it is. 3) I am too lazy and the laziness piles up and funnily 4) I am not eating at the right time.

I am going to consciously watch myself and eliminate the complexity from my life. Its already a lot more positive in the last two months and i want it to become peaceful too. :)

Monday, September 08, 2014

Navrathri

My favorite time of the year is here again. I am so so excited about this navrathri. I have got a surprise gift of dolls from my dad and I love the Sri Ranganathar and the Lakshmi he got me. Add to it the Govardhana malai set which complements my Krishnavataram and I am so excited. I cant wait to start arranging my dolls and make it look awesome. :)

Onashamshakal

I married a Keralite. Our cultures are pretty different for two states so close to each other. I have never had a cause to regret it till date as it is always easier to pick which family to celebrate a festival with and which customs to drop as we did not really like it. Plus, add to the fact that it is a matriarchal society and Kerala is such a beautiful state, my visits to the inlaws are always pleasant (touch wood).

This trip, we had the whole immediate family down and Onam was grand. I had a lot of food (of course), made a pookalam and collected golu dolls from my dad. It was lovely. Onam is such an inclusive festival celebrated agnostic of religion in Kerala and this onam i realised that i have finally come to accept my new family and they me without much effort.

The pookolam is the one we made at home with leaves and flowers. Talk about creativity. :D

Pratchett Marathon

I had gone to Kerala for Onam. Post the 10 books which influenced me hungama, I wanted to reread terry Pratchett and I carried Mort and Reaper Man. (Death is of course the first character I love.) I finished Mort in one sitting and noticed so many intricacies yet again. So I am starting my third Terry Pratchett Marathon. I am done with my 75 book challenge for 2014 in goodreads and I can safely finish these 30 over the next three months as Pratchett is just awesome. Or, I might not finish it all and extend it over a few months, but i am going to include him in my reading list. Its like finding a long lost friend. :)

Monday, September 01, 2014

Cruelty

Yesterday, I had to rush Laika to the hospital at 5 in the morning as the poor dog couldnt stand and was shivering incessantly. We suspect poisoning. While the maintenance manager in my community refused to admit whether there was poison around, one of the security guards blurted out that since there were a few strays these people were not able to chase, they had put rat poison and other poisons around. I was so shocked, I did not know what to do. When i confronted the maintenance manager with this tidbit, he said it was unlikely. I saved my dog as i chanced to wake up hearing her bark at someone. I dread to imagine what could have happened otherwise. I dont know why human beings are so happy to be cruel effortlessly.

How can we dictate who gets to live and die? Are these guys such huge losers in life that the only pleasure they get is out of torturing creatures nobody consciously looks out for? What scares me even more is the neglectful attitude of most people who say it is ok and it is just strays. I really am lost and wondering why I am even bothering to talk to losers like this and what I can do to save my dogs and other such harmless and loving creatures.