Monday, November 30, 2015

Maid mania

I've had the same maid for almost three years. We had a functional relationship and over a period of time, her responsibilities increased. She helped tend the garden, bathe the dogs, cook and so on. However, she had been acting really weird over the last two months.
Perhaps, my not being around when she worked irked her, or maybe she was over worked as she had signed up for a lot more houses. Not wanting to let her go, I reduced her responsibilities and tried to be understanding.

Unfortunately, she misused the trust and came only ten days last month. Her behavior opened my eyes as I was able to manage the house really well despite working full time. So I finally fired her yesterday. It's going to be tough with a lot of hiccups, but I think we'll manage. Sachin has been pitching in quite a bit and even the doggies are not trampling around much. ( my imagination that). Here's to another month of self sufficiency.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

An experiment

We were gifted with a fish tank for our wedding. We had cichlids for a couple of years. We shifted to our new house and one fish survived and ruled the tank for a very long time. He died in early 2014 and after a lot of thought we picked gold fish. Again, just one survived. When it passed away, we weren't sure about keeping new fishes again.

Then, my friend, who's really passionate about aquariums, agreed to help me. He's set up a tank without the fishes but with a lot of plants, so the environment is set for the fishes whenever we get them. I'm hoping the experiment is a success. I'm still astounded by the amount of work he put in to setting up the tank and very impressed with his dedication.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

A dedication

Last week has been one of revelations for me. Facebook has this widget which shows you how things were on a particular day in the previous years. It tells me that those that I had fun with change each year. (Except for family though. They can't get rid of me that easy!)

Some, it was gradual.. Inevitable. A couple, just sudden and sad. With all the changes in life, I've never had time to actually stop and remember all that was. Today, I took a few minutes to be thankful for all those that shaped me and stayed with me when times were tough. Even if  they're nowhere in the picture now, I can't discount their importance in my life. Rather of their role in helping me with a few choices, even if it was not deliberate. I'd like to dedicate this post to those that were.. Thank you and good luck.

Dreams

It's just weird as to how our dreams change so much over years. Sometimes what we wish and hope for, looses its charm. A few other times, fear stops us from truly following what we want to do. At others, it's laziness. Whatever it is, maybe you're lucky to get something else that keeps you driven, or you just waste away and survive.
I think of all those that don't mean anything to me and of those that make me sigh with a deep regret. How will everything change in the future, I can only wonder.. I'll try to be less scared of life and everything else.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Dimpu

Today, we started a little late for work due to multiple reasons. As we were getting out of the community, a neighbor called up and told us that he'd located an abandoned Labrador.
It was on our way to work we went to check on the dog. It was an awesome looking chocolate Labrador.
While we were debating what to do, a local told us that the dog belonged to someone across the road. We helped the dog cross. I bent and showed him how to come.
Sachin walked the dog there while I went to take the car which was parked with blinkers on. Dimpu- was reunited with his family. We're late for work, but happy with life in general.

Monday, November 23, 2015

A first

I think I have mentioned enough times that I live in/near a village. Going home from anywhere without a car has been unimaginable - till today. We are 100% reliant on cars - ours or a neighbors or a cab.

Today, we (my better half and I) were stuck as our usual ride got delayed due to some crazy last minute stuff. Outer ring road was jampacked and cabs were a distant dream. Most of our neighbors were already near home and we couldnt hitch a ride. As we stood wondering, we spotted a bus that went half the distance we had to go and got in.

This was one of the fancy buses with AC and full of IT folks looking at gadgets/sleeping. It was nice to watch the rain from the comfort of the bus. Our stop came and the drizzle stopped temporarily. While we were wondering who to call for help, another bus came and based on my newly learnt Kannada, we understood that it went pretty near our place. The bus was full of people very unlike us, headed home no doubt after a very tiring day. It was quiet and such a contrast to the other bus as nobody was on the phone - everyone was trying to sleep or just relax. Someone even fought with the conductor for charging 2Rs extra!

In all the drama, we missed our stop as we could not recognize the landmarks from inside the bus. But, we got down a little before the next stop and walked home in the rain. We actually enjoyed the experience. I dont know if I would love it so much if I had to do it everyday.. Still, it was a good start and I am happy. Life is beautiful and there are so many new experiences just waiting for me.

Self Sufficiency

I am a typical Bangalorean. I have household help - for cleaning, sometimes cooking, ironing, washing the car etc.

Recently, I have had few really bad experiences with my maid (letting Zoya out, not cleaning vessels and bunking on days I had guests etc.), so have been evaluating living without one. Anybody I told this thought to, immediately suggested new maids. Nobody was ready to believe that I might be able to survive without one. I am experimenting from today and I really hope that one way or the other, I can finally become self sufficient.

Another help who let me down was the iron-wala. He happily burnt my brand new pant and forgot to inform me. I was wearing it when my sister spotted a hole in a very strategic location before I left home. Thank god for small mercies. So, I started ironing my clothes yesterday. It took me 25 mins to get 3 pieces of clothing ironed, largely because I have never done it before and according to Sachin, it was not a straight cut (he is much better at it than me). We are going to get an ironing table today as well.

Let me see how this experiment with self sufficiency works out for me.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Thursday, November 19, 2015

The best gift

Today I woke up feeling really tired and hating the weather. I wanted to spend the whole day at home. But I had some interesting stuff to finish at work, so got ready and stepped out.

We were stuck in a bad jam at a place we never get stuck in and were badly delayed.

After we got out of the jam, I saw bright sky - like the day was only going to get better. I was very happy. Despite being late, a few painful hurdles were overcome with the help of a friend.

Then, I get the best gift - a day off. I have an unexpected holiday tomorrow for a company celebration and I am so happy!! Life is awesome. (I am going to wash clothes in that time, but still, it is something to do)

Puppy tales

So the pup I was writing about a couple of days back (rescued by a family on Monday night) ran away on Tuesday. Let us call this family number 1. They were hunting all over the place and finally found him in another house. That is family number 2.
Both Family number 1 and family number 2 have kids that want the pup. But mother is family number 2 is ok for her children's sake. The lady in family number 1 was more than happy to let the pup be in its new home much to the disappointment of her kids.

Let us see how this plays out. I really want that pup to be in a good place and I am still wondering where his siblings are.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Prayer

So after her adventures (first her obsessive fear of crackers and second her frolicking in the rain), Zoya has lost weight and is not eating too well. I had to take her to the hospital and they have run a series of tests and identified her liver tests are not normal.

We are waiting for a few more test results and I am praying to all Gods I know that she recovers soon and goes back to being my round ball and not this skeleton she has become. Stress can supposedly trigger a lot of things. :(

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Acceptance

Why are we OK accepting illness of the body without batting an eyelid ( unless it's a woman's issue) but it takes us ages to accept the possibility of a mental illness, let alone react to it?

We're all usually self centered and don't look beyond ourselves for anything in life. Sometimes we miss the obvious signs in those around us as we can't even begin to comprehend what it is, let alone what to do about it.

Something shocking woke me up last week and I'm yet to wrap my head around it. I can't discuss it in a public space, but suffice to say, it's made me question a few fundamental assumptions about life, happiness and relationships.

I took a resolution to educate myself about mental illnesses better and to try to not mock at people and judge their choices. Everyone is trying their best to lead their lives and survive.

Where are the dogs?

Chennai has become a floating city and as I see the innumerable pictures doing their rounds, I wonder, what happened to the four legged animals that usually haunt the streets? How are they finding food? How are they surviving in this weather? What about the dogs that just gave birth? What has happened to the pups? Have I changed so much that my thought goes to the dogs first and not the people? I dont want to answer that question. Perhaps, seeing all the articles around relief activity for human beings has reassured me.

Bangalore is also seeing its fair share of the rain. I haven't been able to wash clothes or take these jokers for a walk. I saw a new mother dog walking inside yesterday and she ran away before i could locate her litter.

A family in my community found a puppy shivering in the rain. Though they don't have pets right now and the mother was scared of pets, she requested her husband to get the pup home. We helped them to put it in a warm place. He climbed into  my lap and fell asleep. Just a little warmth in the cold and he was in puppy heaven. I am not sure if they will keep the pup, but for yesterday, that act probably saved his life. Taking it one day at a time to prevent myself from getting too upset about life.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Community

Today, was a very scary day. I was looking forward to a pretty interesting work week and headed to office as usual. At 1030, I receive a call from my maid that the dogs have run away.

She tried to find them, but couldnt, so she was going to continue working in other houses. I really lost it - scenes of Laika fighting with dogs and tearing the pants of watchmen she doesnt like flashed through my head.

I posted in our "Pet Owners" whatsapp group about the incident and told them that we would be coming home. A friend there told us that it wouldnt make a difference as there was a real big jam outside my office and it would take me a minimum of 2 hours to get out of office. I called my dear maid again and found out it was just Zoya who was out. I had to verify with color as she calls both dogs "Laika".

I called up a friend to check if he saw Zoya near his house and was very surprised to find out that he was actually out in the rain looking for her. A couple of others joined as well. They took biscuits for her and tried to entice madam but she didn't fall for it and somehow disappeared right in front of their eyes. I was super tensed and we took a cab home, skipping lunch.

When we came home, she was safe inside. I dont know how that happened, but today was one of those days that re-affirmed my belief in friends and community. Some people are truly amazing and some bonds are pretty strong when they are formed because of something/someone we love.

The trouble maker is sleeping and shivering in her sleep now.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

A quiet Diwali

This year, there has been a shift in how people are celebrating the festival of lights. Madurai, where I am from has a very lively Diwali usually. People bursting crackers nonstop and lot of laborers/workers asking the slightly better of families for money to get crackers. Perhaps it is the proximity to Sivakasi or perhaps it is the Madurai style of celebrating everything king size, but Diwali is pretty noisy there.

This year, it was relatively quiet. I was very surprised. It was not raining. We had to go to check on something and we left on Tuesday afternoon in an auto as driving a car through the cracker filled roads could cause issues. Funnily, nobody was seen and the usual "whose house has more paper from bursting crackers" game was not happening.

We reached Bangalore on Wednesday night, the day folks were celebrating Diwali here and it was quieter. Good thing for Zoya who was sick with worry, but seriously, what is happening to noisy Diwalis? Are people actually becoming more conscious of the environment? Or have crackers become expensive? ( I have never had to buy - dad buys always! It is our tradition)

I had my fill of sweets and some very interesting visitors, so I am not complaining. (I burst crackers in Madurai and Laika watched me throughout. :D)

Roadtrip

I am back home after driving for close to 980km - by myself. I marvel at where I have come from where I was. (I have been singing my praises to anyone who will listen).

My need to keep challenging myself and pushing boundaries every time is helping in my evolution. Mom and I had a really great time together spending time with each other and handling a few issues as a team (more on that later).

Accomplishments - however minor are what keep me going and I intend to let it remain that way. :)

Thursday, November 05, 2015

Rules that evolve

Some say that rules are  meant to be broken and that times change significantly. When I got Laika, she slept outside in our car porch. Zoya wailed her heart out and found herself inside the house at night.

I refused to leave them inside unsupervised. Then a few children let other dogs out and they started staying inside all day..

Recently, it's been so cold that I've broken the no dogs on furniture rule and allow them to sit next to me when it's very cold. I still can't share my bed with them, but a bean bag right next to the bed seems like a good compromise now.

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

Grounding

You come back home after a great day at work. You have had an amazing ego boost and to sweeten the deal, some money that you were supposed to get, finally comes. You are flying without wings, eating unhealthy food in an attempt to celebrate.

You are out for a walking, enjoying life and appreciating all that is right with the world and your two companions walk in awe of you. Until, one decides to poop - right in the middle of the damn road. You get down from your horse, bite the humble pie, borrow paper from a neighbor, kneel in the middle of the road and clean it up.

If that cannot ground you, nothing else will.

Monday, November 02, 2015

Driving in the rain

Usually, we are exhausted by the time we come back home from office. We walk them dogs and then just sleep or work. Today, for a change, we decided to head out for a weekday dinner though it was poring.

The restaurant was almost empty and we had really yummy food in Mr.Idly (more about the place later). I was reversing the car when I remembered my reluctance to move the car let alone park it by myself. Necessity is truly the mother of invention.

I enjoyed the drive back in the rain. When I dont have to drive and I do it because I want to, the experience is actually quite enjoyable and peaceful.

Identity

What do you do when what you perceive as your identity is threatened? You either morph to reinvent yourself according to the threat, or you hold on to your identity and fight tooth and nail for it or you just become faceless.

I feel a lot of conflict, regional and religious stems from a few factions trying to take advantage of perceived threats to identity. At the end of the day, all of us have evolved so much over decades and centuries that a lot of the identities are irrelevant. But because we have never thought of ourselves beyond the identity, we try very hard to stick to it and react violently to anyone that tries to question it.

What can change this situation and to a certain extent quell the unrest is if people are integrated into a society they feel they belong to and have an identity beyond region or religion or caste and in some cases even gender.

It is easy for me to be an arm chair philosopher and speak as though I really am experiencing a crisis, but I really dont know how to go ahead and change the world as I see it.