Awake Asleep Awake……..

It’s been 10 days since I logged out of Facebook.

Quitting the stub was easier I think.

Tempted to go back and re-log, not to stay connected but to be a voyeur.

All the people I’m truly connected to stay on. I’m back to calls and starting to meet folks I haven’t met in ages. I was too busy trawling  to comment on a feed or a photo they were tagged in.

How long will I stay off? Your guess is as good as mine.

I have never been the truly fortunate who multitask and accomplish much. I do one thing at one time and try to do it well. I would describe myself as mediocre at best. I thrive on my mediocrity.

I know if I die tomorrow and an obit is sent I will have 2 handfuls of friends who may shed a tear and sport a smile. High hopes?!

Am I rambling on?

Mayhap yes. But here is my list of accomplishments during the FB-off phase.

  • Unpacked my books, indexed them and stacked them in the library
  • Opened P Sainath’s Everybody Loves a Good Drought and Roald Dahl’s Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (Half way through the first and almost done with the second)
  • Started my driving classes
  • Seldom log on to the laptop once I’m home
  • Miss my dog constantly, make up by picking fights with my mom (at least I’m starting to communicate)
  • I call up random friends, who send me snide, sarcy messages for remembering them finally, and oh yea, did I want something? (I deserve that I guess)
  • I have learnt to say no (lying actually but starting to say No when I mean No)
  • Taking care of myself (You detect the I-me-my pattern right?!)
  • I call up folks I care about more often (Sure I don’t get browny points for this but heh, you love me so better put up with this)
  • I’m sporting a smile and humming a song (I actually mouth lyrics these days, a huge WOW for me)
  • I hope to catch that interactive theatre my friend has been telling me about
  • Organised my wardrobe and my bills and my closet and gave away gunny-bag full of clothes and books (Oh yes, I’m wasteful but trying not to be)
  • I text friends (again, greeted by snide remarks, sarcy messages, etc etc..)
  • Dusted my dictionaries and my french notes (no, not the ones which says 1001 ways to french kiss but the legit stuff)
  • Cleaning up the workspace
  • I have 2 guppies that have survived in a fish bowl placed on the table at the work bay and a money plant that gave its first lil’ leaf (Thank you God, I love you)

Well, I think that’s enuf. I didn’t realise I actually managed to do so much till I started writing down this post. So Awake I’m. Trying to make the most of the 14-hour day. Yes, yes I still haven’t given up on sleep.

P.S: Rocksta I came back to Greyzed. Finally decided this suits me the most. And yes, we must meet. Let me know if next weekend works for you.

Regressive

The first word that came to mind as I stepped back to take stock.

One year into a job, 12 years of work (mostly in some sort of a corporate structure), 30+ years of existence, 7 years into a steady relationship, 10 days since giving up on Malty.

This last is what got me thinking.

I actually gave up on someone whom I love, who made each day a joy to live; And for all who smirck & snigger at the thought of this, this maudlin sentiments over what to you is probably just a dog, my middle finger to you and for those who understand, well, why do you think you figure so largely in the landscape of my life.

Yes, I gave him up, gave him away.

After much contemplation and a knee jerk reaction to a lonesome creature staring out at me from the other side I called up a friend (who was a stranger till then) to pick him up.

Malty roams free on a chicken farm today and may get a few more dog companions.

Bottomline – Apartment living and a slave to corporate living is just not conducive when there is a hyper-energetic one+ year old who waits by the doorstep, listening and yearning. Walks, plays, time out…I wasn’t able to do much of this.

Is he happy?

I don’t know.

I hear the new companion give me glowing tributes of Malty rescuing chickens from stray dogs, playing on the farm, wagging his tail and not letting the boy get out of sight. He sounds like he has adjusted.

Where does that live me?

Ever-selfish me?

No where.

Even when he is away, this time for good my life lessons continue. I learnt the hard way…

If you aren’t ready for the responsibility don’t grab it

Think things through, at least in the mid term

Life is about living, and not raking up the past

Be open to the possibilities of a new tomorrow

As I get up to grab a cup of coffee I (imagine) feel his copper toned body brush against my leg as he grabs his toy and drops it at my leg, his sea green eyes staring at me, in hope, perhaps……

 

 

 

 

 

Dog days

Was randomly browsing through FB pages of friends and strangers (read friend of friend in FB parlance) and what struck me was the feeds/posts on finding Happiness, what Happiness means, How to be Happy, etc, etc..

And as I looked around I saw my mad mutley run from end of the balcony to the other. He was aping the kids on the road who were chasing each other.

[Now you must know me by now, I think dogs are better than man (read human, not being sexist here).]

And both dog and kid(s) looked happy, beyond what I have been and seen in a long while.

So what was it that made them gleefully happy, I wondered?

First thing that I noticed.

Unfettered, unrestrained, unabandoned involvement in what they were doing…. No thought of what anyone thought, felt, did or said.

Simple, n’est pas?

What more I thought?

Mutley had by now stopped scampering like a mad dog when he noticed me and came wagging his tail, his blue rubber bone dangling from his mouth. He came and nudged my leg. Shook himself and dropped the bone in front of me. It was play time for him, and I was his privileged companion.

I just stood.

He picked up the bone, ran a sprint and came back. Again, dropping the bone in front me of and nudging me. This time accompanied by a growl.

I stood still.

He picked up the bone and did a turn around me. Back he was with the bone. This time he didn’t drop it but sat on his butt and watched me.

Finally, he dropped the bone and went sniffing around the pots and plants completely ignoring me for the next 15 minutes.

Well, you say. Why am I dogglyzing so?

Don’t we humans do the same thing, is my repartee.

We do not give ourselves completely, always holding back for fear of getting hurt, for fear of rejection, for fear of betrayal and all the other fears we constantly surround ourselves with.

We make an overture once, twice and when it isn’t returned we move along never to return. How many of us are brave enough to stick around and give relationships a chance?

So back to the doggylyzing.

15 minutes later, he was back. This time with a different toy. And I played along, taking his toy and tossing. He fetched and I threw, he fetched and I threw till both of us sat down exhausted.

Ever give yourself up to enjoying the moment, just living in the present. Not thinking about the past and too far into the future.

Unfortunately, we don’t (and I probably top the list).

We get good jobs, great spouses, understanding partners, rock-steady siblings, Friends who are just that, families that would make the Godfather proud and benign strangers. Perhaps, not all of them together but most of us have one or several of these things going for us.

Yet, what do we do? We wallow. We torture ourselves for not being good enough as we want us to be or what someone wants us to be.

Expectations.

Get away from the vicious circle that expectations weaves around you.

Do. Be.

Just Be.

Yourself.

Free.

Happy.

True.

Have a great week ahead.

 

The Great Indian Railway Bazaar

With due credit to Paul Theroux, and dedicated to my girl Chota Don!!

Nothing beats the Indian Railways if you want to meet the real India or Bharat as some may say.

PART 1

It starts from the time you try to book your tickets through irtc. If you know other ways of complicating a simple booking process, please be sure to write to them. I’m sure they haven’t conceived or employed all of it and your suggestions will be more than welcome.

Or perhaps they wish to keep the online booking process nerve wracking just so you walk into the rail reservation counter or any of the 3rd party agents and provide them gainful employment and revenue.

If you plan to take pets along, pray to the Gods, steel your nerves, take a deep breath and proceed.

Now here is the rule book according to the Indian Railways. But rest assured nobody including the kind souls at the luggage counter will know of it.

Always, always plan this part of the journey well in advance.

I didn’t.

As with everything else I do, this was a last minute decision. But the zillion+ Indian Gods smiled on me and there was an angel at the luggage booking counter as well.

Since I was traveling on the South western railways and my boarding point was yeshwantapur station I had to approach the luggage booking counter here. Finding the luggage booking counter is nothing short of a treasure hunt.

It is after Platform 6 at the farthest end. A lonely godown cum warehouse where bikes, turkeys and furniture reside.

PART II

Have a smile on your face at all times, and do not let murderous instincts and aggression take over.

The guard at the outpost is a friendly soul and always willing to be a part of your sorrow when you are trying to make the railway personnel understand that “Yes, sir I wish to take my dog along.”  “Yes, he is my own dog.” “Yes, I will be there at all times to take care of him.” “No sir, he doesn’t bite unless provoked.” “Yes sir, of course I will be there at the destination to collect him,” and so on and so forth.

This interrogation done, a form is given for you to fill up. Do not worry by the complexity. I’m sure most of you will find a trignometric problem easier to solve. For the duds like us, the railways have pasted a completed form on one of the walls, which is obscured largely by a pillar. If your sharp eyes catch this form and you have filled it up that is half the battle won.

Walk over to the gentleman/lady at the counter and wait patiently for them to finish their important phone call or chat with their buddies at the next counter before shoving the form up their nose.

Remember, these are important people working for the Indian Railways, so don’t ever rush them.

After an hour and forty minutes, if you are lucky that is, they will look at the form and inquire about the date of journey, which stupid you have already filled up! They will then ask you about the train number, really how stupid are you , you filled that up as well!!

Such repeat performances later, the lady/gentleman will shove the form back under your nose and say “Why did you bring this now? You should have told us your journey is after a week. You come back one day before the date of journey and give us the completed form.”

“Huh, but didn’t I inform you in the first instance the journey was a week later.”

Huff and a puff, and I will blow your house away. Unfortunately you can’t my friend. So patience and come back a week later.

This time you are the wiser one. You know where the luggage counter is. You have the form filled up, and you are ready to fork out the fees that will see your darling pet travel with you.

Aha!

They have you again. Fool you.

“Sure, give us the form.”

“Oh, good. You completed it.”

“Ok, I will paste it here. Come tomorrow morning an hour before the journey, pay the fee and you can take the dog to the luggage van.”

Sweat glistens on your forehead and you are ready to black out. Courage, dear heart, courage.

PART III

The day of the journey draws bright and early. You circumvent the maddening crowd, you yell at your folks to head to the coach and haul all the luggage so the coolie can take it onwards. You pray that the luggage doesn’t get lost, let alone them.

And you run with your hyperactive dog to the luggage booking office.

And he has to be really hyperactive you see, after all he is excited as you are on being able to travel on the GREAT INDIAN RAILWAY BAZAAR!!

At the luggage counter:

Where is the dog?

Here he is sir.

Your dog.

Yes sir, mine. See, he knows me too (of course, the mutt decides to snarl and growl and refuses to obey you)

Hmmm….

Ok, pay (consulting a book) (and all he had to do was lift his head and look at a huge poster on the wall opposite that says Dogs, cats, horses – RS 60) … yes pay 60 rupees.

You happily pay the money. (this is the nicest part since your dog travels cheaper than you or even your senior citizenry folks)

Now listen young lady, if the brake van doesn’t have a kennel than I cannot allow you to take your dog with you. You will have to wait for a van that has a kennel.

See, they know how to keep you on your toes.

But, but sir my parents are on that train.

I’m sorry young lady but those are the rules.

But sir, I came here last week and they never told me anything about this.

Hmm, fools.

Sir, please please do something.

Let me see. (A benign smile)

Ok, do one thing, take this along with you and show it to the guard. Mostly, the brake van will have a kennel. So don’t worry.

Off you go in search of the guard, who is invisible. You send a silent prayer, locate the brake van (usually the last coach on the train after the disabled coach) and open it gingerly.

Ah thank you God. I will break coconuts and I will pray and I will worship and I will give you my pay, etc etc…..There is a kennel after all. Hallelujah.

You quickly shove your mutt inside. This is when he realises he is a dog, a descendant of the majestic wolf, a member of the pack. He will not let you shove him easy.

You need to have a jujitsu hold handy and be ready to block, tackle, push, pull and get bruised and battered in the process before your mutt goes in the danky kennel and you are able to slide the door down.

After the wrestling match is all but done you hear a voice.

“Here, young lady, what do you think you are doing?

Just a minute sir.” And with one last reserve of energy before you give up the fight you push your mutt’s butt inside and down goes the door and you turn around sweating.

“Yes sir. What am I dping? Well, I have booked my dog’s passage on this train. Here is the receipt. I spoke to the station master and the booking counter person who have asked me to contact you since you are the most important.”

And your try to give what you think is your most winsome smile.

The guard looks at your sweaty, pasty face all bruised and battered.

He looks at the receipt.

He smiles.

“Ok, but be sure to get here when the train makes longer stops at junctions X,Y and Z.”

You are ready to do a jiggy and kiss him as well, but remember you are sweaty and your folks have probably given up on you by now.

So, run baby, run.

Have a good trip. Bon Voyage!!!!

P.S: Before you break out into a grin, remember you will do an encore at the return point as well, and God forbid if there is a dog already booked before yours or if there isn’t a kennel in the brake van. Good luck, baby!! Just remember, the guard is your best friend. For now, forget the dog.

Sunny Side Up

Watching Under The Tuscan Sun for the nth time, and I come away feeling good about life and people.

“Never lose your childish innocence. That is the most important thing.”

This echoes in my head as the credits roll down.

This picture of Malty and me walking towards the beach in Goa stirs that afresh.

These past few months have been a roller coaster ride. I have everything and yet nothing. Been through serious introspection and then some.

Every New Year’s eve it’s been a stay-at-home with family and quietly usher the new year with a lamp lit and prayers. This time I wanted change, unfamiliar surroundings, out of my safety zone and yes, not be alone.

As luck would have it things worked out and thanks to a dear friend, Goa beckoned. Seems madness in retrospect but a great idea at the time. And of course, how could I dare leave Malty alone. So there we were, mom, nanu, malty and I ready for an adventure.

Will add a post script to this post on traveling with pets, nerve wracking but rewarding. Just coz you know they are safe and in good health.

I couldn’t have chosen a better place than Goa to usher the New Year, conquer my inner qualms I did but it also set me free and set me on the path to rediscover myself. I think I’m lost somewhere, amidst all the chaos around me.

Not surprising that New Year’s eve and New Year itself it looked like the entire Indian population and a half was on the beaches of Goa. The party started and never stopped. Fireworks, camaraderie, a bonhomie unmatched and Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam.

The unease within dissipated, at least for those few days.

Life isn’t bad as it looks at its darkest moments. The sun is waiting to shine, and yes, life is a box of chocolates and not a ticking time bomb 😉

Sometimes we step warily into the unknown, forget the child within us and look askance with trepidation and cynicism.

 

BREATHE………..PAUSE…………. WALK AHEAD, Remember Life is good.

Stay Blessed!!