Friday, July 17, 2009
As he sucked away at her energy on a daily basis, she felt as if a powerful vacuum cleaner was sucking her dry…of her energy, her compassion and her patience. Still she listened, as the same old sad stories would be narrated to her in boring, intricate detail. His sad childhood, his fragile relationships, how everyone had left him, how his work no longer excited him. And he hit the bottle with a vengeance. Large shots of rum chased down with endless cigarettes propped up his fragile ego, and stories of his miserable existence gave his life meaning. After all, if pity was the only way to gain attention, he was willing to milk it to the maximum. Night after dreary night, she braced herself to listen to the same sorry saga – bored out of her wits but scared to stop in case he did something drastic. The responsibility was overwhelming, suffocating her, making her want to rake her nails against the wall and scream. Could friendship extract such a heavy toll?
Till one day, she’d had enough and asked him to pull himself together. “Snap out of it,” she said. “Get your life back on track; give up the booze and stop wallowing in self pity.” The force of his anger astonished her. He lashed out like a scorpion, accusing her of being selfish, heartless and a bitch.
Something cracked irreparably. After having endured excruciating self-pity, mind-numbing soliloquies and sleepless nights, she decided she’d had enough. It was the death knell for a 15-year old friendship. She expected to feel sad, regretful or hurt but strangely, a heady feeling of freedom made her giddy with happiness. As for him, he found a new taker for his melancholic meanderings…
Thursday, July 16, 2009
I named him Bully. He was the first and boy! did he bully the remaining six. He would crawl over them and by sheer size, he would always get his way! And, from when he was 5 minutes old, he had a mind of his own. Pick him up and he’d squirm and make this huge fuss (even now, one of my nicknames for him is Fussy Potty because he can really fuss!). He was one of the last to open his eyes…. I remember picking him up constantly (much to his chagrin!) to check if his eyes were open. And then one day…there he was with fuzzy unfocussed blue eyes giving me this blank stare! I fell in love again!
From then on, it’s been a process of falling in love again…and again…and again. From when he took his first tentative steps into, what for him was, the great unknown. His first bath when I dunked him into a tub. His absolute love for Cerelac. His dada attitude when it came to the other puppies.
Finally, the day came when he had to go away and a large piece of my heart broke…yes, just like a huge bit of the plastering coming away and exposing something untoward. I cried but I was also happy that he would be downstairs…I could see him anytime I wanted…almost anytime.
He was re-christened Cheese, a name I, to date, have not understood. He isn’t a cheesy colour nor is he cheesy or stringy….whatever! Anyway, to cut a long story short, the people we gave him to couldn’t look after him and he came back to us and was re-christened Bully (his first name)!.
Our enduring love affair started then. Wherever I was, he’d be there…this cute black little thing with floppy ears and enormous paws! He didn’t take a piece of my heart, he appropriated a huge chunk!
The honeymoon continued till one day, he got an epileptic fit. Sheer panic gripped me. No one could diagnose what was wrong. The fits became worse and worse and the frequency increased. Till one day, Dr JP diagnosed distemper, My heart sank and I burst into tears…my lovely, handsome labby pup was going to die. But, he reassured me…he has survived; he will live.
The anti-epileptic medication had taken its toll. By now, Bully had been re-christened Hotdog (and boy, was he a hot dog – handsome as hell!). But because of his sickness, he was listless, could barely walk, would slip and fall, hardly ate…it just tore my heart into pieces. There were times, honestly, when I wondered whether putting him to sleep would be a more humane option. I could not bear to see this lovely, affectionate, handsome, active baby suffer.
Prayers and faith can bring about miracles. Of course, I stopped working for two months and devoted myself to my baby. I even got someone to come and give him Ayurvedic massages. He was put on a cocktail of Vitamin C, Calcium and Neurobion (some recommended by the vet and some I trawled from the net)…I was willing to try anything to keep this affectionate, adorable boy from slipping away into the netherworld of death or paralysis. And, it worked!
Today, the dog who twitched all the time, who would cry because the twitching was upsetting him, who could barely walk without falling, who had to be coaxed to eat, who I would sob in the night over, wondering if I’d see him alive tomorrow, is a happy healthy, intelligent, responsive dog. And I’m in love…all over again!
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
It’s strange but I’ve met so many parents who talk about how they will never tolerate their kids behaving badly…and then proceed, through that evening to reveal just the opposite. It’s like they’ve got blinkers on when it comes to their own kids. They look on with a benevolent gaze as the child disrupts conversations, situations and sometimes their host’s homes! The child spits food on the floor, jumps on the sofa with shoes on, pulls the dog’s tail, natters and natters incessantly…groan. And, hey parents, we’d love to hear your child sing a song or shake a leg, but that doesn’t mean we want to be subjected to an endless parade of song and dance routines! And, no we are NOT interested in watching the entire video of your child’s annual day or leafing through album after album of pics of the little one sleeping, eating, doing potty, smiling, crying, laughing, making eyes, smiling again, crying again…you get the picture?
So if your little angel is a pain in the nether regions to others, my suggestion – forget about being seen and not heard…maybe this child should be hidden from public view!
Sunday, July 12, 2009
Noise...unadulterated noise...cacophony rules. What is it about Indians and their need to pray to God at deafening volumes? Isn't it unfortunate that although we have laws in place for noise pollution, they are just there on paper- never enforced. In Chennai, the cops are a bunch of ineffective morons. You can call them and complain about noise pollution and they just sit back and do nothing.
The church next door to home has been assaulting us with their rock-music volume outdoor services accompanied by one of the most tuneless choirs one can have the misfortune to hear. The choir, with women singing flat and sharp in screechy high-pitched voices and men hollering, can test the patience of a saint. Poor God must be covering his ears! Then you have the preachers who believe that they must bellow into the microphone in order to spread the word of the Lord.
Surprisingly, Christian charity and loving thy neighbour has no place in this cacophonous display of religiosity. Even after we've requested them politely, our soft entreaties fell on deaf ears. (Could be they've turned deaf thanks to the deafening volume they subject themselves and others too!). So, we turned to the courts and got a court order from none other than the Chief Justice. Did that help? Oh no! They continued blasting their prayers with impunity knowing full well that the cops are toothless tigers and they can always play their miserable trump carde - 'the minorities being brutalised by the police and the public'. In no civilised country can a church disturb the peace of the neighbourhood in this way but here, in Chennai, they can.
Take Sundays for instance - a day when most people like to sleep in late and spend a quiet, relaxed day. Well, Saint Vincent's Church in Chennai beleives that they have divine rights to wake up the entire neighbourhood at 6am by blasting their service. Do they think their parishioners are deaf? Or that God can only appreciate the fervour of their piety if they shout it out? From 6 to 9.30am, we are subjected to service after painful service of shouting, screeching, cacophonous singing and complete and utter disregard to the plight of people around who just want some well-deserved peace and quiet. This is the holier-than-thou-art principle at work. We are so pious and religious and therefore superior to you so we have the RIGHT to make noise - to hell with those who have a problem.
Strange isn't it? There they are extorting people to follow the laws of the Bible but they don't believe in following the laws of the land. Well, maybe they think they are superior to the laws of the land. Coupled with an inefficient, rude, boorish police force, many of whom are ignorant about the laws regarding noise pollution, the rest of us continue to suffer...and suffer...and suffer.