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170: A Night To Remember

20 Jun

While driving back from dinner via the jungle last night, we spotted a leopard crouching right at the bend of the serpentine mountain road. As our car climbed up the curve, its headlights shone right onto the animal, which crouched and watched us, as we watched it – in awe, I’ll add.

I’ve never seen a wild animal in its habitat, so this really has to be a night I won’t forget. All of us, except my MIL, wanted to stop our car and just savour the moment. But I guess moving on and letting the leopard go its own way was the cleverer thing to do. :)

PS, there are more stars above me than I can even count. There’s a calm reassurance being blanketed by beauty, and complete magic. :)

168: Meet Jimmy

18 Jun

…the newest member of our family, much to my mil’s frustration (because apparently she was just kidding when she permitted us to get him home!) 

On Procrastination And Other Delights

29 Jun

When we were growing up (read: under the complete and direct control of my mother; a time whose disappearance she still laments about, naturally), there was order everywhere. There was an order to our day, our waking up routine, our study time, our food habits (oh man, do you remember those times!?)… there was a sense of strict order everywhere. It went to the extent of my brother and I ordering our lives in such a way – as if like some back alley sort of dealings that siblings especially are famous for – just so that our mother could maybe not worry so much about having to keep our life in order. Not that that worked or happened. But it was a time of infinite hope propelled by childhood fantasies, let’s go back and remember. So we fixed who would go for their bath first, who would make the bed, who would get the tiffin boxes out of the kitchen, who would water the plants, who would do the dishes… These decisions never really ended amicably, but never did we seem to learn or care much about them anyway. What had to be done, had to be done. And if mom said it had to be done, then it really had to be done now. There was no question of five minutes later.

This is applicable even today, when one of us (I’m not going to name who) is inching towards their fourth (omfg!) decade at a speed that is blasphemous on all counts. Okay I’ll just replace that ghastly fourth decade phrase with thirties. Meh. So yes, this happens even today when it comes to answering her calls or messages. Whether our phones are next to us or that we’re probably in the middle of something else which doesn’t permit the presence of a cellphone is completely negated and shunned, even. Oh well, some things won’t change. I’m sure you have your list too.

However, some things have changed. Drastically.

It was the other day when my mom’s youngest sister exclaimed in horror at my procrastination skills, going to the extent of asking me if I was even one of their own, that made me sort of look back and ponder over the course of my life and its changes. I beamed with pride at the exclamation, while she continued to remain aghast. It’s not like I’m proud to be a procrastinator as much as I am proud of my ability to function despite it. When I look back, I’ve no answers to when it happened and how, or even why for that matter – because isn’t a planned, systematic, timetable-like life good, stress-free and most importantly, brimming with success stories of one’s own past? The change, it seems, was not as sudden or as drastic as I imagined, but one that took gradual conditioning and learning. On looking back, I found that the obvious answer lay in the one key and underlying fact of it all – the relaxation of my mom’s control over our life. After a point a parent becomes less authoritarian and more authoritative about the right things, where the need to control the academic life (in particular) of their children takes a back seat slowly (or so we all hope and wish for). After Standards X and XII, the change is too drastic to even recognize sometimes. It’s a different ball game and you know what I mean. Haha!

So here I am, procrastinating as proficiently as ever. Panic attacks come and go, guilt trips fade even before they can fully make it, and well, life feels like a bundle of laziness that’s just too good to be true. Till the shit hits the fan or is about to. But by then we’re up and about and have somehow managed to steer the course of events from disaster to foreseeable results. Well almost. Like I said, it took some time, lots of trials, some amounts of panic-driven crying and attacks to have arrived at where we are today – seasoned procrastinators in just about any and every single thing!

My mother and her sisters don’t understand the need to cramp it all in and work like the world is on our shoulders, but then again, there’s not much to contest in this matter. It was just the other day that my friends and I were talking about our expert procrastination skills and we did a whatsapp hi-five to celebrate just how common and pathetic we are in this respect. It looks more universally prevalent than meets the eye, and it certainly has seeped into more areas than just our former academic years. From pesky college assignments to projects, unending classwork (oh god, those practical record submissions!) to Master’s dissertation deadlines; it went on to work where I remember my ever so sweet former manager inching from reminders to gentle reminders to plain silence and walking away among other guilt-causing tactics that would make us scramble and fret. Today, I see it in postponing small errands to do (my chappal snapped over the weekend and I’m still hobbling in that broken pair) to visits to the parlour despite the awareness of the pain I’ve brought upon my own self, to something as stupid as delaying the need to make us some food. It’s ridiculous, this disease. And so addictive, no?

The past few days have been busy and I’ve kept away from my blog by force of my own accord. The next few days may also spell the same story, but hopefully things should get a bit more clear after a week. Posting has been and may be sporadic, and I do sorely miss my blog and blogging in general, but I will get back to it after I’ve got this pile of work off my hands. The shit’s waking up to hit the fan, bro!

July seems to be exciting and filled with a lot to do. So fingers crossed on that and I’ll speak of more details once I’ve got the headspace to. Talking about headspace, I was describing the weather here as totally mindfuckable, just yesterday. The heaviness, the heat and the omfg humidity is a crazy heap piled on us all. The temperatures are considerably lower than what they were in the summer what with the 40s off the weather apps now. However, the air is pregnant with I’ve no idea what because it’s almost opaque enough to be sliced through. It promises to rain mean storms, that’s for sure. I’m looking forward to that, as I’ve mentioned in my previous post which feels old and dusty now. We’re all just waiting with bated breath for the green to stay, for the rain to not come and vanish within a couple of hours… we’re all just waiting for some good old celebratory relief, till the drainage systems conk off of course.

Keeping all that aside, I love staying in a place which has distinct seasons. It makes celebration and the cause for celebration even more special. Humans, animals, birds, plants – we’re all on the same plane here – parched, cranky, so spent. But we’re all being patient and waiting.

The best part about all this is the feeling of oneness. We’re all one and we’re all in this together. That makes me happy and that’s more than enough reason to hold each other’s hands for as long as it takes till we burst into song, dance, celebration and general elation.

Animals and Humans

16 May

As I was figuring my morning and its routine out, I came across a sure shot dog lady today. She had more than seven bowls with her as she went about feeding the strays in our area, talking to them like I’ve found myself talking to them as well. At first I felt a little possessive because she was approaching my beautiful Susie and my Potato, but it seemed like the two weren’t new to this sort of kindness. Being as social as I am, it took her first move to finally break the ice and go beyond sneaky glances I was throwing her way to see just who she was and what she was up to. And that was all it took to give my Monday the start it needed.

She seemed chatty and gave me more information than my presumed poker face betrayed questions and queries about. Apparently Susie is Laila and Potato John is Babloo (I will call him the sweet things I call him because fortunately, he doesn’t really respond to the fright that is Babloo; which is a very common name in this side of the country). I remember PJ very vividly when I came to live in this house for the very first time. My premises (as I’ve mentioned in my previous posts) seemed oddly familiar to him as if they belonged to him in some sort of way. The first time I saw him, he had taken the liberty to enter my open gate and stand right at my ajar door without letting himself past it – we were moving luggage into the house – and it caught me by surprise, in a happy way of course. He has taken his time to be friendly and to allow me to get close to him, and naturally, his behaviour has a valid reason.

Dog lady, whose name is A, told me that he has a history with my current house as the past tenants used to feed him and shelter him…they were the ones who named him Babloo and took care of him…he even had a mattress for himself during our brutal winters. It was something I had considered and on confirming my thoughts, I couldn’t help but feel my heart get heavy…for only an animal knows what it is to be left behind and keep waiting in the hope that you will come back for it one day. So PJ sits here and it’s a story I’m happy to continue for as long as I can…to be able to return that sense of familiarity again to him, even though I can never be the people whom he grew up with.

My house caretaker hates him. What I imagined to be a smooth journey – because how hard is it to love a dog and have it love you back without much trouble? – is far from one. I guess every road has its share of sometimes necessary but sometimes completely unnecessary barriers as well. The gate is left slightly open so that PJ can come and sit on the cooler marble surface on my porch; something I consider more a duty and less of a service to as many living beings whom we believe need us during these scorching hot months. But every single time this caretaker has had the chance, he ensured PJ was out of the gate and not without a mean lesson punishment, especially since we humans consider it our prime right to teach other living beings through cruel, unnecessary methods. He has been swept on, thrown mud on, beaten, thrown water on, coaxed to the point of forcibly picking his paw up only to be snarled at (thank God) among many other taunts the housekeeper deemed fit to throw PJ’s way.

Today I lost my housekeeper’s help as I fired him for ill-treating PJ. While I am short of help and with no certain guarantee that PJ will stay by my side or give this wretched man the treatment he deserves, my heart feels a happy, content thump. It’s one thing to ill treat an animal who isn’t in your way and generally keeps to himself, and it’s another thing to act like a complete a-hole with me on this front. While I am not anti-human, it is getting clearer and clearer that loving and helping animals comes from the smallest of human minorities. I’m a believer in good doing and karma, but nothing can take away or undo the apathy we bestowed and continue to do so with the world’s living beings. I’ve no idea how we assumed we had complete ownership over a place that belongs to so many more than just us. However, till the Universe takes its time to give human beings what they deserve, it’s a lone battle for the very few who care to look beyond themselves. I only saw it from a distance all this while, but today confirms just how alone you are if you love animals and trees in a world which no longer has any space for them. I am disappointed but it had to come my way, I guess.

However, what is extremely heartening and joyous to see is that there is so much to learn and give back as you find people who share the same love as you do. Even if it begins with meeting one single person, i.e. A, or being introduced to an entire pack of happy, vaccinated and healthy girls who live in and around my street, you don’t really feel alone any more. The journey, for me, has just begun. And I have one a-wipe less and his bullshit to tolerate or deal with. It’s been an eventful and learning-filled Monday, indeed.