Thursday, May 29, 2008

She once had me

I get a message suddenly one day! It read ‘They have a 40 day old baby at their home’. The message was from Aruna and the ‘they’ were my cousin’s family. I was shocked for a minute. I haven’t heard of someone making babies in such short span as I have met these guys a month back and if she was pregnant, that would have been the most secretive pregnancy ever. And I started thinking whether they have adopted a kid. Anyway the suspense was short lived as I could not hold back for long and I enquired.

It was a pup. I kinda knew that my cousin had shifted to an individual house from his apartment as his daughter wanted a pup, but could not make the connect when I got the message. Then he called. The call lasted for about 20 minutes and we were two dads talking about child rearing. And while I was talking I realized how much I was an instinctive parent, albeit for dogs.

I had one! Or like the Beatles sang "I once had a girl, or should I say, she once had me". Gabriela was my life. She was at home even before our first daughter was born and did we dote on her? Gaby was a selectively intelligent girl. Unlike others of its ilk, it never used to display wanton behavior, rudeness or courage even. She was the most scared dog in the Universe after Scooby Doo. She will run behind me if there was a noise in home. But she was so doting on us too. She treated my first daughter as if she was her own and she dutifully traveled to all places my work took me, without whining one bit. After a terrible first experience of a break van travel when an infested tick bit her and we almost lost her, it was always a first class coupe or by road in the car. She was so very fond of car travel, that when it is time for bath and she instinctively realizes and crawls under the bed the only thing that can bring her out was the sound of the car keys dangling.

She never learnt to eat rice all her life, so she was on a diet of Nestum the baby rice food. She started off on Farex and graduated to Nestum. It was always first on the provision list we drew up every month. Maybe the shop keeper was wondering whether we had a baby factory. She had a peculiar mannerism of lifting both her front legs and jump with her head rotating. Used to very funny sight! Never once she will walk into the kitchen and if she was hungry, she will promptly stand outside the door salivating. She loved us more than her own kids. In the 4th day of delivery, she dumped all the pups and crawled under our bed ignoring the pleading sounds of her kids. Got into anxiety when my second daughter was born, because by then she was old! Would never eat for a couple of days if we went out of town!

I told my cousin life will never be the same after a dog. And it is absolutely true. Maybe I should have added ‘Life will never be the same after the first dog’. Because when Gaby died, it was huge blow for me. I was traveling and came all the way back home for her burial and returned. My sister, who had one with her, suddenly stopped talking with people when hers died. We tried having dogs again, but they were dogs, cute on their own right, but never Gaby. After 5 years of her death, words about her flow without difficulty whenever I think about her.

Felt like posting the blog below as an eulogy to her again


Four blogs half-written, so many things running inside the head, but nothing finds completion. Anything I look at, there is some kind of emotion that rushes out , be it the Aarushi murder or the debates that ensue about how stressed children are because of that, IPL, Mallya, SRK, scams and then my own Dubai experience, all of them together have plenty to write about. But my own rule that I will never resort to chronicling just for the heck of Blogging prevented me from writing anything.

And one big source for my blogs was the offbeat news that I read, which I don’t see a lot these days. And posts about my daughters and every B Day that brings up warm memories about that bundle of joy that has transformed itself into a big girl have been done enough. And so are blogs that were written complaining about lack of ideas and a block that has appeared from nowhere. So, its literally quitting time for a while! Hang up the boots and just watch things around me without professing opinion about all of them.

But one guy here and another guy there promptly send reminders saying it has been a while since I wrote anything at all. Actually they are right. It’s been a while since I wrote even a cheque. Even my fellow bloggers have kinda dried up. Nair was blogging as if the world was coming to end the next day but now he stopped, Sid apparently is concentrating on work, and Manoj is recovering from the Dubai hangover.

But there was just this small thing; a sight that could have been missed by the thousands of people yelling around has made me start this rambling again. I was in the IPL match at Chepauk between the Super Kings and the Royals. I went to the match with some trepidation. I was eagerly backing the Super Kings, but the way those guys were playing was getting a bit tiresome and on the other hand, there was this real Super Hero in Shane Warne whom I would cheer for anytime, even if he was bowling against the Indian team.

Now Shane is the tabloid’s favorite whipping boy as much as he is a poster boy. I always used to wonder how on earth they land up with snaps of him partially nude and in bed with hookers. And his lurid text messages and his incorrigible womanizing nature that reminds me of the character in the comic ‘Monty Python’ that says ‘Man has two major organs, brain and penis, but only blood enough to run one at a time’. Shane epitomizes this conflict or the apparent lack of enough blood. But then it appears that he has to hold the ball ( pun intended ) for us to see his genius.

Maybe India being India, a straitlaced society which buries controversies of this nature under the carpet, our hero is yet to get stuck into one, though he has already smoked in a place where he was not supposed to and drawn the ire of few. Or he was really using all his blood into leading the side so admirably!

The sight that I was mentioning was about the short practice session in between innings on that game. He quickly walked out with his boys, planted a couple of single stump and placed a few balls in different lengths and was seen asking the bowlers to hit at those lengths. And at the end of the session, while everyone was getting back to the dugout, he diligently went to pick an old ball that was discarded at a distance by his teammates. A guy who has around 1000 international wickets, enough and more fame and one who would be worshipped literally wanted to gather that single ball too. And that is dedication. It’s not easy to see one of our icons doing this. How much ever one may love Dhoni, I can see a perceptible difference in his body language post Australia tour and he talks and walks arrogant. He made Dada wait for the toss and someone saw that as giving back to Dada forgetting that by the time Dhoni could walk, Dada was belting tons of runs.

But Shane was absolutely humble. Makes me think, what has a man’s habit and carelessness got to do with his persona. Why are we so keen in knowing what messages Shane sends instead of only bothering about what kind of deliveries he sends? Is it our lower self–esteem that makes us look at the flaws of a person instead of plainly enjoying the genius? Why is there an association always about what a man does and what he is? And as if we were in those positions we would behave differently! His team was clueless without him yesterday, looking up to the other Shane even for a standard field changing between the left & right hand batsmen. If a person could command such awe and respect from people around him, I guess we have no business to sit and comment from a distance.

For now, I wish Warne all the best for the semifinals and of course a bit more blood!

Friday, May 09, 2008

Feel Guilty

I had been giving a lot of thought on how much of stress and responsibilities people take these days. While it looks like a fairy tale run to land in a good job, earn lots of money, pursue dreams on getting themselves a nice automobile, home, be with the friends during their hard times and fun times, suddenly it is all too much to handle. And in a way unnecessary too!

Life those days was far simpler. The urge to excel in all formats of life is creating undue pressure on the system. Suddenly you wake up one day to realize that all this running is for nothing. Reminds me of a small story! There is this lazy bum who doesn’t do a thing in life, always resting under a tree and eat whatever comes his way. One guy who thinks that he should put some sense into this bum, asks him why he is wasting time! The bum replies by asking what the other guy was doing. He explained that he spends his life with a great career, earns doodles of money and he is working hard towards settling in his life early. The bum continues his questioning by asking what he intends to do when he settles, the career guy says that he will rest and be happy. The bum then says, that’s what he was doing already!

One big chase you have in life caring about folks, yourself, and all this is for to get rid of every single worry one day. I am certain that 90 out of 100 people will talk about their dream retirement. If that’s what the point is, why have all the worries now? Why can’t we simply throw in the towel and say I will create the retirement that I want right now? No not by becoming a bum, but by having some clarity of what we will bother about and what we would not! I am thinking of my own case. The past 15 days has been hectic, floating between one meeting to another, one city to another, throw in an odd ‘out of country’ visit and as if to optimize the foreign trip, sleeping just about 4 hours a day and then come back with a lot of goodies only to remember that you have actually forgotten many folks to whom you could have bought stuff. And only to realize that your office and your country was still running while you were away and you have so much backlog to catch up with before the next tour starts. One day I yearn for when I can sleep without having a thought of what I should be doing the next day.

And all this urgency and pressure doesn’t give too much of happiness either, because there are still millions of things that are left undone. Kids have their summer holidays and they want to be freaking out, whereas I am already freaked out. Mom is about 2 km away and the prospect of driving to meet her is an ordeal, leave alone telling the stories of how your life has shaped up in the last week. In midst of all this, your folks whom you never knew that they existed, who in peaceful times would not have spared a thought about you, suddenly have some idea about you should conduct yourself. A novel which was running at breakneck speed is not being touched by me now. The guitar has become dusty. Movies unseen! These are things I used to think as something that gives happiness and for that there is no energy, just because every bit of energy is spent of things that I don’t want to do.

I don’t understand why this happens? While being branded as selfish, what is that one selfish thing one does for himself or herself? Come to think of it, it never occurred to me that I should buy stuff for me when I was abroad. Just as a memento, bought a sleeveless T shirt! Looks like we are simply incapable of being selfish, how much ever we would like to be! We fashion our lives not as what one is, but as what one is to others?! What are you as a husband, father, boss, subordinate, son, friend, sibling etc is what is appraised. Not just by others, but yourself too! We are so entangled in mire of relationships that we judge ourselves through that role alone. Why feel guilty if you can’t go to office, if you can’t take folks out, if you don’t want to entertain guests, if you can’t say yes to your mom?? While in this process we forget an essential person to feel guilty about which is you!

Why aren’t we thinking that we give a raw deal to ourselves? Why aren’t we feeling guilty that the body & mind that does running and playing roles is not being considered? Why is it a shame if we indulge ourselves?

Folks, I tell you, better start feeling guilty. Towards you and for what you are not doing to you!