Saturday, November 12, 2011

Rahul...Nam toh sunah hoga ?

As far as I can remember, I try my best not to get attached to stray animals...And the reason is simple : once we get attached, then we have to fulfill the responsibility of taking care of them, and living in a rented apartment where the house owner and/or the neighbors may not like having strays just complicates the matter. So when I first saw the old smelly stray dog which used to sleep on the terrace of our building, I did not give him a second look...he never seemed to expect any food from us, and was content to just sleep on the terrace whenever he felt like it.

One night, while sitting on the terrace and enjoying the cool wind, I broke my rule...The dog came up to me and stood near by my leg as I was talking on the phone , and by habit (I had 2 dogs back home), I started stroking the head of the dog. To my utter surprise it gave out a sound which can be at best described as a sad but content dog purr, albeit a few decibels more than any cat or dog I have seen, and the sound seemed to have a tinge of sadness in it ; perhaps at being ignored for so long.I am not trying to be dramatic have to hear it to believe it. That sound touched me as I was surprised to know that a few strokes from my hand made such a difference to the dog. Well to make a long story short, I started to feed the dog once in a while.

By luck, couple of kids adopted him as their pet and named him Rahul. So I was relieved to know that he had got people to look after him. With his new found owners, Rahul seemed to get renewed energy, and the battle scarred veteran started reclaiming the street from other dogs. Somehow the bigger younger dogs seemed to respect Rahul who, due to age, did not even have a decent loud bark...rather it was a sharp yelp or howl.

The building in which Rahul's new young owners lived, also had my friends living in the ground floor. One weekend night, after our usual barbeque party by Anish, my friend, I started to walk back to my room which was half a kilometer away. The time was around 1.30am and being a cool night, I was planning to have a enjoyable walk back to the room on the quiet deserted by-lanes. As a reached the first corner, I noticed that Rahul was walking few feet behind me. As he had a new home and was always well fed, I knew he not looking for food...It seemed that he knew the time was late and wanted to escort me home. I continued walking through the lanes and Rahul trotted behind me, stopping by once in a while to smell something on the road, and when noticing that I had walked farther away, coming up fast to close the distance.

Now, as city dwellers, especially two wheeler riders know, at night each by-lane belongs to its own set of dog groups who bark or give mock charges to any one using the road at night time. So as expected, as me and rahul walked towards my home, many such groups of dogs came up barking towards us...Rahul seemed to completely ignore them and just kept walking behind me, never turing back to even look at the other dogs who barked or growled just inches from him, and I never had to shoo away any of the dogs away. Once I reached the gate of the building in which I lived, I saw Rahul trotting back to his home, content in knowing that I had reached my destination.

For your information, Rahul has even followed one of my friends into the Perungudi suburban train station, and actually boarded the train. Luckily my friend was able to shoo him away from the train quickly, as these trains stop only for a few seconds at each station.

Years have gone by, and recently I came back to live in the same lane by chance. And by surprise, Rahul, who was not seen in the area for a few months (as told anxiously to me by his young owners ), came out of nowhere and has started sleeping on our door mat at if continuing to watch over his old friends.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Mothers : The True Unsung Heroes In Our Lives

... It was a normal humid morning in March and the boy who had woken up early to study felt bit feverish...To make matters worse, the couple of boils on his face seen since yesterday were still there when he checked in the mirror. Since it was board exam time which is/was one of the most sacred periods in the Indian Education system, he and his parents decided to see the doctor as the boy had a exam that very afternoon.

The doctor after a quick look at boils smiled and told , "Nothing to worry, its just Chicken pox"...The boy remembered some time back when another doctor had told cheerfully "Nothing, just a hairline fracture" and thought "What was so good about Chicken pox and a hairline fracture ? Of course at that time he could not appreciate the fact that compared to the extreme cases of health issues seen by doctors everyday, such non-threatening aliments were 'normal'...

The boy returned home with his parents and the mood was somber to say the least. All 3 knew that he would not be allowed to write the board exams...Times were such that normal parents feared even over exposure to the sun would cause some performance reduction in their kids board exam. So there was no question of his being allowed to write the Exams as Chicken pox was top on the list of contagious diseases that would freak out parents of other kids taking the board exams. The boy's aunt who was a school teacher also confirmed that kids with such contagious diseases will not be allowed to write the Exam. Since there seemed no way out, the boy decided to get some sleep as there was nothing else to do and felt a heavy weight had been lifted off his shoulder, what with the rigorous study schedule that he had to follow to keep up with others...He decided not to think too much about losing an academic year, as there was lots of time left for that.

But you know Mothers...they can never think bad about you or tolerate seeing anything happening to you.

So the boy's mother went out alone, took a auto-rickshaw and went to meet the School Principal. The Principal told that if the External Exam In-charge agreed to allow the boy to enter school premises, the school Principal would open a separate classroom in another wing of the school for the boy to write the Exam. Quick discussions followed, and to make a long story short the boy who was sleeping peacefully was woken up an hour before his Exam, to be told by a joyous Mother that "Wake up and get ready, you have a Board Exam in 30 mins".

So for the next few days the boy would reach the school after all the other students had entered into the exam halls and started writing their exam. He would then quietly enter the school premises and hurry to a building in one corner of the school. He would sit alone in a room with no invigilator, but just an elderly school peon sitting outside his room, who gave him extra exam sheets, water etc. The boy would hurry through the Exam knowing that he had to leave the school 15 min before the Exam time was officially over for others, so that no one saw him or came near him, thus minimize the risk of the Chicken pox spreading.

The boy could see his friends daily sitting far away in another block writing away with gusto , but he never felt bad that he was left out of his group, or that with his unique schedule, he was losing 30 min for each Exam. Heck even the 'discomfort' (to put it mildly) caused by having full blown attack of Chicken Pox didn't bother him much when compared to the other option of missing out an entire year. The thought of using unfair means never crossed his mind...Even if he bought all the textbooks and guides into the Exam room , no one would have found it out as he was always alone in an entire block during any of the Exams. For the record, the boy never shied away from copying in Exams before and after this period ;-)

He was just glad that he was able to write the Exams at all , thanks to his Mother.

The results came and everyone was running around with happiness of getting good scores but most of them also had a tinge of sadness in not getting even better scores... Of the maximum mark of 600, only something around 530 or upwards was considered worth mentioning.

The boy was very happy and content with his marks of 480/600...the exact marks required to get a distinction for his Board Exams !

Many years after the incident when looking back, he was surprised the tension caused by those board exams days, and wondered whether the world would really have fallen apart for him if he lost an year...And although he hears/reads about heroic deeds done by Mothers all around the world , be it running into a burning house to save a kid or fighting an alligator to save her child, just as her own kid is the most precious thing in this world to a Mother, to him his Mother is the best Mom in this world and this blog is a miniscule way of showing his love for her...

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Dog Fighting and Modern day Hunting : Sports or plain Cruelty ?

I remember the first time I walked with my GreatDane around my home.I felt happy and content that I had at last got a dog of my own after years of waiting. But come to think of it now , it was never about 'I got the biggest meanest dog on the street' kind of thing. On the contrary, I used to walk my 2 GreatDanes during the 30min city scheduled electricity cuts, when even the street lights were off, as somehow I felt odd walking with 2 big dogs in the small suburban area where I lived, where people had hardly ever seen something as big as a GreatDane dog. Somehow I felt that walking with them during the day time or when people were walking in the streets was pompous in nature. But yes I did like it when the street dogs came running up for a challenge and then ran away when the saw the size of my dogs up close...It fed my ego and it felt good.

So when I heard about dog fighting back then, I always thought it was an awesome way to see which dog was the king of the street or something like that and wanted to know more about it but then the internet was still unknown to me. But I always thought there was nothing cruel in it because after all the dogs quickly give up in confrontations with hardly any bloodshed. But this weekend while watching videos randomly on Youtube I came across some real information about the world of Dog fighting. Especially about the Pit Bull...These dogs are breed to fight till the last breath by owners who say they 'love the dogs' but who also kill the dogs which give up in the fight, just to 'purify' future generations of fighting dogs from the weaker ones. Shocking was to discover that even 10 week old Pit bull pups are put in fights !

Hope this gets eradicated completely in US and all over the world in places like in Japan and Italy where its common. A 50 min documentary on this topic is shown below...Not for the faint of hearts...

And the price for this 'sport of game dogs' is paid by the kids who get mauled or killed by some fighting dogs that gets loose, and more so by the countless harmless pit bull pets which get banned or euthanized due to the stigma,fear and hatred associated with the breed.

Some facts about the dog Helen Keller had :

A quick search on the internet will show up similar 'bloody sports' like bear baiting in South Carolina where hunting dogs are trained by having them attack a chained Bear whose teeth have been removed and the nails filed down so that the Bear has no defense against the batch after batch of dogs which attack the same Bear all day long to get their hunting training. And modern day hunting with packs of dogs, all terrain 4X4 vehicles and modern machine guns all going after a single scared Bear hiding up in a tree or a wild Hog running for his life is somehow not sporting.

Check out an old blog of mine on the old fashion way of hunting.

Maybe its all hypocrisy coming from a person who eats meat and chicken from animals mass produced like 'vegetables' but somehow I feel that the fun in any challenge is when the odds are at least evenly poised if not stacked up against you.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

New joys, new challenges , old earthy smells : Ah New Year it is then...

For a third time I found myself traveling to Bangaluru for New Year celebrations...One of them was spend with close friends at a huge garden party organized by some residence association in which we all danced all night long (subsided booz @ 50Rs being the highlight with a close friend spending most of his time at the counter bribing the bar tenders to give him more)...Another New Year eve was spend enjoying the crowd atmosphere at Brigade road but felt sorry for the ladies who had decided to take the same walk or those who came out of the pubs at that moment.An example being a luxury car being escorted by the police through the crowd with a grim faced guy at the wheel and a crying lady alongside him...The window on her side shattered by "New Year well wishers"...I wish blank noise team chooses this as a venue on next New Years eve for their cause if they havent already

This time the weather was not too cold in Bangalore when compared to Chennai , where chilly mornings and rainy weekends are too frequent to be appreciated these days. If you have lived in Chennai, then you an understand this fully...Whether 2012 is coming or not, climate change is yawing at our faces, utterly bored to see that we are not reacting to it at all...

After a cold shower at 11.30 pm (yep in Bangaluru which I wouldn't have dared 2 years ago) and a quick homely dinner, me and wify dearest decided to enjoy the New Year fireworks and festivities from the cozy confines of the flat's terrace 3 stories high. All around us we could hear the load crackers which didn't seems too out of place given that Diwali had recently passed. The sky was getting lit by amazing fireworks and most of the buildings around us had groups of guys shouting New Year wishes...For a moment I wanted to run down and get my camera to capture the fireworks but somehow I got a feeling that this moment was to be enjoyed instead of being digitally captured to show off amateur photographic 'skills' in the social networks. So we touched our glasses of chilled soft drinks and shouted the New Year wishes and spent time soaking in the energy around us...

As an icing to the New Year cake, next day we saw a wonderful movie 'Marykkundoru Kunjadu' which I feel is funnier that last year's comedy hit 'Pranchiyettan'...In a period when Priyadarshan and co are killing classic mallu comedies by remaking them in Hindi with people like Akshay Kumar ( His first and last piece of natural acting being the blushing embarrassed face he had when Raveena danced in front of him in 'Tip Tip barsa pani' song ) who think making faces is 'act'-ing funny, it is refreshing to see Mollywood dishing out such good movies...And speaking of movies was very happy to see the selfless Munni triumphing over the narcissistic Sheela (based soley on the respective Song's lyrics)...

Hmmm let me stop before I jump yet again to some other unrelated thread...

So wishing you all the very best in enjoying and facing the stuff that the New Year throws at you, and may you enjoy each moment of the life ahead while the Earthy smells of the world keeping you in the state of Do good - Be good , 'cause after all, we are all in this together...