Monday, May 25, 2009

Puppies of a lesser god

I was reading this article from Tony and was immediately reminded of my one of own experiences with animal rights activists.

Every summer we head out to Ooty for our Annual Family Vacation. Before we all started working, we would go to exotic places. But now, time constraints do not allow that luxury and we are content with our favorite place on Earth i.e Ooty. We have been coming to Ooty every year from the time my eldest brother was born. So we are like natives here and know quite a few of the locals here. Mingling with the Who’s Who of Ooty has its benefits. You get to sit in a Box at the Racing Club for instance. We go for the races every year in May. As kids we were allowed to bet with the Government run Betting Booth in the private stall. The two punters who sat here were very middle aged ladies operating what looks like a contraption made in the 1800’s. We were very professional gamblers too. After studying the racing guide carefully, we chose the horses with a name we thought was the snazziest. We were allowed to bet Rs. 5 per game and by the end of the races we would recover some and lose some. The place has not changed over the years. The two ladies who sit in the stall taking bets are still there.

Over the years things have changed though at the races. A lady can be seen seated near the racing track with a binocular and every now and then she gesticulates and makes a noise. Since we were ‘insiders’ we got to know that she was from Mrs. Kenaka Handhi’s stables. A highly excitable creature that watches every race like a hawk and reports any “harsh treatment” of the horse to her Madam. Madam would then make life hell for you in the Press. I have seen several such ladies at the races. Each one more holier than thou who think nothing of the malnourished and over burdened Ponies in Ooty because it gives them no mileage in the Press.

Last year we saw a signboard on the roads that indicated a kennel with litter. I was eager to go and see the pups. A kennel is the place for people like me who want to pick up some puppies and play with them for a while. When we reached the “Kennel” what we saw horrified us. Small plywood boxes housed new born puppies separated from their mother who was trapped in a similar box under the harsh sun. The entire kennel consisted of a terrace with plywood cartons housing innumerable Alsatian puppies and dogs.

When I reported the matter to the lady from Mrs. Kenaka Handhi’s stables she pretended not to hear me and walked over to the generous bar laid out by the club on racing night. While she sipped the cocktails courtesy the prize bloodlines at the racing club stables, small malnourished puppies slept uncomfortably in small plywood boxes under the cold Ooty moon. Animals with no birthright because their owners could not provide the Champagne and Caviar needed to grab attention to their plight.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Dining in Hell

I guess this rant will be understood by people like me. By me I mean unmarried folks which would be the majority of people here.

I was at this popular breakfast haunt of Bangaloreans the other day. This place is like a holy place of us old Bangaloreans and we make a pilgrimage least once in two months to eat here. Most of us have had our first solid food here. I did, when I grabbed some Khara Bath(Upma in Hindi and Salt Mango Tree in Malayalam) from my dads plate and stuffed my mouth in front of my horrified mum. Then I insisted on finishing it and never looked at baby food again. Baby food tasted terrible after tasting Khara Bath from M.T.R. In fact everything tastes terrible after you have eaten from M.T.R.

I hated Baby food so much that my parents used it as blackmail to get me to eat food.

“Finish your rice Anju or you go back to baby food.” I was a very chubby as a kid.

So here we were three freinds on our monthly pilgrimage to M.T.R sitting at this table next to a large joint family. The joint family consisted of a grandpa, grandma, their siblings and the grandpa, grandma and their sibling’s older kids and the older kid’s younger kids most of whom were newly married with babies and toddlers. The entire Khandaan sat on half a dozen tables. The women wore ghoonghat (covered their head with saree pallu) and were perpetually busy keeping it in place. The men talked loudly amongst themselves and kids were like brats raised by a she wolf a la Jungle King for they crawled all over the table and under and generally behaved like a pack of baby animals escaped from a hospital for mentally retarded baby animals. Their parents had also ensured that they had all taken their Adrenalin tablets before coming to the restaurant. For good measure I guess they gave them twice the dose this day.

The food came and we watched with interest as the kids attacked the food like a horde of starving locusts. In the melee that followed most of us were treated to an aromatic bath of Sambhar, Chutney, Kesari Bath and Potato Curry and as an after shower perfume we were sprayed with hot Coffee and Tea. M.T.R. is one of the few places that serves you piping hot tea and coffee and this day it was scalding hot. Next time I take Burnol with me when I go there.

*Splat* and a blob of thick coconut chutney came and hit me like a slap. My white top looked like it had a splash of green color embroidered on. My friends started giggling. *Splash* a spatter of Sambhar sprayed on my other friends starched Organdy designer salwar. She looked like she was going to have a brain hemorrhage. I started cackling at the expression on her face and just then a half eaten vada came and fell on our table. The third girl at the table, a prim and proper missy had had enough. She took it and threw it back at the offending table. The occupants of that table stopped chewing, fighting, thwacking, throwing food and generally behaving like a bunch of cave people at an all you can kill and eat buffet and looked at us with disapproval. Then they promptly returned to the culinary orgy. I noticed that the kids had more food on their persons than in their bellies. Now that requires some serious talent I tell you! Hats off!

After the eating spree was over the kids turned their attention to the cutlery and crockery. Suddenly flying saucers and spoon appeared from nowhere and tables started bobbing up and down as determined kids tried to topple them from underneath. All this while the adults talked and chewed and talked some more.

We paid our bill and got up to leave. That’s when we noticed that the other neighbors of the Adams family had pulled their table as far away as they could from this family. Bummer. Wish we had done the same. :(

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Blog Rolling

Back in 2005 when I started my Blog Roll, it was a list of blogs I read. It still is. A handy bookmark that’s all. It was never an affirmation of anyone’s writing prowess. And not being on my blog roll was not in any way indicative of a lack of it either. It was just my reading list. Soon I had people writing in asking me to put on the blog roll. I explained the situation and most were satisfied with my answer. But some were not. I was often accused of putting people who comment on my blog or linking people who link me which is ridiculous as there is more then 300 blogs linking me while only 10-15 of them figure in my blog roll.

Over the years my Blog Roll grew and this year it went out of control as I had over 35 new blogs to add with no space! I hunted high and low for a widget like the Google Followers Widget that so neatly packs in so many links in a small square. But I found none. The other choice was to avoid putting in new blogs. But then like I told you this is my reading list and I have no favorites. So last week I had to take the hard decision of deleting my blog rolls. I just could not justify excluding some bloggers due to space constraints.

My apologies to the people on the Blog Roll and to the awesome list of bloggers I wanted to add. I really have no choice with the present widget.

I also want to add something here. I am no King or Queen maker. Figuring in my Blog Roll will not guarantee anything. And not figuring in my Blog Roll will not make a jot of difference to your blog too. People read what they like and not what I like or link. Period. There are trillions of awesome blogs out there that did not figure in my Blog Roll. My advice to bloggers would be to comment at other blogs so that people can click on your link and visit your blog and through their comments section you get to read a Smörgåsbord of new blogs.

I am a compulsive blog hopper and that is how I found a lot of blogs. I am also a compulsive blog linker. I try to link interesting posts at the end of my blog posts here and at Poomanam. And I will continue to do so. But again…I link only posts I really like.

I am a bad commenter. I really am. I can only write “Good Post’ or “Hilarious” or “Touching” and more in that vein. I have nothing to criticize in any blog as the blog is the blogger’s personal opinion and he/she has a right to it. I cannot tell a blogger to write better or that he/she can do better because I feel that just because you express your thoughts in words and sentences should not make you a liable for literary criticism. That is strictly meant for professional writer’s not personal bloggers. That leaves me with little to comment unless I want to add an anecdote like the wonderful anecdotes people have left on Hindicapped.

If you see me commenting less and less it is because of a very tight schedule. My team which requires at least 8 people is running on 4 due to a hiring freeze. Which means all hands on the deck. And secondly I am hurting some people by not commenting at their blogs. So to be fair I have decided to comment only when I really really want to.

I hope I don’t sound pompous here, if I do I am sorry. Have mercy on poor, homeless, orphan and give me some money err I mean go easy on me folks.

Reposted due to requests. Comments disabled

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Down the long and winding memory lanes and by-lanes

I have a rather tartly friend. I might as well admit it she is my best friend. She is a tartly, sarci, sharp tongued female called Natasha. She is variously called as Pudgy, Pudges, Nats, Mittu and bitch. I might as well admit it; she is mostly called a bitch. She is a self proclaimed bitch because she calls a spade a spade and an idiot an idiot.

She is called Pudgy because she was very chubby in Kindergarten and we pronounced chubby as 'pudgy' for a long time till corrected. But the name stuck.

Pudgy and me met in kindergarten. The first meeting was not so nice. Pudgy was clinging onto her Dad’s arms bawling her lungs out. She kept bawling the whole day and I was pretty fed of the irritating noise. Next day the bawling continued and I remember going to her and doing the decent thing. I pinched her hard. She stopped bawling for a second and then bawled harder till she was blue in the face. I raised my hands to pinch her again. This time she lowered her volume a bit and began whimpering. I was about 4 years old then and there were no hard feelings. I was just using a technique that worked very well in my limited experience. By mid morning of our second day at school she had stopped crying. She still had a sad and mopey look on her face and sulked most of the time but despite that she kept a wary eye on me.

On the third day of school Miss F my class teacher assigned us our seats and Pudges, surprise of surprise was sitting on my table. There were four of us at the small table with colorful chairs. We sat around the table so that we could face each other.

Pudgy's eyes filled with tears when she learned that she would be sitting at my table. However she dared not cry. She had learned her first lessons well. By the end of the second week we were friends. Once classes got underway Pudgy forgot her parents and got immersed in the hand painting, goo making and spitting and barfing orgy that is Kindergarten. And she topped in these classes too. She spat out anything she did not like and that was most of the stuff including her Tiffin. Ms F despaired till one day a sandwich from my Tiffin went down well with Pudgy. It was a Ham sandwich and Pudgy had never eaten non veg before. Throughout our 17 years or so of friendship Pudgy has broken every rule in the vegetarian book courtesy my Tiffin. By the time we were in first standard my mother packed enough food for the both of us.

Her Tiffin on the other hand was greatly relished by the Alsatian dogs at the convent. The ill tempered dogs were always happy to see us and Kempanna their keeper was not too pleased with the fact that five years of training to ensure a very bad tempered beast was undone by a humble Tiffin and six snot nosed girls! Guess he didn’t know much about dogs. For that matter he did not know much about gate keeping either because we sneaked out regularly to buy spiced Guavas from the man across the road till a flasher showed up and the Nuns decided to hire a proper guard. The 'ding-dong man' err flasher still hangs around the school gates though rarely now as he has grown old. Guess he has become too old for the job or perhaps the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.

In second standard as is the practice in my school we were shuffled up and the whole lot of us ended up in different sections. This did not go down well with Pudges. She screamed blue murder and her harassed mom had to come and meet Princi and beg her to be put in my class. I will never forget the look on her face as Sr. A bought her to our class and told the class teacher that she had an additional student. While Sister was talking to the teacher, Pudgy grinned at the class triumphantly. I swear we saw a halo over her head and the devils pointy tail swishing behind her. A halo and the pointy tail describe Pudges best. In college she shocked the prudes by drawling “ I have a Nun and a Whore complex yaar!” I explained to her hyperventilating mom the next day outside the Deans office that a 'Nun and Whore complex' means a ‘little bit of bad and a little bit of good.’ She heaved a sigh of relief. She was one of the most gullible moms I have ever come across.

By middle school we had a reputation. Good girls but undisciplined. Lots of potential but least bothered of developing the same. Talented but prefer wasting their talents. Talkative. Opinionated, clannish, fiercely loyal and should be separated for their own good. We did get separated by the shuffling system, but there were three breaks and the ride home in the same van to huddle together again. By 6th standard the shuffling system was done away with and indulgent teachers ensured that the Band of Sisters sat together in one class.

By 7th standard the band of girls grew up. By now tummy ache tablets, pads and PMS were equally shared. There is a lot of comfort in sharing pain than pain medication at this stage of your life. When we not in pain and discomfort we jumped over the piles of leaf painstakingly collected from the 6 acre tree lined campus by the cleaners and heaped up to be burnt. We never got caught.

By 8th all that was behind us and we began to notice the existence of a species called boys. They looked horrible! Full Stop! We used Mills and Boons heavily to block out reality. We are still convinced that good guys exists only in novels.

By 9th we were more of less sure of ourselves. Surprisingly the gang that was voted most likely to get boyfriends first, turned out to be horribly conservative. The reason behind this we suspect was that all of us had brothers and we were not the gawking gals in awe of guys. We just knew how stupid they were by just looking at our brothers and their friends. The Nuns needs not take credit for our “conservativeness”. For that fact if they want to rear good girls I would suggest making their schools co-ed from KG.

10th standard was one blur of tuitions, shopping, tuitions, movies, tuitions, mall hopping, tuitions, window shopping, tuitions , wearing skimpy clothes behind locked doors, tuitions shaving legs, tuitions, pajama parties, tuitions and some more in that vein.

College was boring. No rules, no regulations to break, no teachers to run behind you, no protective Nuns to keep an eye on you. We who led a life of crime in school were suddenly clueless and jobless. Thankfully the various clubs and activities in college absorbed most of us and we began cleaning and polishing our talents buried under tons of dust and neglect.

College also put us through many virtual relationships as we saw the life cycle of many a classmates relationships from close quarters. By final year we knew everything that we needed to know about relationships except for being in one. We learned our lessons well.

So what’s the point of this saga which began with Pudgy but ended up with me sneaking in the wonder yeas of my life too? Because today is Pudgy’s birthday. And I cannot imagine any stage of my life without her…the North Indian girl with a South Indian heart who feels so lost when she goes to Delhi for vacations that she rushes back to namma Bengaluru and ‘sane people’. The girl who will gouge your eyeballs out if I were to only point in your direction. She will later apologize for not having heard me through or else she would have heard that I was merely pointing to you as an acquaintance. She spitfires first...asks questions and apologizes later. The girl who is sure she will marry a South Indian guy or a guy from her community who is born and bought here like her. Poor guy. My heart goes out to you. She might be my friend but she is a terrible female and you better be smart and well read and down to earth like her to get any. Else you adopt. Period.

Happy Birthday girl! May we live long enough to take our grand kids to the very Kindergarten from where we started off. I will be nice this time I promise. I will tell my grand kid to not to pinch your grand kid too hard.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

I confess...

I have been conferred the Honest Weblog Award by KPJ chechi. This means a lot as I trumpet from every available platform that one must be honest at ones blog. Someone heard my trumpet at last! :p

So thank you Ma’am. Mucho honored!!

Rules of the tag:

This award is bestowed upon a fellow blogger whose blog’s content or design is, in the giver’s opinion, brilliant.”“When accepting this auspicious award, you must write a post bragging about it, including the name of the misguided soul who thinks you deserve such acclaim, and link back to the said person so everyone knows she/he is real. Choose a minimum of seven (7) blogs that you find brilliant in content or design. Or improvise by including bloggers who have no idea who you are because you don’t have seven friends. Show the seven random victims’ names and links and leave a harassing comment informing them that they were prized with Honest Weblog. Well, there’s no prize, but they can keep the nifty icon. List at least ten (10) honest things about yourself. Then pass it on!

So I confess to almighty God and to you my dear blog pals that what I am about to reveal is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth so please don’t strike me dead God, if it is not.

1. I am terrified of sharp and pointed objects like Knives and Needles. But I love cooking…so I am the Brand Ambassador for Band Aid.

2. I cannot hate anyone or remain angry at someone for long. As I kid I used to get frustrated at my inability to hold a grudge forever. I dreamed of working myself to frenzy and taking revenge. Now I thank god that I didn’t plot dark revenge against the kid who took my beautiful pink eraser, pencil box, water bottle, homework etc. Someone rightly said “Don't Sweat the Small Stuff - and it's all small stuff”

3. I am a walkaholic and musicoholic. I can walk for hours listening to music.

4. I can bear cold but not heat. I plan to retire to the hills.

5. Blogging is a big stress buster for me.

6. I am not a feminist.

7. I get blog burn if I hang around blogs…including mine too long. Don’t ask me why. I rarely open my blog page and if I do it is only to reply to comments or publish comments.

8. I sleep like a log and am up bright eyed and bushy tailed in a trice. No lingering in the bed for me unless I am sick.

9. Kissan Orange squash is my comfort drink and moms cooking my comfort food. I love eating Milkmaid!

10. I have never worked under a manager. As a communications professional I have always reported to CXO’s. They are the nicest people to work for. Mature, always busy or traveling and let their team takes their own decisions.

Anyone who wants to wash dirty linen in public may please take up this tag. I badly want to point fingers and laugh rudely at you.