From Whisky, living it up !

 

Hello all! It has been a while since I decided to write this blog on behalf of my lazy human but the last few years have been so full of adventures that I let myself settle down before I started documenting them. Of course, my travels cannot be completely penned down all at once in such a short space but I would like to use this post to highlight some of my main observations in this new country. Based on what I have seen here, I would like to give the canine community of India some pointers on how it is here across the Atlantic. So here goes:

  1. There is no garbage on the streets – This is a tough dilemma. On one hand, my walks are now very boring. I have to stare at the trees and some birds for entertainment when there are no other dogs on the street, but Chotu (my human) claims I get fewer tummy upsets so she is generally happy. If she is happy I am happy, but I remain internally conflicted. My dirt-loving Chennai bros- this country has no garbage on the streets so enjoy while you can!
  2. The food is goooood – I have had the opportunity of eating all kinds of food I never knew existed! My human actually gives me fish and chicken and I have also had duck and some pork. I suspect that last one was pure accident but I loved it! How come for so many years we were never told about all this?! All I could manage back in India was the few chicken bones strewn by the watchman after his lunch! Imagine, now I get it served in a bowl, freshly cooked and all!
  3. No stray dogs – Everyone is on a leash here. They are all so disciplined. Other humans actually ask Chotu if they can pet me! I mean I am so used to pointed fingers and whistles that this seems to be such a decent place for me. But then, you get only structured playdates. I miss my stray friends waiting for me during my walks in Chennai. There is no group barking at nights, no territorial fights and no random barking by anyone. They are all so quiet! Just like the traffic here.
  4. No stray anyone – Where are my cow friends? Chotu keeps reminding me about my calf friends who used to head-butt me and I used to dodge them. There are no cows. When I ask her about it, she shakes her head and tells me their story is very sad. Apparently, they get eaten, like vegetables. I miss meeting them and sniffing their poop. NO COW DUNG! 😦
  5. Pet Shops – Okay, now this one might make my India friends so jealous, but they have huge pet stores here where I can shop for my goodies! Chotu takes me to pick my toys but I always keep picking out these gigantic bones which she never buys. I show her these other delicious things such as bully sticks, dried up animal parts, rawhide but she smells them and puts them away in disgust! How can she not appreciate them? Then, last birthday, she finally caved in and bought me some bully sticks! Ah the joy! They also have other stuff like clothes, crates, beds and some other animals too. In India, I used to search and sniff out rats and tell my humans that they are at home. Here, they keep them as pets! So strange! Thankfully Chotu doesn’t have one. She told me she owned a hamster once and I stuck up my nose in protest. No rats/hamsters/mice at home please!
  6. Too many doctor visits – I have been enrolled in some medical plan where I have to meet the doctor TWICE a year! Can you believe it? They make me lie down and press all over. I hate it. I will pretend those visits never happen and play dead. Sometimes I doze off so nicely that I wake up only at home and Chotu is always upset with me afterwards. She tells me “Don’t play dead in front of the doctor, they will give you more medicines”. But I can’t stand it. I think she can’t deal with it too. I have seen her face whiten and she shakes sometimes when it is time for a vet-visit. We thankfully have another human boy to calm us both down. Those trips are a disaster. India friends, you guys are lucky.
  7.  Have to stay indoors except for parks – There is no concept of being tied outside. I miss that sometimes. Back home, I used to sit outside on the verandah and enjoy the birds and allow cats and birds to eat up my food (such help you guys!). Now we stay indoors all the time until we go every weekend to a park. We have a small dog and big dog park. I go to the small one. They are nice! So full of things to smell and lick. I try to be as discreet I can while licking but Chotu finds out and then I’m on the leash again. But there are so many types of dogs! Who knew? I have seen such tiny ones that look like furry rats on leashes! There are some really big ones too! Like I had never met a Leonberger (fellow German dude) before or the Bernese Mountain Dog. I’ve met guys from all over the world now. But I miss my stray friends from Chennai the most.
  8. Road trips are easy – The roads and nice and flat and I can snooze comfortably during long drives. I have had long road trips (3000 miles+) which I’ll write about soon but travel here is a breeze! Unlike India where so much braking and potholes caused me to fall or jump off the car seat every now and then, it is very smooth sailing here!
  9. I am hot stuff here – No kidding. I have been to Central Park  in NYC and literally had a crowd come and pet me. They call me “hot stuff”. I never knew that about myself until I came here. Chotu tells me I am rare here. In India, I was the most common. Hell, Spitz pups are the least expensive pup you can adopt there! They should come and see people’s reactions here. Chotu tells everyone with pride that I am “exotic”. I like that! 😀
  10. The weather is amazing – I have lived in a few parts of the US and all over India and I can say paws down that this place has the best weather for me! My fur coat grew out and I also licked snow (okay yellow snow, but still snow!). No more sitting nose-to-nose with AC ducts or dashing inside AC rooms. At home, there is AC everywhere! Outside, it is heavenly. I enjoyed the biting cold of -40 too! Chotu seemed to be in a hurry then to go indoors but I wonder why she wasn’t enjoying it like I did! Ice, snow and nice cold winds. I had good fun kicking off these annoying snow shoes and then waiting for Chotu to put them on again. She was balled up too and walking so slowly through the icy sidewalks. Fun experiences! Can’t wait for minus temperatures again! Chotu recoils in horror when I tell her I want the sub-zero walks again. No idea why. Humans, strange creatures they are.
  11. New brother – I have a younger sibling now. Yes, I am no longer the only baby. But he is okay I think. I don’t like when he sticks to Chotu a lot. He is a funny-faced guy, no nose and very short but cute as hell! He is a nice guy though, we have had our arguments, all about Chotu only, but nothing too big. He doesn’t like balls or biting anything so my stuff is secure. I’ve noticed our bowls, bedsheets and towels being used interchangebly  and am getting used to it. I tried objecting to it initially and he also did but both got a long, terribly boring lecture about sharing and caring from Chotu ( I tried yawning so much to make her stop, but of no avail!). To prevent listening to another such lecture, both of us quietly stopped complaining. Actually secretly I like the guy and don’t mind him at all, he waits during walks for me and he calls Chotu from the other room if I need any help. He even got me a bonus trip to the Tillamook creamery because he insisted I come along! Decent chap. But shh, I don’t want to sound too appreciative in case Chotu brings another one!

That’s it for now, I have to start my evening routine. I will tell you all the story about my coast-to-coast road trip next. Got to go wait for Chotu, it is nearly time for her to come home!

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A Kindled Spirit..

I bought the Kindle. Yaay! Finally! For those of you unaware, its an e-book reader by Amazon. Google for more details. So after months and months of speculation, planning, comparisons, on the 20th of this month I bought it. It was shipped almost instantaneously (buying a company’s flagship product does come with its own benefits) and last friday I opened it amongst much fanfare (read presence of roomies, me jumping around before even trying to open the packing which took another 20 minutes and loads of hollering and yaaying). It is amazing. I got down to downloading my favourites among the free-section. I am still not buying anything on it since I’ve a couple of paperbacks to complete. After all they are my first love. :D. Now I wonder, what took me so long to buy it.

Loads of other things happened, my India trip zoomed away with me not finding a single moment to spare after that post and truckloads of fun. It was heart-breaking to leave whisky and come and I simply am not able to bear the agony. He knows it as well, what with the tail-down and sad faced avatar of his; poking his nose into every suitcase and taking headcount every 5 minutes. Poor thing. I feel so bad and heartbroken. It pains to leave him like that. I cried like crazy..he knew too…his eyes said everything they wanted to. I know I am ranting about something few would relate to but I need to. I wish I could tell him how much I love him and miss his wet nose and sniffles following me around the house. My little doggy…I miss you so much.

I am back to work…with a bang! Literally. I am rejuvenated and refreshed and so annoyed to discover that the weather in chennai is loads better than Atlanta! Sad, but true. Subjected to high -UV rays and 40+ degrees last week, im restricting myself indoors. Of course, that didnt stop me from shopping last weekend. And oh yea, I went to this Six flags White Water park which was full of water rides and slides and all that. It was amazing fun. I went on some rides I never imagined I would go…like one called the Cliffhanger where an almost vertical water slide with water gushing through plummets 9 storeys down! It was thrilling to do it. Nice way to cool off in the heat. The water felt so welcoming.

Nothing else of note here. Im busy with my new toy right now. Something I totally enjoy having. I can finally read those books at the click of a button. More later, keep reading!
Chao.

Feeding a fussy eater

Fussy eaters are always a problem and when the party in question cannot talk in human language, the problem is multiplied by a neat factor of 10-50 depending upon his highness’s mood. Yes, I am talking about my Whisky. (You should know who he is by now)

So the day starts with a compulsory walk and the expert urinologist takes to his work immediately. What would be an otherwise brisk 45 mintue walk is converted into an hour what with his careful analysis of every tree and the various parapets all over the colony. Of course it is an hour if you exclude those days when he meets his enemies and then gets irritated and barks at everything he sees or asks for a ride on your shoulders. But mostly, the morning walks are the easiest part of the day.

Then comes ladies and gentlemen, the toughest portion – feeding. I have only heard of Tenali Raman making his cat wary of milk by burning her tongue everyday. My dog here, is a complete natural. Give him no food and he is the happiest you can find.
His feeding is an elaborate procedure. The milk needs to be cold, the curd fresh (even if it is a little sour, it is rejected by him instantly), the rotis need to be finely mashed, the papaya pieces sweet and eggs (only yellow please – though we force the whites in ) and the whole concoction needs to be frozen to an extent that it falls in the shape of the bowl into his. Then the spooning starts. Yes, spooning.

He had his share of histrionics from the start. He spotted those interesting vessels called casseroles and wanted his food to fall from that. So everyday his food would be mixed and kept, transferred to a casserole and then emptied from it in his presence. His highness would then give a smug smile and slowly approach his food. He loved bringing potatoes from their basket in the kitchen and making a nice pile under the dining table. Only the putting back would be my task. He loves toppings – biscuits, cake, sweet (all banned) but once he knows some such thing is in the house he wont let go without some sprinkling of those on his food. Never a non-vegetarian, he dislikes most dog food though he ate Pedigree for a couple of years (in a totally unrecognizable form – soaked in milk,mashed to a Cerelac consistency). He even took to eating the Caviar we got in so many tins thanks to Dad’s Russian friends. Only to get bored in a month and then run away with the same speed from it as we did.

Whew, its not been easy feeding him all this time. Every choice of his took twice as long to be found since he cannot tell us exactly what he wants ( though now we have a fairly nice idea what it would be like – full of salty and sweet dishes – even dogs like their level of junk you see).

Now you know why I say – Its busier at home. 🙂
Muah Whisky.

Happy Birthday, Whisky.

It has been ten years today that you, my delightful little pooch, were born. These ten years with you were perhaps the best I have ever had. You came into my life that hot May afternoon, a little bundle of fur with the cutest little back eyes and ears that were partly folded. I was the first to take you in my arms before you sniffed me gently and settled on my lap as I looked at you with wonder. Watching you grow up has been one of the most fulfilling experiences of my life. As a little girl of under 12, I for the first time understood what it was to love someone so deeply and responsibly bring you up almost single handedly. Your illnesses, the way you used to hide in the dirtiest corners or the way you went about using my room as a toilet at night times, to the times you used to prance about the house, run over the sofas, bite the cushions or even try to lift heavy shoes and put them on the bed or every time that I feel sad or bad, you are always there, pink tongue, folded ears with the licks that drip with love, everything has been one amazing journey of my life.

You definitely are the king of our house. Everyone dotes on you. You sit with mom and give her company while she cooks in the kitchen, occasionally picking up a potato and biting it just for fun. You always are awake to receive chimmy even when she comes back from office at odd hours or give Dad company on his early morning walks or wait for him by the door everyday without fail when he comes back from the office. You love chasing crows, barking at the milkman and driver, biting your own paws just to irritate me or push my books away when you feel I am not listening or looking at you. Each and everything you do, is perhaps the most innocent and most beautiful things any living being can do. Let it be that you are very choosy about your food and most of our dinner-table discussions are about what to feed you or the way you have bitten off my favorite stickers or the blankets or each sock of dad’s. Every time I come home, more than anything, it is for you. I dream for days about the little angel who would be vigorously wagging his tail and waiting for me at the door with all the love in the world.

I have scolded you the most, punished you in the most novel ways (including making you stand in the attic) or even yelled at you for many of my things that you have destroyed. But Whisky, there is no moment in my life for all these ten years where you haven’t been there. I speak no end about you or your doings to all my friends and every day I wake up hoping to find your cute face looking at mine trying to wake me up or feel your warmth as you curl up under my bed sheet.

Your sleeping chair, the bathing times we had when you loved to sneak in when I was having a bath or when you barked and called your towel from the shelf when you were wet, hoping it’d come , the way you proudly show off your toys or simply love playing football around the house or the best being, when you dig holes in the ground or hide cricket balls in the mud whenever the boys next door hit a six, never once giving it back, the way you waited to be dressed patiently in your socks and sweater or ate eggs at your favourite restaurant or waited for me to pull out all your ticks or never hesitate to ask for belly-rubs no matter what, are some of the things I keep remembering all the time. Today, I am forcefully sitting miles away from you, thinking about you and wishing you the best of everything for years to come. May you find more caterpillars to play with, more balls to bite, more socks to chew, more of your favorite things to eat and most importantly have the best of everything in the health department.

Though I know, dad and mom will celebrate your birthday as always, I wish I could be there to watch that expression of innocent wonder which asked me the first time in awe ,”Is this entire piece of cake for me?’

I love you so much. I wish you could read and reply with your contented ‘Woof!’

Happy Birthday once again, Whisky. I don’t know what I’d have done without you.

Nirvana…!

The last few days have been really hectic and taxing. So much work and such a tight schedule finally took a toll on me. Nursing a bruised arm, a torn ligament (thanks to some careless diving), I was in no position to continue my physical work. Moreover, I had to take the car for servicing when midway through I realized it was punctured. So what would have taken me 2 hours ended up taking 5.
To top it all, my dog fell sick. When he falls sick, the whole energy level of the house goes down. If he isnt prancing around all our beds, scratching our hands and licking our toes at 5, wanting to go out for a walk, we feel the day isnt normal. It was precisely what happened. He was lying on his bed, curled up like a furry earthworm and totally devoid of energy. Then came the most difficult task of analyzing the problem. Finally I realized. He got a cold.
So my day was spent in giving him his medicines.( feeding tablets to a dog is an art 😛 ). Cough syrups and some gripe water. When he was in a better position, feeding him a little glucose and papaya. Finally some hot milk. Ahh! All this had to be spooned. Today finally he is better. Barking and playful. It feels so good. 😀

With the new year party just round the corner(I am compereing for it so have some work there) and some remnants of shopping left, my days ahead look no less taxing. Additional trips to tirupati and relative visits remain pending.

So Im off to Aurobindo Ashram tomorrow! I need that peace and quiet. I want to just sit there for a while and rejuvenate myself for the coming hectic and crucial year. Perhaps some auroville would do me good.

Who says holidays are meant for relaxing!
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My tribute to Benazir Bhutto:

She was someone I always admired. Yes, she was corrupt. When she was the prime minister, the relations between our countries was probably at its worst. She has been accused of supporting and developing the Taliban. But despite all that I always liked her. I appreciated her courage, her desire to live life in her own way. She had her way with people, her way with the upbringing of her children. Her courage to walk amidst the muck of islamic politics which is splattered with violence and murder. Her courage to try and fight for the people, her courage to restore democracy when the country is facing its worst possible crisis from the fundamentalists and world pressure. Her courage to come back to Pakistan when she very well knew her life was in imminent danger.

Pakistani politics has always been full of bloodshed and conspiracies. She lived to retain her father’s legacy. Though the first political family of Pakistan has lost their shining star, she will always be someone I admired for her courage and the fact that “Women are no less in this male-dominated society” is proved again by her martyrdom.Though the fact that her life was in danger has been known all along, her assassination came as a real shocker!
Good Bye Ms.Bhutto. I salute you.

Whisky’s Commandments of Life

1. Life is all about the time one remains awake between my night’s sleep, post-morning-walk nap, pre-lunch nap, post evening-walk nap and pre-night-sleep nap.

2. People to contact for :
food: Mummy
Walks: Daddy
Fun and cuddling : chotu
Leg Biting : Chimmy
Frightening: jiju and the others.

3. Ants are life-savers. They provide entertainment, serve as walking snacks and sometimes its fun to spoil their trail.

4. Cats are no problem as long as mum/dad/chotu dont pat it more than me.

5.I H.A.T.E crows and sparrows coz they dont fly even when I bark.

6.Food is to be eaten in minimum 1 hour time and tantrums are a must.I hate dog biscuits unless they are soft and chewy. (hard ones require too much work)

7.Liberty chappals are yumm. The stilletos are difficult to pick up and run. Socks are fun to bite.

8.Papaya is the world’s best fruit. I can eat only papaya for my lifetime.

9.Bath times are nice provided the water’s temperature is okayed by me.

10. Nights are scary. Rains and wind are also pretty scary. I dont like the whoosh sound.

11.Dont kno why people raise their voices. They disturb my sleep. Prolly humans should learn to talk softly. Too much noise pollution.

12. I dont like the watchman’s shoes.

13.Servants are allowed only in the stipulated time. Rest of the time they are also outsiders.

14. Nothing should be taken from the house in a polythene. If it is to be taken, I should approve of it first.

15.Rats are irritating coz I can never catch them. Bloody they run too fast.

16.Sonia Verma was amazing on NDTV news. Sadly my family doesnt watch it anymore.

Life’s good 🙂