The pursuit of happy-ness

The 2006 film of the same name shows the story of a single father who faces insurmountable odds at first and eventually ties the ends of the protagonist’s frayed life beautifully. The movie ends with the father being successful at what he does, a typical tale of hard work, perseverance and luck ultimately bringing success and much needed financial stability to the protagonist’s life. But is the protagonist ultimately happy with his newfound wealth and stability? We will never know.

Such stories abound in the Indian diaspora that is thriving outside the country today. You hear of folks from modest backgrounds, with parents living very middle-class lives, only dreaming of the lifestyles their wards lead today. But the part I have since realized is missing, both in the movie and reality is the happiness. I work in a society full of accomplished individuals, smart and tech-savy, making many times more than the American average salary, living in posh-neighborhoods, driving swanky cars and warmly clothed in their expensive Columbia jackets. It looks great on the outside. These people have proverbially “made it”, aced tough competitive exams, majored in various engineering fields, worked hard through graduate school here living in near-poverty conditions, bagged prestigious jobs and now lead cushy lives. Everyone’s life is like a movie tale. But only a small fraction of them seem to be generally happy.

I am not saying one must be happy and upbeat when faced with a crisis or an emergency. Those are unfortunate but necessary experiences faced during a lifetime. But what about that occasional gathering? That birthday party? The impromptu dinner or lunch? Or a drive to the beach with friends? I have begun to notice that the upbeat conversation fades quickly and is replaced by a constant worry – of job security, deportation, company financials and more recently – immigration status. Those are valid reasons to worry, no doubt. Private companies don’t provide the cushion of job security or retirement benefits and the tech-sector is especially vulnerable to setbacks and layoffs. But is the other alternative constant worry? Do we strive to improve our lives only to mentally burden ourselves with the fear of losing it all? Where do we draw the line between being ambitious and anxious?

Everyone is different and handles a crisis, imaginary or real, differently. The pressure to perform well in tests, get a good college degree, job and working hard are directives issued in pursuit of the eventual “good” comfortable life. We worked towards a better standard of living, a job where you could have a positive impact on the world and enjoy life. I see everyone living swanky lives , enjoying fantastic vacations, buying large mansions and cars but being generally unhappy because they constantly worry about something. Yuval Noel Harrari, in his book “Sapiens” points out that human beings in their pursuit of a better life have actually increased their burdens and revved up the pace and anxiety. He rightly calls it “The Luxury trap”. Are we being ensconced in this trap as well? Does the promise of earning money, living the desirable life, holidaying in famous places around the world come at the cost of mental peace and sanity?

I will not be the first to point out the exponential rise in stress being faced by our generation. The stress to maintain the lifestyle, being threatened by unfavorable immigration policies, the peer pressure and competition today in the work-force are all man-made evils. It is no wonder that our parents’ generation were more social, interactive and generally happier. To me, personally, if you aren’t able to be happy and constantly seek that utopian existence without risks and only rewards, you have to evaluate what your ultimate goal is. The phrase “Happiness comes from within” is often overlooked and brushed off. But the ability to be at peace and pursue the feeling of being joyous without depending on circumstances all the time is key to avoiding feeling blue for something or another.

I still pursue happiness. I am aided in no small measure by wet noses and wagging tails who welcome me home everyday. Their love, excitement, happiness and ability to live in the moment is not actually an evolutionary drawback, maybe it is the real goal.

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!

I’m all excited..woof !

I know bloggers, I havent blogged too much in the past. I have been one busy person the last few years. A ton of change happened around me and I was too busy trying to explain to my folks that it was normal and teaching them life lessons. Boy! they are slowww learners. So I moved into my own two-storey home in the center of this bustling city called Chennai. I grew up in beautiful colonies filled with so many brown-tailed pretty girls and a lot of my friends who like me, moved to different places. Let me give a quick recap before I can start harping about my current excitement.

I dont like chennai all that much. I was born here but mostly grew up in front of the air conditioner. Hence I liked that roti-eating, mountainous cold place called…doon. I had an excellent staff who looked after my every need, enormous space to run and dig, ( I dont know why no one gives me any credit for that excellent garden I helped them make ) and some fans. I really liked the cold weather where I had my bed next to the heater and my staff would put on socks and jackets for my walks. Ah, whatte life. Chennai so far, has been pretty drab in comparison.

Its hot. Really really hot. I make mom and dad turn on the AC for me from 10 am and turn it off only when it rains. It rains pretty hard too. Dad explains that the sea is nearby and we get something called a cyclone which came as recent as last week and I dont like them at all either. Thankfully, dad’s blanket is good enough to cut off the sound and mom got some fabulous curtains so I don’t see any lightning. But coming back to Chennai, its dirty. Extremely dirty. I have to cross tons of human shit and other kinds of shit, not to mention carve my space in this rowdy city full of gangs that hide under rickshaws and parked vans. I hate them. I like a couple of guys living in the next lane but they are always angry and irritated and really big. My parents call them German Shepherds. Big annoying fellas. Don’t go near one if you spot one. There are a couple of cats that live next door. I dont mind them at all, but they are always meowing in my presence and mistake my calls for threats. Sigh, if only they understood.

I am very loved in my apartment. I maintain a small garden in the patio and lounge there when its not too hot.I found some really tasty food too. I really like McRenett’s milk bread, nilgiris’ paneer and Grand Sweets’ mixture. I can tell when Mom or Dad shop there. Its for me only mostly. Every week. I miss my Chotu and Chimmy though. Chimmy was a visitor since I was a kid but Chotu has gone off somewhere lately. I miss her a lot. I keep hearing a voice that sounds like her every sunday on one black machine that my dad or mom turns on, but I don’t know where she went. She misses me too, I know. We never spent a moment away from each other until two years ago. She left with Dad and these two big boxes and I thought she’ll be back in sometime but she never showed up for a year! Her last trip was fantastic. I showed her around and she met my friends. She left crying so hard, I couldnt even go and see her off at the door. Ah, sad times.

But hey, dad tells me she is coming. And mom too. I have to show mom the things I discovered under the sofa which the stupid maids never clean. I have missed her and her fruit bowl so much for the past half-year. Chotu is coming! That makes me doubly excited. I can’t wait to race with her to the terrace or show her how my efficiency at chasing crows has astronomically increased. I wish I could go visit her but everyone tells me the journey is terrible. My family will of course not put me through anything worse than a yearly injection. But its nice with mom and dad. Chotu and Chimmy know some of my secret tricks but mom and dad dont. Hence I keep myself entertained.

So folks, Happy New Year. What a start I’m gonna have. First Chotu and then Chimmy. Mom and Dad at home. There is nothing else I could ask for.

Loads of Love,



Reams of articles on our world cup performance are already out there and read and re-read by most of us (non-regulars included) now. I won’t write another one but I have to admit it was surreal. Sometimes,actually most of the times, I cannot still believe it. I cannot believe Sachin and Team India got its World Cup at last! The match, the entire morning, the afternoon was so crazy. I missed being back home to hear the crackers, watch people party all night and preserve the cut outs of the front page of newspapers for years to come. Brilliant performance by every member in the squad. I was critical of Dhoni all through the tournament and as he himself put it, he was fortunate it all worked in his favour. Else, the questionable inclusion of some players in the team and his dwindling performance with the bat would have lashed at him furiously post-world cup.
This world cup is special because it has so many players that I remember since childhood. I do not figure in the cricket followers list anymore ( following a single tournament is not counted) and so am blissfully unaware of the team members when they play smaller-scale tourneys. But this might be the last time we saw so many greats play. Sachin’s retirement (if at all) is not a part of this post but the more he plays, the more I’ll watch. And don’t ask me about IPL now. I will watch the semi-final onwards and of course may Chennai Super Kings reign supreme! 😀
This past week marked Whisky’s birthday. It was aptly celebrated with cake, flowers and of course lots of love and pampering. Whisky is not just a pet, but an integral and most-loved member of our family. As my dad put it, he is the fountainhead of happiness, the one person who has just given us reason to smile and removed all our tensions. He remains the one person I grew up with (considering we were mostly together and in the same age bracket). He is my favorite and I am his. I just miss being around him to wish him a happy birthday. He doesnt understand, but he loves the chance to eat cake from the dining table and all the photography and clapping/cheering. Love you whisky. May you have a very very happy, healthy and cheerful year ahead.
Nothing else really. I enjoyed reading everything on reader and all the news sites the past week. For once, our nation united as never before and the tide of happiness made us forget all our past miseries. On that note, let me sign off here, leaving the usual complaints for another post. But yes, Anna Hazare – hats off to you. If you can create another major wave of all our people combined, nothing can really stop us. The Men in Blue showed us that past week. Let us channel that spirit constructively and remove the scar of corruption from our nation altogether.

To my dearest little Bikki and Paneerselvam

Loss is always hard. Especially when it is that of a pet you so dearly loved. In a span of three weeks I lost both my pets – my fish and my cutest little hamster. My fish died suddenly Christmas morning. To see my fish like that floating lifelessly curved in a peculiar way was so hard. Hell, why am I calling it a fish. He had a name – Paneerselvam. Not a very hep name but it is my way of connecting with remote and ancient Tamil Nadu. He wasnt that active from the beginning and I suspected I had an old fish from the start. But he used to swim upto the surface everytime I came close or hide in his plant when the light was too bright. He used to wait impatiently for his food and frolic in delight by swimming furiously through the bowl when the water was new. I will never know what killed him. “It is only a fish”, “Fishes are like that only”was said in consolation,but I missed having my bright blue fighter fish waiting for his food every morning in his bowl. I miss him.

My hamster was even more tragic. I could not cope with her sudden loss for nearly half a week. She was by far the cutest hamster I’ve ever seen. (Yes, Ive seen a lot of them since I always scout the Small Animal section of every pet store religiously). She was soft and pretty and curled into a cute ball when she ate her food or groomed herself rigorously. She used to snatch nuts and treats from me, loved to run on my table and wait every morning hanging on the metal wires of her cage asking me to open it. Her life was cut short abruptly and I found her lifeless and cold on the floor of her cage. She was breathing, but only just. I tried to warm her, held her close to me praying for her to revive. She opened her eyes and looked at me,all pale and helpless. That image is ingrained in my head. She died on my palm and you have no idea how hard it was to see her like that. That cute little bikki who escaped from her cage and hid under the kitchen sink and behind suitcases, who chewed up the carpet and made instant holes in my T-shirt, the little monster who got snappy if you didnt play with her for a while and the super lazy bum who had to be woken up at times and fed. I miss her so much. I miss calling out to her every night or drumming the sides to disturb her.I loved buying her new treats from the store and watching her expression as she had them for the first time or loved the way she’d follow me everywhere in her ball and apologizing if I accidentally kicked it. I liked the way she’d come out and watch me brush my teeth every morning and enjoy me stroking her head gently. She liked sitting in front of the fan in the summer and loved being held near the heaters in the winter. I will never know what happened to her so suddenly. She might have been old (yes she had become extremely lazy) or choked on something she ate. I love you bikki. You have no idea how much I miss you.

I realized how the presence of a small pet changes our life. I never paid attention to these small things they did that made me so happy and you never realize how much you miss them unless they are not with you. I miss my dog terribly but that is one thing I have still not learnt to live with. I live with the fact that he is extremely happy and pampered at home and never tire of seeing him on skype until he gets bored and walks away. Gosh, whisky I wish you knew. I miss my fish and hamster equally but know for a fact that they were happy. I did and cared all I could and made their lives comfortable. I am more than thankful to them for coming into mine and making it worthwhile. I know people who squeal when I showed them bikki or looked away when I showed my fish. But to me they were precious. Any pet of mine is and losing them is very very hard.

I know this isnt a new year’s post or a post thanking 2010 for what it gave me but I dearly miss my pets. They were a small way for me to compensate for not being around Whisky. I will move on, but Bikki and PS, will always remain with me, just like my fishes from the aquarium I had as a little kid which I remember, my cat Pintu and my dogs Fluffy and Blackie. I love you all. I will not forget you.

(Gosh whisky, why can’t you somehow be allowed in an airplane cabin and fly straight to Atlanta. That day would be the best day of my life. Second only to the day I got you.)

PS: I got myself two female fishes (apparently female bettas are calmer and can exist in groups) so here is introducing Paneerselvi & Komalavalli. (Nice names no? :D) I am still searching for that perfect Teddy Bear Hamster who had the same colours as my Bikki. Hopefully next week my cage would be full of life again. 🙂

Happy 2011 Folks. Hope your lives are enriched and enjoyed far more than the last!

Shaam bhi koi..jaise hai nadi…

I am totally blown away by this song. After what seems like forever, there is this song I can listen to and enjoy, whenever and wherever. For some odd reason it reminds me of whisky. ( Now, ok I know there is hardly anything that doesn’t). But this one reminds me of those awesome morning and evening walks I had with him. Just me and whisky..chasing butterflies, tickling caterpillars, avoiding the snails and leeches after a shower, me shaking the branches of a tree full of droplets of water on whisky and he playfully bounding away from the water…ah those happy times. It makes me want to be with him football with a tennis ball, race down the stairs with him, frighten him by popping out of the shadows, running behind him chasing him down the isolated road..aah. I want him right here right now next to me. Only if that was possible.

Okay so coming back to the song, its a beautiful guitar track…and very artfully shot too. People chilling out around a bonfire and having fun. It is slow and mellow minus beats and electronic drums. I guess in the era of electronic music, this one is a rarity. And the lyrics…ah they are so beautiful. The last time I got emotionally hooked to a song was “Yeh haseen Vadiyaan..” or “Pudhu Vellai Mazhai..” from Roja. That song transports me to a romantic hinterland, unexplored and untouched and me with a very special someone (I never imagine his face though..)..its just the snow and the mountains. Hmm…somehow rock music doesnt emotionally connect unless of course Im in a temper of sorts and then somehow Metal suits my tone. I am not saying I dont like rock music…I just dont feel it inside but I guess Nothing Else Matters is an exception.

Its Friday evening and I am sitting with a textbook full of chemistry and complex calculus that is just drifting away…leher leher jaise beh rahi hai. Gosh, i dont think I can work or do anything with this track playing in the background. But what the hell, today music beats everything else.

Check out the video here:

And listen to the full song here: Shaam – Aisha 2010

Enjoy the evening! 🙂

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!

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.


I swam after a long time today and it felt heavenly. Swimming is by far the most pleasurable sport in my opinion. I have been swimming since I was seven and a half years old. I remember the time I just moved into Chennai, constantly nagging my dad that I wanted to swim. I dreamt about snorkeling among the fishes, diving like those olympic champs and never missed watching a swimming event in the Olympics.

I remember my first swimming lesson. My first teacher was a fisherman, a dark stout man with a huge paunch, quite a contrast to the fit and flexible swimmers I had imagined. The light blue water sparkling in the sun was an extreme tempation. Honestly, as I went through the lessons, I felt swimming come almost naturally to me and tanned myself badly (We didnt know that sunlight and chlorine was perhaps the worst combination for the skin colour. A tan from which I am still recovering!!!). I was way ahead of the class and was eager to start jumping off the diving boards. I remember an amusing incident when I was a little hesitant to swim in the 22 feet deep side of the pool the first time. I told him, “Sir, I’ll drown!”. He replied cooly, “Then drown maa!”

Today was the first time for someone else though. Yes, it is none other than whisky. I always take him to the pool. He keeps barking and whining at home otherwise. So today was no different, he was tied near the edge where he likes to keep a watch on me, barking at the crows and sitting like a sphinx on the starting blocks. As I completed my lap and approached the end, I felt someone kicking near me. I got a start since the pool was empty otherwise. I looked up to find whisky enjoying himself in the pool though the chain was beginning to choke him.I untied the chain and let him go. He happily splashed around almost giving me the “Oh-so-this-is-what-the-fuss-is-all-about” look. He kept swimming, even trying the backstroke. We both splashed each other with water, his face gealming with delight.We raced each other around the pool, he even trying to bite my ankles as I moved ahead. I must say, it was the best swim I ever had!

Whisky’s made his peace with the pool. He sat contendedly outside, looking at the water like a conquered mountain peak. I am sure though, tomorrow he’ll want more! ( Or maybe, I do! 😀 )

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.