Tuesday, October 14, 2014


I've been complaining since a couple of years that I can't find the time to read as much as I'd like to. In 2011, I bought about 7-8 books, and most of them have been lying unopened, untouched in my cupboard. I used to think that I always prefer hardcopy books over their electronic versions. This evening I happened to log on to Amazon to check out a few books, and I thought 'let's check what I've bought so far'. I was in for a surprise. In 2012 and 2013, I bought 5 Kindle books each. I used to read them on the PC version. Then, last year I acquired my husband's Android phone, and got used to getting my Kindle on (hah!) just before I slept. And that is what led to my pleasant surprise... in 2014, I've already bought 15 books off Amazon! Those include the 5 books that I just ordered, but that's still more than double the books I bought and read over the past 2 years!

Bless you, dear husband and dear Amazon; the former for enlightening me about the existence of Kindle-for-PC and for pushing me to try it out (I've obviously been hooked!); and the latter for just being one of the coolest things on earth! The husband gets his thanks in the form of fewer death-stares from me (which, he's totally gonna read as 'death-star' when he reads this post and wonder when he got one of those). Amazon gets its thanks in the form of some cool software that I'm currently documenting, which I obviously can't talk about right now, which my company pays me for, and which I use to buy more books--so win-win! (I'm aware that this previous sentence must have caused some gammar Nazi's untimely death, but I don't care.)


Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Four-legged hero, two-legged heroine

Nemoudra, I'd call them, if they were a celebrity couple. That canine is one tough cookie, and that girl, his guardian angel. I came to know of him a month and a half ago through her post on FB. He looked liked the most fragile thing ever. This girl has dedicated herself to nursing him to health.

It began with her coming across him and thinking: well, that's a malnourished puppy... let's get him dewormed and give him food and nutrients. After a few days, seeing no signs of improvement, she took him to a vet. The first diagnosis was that he has pneumonia. They also used radiograms to find out why his abdomen was abnormally large. A radiocontrast agent showed something akin to a cloth or a plastic in his abdomen. At least, that's what the vet thought it was. However, he continued to eat and poop, which made it difficult to believe that there really was anything blocking his digestive system at all. He spent two weeks cooped up in an empty flat, because the vet recommended isolation. She visited him four times a day, spending an hour each cleaning, feeding, and entertaining him. When it got too much, she decided to look for a second opinion.

That's when I got the chance to meet this strong-willed boy. We took him to another vet who diagnosed his condition as being asthmatic. The pneumonia, if there was any, had passed and there was no need to keep him in isolation. In fact, he would feel more and more miserable without any company. However, he was so malnourished and possibly infected by other things, that there could be other ailments, which we could consider addressing after his respiration was normalized. The vet could not form a strong opinion based on the radiogram. He allayed our fears, and recommended a medicine to be administered through a nebulizer. Being wary of steroids, she gave the medication a try, but noticing his discomfort and the trouble that the medication caused her family members, she decided against forcing it on him. Instead, they relied on Homeopathic and Ayurvedic remedies and Reiki from some generous souls, which worked quite well for a while.

A week passed by, and he was still quite unstable. Off she went to the next vet for another opinion. He cited Ascites, and gave him a Lasix shot to drain the excess fluid. He suggested a follow-up with the tablet format of the drug, which did not work. We brought him in again the next day, he was given another shot, and the fluid was drained out via urine again. However, they did not collect the fluid directly from the abdomen and send it for analysis, citing that a puncture to the abdomen might create further complications. After taking a look at the radiogram and showing us a radiogram of another healthy dog, the vet explained that there was no possibility of any object being stuck in the abdominal cavity. Only certain organs were differently visible due to the radiocontrast agent. What he did diagnose, was much worse--the diaphragm was broken and all his abdominal organs were being pushed up into the thoracic cavity! We were a tad relieved, though, because it finally seemed like a plausible explanation for his breathing difficulty. The vet also mentioned that his liver and spleen might have suffered the most due to malnutrition combined with the infections that he might have picked up. But his many problems needed to be tackled one after the other, the first being the ascitic fluid, for which he recommended 3 Lasix shots a day for a week! There was no way he would have survived that assault of diuretics. She was barely able to keep him hydrated, because he wouldn't drink water, and all the liquids had to be passed into his system as part of his meals--the only thing he consumed, and which was getting increasingly difficult for him. What we did appreciate was the vet's recommendation of feeding him at an inclination--he shouldn't bend low to eat, and should be kept upright for as long as possible after the meal so that gravity would work to push the food down into the stomach instead of further compressing his lungs.

A week later, when he was slightly better but not good enough to be considered as 'recuperating', we considered taking him to a couple of other vets. We had 3 very different opinions so far, and any more perspectives (we thought) might only help. Fortunately or unfortunately, we couldn't manage to take him to any vet that weekend. He probably only needed rest and respite from any strong medication. She persisted, spent hours looking after him, holding him when he was wheezing, gasping for breath, collapsing with the effort, but determined to see it through. He spent many sleepless nights and she stayed up with him, literally watching over him like an angel. Her mother mothered him too, and I think it was their love and compassion that helped him survive.

I was afraid that at least one of the vets would simply say: put him down, he's not going to survive for too long anyway. It did happen, and there was a point when I almost believed him, that this little buddy would survive, but would lead a painful life, and it might be best to end his misery sooner rather than later. The problem with that line of thought was that it was weak. And that is where this awesome lady showed her strength of conviction. She simply focused her energy on letting him be. Helping when he needed it, monitoring his symptoms, and intervening when necessary, and NEVER giving a second thought to the option of putting him down.

We met him yesterday after she invited us several times--to come watch him as he went about being a puppy--jumping, playing, being mischievous, which he couldn't do earlier, because he was busy fighting for every breath! I had to pick my proverbial jaw off the floor when I saw him: he was barking, excited to see me... he ran down the stairs, wanting to jump on the neighborhood dog, not wanting to be restrained by the leash, as if nothing was ever wrong with him! In the 2 weeks that I didn't see him, he lost a bit of his tail--his last vertebra simply dropped off--dead. His teeth, however, lightened up--went from yellow to a normal off-white, and he gained some weight. Anyone else seeing him would notice the bony frame, the stick-like legs, the frayed ears, and think... boy that's one sick dog! But I've had the fortune to know the spirit that defines him. And I can only bow to that spirit. And to the girl who believed in that spirit more than anyone else did, and gave him a chance.

It has been a tough couple of months, but it finally seems like he going to pull through. So dear Mudra and Nemo, here's my 'hats off' to you two!

Monday, February 17, 2014

Wagentine weekend

Friday: What a day! Began with a rambling mail from a colleague that got me a bit tensed. Thankfully my manager intervened with a brief, sensible response. At work, you gotta love brevity!

In contrast another colleague was kind enough to acknowledge that he agreed with and liked an idea that I put forth when our manager asked for suggestions on presenting a certain type of information.

Then, I breezed through a few tasks assigned to me, which I would have otherwise put on hold until next week. I'm scared of taking on new items, because I don't know how long it would take to finish them. It helps to take time aside and estimate your workload, but being the procrastinator that I am, that too seems like something that can be done later. (Note to self: Grow up, dammit!)

I was supposed to participate in a rally to spread awareness about the proper way of addressing issues with stray dogs, but I couldn't go because of the workload. However, I kinda made up for it over the weekend by taking this awesome creature named Nemo to the vet.

This little guy has been fighting with multiple life-threatening issues since a month. A wonderful girl is taking care of his needs and giving him as much time and love and comfort as she can. The vet seemed to know which of his problems we need to tackle first so that the rest can be conquered one by one. For him, it's a matter of going ahead one breath at a time. I was awed and humbled by Nemo's spirit. He's such a sweetie pie. Here's sending out this wish to the universe... please give him the energy to see this struggle to the end and emerge a winner. Muah, Nemo!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Slacking off and miscellaneous stuff

Haven't blogged since Friday, and had a 3-day-morning-walk-holiday. Still, it's not like I feel rested or something. There's always chores. The weekend is almost spent in the kitchen. I have to make a conscious effort to not stick around there and do everything myself.

Sunday was a visit to the 'rents for lunch with the ILs. Went okay. Visited a friend of the MILs on the way back home... those ladies met 40 years since they were together in college. Wow, can't imagine how that must feel like! It was nice to watch them reminisce about the fun times they had, but the visit was very short, so we didn't get to hear a lot about their life back then. One of the good things about the ILs visiting is the stories that we get to hear about their lives as children. They almost always talk about how they went out and about, climbing trees, swimming in the river, or some such activity. It's a little sad that the future generations would miss having a carefree life closer to nature.

Makes me appreciate parents who really invest in their kids. My favorite Mad Momma, for example. Or the awesome people in this story: http://qz.com/165716/how-i-made-sure-all-12-of-my-kids-could-pay-for-college-themselves/

Then there was this couple I met in the morning, who were walking with their baby in a stroller. I was out with the dogs, off the leash. Normally, I steer them away from people, because most of them are wary of animals. This couple, however, called out to me, and asked for the dogs to get closer to the baby and say hello. Surprisingly, the pooches were a little shy today, but they did go closer and sniff the baby's feet. That tickled him so much and he let out a few gurgled-laughs. It was so cute! I was so happy to come across parents that don't scare their kids about animals.

Here's a picture of the pooches splayed on their mattresses...

Mojo has had an upset stomach since a week, but has been eating on and off. The bugger is cunning, though. We had decided to take him to the vet on Saturday, which is precisely when he started eating again. Ate well through Sunday, and was again in the food-avoidance-mode since Monday. We're going to wait and watch, he doesn't have any other symptoms. He does whine sometimes, but we don't know what to make of it.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Meryl Streep and Emma Thompson vs. stupidity

There's this:

... and then there are things like these:



I would like to think that the universe balances things out. But why doesn't it 'feel' balanced? Why does the stupid shit always outnumber the brilliant?

Thursday, January 09, 2014


... with college pals these days. It's been almost 14 years since we graduated and went our separate ways. We were a bunch of 20, and we spent quite a few afternoons not attending classes. :P

A dear friend shared this gem:

I was unbelievably thin back then, but I never felt that way. I blame my ex-boyfriend for always making me feel fat and "less than". So glad it didn't work out between us. I'd be a do-bachchon-ki-maa, sitting at home, wondering when her husband would deign to spend a few minutes with her.

The funny thing is, back then, my friends knew I could do better, but never said so to me. Another dear friend mentioned that to me sometime last year. Their reason for not bothering to point out this fact to me all those years ago was: you were blindly in love... you wouldn't have listened to us anyway. They had a point. Also, this friend who confided in me, was one that I thought was the laziest and a conformist. He turned out to be a totally different person, and I appreciate him so much more today. I'm looking at you, R!

Anyhoo. I was so thrilled to get this picture yesterday (can't thank you enough, M)! I had *totally* forgotten about this. M said that it was one of our trips where I brought my dad's bike along. Man, I used to be so cool! This is a good incentive to make me want to look like that again. I don't much care for who I was, back then. It has been established that I was a fool and I thought I was very smart and I clearly wasn't. :P

So here's what I want: to be the shape I used to be at 20, to have the drive and optimism that I had at 25, and to be as pragmatic and grounded as I am today. And possibly much more wiser as I grow older, and maybe a little bit more fun.

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

A small victory

I woke up at the usual time this morning and had a good half an hour to do all the necessary chores before I stepped out for a walk. Yet, I lay in bed, alternating between stretching and wondering how I could manage to do those tasks in time. After about 15 minutes of this, I decided  to stop wondering and simply start acting. Things would fall in place. And they did.

I stepped into the kitchen and started preparing for breakfast, assuming that the maid would come in late, and that I need to get the snack ready before MIL goes out for her walk... she normally eats after her tea, but before she goes for a stroll. I delayed my walk so that I could get the food ready in time, but fortunately, the maid came in sooner than I expected, and I could step out not too late.

When I came back, the food was ready, but MIL was about to leave without eating. That's when she mentioned that she would eat only after she got back. And I was like: facepalm! I should have simply asked, so that I could do my walk first. Anyhoo, no sweat. There was no time or love lost.

Normally, I'd be beating myself up about not organizing things well or doing them in a particular order, but today I had decided to take things in my stride. And it worked. I spent the morning without being agitated about one thing or the other.

A couple of nice things that happened: I saw a lovely parrot in flight, directly above me today, and another teeny yellow/brown/green bird hopping on a tree top (not the one in the previous post!) yesterday. Also, on both these days, the music player on my phone played my favorite song twice in a row... I hadn't put them on a loop or repeated them in the playlist on purpose (it might have happened accidentally, but I wasn't aware of that)... it was almost as if it knew I wanted an encore. Simple things, but they made me incredibly happy!

Here's another thing that makes me incredibly happy--a picture of the rising sun that I took a couple of weeks ago. :)

Monday, January 06, 2014

A week into 2014

... I'm happy to report that the morning walks have been a regular feature. I LOVE them, and the past two times, I remembered to take my phone along and listen to music. I'm soaking in the 8:00 am sun too. I've never once felt like not getting out of bed or not going for a walk. And I get to see this and many more interesting things:

Sunday was an exception, because we had to prepare for guests arriving that morning. I spent the whole day doing chores, and didn't get to have a siesta, but we finished watching Season 1 of Orange is the New Black. So yay! And I must say I was surprised by the end. In the first few episodes, thought I knew what was going on and what would happen, but the way the various shades of the characters were depicted throughout the season was brilliant. Loved it!

Also, as a trivia to note: the FIL has taken a liking to masala paapad! So I prepared some last night at dinner, and we all devoured them with glee :) Here's a sample:
The toppings are finely chopped tomato, onion, and corainder mixed with chaat masala and further topped with sev.

Saturday, January 04, 2014

Catching up with old friends

... is something I've been trying to do over the past couple of weeks. Today, one such old friend called me to say he was in town. There was no question I'd go meet him wherever he was. I'm a tad ashamed of not having attended his wedding, but I'm not too guilty about that, because, honestly, if I could, I wouldn't attend my own wedding!

Having said that, K1 and CC, I was so glad to catch up with you two together. I think it has been over 7 years! Assuming that you still take a peek at this blog sometimes, I'm leaving you with some pictures of us when we had more hair and fewer tyres ;)

Thursday, January 02, 2014

My heroes of 2013


Also, kudos to those to created and continue to maintain their website. It's simple and neat--no fluff--this is one more thing they are doing right.

I'm simply amazed by what these passionate people achieved over the year... going from activists to being forced into politics, which they took on with great courage and conviction.

I wish them all the best in 2014. May the citizens of India wake up and support these people who dared to stand for themselves and on the behalf of other commoners.

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Bye-bye dog year, welcome new year

I expect more of myself this year. Less couch-potatoism. More action. I did start with my favorite activity... a walk, so yay!

2013 was the year of the dog for me.

It started with the hubs and I coming across Barfi when we went for our nightly stroll with Mojo and Phoebe. She suffered from severe mange. We took her in, fed her and arranged for all her medication. The watchman tirelessly bathed her and applied medication, and she was fit and fine in a few weeks. Eventually, we spayed her and the maid her took her along where is well cared for, among other animals.

We attended our first ever stray puppy and kitten adoption camp. We grabbed 3 puppies off the street, bathed them, and took them across town with the help of a friend. We got incredibly lucky, and all 3 of them were adopted!
We also started feeding 4 puppies and 2 adult female dogs that lived at a construction site on the way to work. We wanted to get them adopted, but they all were very shy of humans. The mother dog bit the hubs and me when we tried to pick up the puppies and take them to the adoption camp. I've been bitten twice before, but had never taken any medication. This time, though, we got one anti-rabies shots.

In the mean time, I shared a lot of posts about abandoned/lost pets and tried to help them find homes. There was one particular lady who took in a bunch of days-old pups and nursed them and nourished them and found them good homes. We fostered one of those pups for a week too. A brindled-coated boy named Jimmy. He peed in our bed and got very naughty with Mojo and Phoebe, but we had a good time with him.

Our first set of great-grand-pups were born in August 2013!
The pups: Mojo x Phoebe
= The grand-pup: Muffin (among others in the 2nd litter)
+ Muffin x Mac
= The great-grand-pups: Dawn, Ninja, Sunshine, Cinnamon, Hazel, Mocha, Scooby, Sugar, Pearl
I made a trip to Bharuch to meet them when they turned one month old. Can't thank Muffy's human parents enough for having given us this gift!

Around the same time, I tried to get myself to run... not walk... run. My cousin helped me with the first push, and I had barely run for a week, when I came across 3 abandoned kittens. We had to take them in! They obviously took priority, and with the long nights, I couldn't carry on with the running any more. :(

Unfortunately, we lost 2 of the kittens after about 10 days... they were too young, and could not survive without their mother's nutrition and warmth. The last one was a fighter, though. He was diagnosed with a severe kidney infection, but responded well to medication and bounced back. He lived with us for more than 3 months, and towards the end, had begun to think that he owned us :P

Soon after we got the kittens home, my dearest Phoebe, so concerned for them, started lactating! She fed the kittens, but the milk was too much, and it hurt her. So, we wrote to an animal lovers' forum asking for orphaned pups who could do with some mother's milk. We found one, and she came home to stay with the kitten for a few weeks. The first week was harrowing, but as they settled down, we had fun watching them interact and play with each other. It was so adorable to see a cat and dogs live together and love each other!

We took the kitten to a couple of adoption camps... he got adopted at the second one. In the meanwhile, he had started accompanying the dogs and me on our walks... it was so cool!

Barely a week passed, and we got the opportunity to help another set of abandoned puppies... 4 siblings, who we housed in Mojo-Phoebe's crate. They were found by a lovely couple, who had a great network of friends and animal lovers. All the pups got adopted within a week!

Then, as the year waned, I participated in an intervention, where we spoke to the owner of an abused pet and tried to explain that his treatment of the dog was unacceptable. It escalated into a shouting match, but we could manage to leave with an understanding that the pet would be monitored over the next few weeks. If its condition didn't improve, the dog would be confiscated and put up for adoption into a family that really valued him.

I hope to be more active in helping out with stray animals this year, among other things. Health is another factor that I can no longer ignore. And then there's this feeling of sticking around in a place longer than I should... some action is required on that front too.