Scones…all of a sudden!

Something I’ve wanted to eat, so desperately, every time I read an Enid Blyton book.

Scones, warm and buttery, shared over an evening tea.
Scones, warm and buttery, topped with strawberry jam and a dollop of cream, shared by friends in their garden shed.
Scones, warm and buttery, filled with the goodness of blueberries, wolfed down by hungry girls after a lacrosse match!
Scones, warm and buttery, relished while perched on the strong boughs of the Faraway Tree!

As a 12-year-old living in Trivandrum of the late 90s, scones were something that could only be savoured in my imagination! I imagined the taste, the texture, the softness, the pure joy. I imagined it to look inviting and appealing. I imagined having it at one of my school parties after final exams. I imagined unpacking a box of scones during a school excursion. I have imagined a lot of scones, in short 😀

After about 7-8 years, I found something in a bakery, which the owner told me was a  Cream Scone. I jumped at it, bought one, bit into with much joy and immediately spat out and threw from my hand 😀 Yuck. “These aren’t scones“, I told him indignantly. It was just something shaped like an ice-cream cone, filled with sugary cream. Uuuugh. It was not warm, not buttery, and definitely not soft. And, did not look in the least fancy!

In time, I forgot about them. Then, after the Internet age dawned and flourished, every time I came across the word scones, I always meant to look it up, but never managed to.

Until last Thursday,  11th October 2018 (yes, verrrrrrrrrry late, I know!), when I opened my blog, saw a reply to a comment I left in another blog on Enid Blyton books and was hit by the thought of warm buttery scones! I immediately went on Google to look for images of scones and went “EH!?”

Scones

I guess despite telling the shopkeeper what he gave me wasn’t a scone, I might have expected scones to actually be shaped like a cone and have jam and butter filling 😀 Or, at least to look more fancy. These pics did not look fancy at all! Well, not the scones by themselves (though the accompaniments made the whole photograph pretty colourful and bright). They didn’t look warm or buttery or soft. Maybe I imagined it all wrong and simply craved for the wrong thing all these years. Blow Enid Blyton and her art of converting the mundane into yummilicious awesomeness!

Yesterday, Sunday, a colleague returned to work from his 3-week Canadian vacation and told us how he learnt from his aunt to make…yes, scones! What a coincidence. To this, another colleague went “Oooh, really? I’ve always wanted to taste a scone.” And, there I interjected and dashed her dreams using my new-found knowledge on scones, saying it’s not as fancy as it sounds, it is a flat, squarish thing and “looks more like an egg puff with no egg inside” 😛 And she goes “Really? I thought it was like a cone-shaped something, creamy and sweet“. And then, accompanied by nods from the new scone chef, I proceeded to tell her how it’s made and how quick and simple the whole process is, and most importantly how it is not shaped like a cone.

And today, Monday, I ate my first ever scone! And, while it looked exactly as scones look, the dear little thing definitely lived up to every bit of my imagination.

It was warm, buttery, soft and oh-my-good-lord-delicious!

And now, I feel like an entire era has come to an end 😉 The Age of the Scones is officially over!

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8 on 10.10.2018

Pumbaa_8th

Pumbaa, I mean. Eight! And, he has not a clue!

I made such a fuss of him in the morning before leaving to work, which surprised him fully well. His tail was wagging at 60 miles an hour, shaking his entire body and he kept circling me like I was some kind of God 😉 And I kept asking him, in my most energetic tone, “Today is your happy birthday Pumbaa…do you know?!” and each time he got more and more excited. I stopped only when I began to worry his tail may break off 😛

In the evening, I went home with some goodies and the two furballs had a little “Pumbaa Party” — with carrot cake, half a doughnut, chewsticks, biscuits and a bit of kibble. The surprise on Khloe’s face at this special meal was a sight in itself! 😀

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❤ ❤ ❤

A month ago, we took Pumbaa and Khloe to the vet here for their annual shots. The vet smiled, seeing Pumbaa in his hyper-energy, unable to sit still even for a minute, wanting to jump all over me, lick my face, put his paw around my shoulder, etc. And all this, in front of a perfectly calm, quiet Khloe who seemed to wonder what the boy was up to. The vet, after administering her shots, turned to Pumbaa and said “So, how old are you, my boy? Two?” He’d just been told that Khloe was 11, so I suppose he saw the hyperactive Pumbaa and assumed the boy must be a pup 😛 His eyes nearly fell out when we told him Pumbaa would be 8 in a month.

Pumbaa never got over his habit of jumping on people when someone walks in the door. When he was young, to make sure he wouldn’t nip us during those joyful jumps, we always asked him to quickly go fetch his toy. Poor darling, he now thinks anytime someone walks in the door, he must first fetch his toy and then welcome them and jump all over 😀

In his defense, we never got him trained to “be a good boy”. He’s a free-spirited dog and I have always been of the opinion that dogs be allowed to be themselves. To be like humans, we have human children to train, don’t we? 😀 I’ve never felt the need for him to know how to roll over, beg, shake hands, etc. That’s not what dogs are meant for. Well, he does know the words sit and stay (and sometimes I do wish he knew to heel) — but whether he obeys those commands depends on whether we have anything edible in our hands at that moment. 😉

Pumbaa has still not gotten over his love for toys. You give him a toy and he is on top of the world. You give him another toy expecting him to abandon the first one, but he is just a proud owner of two toys. On hindsight, we should never have named Khloe so, for initially, every time we asked Pumbaa “Where is Khloe?“, he used to immediately fetch his toy 😀

Pumbaa has still not gotten over his mad energy-spending rushes around the house. It’s one of the most hilarious things I’ve seen, and remains so every single time. The way he loses control, runs helter-skelter, bouncing off furniture and walls alike. And then settles down with a toy, ending the drama as abruptly as it had begun.

In all these 8 years, most things I’ve written about him have not changed. And I hope to God they don’t. For, even when the entire Universe is conspiring against us, Pumbaa is a constant, loyal support and source of unlimited joy: always welcoming, loving, treating us like his favourite cake in the world (and that’s saying a massive lot!) 🙂 I wouldn’t change a thing about him! 🙂 You’re perfect as you are, Pumbaa…no matter what others might say. In any case, you don’t care a bit what others think/say about you, do you? Aren’t you like me in that matter? 😉

Don;t change a thing, darling. Be Pumbaastic, forever. Love you loads!

My school that never was…

even remotely close to Malory Towers: the dream school, one of Enid Blyton’s best creations. And, how I’ve longed to be there!

I came across Malory Towers first when I was a 4th of 5th Std student, standing patiently by my cousin as she rummaged in her mom’s trunk at home, looking for “some Enid Blyton books you might like”. I saw a neat stack on books on one side, the topmost one titled “First term at Malory Towers”. Hardbound, with a most inviting cover picture. Yet, I took only the two books my cousin lent me—The Faraway Tree and The Enchanted Wood—and went my way. “Finish these and I’ll lend you the next set”, said she.

Well, in all probability, 2-3 days later, I went back for the next set. I was a fast, voracious reader (I still am). If I start on a book, I hate to stop in between. There was a time when my cousin used to take me to the lending library every 14 days during my summer holidays, because the minimum lending period without fine was 14 days. And, I would always take away 13 books every once in 14 days, much to the librarian’s initial wonder and later chagrin 😀 But, I digress.

So, yes, I must have been all of 10 when I got my hands on the Malory Towers series…and I was thoroughly lost in that world. The dormitories, the common room, the classrooms, the swimming pool, the games courts, the stable, the dining room. The pantomimes, the plays, the lessons, the tricks, the midnight feasts. The friends, the foes, the jealousies, the pity, the scorn, the sarcasm, the fun, the friendships, the evolving characters. Darrel, Alicia, Sally, Irene, Belinda, Gwen, Mavis, Betty, Daphane, Mary-Lou, Bill and Clarissa. And the other girls who came in one term and left later for various reasons. The headmistress, the mistresses, the support staff. The parents.

The book went through Darrel Rivers’ six years at boarding school, before she went off to University. So, at the end of the series, I counted back and realised that The First Term would be her Std 7 😀 And, in two years from then, I myself would be in Std 7 🙂 What joy if we could have half that fun!

Cut to my school.

My own school life was totally different. I was in a mixed school, a day-school, which had classes from Lower KG right up till Std 12. A most horrible man for Principal and a horde of teachers who believed that teaching was all about terrorising kids. Well, at Stds 5 and 6, we were considered too little for the teachers to take notice of us. I don’t remember bad times during then. So, these things didn’t quite affect us either. But when I look back now at Stds 8 and above, I have no good memories of that school. No good memories of amazing teachers. No good memories that ever made me want to go back there as an alumni.

Over 90% of our teachers, teaching in a co-ed school as they did, were completely loathe to seeing boys and girls interacting. And especially so for Stds 9 and above. There was to be no gender mixes in friendships, girls were not to be seen with boys and vice-versa, and had no hold over their (often in bad taste) runaway tongues. And, it did not help one bit that I was every bit a tomboy and had more male friends than females.

There was favouritism of the highest order. I was a good singer, but there were already other tenured singers who went their way up from Lower KG. I was a fresh face from Std 5. In a singing competition, they initially announced the 1st prize for me, saw one of the tenured singers burst into tears…and promptly shifted the award in her name. I was taken aside and told “You know you are a better singer, we all think so. But see, we can’t make her miserable because she’s always won it till now. As long as you know you are better, what does an award matter?” And the second, third and consolation prizes all went the usual ones who would receive them before I joined the school. I was a mere 10-year-old, who felt extremely hurt and insulted, and vowed to never sing in that school again 😀

Through Stds 6, 7, 8 and 9, I remember the extreme animosity between boys and girls in our classes…mainly because our teachers hated to see any unity and always made remarks to the likes of “Girls of this class are…” and “Boys of this class are…”, generalising every single incident, even if it only included one or two individuals. And, students were always at fault. Anyone who weren’t 1st, 2nd or 3rd rank holders in each class were too “useless and dumb” in their eyes. On hindsight, those days, I used to hate the boys in my class because their animosity (egged on by our teachers) were quite visible and continuous. And vice-versa. And, at the same time, most of my closest friends were my brother’s friends—boys who were 2 years elder to me—and other boys who were neighbours! Yet, not a single male friend did I have in my own class. Years of this had tuned us to hate classmates of the opposite gender.

It was while I was in Std 10 that we had a most lovely and able man for a Principal, one who looked at things from the students’ point of view as well. And, it was in that year that I, breaking out of my girls-only-cocoon, made friends with some boys in the class. And, instantly, became a sore spot in the eyes of my teachers. A series of horrible things happened, but we as a group went through them like they didn’t matter. But one day, all hell broke loose when our History teacher, who was known as the terror of the school, injustly accused my friend for something I did. She marched into class, and started abusing both of them, in front of 35 other startled boys and girls. I was seething, but my friend told me to let it go, that she was happy to take the blame. But when that horrible woman then started being downright vulgar in her “character assessment”, I flew into an absolute rage. In front of that same startled classroom, I put her violently in her place. I told her she was a disgrace to the entire teaching community, to the women community and to human community, the way her mind works. I no longer remember what exactly I told her, but my tirade was so loud and strong, she was speechless. When I was done, still trembling with rage, she said “I’ll report you to the principal and have you expelled”, to which I said “Not if I get to him before you do”. I marched into the Principal’s office, narrated the entire incident, and owned up to having yelled at a teacher. He heard me out patiently and as she barged in a while later with a group of her close allies (equally horrible disgraces to all those aforementioned communities), he made her apologise to me. Oh, how she hated me, for the entire school heard about this and she was no longer a terror. Earlier, boys and girls in conversation would flee in separate directions if someone so much as whispered that the History teacher was coming their way—because she could not stand the sight of a boy and a girl talking outside class. After this incident, the minute someone spotted her, they would grab the nearest person from the opposite gender and start a loud happy conversation. Well, I did not wish for any of this to happen, I only stood up for what I thought was right that day. But, she hated me for ruining her ‘aura’. She cursed me in front of my classmates before we went for our Std 10 board Exams, telling me I’d fail pathetically in my exams and be a disgrace to my family and myself, and that I’d never reach anywhere. She said “The curse of a teacher is the worst and will always come true. You just wait!” She also carved into one of the school walls the absolutely miserable marks I would score. It was with immense pleasure that I went to meet her when the results were announced, taking her to that very wall and showing her that her stupid predictions didn’t come true, for I’d passed with flying colours. The last thing I said to her was “You’ve to be a ‘genuine teacher’ for a ‘teacher’s curse’ to come true.” And, strangely, I felt no guilt, for that woman genuinely deserved no respect! That Principal didn’t last their long, of course. The post was taken over by one we could call a rubber-stamp, and the aforementioned teachers ruled the roost.

In Stds 11 and 12, school turned out to be a nightmare for most of us, especially for me, no thanks to my “history” with the History teacher. And anyone who dared to be my friend was treated with the same contempt 🙂 Which only brought out the worst in us. The Math teacher HATED us enough to screw up her face in disgust if she saw us: because some of us weren’t so good in Math. My best friend was a genius in Math – she couldn’t lose even a single mark, even if she tried. She was always, every single day, scorned for being friends with the rest of us ‘brainless idiots’. I mean, if teachers scorn the kids who are weak in their subject of expertise and keep focusing on kids who excel in it, what’s the use of being a “teacher”? I was the English teacher’s delight, but she had more allegiance to her colleagues (especially the Math and Biology teachers) and did her best to appear disinterested and disappointed in me for being no good in Math! Except for two of us, the majority of the gang were in the Biology teacher’s class…and owing to her allegiance to the Math and English teachers, she made life hell for those friends of ours.

Everyday, there was some punishment or the other. There was one insult or the other. There was one cutting remark (of mental prowess, lack of parental guidance, of all the kids in the world, why you) or the other. And, all of these made us more and more rebellious. We cared more about pissing these women off and ruining their days than about studying and scoring high marks in school. (On hindsight, I’m sooo not proud of this!) And thankfully, none of us ever failed in any exams. Subjects that we were weak in, we would still scrape by but never fail. Much to the chagrin of those teachers. And since we wouldn’t fail and they couldn’t demand that we bring in our parents, they finally came up with stories about how all of us were in relationships and those relationships were the sole reason we were turning up in school every day and how despicably wayward we were. We were 3 girls and 5 guys in the group. I’m surprised they didn’t say we were in multiple relationships! 😛 The Math teacher, my class teacher, called my parents to school once and blasted the living daylights out of them for bringing up a girl so badly, for being irresponsible parents and for letting their horrible daughter take their trust for granted. She told my parents I was in a relationship with my friend, who was an orphan and had no good means of living. This same woman who had hated my brother while he was in school, now praised him skyhigh and said “Why can’t your daughter be a bit like her brother at least? He was such a nice student, such a nice boy.” Hurt as they were, after a meltdown at home later that evening, my parents saw sense when I explained it all clearly. I even offered to call up the boy’s house and have my parents talk to his, for he was no orphan! And, the absolute surprise (followed by scorn and bellowing laughter) on my brother’s face at the praise he seemingly received seemed to explain more about the true colours of that teacher to my parents. And in stark contrast, my professors in the University absolutely loved me, and once called my parents to college during my final year. The previous time my teachers called my parents, it was a horrible day for them, so my Mom was sure she was in for another earful of abuse about her daughter. When the Head of my Department said “Your daughter is our true hope of a rank for our college”, my mother actually had a BP rise out of sheer surprise and sort of fainted! ROFL. 

In all this, within and outside of school I did have a lot of fun with my friends, but I’ll only remember those days for the fun I had with them and never for the school life that’s supposed to be some of the best times in a child’s life. It was fun we had DESPITE the school being so horrible. When I look back today, I’m not thoroughly pleased at how we rebelled, but at that point, that seemed the only sensible thing to do. I recently spoke to some of the more mellow, “good students” (esp in the eyes of these very horrible teachers), and none of them seem to look back at that school life fondly. I was only too glad to get out of there, never to go back. I’ve received a few Alumni meet invitations, but I turned down everyone of them. And, I will continue to do that. Sometimes, I do wish my parents had admitted me into some other school, but I guess I turned out the way I am because of all that the school threw at me. I may have scored higher marks in another school with less of this bullshit, but I may have been a completely different person today.

So, why did I go down memory lane with a long post about a school life I hated? Because the past week, as a 33-year-old, I went back to reading Malory Towers 😀 And nothing seems to have changed in the past 20+ years, for how I longed to be there! How I wished my school life had been simpler, more fun and more meaningful. How I wished I ha fabulous memories to share today. How I wished I had not been a student in my beastly school (and still see it as a place that did me no good and one I’d never return to) and had been to one that was at least half as fun as Malory Towers! How I wish my school-time memories were far more beautiful than they ever will be. And, how I wish the beastly women who taught in that school had taken up alternate careers that were faaaaaaar removed from teaching and schools and kids. Sigh.

Introducing Two 12 Year Olds :)

Like I once said here before, there isn’t a lot to love about Kuwait. At least, not for me or my many, many expat colleagues at work. But unlike most of them, I wouldn’t say this is a horrible place altogether. It has its pluses.

And the biggest plus-feather on Kuwait’s cap is, well, that it’s in the Middle East, to start with. Which means, its connectivity to places around the world is not just good, but also pretty economical: you save both, time and money.

So, when Hobbes, Pumbaa and Khloe joined me here in May last year, we charted a plan to travel as much as we could in the time that we are here. You know how things are always bit of an ‘unexpected’ in the Middle East.

The first thing we’d to figure out was where Pumbaa and Khloe would go on vacation, while we went on ours. Chancing up on Pet Land, Kuwait, was a blessing: the two wag-a-lots are not just well fed and taken care of, they actually look and act very happy every time they’re off for a stay and when they’re back as well. So, that’s a check!

The next one was to decide which country we start our escapades with. Options were aplenty: start with the nearby Middle Eastern countries or head to the European ones? We went with the obvious and decided to choose from the ones in the middle eastern region, in this order:

Egypt – because I cannot die before I see the Pyramids, or I’ll be haunting the Earthlings forever.
Jordan – because Petra, duh!
Lebanon – because a colleague raved about it no end after he went there.
Qatar – because I have cousins there, so free stay and food 😀 (shameless, I know, but no other reason to go to Qatar, really).
Oman – well, it’s a country, it’s nearby and we’ve heard the landscape is amazing.
Bahrain – again, well, a country.

After much deliberation, we agreed that going to Egypt, just the two of us, may not be ideal (plus, a colleague was itching to come along whenever we go). The same colleague went all by himself to Jordan, so it was an easy decision to make.

And, so, like a whirlwind, a trip materialised and off we went on an 8-day tour of that faaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaabulous country called Jordan! We spent one day in Amman, one in Jerash and Dead Sea, two in Little Petra and Petra, one in Aqaba (Red Sea), one in Wadi Rum (where my heart’s gone and hidden itself, refusing to come away), one more in Dead Sea and one in Jesus’s Baptism Site before we wailed our way back to Kuwait.

Our Jordan hangover was barely over, when trip #2 materialised: not part of the list above and completely out of the blue, we were off to Turkey…with the dear friend and her family! We spent three days in Istanbul (Hagia Sophia checked on the bucket list!), one in Alacati and Ephesus, one in Pamukkale and Hierapolis and four in Cappadocia (where now a bit of my heart, that tore itself away from Wadi Rum, resides in one of the fairy chimneys).

Talks of the next trip is ongoing, but I won’t give it much thought until it materialises, since I have a talent for screwing up my own plans and dreams 😉

In all this, we decided that our trip memories needed an identity of their own, hence…

Presenting Two12YearOlds.WordPress.Com

Please follow, like, comment and share some ❤ ❤ ❤

Two12YearOlds.Wordpress.Com

For the love of TEAvana

One of the good things that happened with my move to Kuwait was the introduction of several big brand names into my life: names I had only hitherto read in books or seen/heard on TV. And, we’re talking about brands such as Pottery Barn, Harvey Nichols, The Cheesecake Factory, Debenhams, Nyx, Footlocker, American Eagle Outfitters, The Body Shop, Charlotte Tillbury, Victoria’s Secret, P.F. Chang’s, &OtherStories, William Sonoma, Boots, Solaris, Kidzania, Starbucks, Bath&BodyWorks, Jack Wills, Texas Roadhouse, Milano and West Elm…to name just a few. While I knew that I was entitled to an employee discount at all of the brands we operate – over 90 of them – what I didn’t know was that, even with a 30% employee discount, I wouldn’t be able to afford half of the stuff from most of these brands 😛

Yet, I went about exploring what each one had to offer. Except for some of the Food brands, I found none that called out to me. Well, except PotteryBarn, but I’m not paid enough for that 😛 Still, it was fun to recall some of the names I’ve read in the Shopaholic series of books and marvel at how I didn’t have to be in Paris or New York to be able to pop into some of these stores, touch and feel them, look at the price tags, let out a deep sigh and walk away, thanking my stars that I did not have a credit card and wasn’t a shopaholic like Becky Bloomwood.

A couple of weeks after I joined and settled in, my kind manager took me on a tour of the The Avenues, the one-stop shop for all our brands…and more. And, the one that absolutely caught my fancy? TEAVANA. I’d never heard of it before (yes, I hadn’t!) and I was stunned at the rows and rows of different flavours of tea that filled up this most beautiful store! My my, how could there even be that many teas!? The sales girl won me over by allowing me to taste several of their teas, after each of which I excitedly exclaimed “How lovely! I like this one better than the last!” Trust me, I had no clue which was which and if she was giving me the same tea over and over again 😛

I don’t think my manager had ever seen me that excited before and told me we had more stores to cover. I gave no heed and was going about enjoying another ‘taster’ cup of yet another lovely tea, when he actually told the sales girl to stop taking me on a tea-high and wheeled me about. And, that’s when my eyes fell on the B.E.A.U.T.I.F.U.L. Japanese tea sets: in cast iron and porcelain. I gave out a squeal and he nearly spilled his tea in fright. He laughed at me saying “My life! I should never have brought you here!”

It was love at first sight. And it was a relationship that would never work out. because they were ridiculously expensive. Yet, from then on, every time I went to The Avenues, I would pass by the Teavana store, longing for a cast iron tea set and wishing it up on me.

It took 22 months for the universe to conspire in my favour. Ok who am I kidding!? The universe had nothing to do with it (because it’s just some bullshit Paulo Coelho came up with to make money off his book!) and that’s not how the Universe functions. Bah!

Two things worked in my favour:

  1. My unabashed and repetitive proclamation of love for the Teavana tea set, letting all my colleagues know that if they were ever at a loss about what to gift me, they should always remember the Teavana Cast Iron tea set 😀
  2. The arrival of Hobbes into my life and his decision to stay forever ❤

So, there was to be a celebration and the colleagues were to get me a gift. The top boss killed all ideas of vouchers and gift cards and said “get her something that she’d love to keep forever”.

They planned it through a whole week. One person booked a meeting with me to discuss “Communications Next Steps” for one of the projects and suggested we meet in the cafeteria instead of at our desks. As we walked into the cafeteria, I saw a group of people who are all my friends but never really group together…and they were awkwardly silent, looking to the other side, standing around a table. And I casually remarked to my meeting partner “That’s a strange bunch over there. Are they having a silent prayer or something?” So, when I realised they were all waiting for me, it was a pleasant surprise!

My erstwhile manager then congratulated me and spoke about how happy I looked and how Hobbes and I are great together, and so on. And in the middle of his talk, one of them who was leaning on the table moved aside and I glimpsed a ribbon-wrapped box, with a name that made me squeal that same squeal from 22 months ago, much to his amusement.

Again, unabashed, I started hopping and jumping in such child-like excitement that he wrapped his speech and told me to open the box.

And that’s how this Limited Edition Teavana Gold Imperial Dragon Cast Iron Tea Set found its way unto me! 

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When I reached home, I unwrapped it again, took pics and wrapped it all back up! About time I get back to my senses and actually have some tea from my precious tea-pot!

Teavana, acquired by Starbucks, is in the process of being shutdown the world over and they no longer produce these. So, Teavana tea-ware have now become truly collector’s items! Added joy to self 😉

My first circus…

I remember seeing of circuses in movies – The Bombay Circus, The Gemini Circus and some others – and wondered when I would get to see one. Then I grew up some more and would hear friends talking about having seen a circus or two and what fun it was…and I wondered when I would get to see one. Then I grew up even more and got all passionate about animals and their welfare…and absolutely HATED the idea of a circus. I was glad I never saw one ever!

Then on, any time I saw of a circus via movies, all I could see was the pathetic looks, body language and the absolutely broken spirits of those animals. Each time we saw of it together, I’d always tell Hobbes I’ve never seen one and I don’t want to…and the discussion would end in animal abuse, how human aren’t humane and what not.

So, when Hobbes suggested we go for a circus, my first thought was “Errr…what!?” And then I went on to the link he shared and it looked good. I grudgingly agreed, stating “I hope the animals won’t be abused”. To which he said, there aren’t any animals, just a couple of horses…and they all look well kept!” And I got all excited because I looooove horses.

My first circus was not when I was 3, not even when I was 13. It was last week, I was all of 33 and I was just as enthralled as I would have been if I were just 3 or 13! 🙂

My first circus was The Golden Age Circus, and what an incredible experience it was! It was sheer magic, some of the acts. Some of them sheer beauty. And some, just downright dangerous-looking-adrenaline-rising acrobatics! Two hours of an evening well spent! 🙂

TheGoldenAgeCircus

And those horses…my goodness. They were absolutely shining, with lovely flowing manes, and looked extremely well fed and looked after! ❤ Granted, their training might include some harsh times, but I could see no broken spirit in them. And, the acts were simple and fun…nothing earth-shattering that the horses would have had to go through hell for. I would like to believe they haven’t gone through any mistreatment the way we’d expect bears and tigers and elephants to be in a circus, because horses are like dogs, aren’t they…ever ready to please their human partners. And they do love a bit of dance themselves! Very evident in the “Dancing and Prancing” video below…look at that beauty, just loving the “first one leg stretch, then other leg stretch” walk! ❤ Loved, loved, absolutely loved them. I reallllllllly wanted to follow them backstage and tell them how amazing they are!

Words won’t do justice, so I won’t attempt to write about each show/act. Here are some videos I took.

Double Chocolate Treat (Horses)   |    Somersaults on a Horsie   |   Dancing and Prancing (Horse)
Motors in a Deathly Bubble   |   Four Floating Fairies   |   A Super Scary Balance

There were several more, which I did not capture on camera. If these guys ever come around to where you live, please do book yourself a ticket! You won’t regret it.

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My first circus was an experience I’ll remember for a long time to come.

****** ❤ ******

Below’s what the website for the circus had, as an event description. I’ve copied it verbatim, for I believe after March 31, the page might no longer be accessible.

Since its earliest days, the circus has stood as a symbol for the world in which we live. A fantasy land where imagination knows no bounds and where frontiers simply do not exist, it is where tradition meets innovation to weave together a colorful tapestry of artistic creativity. It speaks a universal language that has captivated and enthralled audiences around the world for well over a century.

The Touristic Enterprises Company (TEC) and Cirque Madona Bouglione invite you to take a magical journey through time and space, to see the beauty and wonder of our world through the eyes of the circus.

This spellbinding spectacle will feature more than a dozen of the world’s finest circus performance acts, who will set out to captivate your senses with a breathtaking medley of circus art, music, technology and sheer fantasy.

This is the circus reimagined; an entertainment extravaganza created exclusively for Kuwait.

This is “The Golden Age”.

The fabulous world of Le Cirque Bouglione
The Cirque Bouglione has a long history in the proud and whimsical tradition of the circus.

The story originally began in Paris in 1907 with the four Bouglione brothers. Driven by their passion for creativity and performance arts, the Bougliones were true pioneers in the circus world, creating audacious, mesmerizing and completely captivating extravaganzas that enthralled audiences for decades.

Today the Bouglione legacy lives on through Madona Bouglione, daughter of the eldest Bouglione brother and founder of the circus. Although deeply rooted in the time-honored tradition of the circus, Madame Bouglione also has a profound fascination with innovation and technology.

With a clear artistic vision and a true love for the performing arts, Madona Bouglione brings together the enchantment of the past with the thrill of the future to create her one-of- a-kind spectacles. Each show features a true menagerie of artists and performers; from acrobats and dancers, to singers and actors, to mimes and the beloved clowns that symbolize the very-essence of the circus.

Welcome to the new era of the circus.

A journey through time…
an experience to enthrall the senses and dazzle the imagination…
The circus has always held a special place in the world of entertainment. A fantasy land where imagination knows no bounds, it has long enthralled audiences.

Yet, what many people do not know is that the circus has always been a birthplace of innovation and new discoveries. From its earliest days, it served as a magical window into fascinating worlds and new experiences. In fact, it was at the circus that many people first came into contact with electricity, or first saw the magnificent and magical creation that is film, or even first discovered an elephant or a giraffe.

In “The Golden Age”, Cirque Bouglione and TEC invite you to take a journey through time and space, to live through a brief snapshot of world history…as told through the eyes of a circus. It is an entertainment extravaganza created exclusively for Kuwait.

This spellbinding journey will feature more than a dozen of the world’s finest circus performance acts, who will set out to captivate your senses with a breathtaking medley of circus art, music, technology and sheer fantasy.

This is the circus reimagined, for an experience unlike anything Kuwait has ever seen.

To You…With Love, Your Little Boy!

You know how life can be a ***** if you’re in the wrong place at the wrong time with the wrong people? Mine was like that for a rather long time. That entire time that we call the “prime of our youth”. From the time I was born till I was about…40ish, as you may say?

By then, I’d seen the worst of people, lived in the worst of places, been used, abused and seldom spared. And at that kind of age, having lived through that kind of pain, you sort of stop believing. At least, I did. Several times, several things.

I stopped believing there could be happiness. I stopped believing there could be joy. I stopped believing there could be light. And wind. And aromas. And good feelings. And love. And care. And hugs. A pat on the back. A clean bed. Some good food. A bath. A home. A family.

More than anything, I stopped believing there could be good people. Like really good human beings. I had only seen the kind that abused me: verbally, physically, mentally. Though I’ve had my escapes, I seldom saw any difference in the ones I ended up with.

In my early 40s, I managed to escape from that hell I’d been in till then. From a group of people who used and tortured me, I was sent to a house where they still wanted to use me. The guy in the house wanted me to get him his shoes, his paper, his bag. In a couple of days, he realised that I had no clue what he wanted of me, and he dropped me back where he’d picked me up from. I was then sent to another house, where a lady seemed to rather like me, but her man couldn’t stand the sight of me. I had to be “returned to the pool” again. Someone else then took me to their house. These folks were gentler, was kind to me, seemed to care for my needs, fed me well (I even got a few hugs!) But, I didn’t reciprocate. I didn’t budge. I wanted to, but I was scared. Like the proverbial cat in hot water. It’s no good opening your heart to people you aren’t sure you can trust. And as I said, I’d stopped believing in people. What if these people were up to no good either?

And I knew I was right when I was put on a very noisy, very dirty train…and sent off. To God-knows-where. I was surprised too, because one of those gentle people was crying bucket loads when she saw me leave in that train. If she liked me so much, why couldn’t I stay? The other one seemed to accompany me, because he kept appearing now and then to feed me. Anyway, after hours and hours of that train engine clanking in my ears, I got off it. That guy then took me to another house.

A kind old woman took me into the house, she seemed delighted to see me. There was a stern-looking old man as well, he seemed least moved to see me. I ate some food, took the mandatory tour of that big house and resigned myself to either more torture or another abandonment. In fact, I waited for it. For days, weeks. And then it slowly dawned on me that there wasn’t going to be any torture, nor would there be any abandonment. I was there to stay. For good.

The woman continued to be gentle and kind…and the man began loosening up too. In fact, he became my go-to person when I had nothing else to do. Well, not like I had any duties, in any case.

I was beginning to see a different side of the “people” I’d stopped believing in. There seemed to be goodness left in some of them. Yet, I was always on guard, expecting the worst to hit. I cringed at the mere sound of a cough. I started at every sneeze. Every time a vessel or a ladle clanked on to the ground, I bolted. And in each of these instances, either the kind old woman or the no-longer-stern old man held me close and comforted me, assuring me all was well.

I was told by the kind woman to call her Ammumma and to call the man Appuppa. I was told I am in Trivandrum. I was told I was in God’s Own Country, and that God had seen enough of my misery and had finally given me a home (and I believed it, because I was actually seeing people who were capable of being kind and loving!) in God’s very country. I was told I was there to stay forever, and all I had to do there was enjoy my life. I was told there would be no use, abuse or torture. I was told there were no expectations of me. I was shown where the kitchen is, where my food would be served, where all I could sleep, where all I could go, what all I could do, who all I would meet.

For the first time in my life, I was not told what I could/should not do! For the first time in my life, I was happy. For the first time in my life, I began believing again. And the first of my new-found beliefs was that I was HOME. And that I had a family. And that there were God Human Beings (no, that’s not a typo)!

My life with Ammumma and Appuppa at Bhamalayam was nothing short of a fairytale. I had visitors (can you believe that!?) streaming in to see me, the new member of the family. Some of them, though not very fond of me, always came with some goodies for me. I was constantly checked on…to make sure I was happy and comfortable. I was constantly apologised to (boy – was that new!) every time they saw me cringe, start or bolt. I was hugged, kissed and cared for like there was no tomorrow!

Appuppa: the guardian of my safe spot. Anytime I felt uncomfortable or uneasy, I would quickly go and position myself beside his chair. He hand would automatically reach out and assure me that all was well. He wouldn’t gush over me like Ammumma would, but he did have a few special words for me and a special softness of voice and tone reserved for me. One look from him, one touch…and I knew perfectly well how loved I was and that I was completely secure in his presence. He made my bed on the couch (well one of my many beds in the house) and let me sleep in comfort. He let me into his car and took me places. He had a special glint in his eye every time he spoke of me…and to me. And, his meals were never complete unless that last bit was shared with me.

Ammumma: My guardian angel. My constant conversationist. My source of compassion and love. She would make me my bed, give me warm blankets, why she even gave me a hand-made pillow! She fed me everything I wanted…and often more than that too. Sometimes if I was too full, I wouldn’t eat something she gave me. She would think it was because I didn’t fancy the taste…and immediately replace that with something else! Everything she made tasted like manna to me, so I would end up forgetting that I am full and wolf it all down. Why say more: she would even shoo away her own son if she ever thought he was bothering me.

And I: The spoilt little boy of Bhamalayam, experiencing people, feelings, foods and life in a way I never imagined I ever would.

Appuppa was my pack leader and I was his favourite pack member. I’ve seen and heard him with many other members of the pack. Not once have I heard him speak to anyone else with the same affection he had for me. I knew I was special to him, he knew he was special to me too. It was our little secret…and I let it stay that way because Ammumma always thought only she was special to me 😉 ❤ ❤ ❤

And how she was! I was her shadow. Constantly checking on her, making sure she wouldn’t leave me alone for too long. Keeping her company late into the night as she sat in her favourite chair, scrolling through her phone messages or reading the newspaper. It was a matter of pride for her that I was her shadow. She would say that to everyone. How I was constantly keeping her in my line of sight, how I kept her company and even woke her up in the mornings. How I was always by her side and demanded that she kept massaging my little head 🙂 ❤ ❤ ❤

I also briefly had to live with Ammumma’s son, Ayuchettan, who scared the bejeezus out of me initially. I don’t know what it was about him – his loudness, his unruliness, his civet-like manner – but I was scared of him. I was also constantly scared he would eat all my food. The minute he emerged from his room, I would keep running away and beyond. Somewhere deep inside, I knew he meant me no harm, but I didn’t like the fact that he suddenly appeared in this house which was given over to me for free use. Anyway, he moved out soon enough and I had my home and my Ammumma and Appuppa all to myself. Occasionally, when he visited after that, I was civil to him. And as the visits grew farther in time and fewer in number, I realised that he’d always only loved me and hoped that I’d love him too. We’ve had many good moments together, much to everyone else’s amazement. I’m glad I had the chance to show him that I loved him too! 🙂 ❤

A few others I absolutely loved and had amazing times with were Mayammumma, DineshAppuppa, Divyachechi and Darshi. That house was my vacation home. Such fun! Don’t know where Divyachechi and Darshi vanished to, but my vacation home always remained intact! 🙂 ❤

Piyachechi used to drop in now and then. The first time she appeared in the house was when I realised this was the same girl who wept bucketloads when I got on that train and left. She’d loved me way too much, but didn’t have a place for me in her house. And that’s why she decided that I should be with her mom and dad…and she transported me to the best place on earth. She’d go “Boooch babyyyy…” and shower much love on me. It used to surprise me that despite having Pumbaa and Khloe with her, she could still love me like that. She even bought the two of them home for a month once. How fun that was. Khloe and I bonded instantly, and Pumbaa got a little jealous. It was much fun playing hard to get when he tried to befriend me. And finally when I decided to let him be friends, it was a bit too late – he was thoroughly fed up of me and made that very vocal too! Sigh. Field days, those were! 🙂 ❤

Oh, I must not forget the story of “Mother Bruce”. I had this habit of taking long afternoon naps and then getting up all groggy. I would want to walk out of the bedroom, but I always somehow stalled by the door-frame, with the tip of the curtain draped over my head. Appuppa would look at me then and loudly announce to no one in particular, “Mother Bruce has risen!” 😀

I also remember a Thiruvathirakali practice that happened at home once. There were a bunch of women who were all yapping loudly and not letting me sleep in peace. So, I decided to entertain them and be entertained myself. In my classic fashion, I walked right into the group, expecting squeals of delight (like the ones from Ammumma when she sees me). To my utter surprise, there were people going helter-skelter, screaming, yelling, jumping over each other and what not. All at the sight of poor me! Gosh, it was such cacophony that I chose to exit the house quickly! I thought a module of C.A. that’s loudly taught at the neighbour’s house would be far less painful to my ears! 😀 😀 😀 What ensued after I exited is a tale I’ve only heard Ammumma tell and re-tell to all and sundry…but the glee on her face every time she narrated this story to someone! Only I – let me repeat – ONLY I could ever bring that kind of joy to her 😉 Oh and that other time I went on a walk by myself through the unknown pathways of Mangalam Lane. Gosh – I gave her and Appuppa such a scare, but that was a fun day. Only I could have done something drastically stupid like that and gotten away with it (anyone else would have got royally beaten up by Ammumma and Appuppa for putting them through sheer stress) 😉

In all, I had a most amazing time there. If I spent 40 odd years of my life in Hell, I truly believe that I had about 400 years’ worth of grand times in Heaven – with Appuppa and Ammumma. Which is why, even though it was about time for me to leave, I made sure I waited and welcomed Hobbes into the family. I heard that Hobbes told Piyachechi that his enduring memory of me is how I was standing in front of the lamp, along with Ammumma, welcoming the two of them into the house on Feb 18, 2018. That’s a pretty sweet thing to say about me.

Hobbes, thank you for all that you did for me…I’ll never forget you. Ammumma and Appuppa really needed you there when I left 🙂 ❤ And, please tell Piyachechi that it was my blessing, having had that life with Ammumma and Appuppa 🙂 ❤


Appuppa and Ammumma,
I want to THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart for giving me nearly five years
of love, comfort and the security of your home and hearts!
If Piyachechi says I made you all better people with my unconditional love,
that’s only because the two of you loved me so much
that I began to believe again!
I know it tore you apart to see me go,
but please always remember that
I know you’ve always done what’s best for me
.
Though I miss you to bits, I’m happy here, I have good company.
I will always see you from up here and love you through your days.
It will hurt me to see you cry for me…instead,
be happy in my thoughts and memories,
because no matter how many years pass,
I’ll always remain your little boy!

Lots of love, licks, wags and head-nudges,
❤ Your little Bruce Nayar ❤

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— A guest post based on a true story, by Bruce Nayar
(from the other end of the Rainbow Bridge)