365 days in Kuwait

It was on 18 March, 2016, that I got on a Kuwait Airways flight, bidding goodbye to the few things I held dear to me in Bangalore. I was pretty sure I wouldn’t miss Bangalore much.

And I was right. All I missed of Bangalore (and how!) were my two tail-wagging angels, one whose angel I was, the dear brother and the lush-lush greens and lovely colours of my lovely (rented) house garden. Trust me, nothing more. I’ll get to that later.

Though I say these were all I missed, these were the very essence of my life, and leaving them behind was not easy. Uprooting yourselves from a place you’ve called ‘home’ for  over 8 years–and a country you’ve lived your entire life until then–to move to a new place for a new job and a new way of life can’t ever be easy.

It was not. Especially not in a place like Kuwait.

What can I say about Kuwait? Well, perhaps the same thing I keep telling people who ask me how I like it. That it’s not a bad place at all. That in fact, it is quite nice (contrary to the many stories I was ‘warned’ with, prior to my accepting the offer and moving over).

Just that it isn’t a place you want to be alone in. So, what’s there to like?

  1. Well to start with, there is a beach around almost every corner. How many times have I gone to one in the past 365 days? Once.
  2. This is a foodie’s paradise. Name any cuisine and you have authentic and spurious versions of both, across all price ranges. How many have I tried? Well, very few (those too, only as part of my job).
  3. This is a fashion lover’s heaven. Brands I’ve only read of in books/seen in movies, I see all over the place here. Clothes, shoes, bags, accessories… How many have I walked into? Very few, and for obvious reasons.
  4. There are quite a few “places to see”, which can keep you busy for at least a month, if you were to do one every day. How many have I done? Perhaps five.

These obvious stuff apart, if you have the will and the time, there is A LOT that Kuwait offers to keep you occupied and interested.

There’s theatre, there’s music, there’s art, there’s all kinds of community clubs and events, there’s a variety of sports, there are many museums, there are frequent concerts, there are shows and cultural/food festivals…there’s  just a lot one can do. And for the travel lover, great connectivity (and affordable travel) to a plethora of places, especially to several that are on top of my list!

Yet, so far, I’ve only done the music. Because while time is all I’ve had aplenty, I have not yet had the will. Don’t ask me why.

I spent a good part of the past year deliberating on whether or not I’m here to stay. Well, when I decided to move here, I’d come with a three-year plan. But within a few weeks of being here, I was very tempted to covert the 3-year to a 3-month plan 😀 But now, all that’s about to change. And for the good, I hope. The three-year plan is back…and is probably now a 5-year one.

And that will mark the end of my “life” in Bangalore, leaving me with absolutely nothing to miss about Bangalore anymore. Not the traffic; not the pollution; not the roads; not the fiery lakes; not (some of) the most horrible people I’ve come across in life. It was a place I first saw around the turn of the Y2K (anyone even remember that whole end-of-the-world is here phase? :P) It was a place I then went back to in 2005 and realised I was still in love with. It was a place I permanently moved to in 2007 and then hated for the next few years…and then when all else seemed lost, started liking again in 2012. It’s a place that I began looking at sadly as a classic example of “how to destroy an awesome city.”

It will always be a familiar place…a place where some of the best and worst things of my life happened. I hope, with Kuwait, that order reverses. I started off here in the wake of the worst year of my life 😛 About time it all became the best, and with no turning back.

About time I saw Kuwait with a whole new pair of eyes and a whole new heart! Oh, and two very happy tails!

Can’t wait! ❤

 

Day 29: Me for him, or him for me?

I don’t know if he got it from me or if I got it from him,
but the clownishness was apparent from a very early age!

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From finding joy in a laundry bag, as a puppy…

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And quite literally growing out of it.

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To get on to beds and couches, and be in his hilarious and outrageous poses…

Pumbaa Nayar: The Clown of My Heart  ❤

I don’t know if he got it from me or if I got it from him,
the spirit of playing the fool, being utterly goofy, and still be joy of many lives!

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Like packing himself in for a trip…

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…attempting a career in Accenture’s Security Team, trying to pass off with my id card!

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And mistaking a watch for a paw-cuff and staying absolutely still till it was taken off 😀

Pumbaa Nayar: The Joy of My Life  ❤

I don’t know if it was his decision or mine…
to be the keeper of all secrets, giver of much warmth,
be companion for days good and bad,
shouldering worries and wiping tears
and being the ultimate promise of love and togetherness.

Pumbaa Nayar: The Promise of Love & Togetherness  ❤

Day 24: I just noticed…

…how age is catching up with Khloe Nayar.

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That’s her in 2013…

…with her ears and little head and her slender body a rich chocolate-y brown amid all that black and white, that I once did nibble at her thinking she’d taste like a Black Forest gâteau!

She was a princess, so regal in her ways. She was the lady her sister (that would be me) never could even dream to be! She had the charisma and grace of someone who was born into royalty and had it in her to be so. No one would look at her — in the way she walked, gazed at you or turned a blind eye to Calvin (who was head over heels in love with her) — and be able to make out she ever went through any kind of horrors in life.

Well, she took after her Godmother, the Queen and WIFE. She had to be a Princess!

She was only six then 🙂

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This is she in 2016…

  …looking like she may have meddled with the bag of flour, sprinkling some healthy amount of it all over her. Well, her expression does say something of the sort may have happened! 😛 Fading away are the rich colours and hues of her once chocolate-y fur. And abundantly settling in are the grace and beauty of a life (being currently) well lived.

She is 10 now! 😐
Trust me, most times, we’re still trying to figure out what species she belongs to 🙄

There’s none of her Princess-ness anymore, so completely clowny in her ways. She’s every bit the tomboy that her sister (that would be me, again) loves being herself. She hops like a rabbit, gallops like a pony, runs like a deer and at times skitters like a lamb — when she is given one of her favourite treats. She flies like a sparrow, a short and quick flight that delivers her all the way from the couch in one end of the living room right in the kitchen that’s a good 10 steps away — when she knows her dinner is being taken off the fire. She jumps all over us, she whines like a lost child and she paws us furiously, not knowing her nails are digging into us — whenever we enter the house, leave without her, and eat our food without seeming to realise she’s waiting by our side for her share. Once in a while, she goes bonkers and flitters around the room like a butterfly, howl-barking at Pumbaa Nayar, and then absolutely freezing in weird poses with some bit of him in her mouth, jaw wide open, as if to say ‘this is your cue to run, boy!‘.

But most funniest of all is when she follows one of us into the kitchen, slowly but surely, like a tortoise — when she knows we’re in there, letting us us know we’re being watched, in case we think we can grab a bite without her knowing.

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This is she in her elements…

I just noticed how age is catching up with Khloe Nayar…
but ONLY in the colour of her hair fur 😛

I also just noticed, her name can be spelt and felt as
❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤   ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤
Sigh! The power of a dog’s love!

The pitter-patter of love

These days, I barely get time to myself. I shifted house recently, and there are so many pending chores, which I must get done but don’t find the time for, I’m beginning to get really annoyed at myself! It’s not easy; in fact, it borders on frustration most times.

And as if that was not enough, since the day I moved, everything seemed to go wrong for no reason. Mobile phone stops working. Then washing machine stops working. Then Wi-fi stops working. Then fixed-line stops working. And I call one customer care after the other, but no one comes until it’s too late and I absolutely need to get to office. Then bank transactions become a problem because mobile number changed. Everything takes over a week or two to get fixed, and I end up having to be immensely dependent on others who have better things to do in life than make customer-care calls on my behalf. NOT to my liking. At all.

And when there is so much work that I am ending up staying more at office than at home, all this gets tougher to deal with. Especially so, when I know there are two tiny tots all alone at home, all day, waiting for my return.

The past two weeks, especially, have been extremely tough. With an official travel thrown in too, at short notice. I’ve been coming home really late. And then staying up later, ending up heavily sleep deprived. Most nights when I reach home, I’m so dead tired that I’m scared to even lean against the walls of the elevator, lest I fall asleep there 😛

And every single day, I walk out of the lift, into the corridor, towards my door — and I desperately wish I had someone to come home to. Well, ok…not just “someone”, but my mom (which would mean “food, laughter and comfort” readily available).

It’s about 20 steps, from the lift to my door. In that short span, I wonder why I’m doing this, why things could not be different, why I can’t just quit and go home to good old Trivandrum, why the hell there is so much work, how the hell I’m to find time for personal chores, how life is so devoid of joy, how I’m tired and do not have the energy to cook and clean up, how all I want to do is just make a beeline to my bed and crash…

This is about the time I reach my door, pull out the key, insert it into the lock…and invariably shake my head at the HUGE smile that’s on my just-a-micro-second-ago-grumpy-and-tired face.

Because I hear the pitter-patter of love, from the other side of the door, as Pumbaa and Khloe jump off the sofa and run to the door to welcome me home.

As I get in, it is a mad rush of Pumbaa welcoming me by jumping all over me and then skidding across the living room, grabbing his toy and rushing back at me…and Khloe continuing to jump all over me till I pet her enough.

Fatigue, annoyance, despair, sleep: everything’s taken care of! I’m a happy soul again. I play with him, I cook their food, fix something for self, I feed them, I clean up, I play with him some more. And then, I hug them both tight and apologize for being away too long, and thank them both for the understanding, the patience and the unconditional love.

It’s this pitter-patter of love that keeps me going. I don’t know what I’d do without it.

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Pumbaa and Khloe, back on the sofa, 5 mins after I sternly told them it is off limits. Sigh. Well, they let me cover it at least. 🙂

When Pumbaa met Khloe…

…we anticipated much circus — jealousy, aggression, mad barking, general crazy behaviour. Only, nothing happened.

Pumbaa
…has not changed. He is still scared of other dogs. That Khloe is only half his size did not seem to give him any false sense of superiority! He walked in, did not seem to register who I was (irrespective that I was overjoyed and screeching with love :D), was in search of refuge from this new doggy person and quickly hid behind my brother! Khloe came around to him, and they sniffed at each other. No barking, no aggression, no pangs of jealousy — nothing. We were surprised, and pleased. One less thing to take care of 😉

Khloe
…was not scared at all, of course not. She calmly went around to him, sniffed at him, and was generally curious at the presence of another 4-legged companion. That he is almost twice her size did not seem to affect her in the least. Having lived all her life with a group of/in the presence of other dogs (all Beagles, in her case), we knew she would not be scared of him — but the size difference, at least, was expected to have some bearing on her. None at all.

It is really endearing to see how they both are very curious about the other one’s presence. I am pretty sure Khloe would like to have his companionship. Pumbaa, I’m sure, will take his sweet time to break the ice and be pally with her. I remember how things were when Spike, a friend’s Cocker Spaniel, spent a week here with us long back. The first two days, Pumbaa pretended Spike did not exist. Even when we sat them opposite each other, Pumbaa would slowly either look away, or look at the ceiling, or look over Spike’s head (again, Spike was tiny when compared to Pumbaa). Like “If I cannot see him, I’m sure he doesn’t exist”. The third day, the ice began melting, and Pumbaa started trailing Spike everywhere. On the fourth day, he was seen actually playing with Spike, having mock-fights with him, and even falling all over him 😀 By the time the friendship was formed, it was time for Spike to return home 😛 Secretly, though, I think Spike was glad to go 😉 After the initial days, Pumbaa did not let him have one moment to himself 😀

Pumbaa and Spike -- from scared to paired ;)

Pumbaa and Spike — from scared to paired 😉

Pumbaa and Khloe
…have not become friends yet. She is very interested in him, and is probably baffled by his behaviour. I can almost see a thought bubble constantly hovering over her head with the words “Just when I thought I had some good company…why is this guy so weird? Pffft!” I can almost see a thought bubble constantly hovering over his head as well, that says “Oh my God! This woman. Just does NOT let me be. Can’t she see I have no interest in her? Well, almost no interest…

When they first met...he kept a safe distance

When they first met…he kept a safe distance.

Then he decided to pretend she did not exist!

Later, he decided to pretend she did not exist! 😀

And then he decided to get to know her...

The next day, he decided to get to know her…

And then he again decided to pretend she does not exist! :P

…and decided it was safer to pretend she does not exist! 😛

After she settled down with a bone, he heaved a sigh of relief and settled down with his.

After she settled down with a bone, he heaved a sigh of relief and settled down with his.

But when I tried to make them exchange a few words, he again pretended she did not exist! :-o

But when I tried to make them exchange a few words, he again pretended she did not exist! 😮

Later, as he sat watching the world go by, she joined him.

Later, as he sat watching the world go by, she joined him.

And as I almost heaved a sigh of contentment at this new bond, she gave him a kissie, and he ran off! :D

And as I almost heaved a sigh of contentment at this new bond, she gave him a kissie, and he slowly got up and ran off! 😀

Pumbaa is pretty miffed that the house (and people) he owned all these years have to now be shared with this puny little thing who keeps harassing him all the time. “Stop following me around, can’t she? Duh! Do not take my submissiveness as lack of courage. Grrrrrrrrrrowl” says his thought bubble.

Playing hard to get, huh Pumbaa? ;)

I used to OWN this place. Duh!

As Pumbaa continues to play hard to get, Khloe is slowly realising that someone can actually be scared of her! “Scared of me, tiny lil’ me! Yay!” says her thought bubble now 😉 And another one says, “Just because you can bark loudly and occasionally growl at me, I am not going anywhere. This house (and these people) are as much mine as they are yours.” Khloe is clearly not very impressed by Pumbaa’s strange behaviour 😀

You don't impress me much...Pumbaa.

You don’t impress me much…Pumbaa.

Aside: Today, Khloe had her first taste of rice and beef. And boy, did she love it! All these days, she totally refused to eat anything else apart from bread and boiled eggs, and milk. We tried giving her everything, she would take none of it. After Pumbaa arrived, Khloe seems to appreciate variety in food 😉

  • He dropped a few tiny pieces of dog biscuit, and she gobbled them up. This, after I had tried my best and failed to make her even lick a piece of it all these days!
  • The moment he puts down the bone he is chewing on and goes off for water or a loo break, she quietly claims it as her own!
  • And today, after making her taste a tiny spoonful of Pumbaa’s “beef biriyani” as we call it, she could NOT wait for it to cool down. So we made her a share, gave it to her, which she wolfed down! And then she made a move to his share as well! He “grrrrrrr”ed at her, but of course, did nothing; pouted and went under the table. The husband and I had to then form a human barricade and block the hungry girl on one side while I fed the distraught boy on the other side!

Sooooo much fun 😀 I think the circus we had anticipated is just waiting to kick off 😉

Pumbaa, sooooooooo happy to have you back (even if for a while)! You are such a sweetheart 🙂

Meet Khloe :)

Our 6-year old beagle, a sweetheart we adopted a week ago.

The whole idea was formed when my ex-manager and dear friend, Neeta, forwarded a mail that took me to a blog that said “20 beagles from a lab need homes”. Of course, having a Labrador at home made me first think the mail meant these were pups of a lab-beagle parents. And then, I noticed a comment that said something about beagles being extremely gentle beings, which is why they are “used” in labs. Which is what made me research more on beagles in labs. That took me to the Beagle Freedom Project. I read about the horrors these lovely creatures are put through in animal “testing” laboratories. I was aghast. I came across this video, and was reminded of having seen it a couple of years ago.

Well, I did not need any more persuasion or convincing to take a decision. We wrote to CUPA who was organising this adoption drive, and was told we would get to adopt one on 19 Feb. I really really wanted to get two — so that they’d have each other for company always. But plans don’t always work.

On 19 Feb, we went to the CUPA centre at Ulsoor, to find that there were 40,a nd not 20 beagles up for adoption! We registered, and had to wait for our turn to make the selection. There was one I had almost decided on; till then Khloe was not in my line of sight. It was when a car had to be reversed out from amidst the cages that the guy moved Khloe’s cage to another side. That’s when I saw her. And when it was my turn to choose, I opened the cage of the one i had almost set my mind on, and called her out. She was responsive, but did not budge. I opened Khloe’s cage, and she came out, slowly but with much affection. I gently pushed her back in and tried two others. Well, in the end, Khloe it was!

I guess it suffices to say that Khloe chose us 😉 She came to us happily, stood patiently while we put on her a new collar and clipped it to her new leash. She was curious, but anxious. She was friendly, but extremely docile. Every time we bent down to pet her, she would cower and almost set herself flat on the ground 😦 It ached to see her do that.

That was 5 days ago, and at the adoption center. The moment we reached home, she surveyed all of the first floor. She was hesitant to climb the stairs to the second. Since CUPA had to sterilise her, they operated her and there was a cut on her belly which was stitched and bandaged. We did not want to force her to climb, for fear of her wound causing her pain. She settled down extremely quickly.

Am I beautiful or not?

Am I beautiful or not? Pic courtesy: Neeta

The first day at home is the ONLY time she slept on the floor. I guess she was not sure what the sofas were for; plus, I was sitting on the floor, so she must’ve assumed that’s where we all sit/sleep.

I'm at home here.

I’m at home here.

That evening, Neeta and the Queen of Subtlety came home to visit Khloe. They spent quite a while cuddling her, taking pictures, and generally giving her love therapy 🙂 Close to 8, they were hungry, and decided to leave. I decided to join them for dinner. While I was gone, Khloe watched TV.

Wow. There are many dimensions to this world! Interesting, I say.

Wow. There are many dimensions to this world! Interesting, I say. 

Khloe is now a happy girl. Because she has figured out the comforts of the various soft sofas, beds and settees in this house. Needless to say, she now owns them. The moment one of us sits down, she considers it her right to climb up right up near me, shifts about till she gets into a position that lets her be squished between me and the backrest, and promptly dozes off. Ina day or two, she has come to the conclusion that she can doze off even without waiting for me to sit. As long as one of us is in the room, all is well.

The wonders of a certain thing called 'sponge'.

The wonders of a certain thing called ‘sponge’.

Khloe is a happy girl 🙂 We took her to the vet today, and he said she’s healthy, and seems happy and quite well adjusted in comparison to how normally other adopted dogs seem in a week of getting a home. She refuses to eat anything at all, but that is just because it’s a new environment. We took her on her first ever walkie-walkie today evening, and she was a good, co-operative girl! I’m proud of her.

Khloe Nayar, welcome home 🙂 Here’s to a delightful new life, baby! 🙂

I look forward to sunshine, happiness, love and much joy in life.

I look forward to sunshine, happiness, love and much joy in life.

Richard Parker is breathtakingly beautiful!

After months of waiting, today I saw Richard Parker. And Oh My God, is he breathtaking! 🙂

It has been over 4 years since I wrote this. Life of Pi is the best book I’ve read. No other book had me completely flabbergasted, left me wondering if it was fact or fiction. I vividly remember Googling certain things described in the book, to find out if those were for real.

Of all the things in the book, I was most impressed by Richard Parker. Totally taken, completely smitten. Head over heels in love 😀 I was 24 then. Grown up enough to not be taken over by a Bengal tiger, and an imaginary one at that 😀 Well, four years later, Richard Parker stormed into my life with the same enchantment and had me gaping with such glee. What a beauty he is! I thought at least the movie would make me give more importance to Pi 😀 Sorry Pi, Richard Parker stole the show 🙂

I lost count of the number of times i went “oooh!” and “so beautiful” and “awwww” and “wow” over Richard Parker and his antics. The look in his eyes as he hung on to the lifeboat, body immersed in the sea…I wanted to hug him, say it’s alright, you’ll be saved, and squish him! 😀 Gosh, he is so so so beautiful, I can’t stop gushing over him 🙂

Since the day I heard this movie would release by the end of 2012, I’d been waiting, patiently but eagerly. Being a non-movie person, quite a few people were surprised to see HOW much I looked forward to this one’s release 🙂 I normally do not read movie reviews, especially of the ones I intend to watch. I’m particular about having my own views, ones that will no way be coloured or tainted by another person’s views.

Just yesterday, a team of people from work went to watch it, and returned saying they were slightly disappointed; that it was a good watch, but did not meet expectations. I was warned to go without expecting too much. I refused, and the nearer I got to the theatre, my excitement began bubbling within. I sooo wanted and hoped to love it.

I LOVED it. Absolutely loved it. Like, really gobsmacked 😀 I was more than satisfied 🙂 I loved it all. Pondicherry, Munnar, the mighty Pacific Ocean, the meercats. Pi – the liltle boy, Pi – the big boy, Pi – the man. The mother, father, brother, writer. The 3D, the blue whale, the sparkling sea, the visual extravaganza. Most of all, Richard Parker 😀

It was brilliant. It is never possible to make a movie out of a book, doing complete justice to it. And when the book in question is one like Life of Pi, it is all the more difficult. To even endeavor to make a movie out of such a brilliant book itself is an act that deserves much appreciation. To do the kind of justice this one did to the book deserves a bow 🙂 I thought it was awesome! I just wish I went to a better theatre, one with better 3D effects.

It was so goooood, I did not even WANT popcorn! 😀 Now that should say it all!

Richard Parker, you are awesome! 🙂 I dedicate this post to you!