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 ❤


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


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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! ❤


It’s snowing in here!!!

I love December. What’s not there to like? It’s the Friday of months! 🙂

I love the nip in the air. What’s not there to like? It’s that time when you’re not so cold that you need warm clothes, but you’re cold enough to want to hug yourself when you walk in the open.

I love the whole ‘end of year’ and ‘holiday’ season feel. What’s not there to like? Work pressure is less, people are always discussing upcoming holidays and there is generally talk of gifts, parties, presents and much friends-and-family love!

I love the colour, glitter and joy of the Christmas-y feel all around. What’s not there to like of all the reds-and-whites-and-greens around; the sparkly, beauteous gift boxes in every shop window; the sight of Santas and reindeers and lovely, snow-sprinkled Christmas trees decorated like a dream; the winter coats and woollen hats and happy scarves.

I love the Secret Santa games. What’s not there to like? It’s fun, it’s knowing someone just a little better, and all the guessing and wailing and cheering!

I love the carols that automatically start wafting out of every third house on the street. What’s not there to like? It’s the happiest kind of music, and it doesn’t matter if you’re not following that certain religion!

❤ Most of all, I LOVE THAT IT SNOWS on my blog! ❤
It brings me such joy, I cannot explain it. I went YAY the first December of this blog on WordPress – that was 8 years ago. Since then, every year in December, I’ve gone YAY when I logged in here. Till I went on a hiatus and completely forgot about it. Today, I logged in (purely force of habit formed in the past 30 days :P) and went “Whoaaaa snowwww! YAY it’s first of December on WordPress!” A colleague, totally bemused, pointed out that it was December 1 in most parts of the world, not just on my blog. Pfffft. What does she know! 🙂

In my current state of happiness, let me leave you with this…one I learnt of recently, thanks to my carols practice sessions 😉

It really is the most wonderful time of the year!


AND, TODAY IS A TOTALLY HAPPY DAY FOR ME! Yay, yay, yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay!
*Mental somersaults, mental high-fives, mental jigs, and full-on hop-skip-and-jump joy*

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!


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


And quite literally growing out of it.


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!


Like packing himself in for a trip…


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


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 21: The weather today…

is so good, all I want to do is be home, amidst all my (imaginary) plants, looking out on to the (imaginary) greenery from my bedroom.

The weather today is so good, all I want to do is be home, enjoying the silence, before I plug in this song (which has been playing on loop since the morning) and go on a long, long stroll along the paved walkway, bordered on both sides by (imaginary) tall green trees!

The weather today is so good, all I want to do is be home, lie on my (imaginary) lawn, resting my head on (imaginary) Pumbaa, reading Go Set A Watchman again.

The weather today is so good, all I want to do is be home, sit in my (imaginary) balcony and watch the lovely (imaginary) birds and beautiful (imaginary) butterflies playing dancing in the cool breeze.

The weather today is so good, all I want to do is be home, sit on the (imaginary) steps at my door, held in a warm hug by the (imaginary) love of my life.

The weather today is so good, all I want to do is play some of my forever favourite songs on the (imaginary) sound system, singing along and feeling content.

The weather today is so good, all I want to do is cook those things I love cooking in my big, airy (imaginary) kitchen.

The weather today is so good, all I want to do is chatter non-stop with my (imaginary) Amma, as I sip on hot tea and munch on the amazing (imaginary) pazhamporis she keeps serving hot.

The weather today is so good, all I want is to be really home, in a place that is truly home.

The weather today is so good…and all I’ve got is Kuwait! 🙄 Everything else is just truly imaginary and in two faraway places: one a haven in Bangalore, the other a heaven in Trivandrum! 🙂 Sigh.

Day 17: WIFE!

The Queen of Subtlety and I were talking today on Skype. We were catching up on good old days and having the usual banter, when she said…

do you know i read about all you other friends on your blog and get so jealous
best friend, this friend, college friend…that friend…uuugh
i want to write a big board and say WIIIFFEEEE!!

I told her she is the only friend of the above mentioned categories to have an entire post on her and multiple mentions across several other posts. And then I thanked her for giving me a topic for today. I said I’d put up a pic of her and put a board saying WIFE! Since I don’t wish to die for the mere reason of having publicised a photo she then would kill me for, because she doesn’t look good in it, I stuck to just putting up a board title – WIFE!

Let me clarify the “Wife”, before any of you have wild imaginations. So, I’m this tomboy I’ve told you about several times. I’m constantly in jeans, T-shirts (or chequered shirts, mostly in blues!) and a pair of running shoes. She takes the word “Queen” and “Princess” quite literally at times and goes to the other extreme of being a completely pretty and mostly hot girl! She hates my boyish attire, and I don’t really care about her’s (pretty or otherwise) 😛 I’m constantly pulling her leg and responding with “No, I won’t/can’t /don’t” to just about everything she says. She tries to shower her love on me (sometimes quite literally in the form of tea, biscuits, curds, and whatnots 🙄 ), with hugs and I wriggle out of it with my classic “Ugh, get off me!” expressions 😀  She says “I love yaaaa” and I go “Yeah OK whatever 🙄 ” She tries to (in jest) be the damsel in distress and I tell her to cut the crap. She is absolutely bonkers about the colour pink and I make it a point to tell her every time just how much I hate pink (aaand that she should cut the crap). She calls me Jack (short for jackass, nothing fancy) and I return the love in titanic proportions by calling her Rose! Despite all these, I love her and will always be there for her, and I do think she loves me too 😉

After a few months of this behavioural exchanges, an ex-colleague (well, all three of us are ex-colleagues now!) said that while we’re supposedly best friends, we totally behave like Husband and Wife, where she is the nagging wife and I’m the no-nonsense husband 😛 😛 😛  And that stuck. To the point that my brother has her number saved in his contacts list as “Mrs Priya” 😛

Hence, the title. And the jealousy 😛 Long distance relationships are tough! I miss the wifey!