Know where you’re off to soon!?

The last time I saw that thing was on February 19, 2013. I still distinctly remember how, a girl I’d never seen before, knelt down to look at me and gingerly opened the door for me. I was so glad to be out in the open, I thanked her profusely, offering to be her faithful companion for life. I initially thought she didn’t understand, because she gently put me back in there and closed that door.

But, of course she’d understood. And I’d gone home with her that day. From the time I began living with her, I’ve only known happiness, comfort, love and joy. Well, she did always get super miffed when I soiled the house, but I knew she loved me to bits anyway. I was pampered, treated like a princess, fed the most amazing food, given complete freedom to do what I wanted, wherever I wanted to. I got a doting brother and friend, an entire family. I moved two houses with her, I met many people, I discovered new food, I travelled many places… Long story short, I no longer remembered the horrors of the six years I lived outside of her world. I was no longer “1420”. I had become “Khloe Nayar”. Life was absolute bliss and I knew there was no turning back.

Or so I thought. Until February 2017, when I saw that thing again, in the house, back in my life. I couldn’t believe she would do that. She pointed at it and asked me “Khloe, will you get inside the crate?

I was heart broken…and of course I refused. And strangely, she didn’t seem to mind. I suppose she wasn’t fully decided then, because the crate just sat there in the house, its door always open, left to my free will of going in and out of it. Not once was I tricked into getting in and locked up. So, as the days and then weeks went by, I let down my guard, I let go of my bad thoughts, I was almost there, convinced that there are other uses for crates in houses than to lock me up in. I say “almost there” because once a while I heard her ask “Do you know where you’re going off to soon!?

She’d already become a “visitor”, I would only see her every now and then…and at other times, only heard her squeaking undecipherables over the phone. So, I should have expected the time was not too far.

Before I knew it, the wretched day dawned on me. On May 26, 2017, I went back into the confines of a crate. I could not believe it. I did not think she’d do that to me. Ever.

I resigned myself to the thought that at least I had a lovely 4 years to look back on to. More than myself, I felt terrible for poor Pumbaa. He’d never even seen a crate his whole life! And there he was, too, locked up in one, right next to mine. I have to be honest. Even while I knew I was going away, I did not ever think he would be sent off too! I had all along been secretly jealous of how much she loved him, so that was a shocker. But, I am glad he was with me, for if it weren’t for his constant reassurance that “It’ll be OK. I don’t think it’s what we think it is. She can’t live without us…”, I would have collapsed in despair much earlier. Poor boy, though I knew he was wrong, I didn’t want to kill his optimism, so I played along.

It was a nightmare when the time came. It was a horribly loud place. Strange faces kept peering at us even as angry voices kept shouting around us, sometimes even drowning the loud metallic screeches of some machines at work. It was so terrible, I don’t want to even remember it anymore. I would not wish it on my biggest enemy (if I had one)! And yet, Pumbaa was still sure it’d be OK. Just when I thought I should break his bubble and tell him what was going on, we were moved into a large space, which looked much neater. In fact, I think it was air-conditioned. It was just us…and it felt like we were in a crate, within a larger crate. Only, it was silent and cool. And smelled kind of nice and clean.

We almost thought we were in a safe place, but our worlds turned upside down again. Nothing in the world would have prepared us for the deafening roar that erupted in our ears, and went on and on for hours together! I hated every second of it. That nice, silent, cool place had turned into an unbearably loud, wobbly, scary hell. It was so bad, even Pumbaa seemed to lose hope. In between, the roaring and the wobbling stopped, some people appeared out of nowhere and gave us some water and food, both barely enough.

That’s when we realized we were indeed “sent away”. We’d have to get used to tough times. It was a strange land, strange people, strange sounds, strange sights, strange voices and words. And just when we thought it couldn’t get any worse, we were moved to another place that soon began to roar and wobble like earlier. I just didn’t know what machine we were in and for what purpose. I constantly kept praying I hadn’t been time-transported to my pre-2013 life!

It took me a lot of time and effort to convince Pumbaa not to cry. He would not stop whining. He kept saying he wanted it all to end so he can go back to her. I had to stop playing along…so I told him she wasn’t coming back. I told him we’re lucky we were still together. I shared my horror stories from the past and told him we’re in a far better place. At least, we weren’t being hurt. It broke my heart to see him in such misery. He’s such a cheery boy otherwise. We spent hours reminiscing the good times we had with her and struggling to come to terms with the unknown ahead of us…and all that while, Pumbaa whined.

Before long, we were back in a loud place, surrounded by strange people. Strange faces kept peering at us even as stranger voices kept shouting around us. The whole place smelled rather strange too. We’d even lost track of time. What it day or night? How many days had passed? How long have we been here? When was the roaring and wobbling going to begin again? And why the heck was it so frikking hot!? Jeeez…was this the place they call Hell?

And then we heard familiar footsteps, familiar words, familiar voices. Faint, but we were definite we heard them. And voila! There she was. We both went Ohhhh Myyyyy Goddddddd — because there she truly was! She hadn’t abandoned us after all. Pumbaa was right. He gleefully said “See…I told you! She cannot live without us!

She was her usual self and very excited to see us, but we wondered why she wouldn’t take us out of the crates. She fed us, gave us water, poked her finger in through the grill and rubbed our noses…but we stayed in the crate, she outside. Where were we? For some strange reason, she just sat there – us in our crates, she on a bench – for almost 5 hours and before we even could take one last look at her, we got whisked away into another strange place. That had been her final bye-bye. Because, we didn’t see her after that.

Two weeks passed and we were still there. With many other dogs who were there too. That was our new home. I was pretty sure it was THE SHELTER. It had to be…because the people were nice, and there was always a new dog coming in or an old one taken away. There was no crate and we had a cage instead. There was plenty of water and food. We even got bathed a few times. BUT. It wasn’t home. She wasn’t there. Nothing from our lives till two weeks ago was there anymore. We didn’t have our beds, our toys, our food bowls, our treats, our visitors, our couches, our lawn… I was sure the only thing left to do was to wait endlessly…or worse, become mere numbers again.

But on June 10, 2017, we saw her again. There she stood, with a bag full of treats and new bowls and toys (and even a poop scoop!) and a luxury car to take us along home! My my. I will never forget how Pumbaa went completely bonkers and rejoiced like the Lord himself had appeared before him! He told me he kind of understood at that point how I must have felt that day in February 2013, when I first had her arms around me!

She hadn’t abandoned us after all!. We later learnt that the crate was something she was forced to use, that she’d put us both on a plane with a Dubai stop-over (which explained all that roaring and wobbling and strange people) — and taken us across the seas, all the way to Kuwait (where she had to leave us at the fancy IVH boarding for 14 days)!

Simply because…Pumbaa was right: she just could not live without us! ❤

— A guest post based on a true story, by Khloe J Nayar (now a happy, settled-in NRI Beagle)

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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! ❤

 

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. 🙂