Day 113: I would never have forgiven myself 

When Scotch almost got me killed

Well, technically, it started with me almost killing Scotch today. I left some rat kill cakes, for the rats to eat, and I was confident that when I woke in the morning, they were intact. Our little rodent pals had found other sources of nutrition. Except, about an hour after checking, I see that both the cakes are missing, and Scotch is sitting in the area, smacking her lips.

I was convinced that she had eaten both and was going to turn all fizzy and die any minute. Worst of all the luck, all this happened between 4 and 6 AM and I had an exam at 9. Would I have to skip the exam entirely? Should I rush her to the hospital now? What if I came back from the exam and found her limp? Would I ever forgive myself for poisoning my own dog?

A quick chat with H helped reorient my thoughts. I immediately called Cessna emergency and we were on our way in 10 minutes. They checked her vitals, and deducted that she was normal, especially since it was about 4 to 5 hours since the suspected act. Her pupils were normal, no frothing or excessive salivation, and she was still alive. Phew!

They anyway gave her a charcoal cleanse and a vitamin K shot, to soak out any poison that might be in the stomach. And she would stay with them, in their day-boarding, while I wrote my exam. I don’t think I would have been able to sit through 3 hours of torture if I had not taken her to the vet.

Exams done, quick lunch with A and SilverGhoster done, and I was off to pick her up. That’s when I learnt about the unprofessional behavior of doctors and how much it affects a layperson. I picked up Scotch from her cage, and she tumbled out in a dizzy. Her hind legs shivered and shook as she stumbled a foot forward. I took her to the vet’s table and asked him if she had been sedated during her boarding. He nodded confidently – no, she wasn’t. And the next 4 hours were spent in my trying to quiz them and myself, on reasons why a normal dog, who had clearly not eaten rat poison, would act dazed and confused after spending 4 hours in a cage. She usually has separation anxiety and comes back from all boarding with a sore throat, from all the barking. But she was never this.

Every post on Facebook, from loving pet parents who’d lost their pet due to hospital negligence, shot in front of me. The guilt from the morning returned all over again. Scotch had gone into some strange depression after my rushing her to the vets early in the morning, feeding her charcoal and locking her up in the cage for 4 long hours. She must have been convinced that I was trying to kill her, and this was her showing signs of depression. I had broken my dog.

Or so I thought, until the vet called me at 9 PM and clarified his mistake. There had been 2 labs today with similar issues – rat poison. And they mixed up Scotch for the other. Yes, Scotch had been sedated because for the first hour that I was gone, she had barked her vocal chords off and unsettled most other boarders. They just had her name confused. A fancy establishment, earning millions of rupees every month from treating and working with pets and they haven’t found a better system to identify dogs.

Shame!

First kisses

Conversations with SilverGhoster took an interesting turn and we got talking about first kisses. It reminded me of past conversations about the same. It reminded me of the past first kisses, and the emotions that come wrapped in with that simple act of a kiss.

The moments of furtive glances and stolen touches before the kiss. All the years of preparation and still being unprepared for what lies ahead. That nanosecond before your lips meet, where you question the next act that lies ahead. With that kiss, you’d be changed forever. In that nanosecond, you remember every opportunity for a kiss that you took before, and every opportunity that you’ve missed. You walk two steps away and yet two steps forward, as you feel an energy draw you on. Unimaginable.

And then, it repeats again with the next one.  It’s the first kiss all over again.

The feeling that binds it all

The factor that makes it truly special, the reason you couldn’t just pay a professional prostitute to give you your first kiss, is the feeling of belonging or oneness that comes with it. Ask any man that has lost his virginity to a paid masseuse, and he’ll tell you about the strange sense of regret that is typically associated with the act. Sex is no longer about love making, it’s purely an item to check off on life’s to-do list.

A lot of today’s generation seems to be stuck in this rut, the one where sex is no longer love-making; it’s a solution to a heartbreak, and is an international flight and some bahts away. There is a queer pressure to belong, a sense to ‘lose it’  because all your friends already have. I’m reminded of the conversation with the Danseuese aka Tooti, where she thought she didn’t have a boyfriend anymore because she didn’t put out yet. I hear silent sighs when I share the first time I made out. It feels like I was a few years too late compared to today’s youngsters.

And yet, I’m able to look back at my first with a sense of pleasure and wonder. It’s not like we’re getting awards for the best first sex. But, I can still look back at my first with a sense of wonder and awe. It still has a memory of amazement, a strange mutual exploration, that was still not pushed by peer pressure. And that’s honestly all that I’d like to send out there as a consolation message to the kids of today – hold off until it feels right, and it will totally be worth the wait.

Checking off checklists

Turns out the initial conversation with the SilverGhoster did get him thinking. As I was talking to him today, I realized that he had a newer, a more updated version of the checklist, and some of the major stereotypes were gone. It feels powerful, almost God-like, to know that someone’s interests and wants in life are shaped by discussions with you. But with that feeling comes great responsibility. By sharing your thoughts and views on varied social issues, you could be altering an impressionable mind, something that can go either ways.

A surprise that lay at the end of the conversation was the realization that I’d checked off a lot of the items on his list. Was I creating such an impression on the SilverGhoster that he was shaping his future aspirations based on me? What would happen when I start showing sides  of me that have scared men away in the past? The last few days have been good conversations. But doesn’t this new twist in the tale just remove a friend from the list entirely? Is this going to be another choice between a friend and something more than a friend?

Doesn’t the past trend say that the friend is the one lost in all such cases?

Woah! All that charcoal and sedative is making me feel funny in the head. And you’re up all night chatting up giving big lectures! Show me some love man!” Scotch

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Day 103: Leave, you can live with cookie on the streets

These last few days have been a major wastage of resources to get to college and back. We’ve barely had 2 or 3 classes each day and one with more drama than another. Remember?

Like yesterday, by about 12, I struggled and found my way back to the car, to start the long drive back home. I spent one hour and a half in the morning, and I anticipated at least 2 on my way back. I was spot on. So I had spent more time on the road going to and returning from Uni, than actually in the Uni itself.

Gorgeous omelets

And to make matters worse, I had restarted my diet with a few days of intermittent fasting. As I was driving back, I imagined the wondrous eggs lying on my counter, and the cheese in the fridge. I could picture the omelet I would make by putting these two simple and tell magical ingredients together. I had waded past Michael’s, the hot dude and his counter, full of chocolate croissants and chocolate doughnuts. I would make the omelet in all butter to make up for that missed chance at Michael’s. I had skipped breakfast as well. So, it will be a heavy brunch indeed.

I entered the house, and Scotch welcomed me in with more warmth and bum-shake than usual. Hmm. She must really love me. I was really gone for only a few hours. Wait a minute!

I walk over to the dining space, and the plastic container with the spicy groundnuts is lying on the ground, cracked into pieces. Not a sign of the extra spicy groundnuts. I look at the bed on the floor and it’s soaking wet. The recently bought bottle of epiotic, the ear cleaner, is lying strewn, a strategically placed hole leaking all the liquid out.

I turn to Scotch and she is already staring deep into the floor, ear flaps stuck to her head, and guilt overflowing. I chide her a little, point to the ear medicine and her mouth. I allow myself a small laugh, as I remember the recent upma episode. And I turn around towards the kitchen.

Hell!

There are some utensils all strewn on the ground, knives lying scattered, and the floor mat is all wet. The bowl with the vinegar solution for her ear is empty and lying down on the ground as well. A step forward, and the egg cartons are lying on the floor, face down, and half chewed on.

I had recently bought 2 dozen eggs and might have used 3 for my last omelet. 2 dozen eggs minus 3 and there was no sight of even one. No shells or parts. Nada.

A strange anger took over me and I leapt for the nearest stick from the garden. Two sharp whacks on her feet and she kept quiet, not even a growl. She knew she’d done something very bad.

I opened the main door and asked her to go live with the streeties since she was into scavenging anyway. I was angered all the more when she diligently followed my instructions and went out the door. Dogs don’t get sarcasm, clearly. I tied her up to her leash in the balcony, ran to the bedroom and slammed the door loudly behind me, like dogs would understand such passive-aggressive bullshit.

Breathe

Two minutes and I was already repenting every single minute of it. It was just eggs! And if anything, she would be the one in pain, what with all that excess protein intake. Why did I make it worse with the whacking? I wasn’t that kind of parent the last time I checked. I remembered how miserable I felt the last time, and this time I felt a million times worse. My ears were hot with the anger. And I could feel my heart racing.

I walked over and released her from her leash and gave her a nice long hug. Scotch over eggs, any day! And she burped in my face, as if returning all the affection, and I knew what was brewing in her little tummy already.

Well you know that free souls like me aren’t meant to be tied down. So, I’m going to make my sad face. 

And, you also know how much I love a challenge. So when you only gave me vegetables and Dalia for lunch, I just presumed that you had left the eggs for me to take later. After snack, maybe! ” Scotch 

Day 73: When boredom strikes 

When boredom strikes, we snooze and snooze some more. Scotch is great company for that as you’d have already seen by now. Great inspiration. When I woke up at 6, and saw her sleeping cozy under the sheets and the rain pouring outside, I pulled the sheets up and went back to bed. I was reminded of my two-year itch with work; happened with every work assignment so far.

The first year is invariably the honeymoon. The negatives of the work and the people seem trivial compared to all the fun and excitement that the novelty brings in. There are late nights and early hours full of exciting and challenging work. The people seem wonderful and self-motivation is at its zenith. No work is beyond me and I’m ready to consume any new knowledge that comes my way.

The next six months are a slow and progressive slide down to misery. The 14 to 20 hour shifts leave me drained and I’m left questioning every decision you’ve taken that landed you this misery. The family has given up on me by now and plans, where I do not feature, pop up. And the people, they fall down from the high and holy towers you placed them, and show their true, dirty colors.

The final six months are a painful struggle, where my principles battle the realities of the job and each day is almost soul sucking. It’s these final six months that push me over the edge and I start questioning life’s entire journey. It’s this pattern that took me through 2 years each in Mumbai, New Haven, Richmond, Minneapolis, Bangalore and out to my current life. Year 1s dedication meant that even a wisdom tooth extraction couldn’t stop me from doing my 20 hour shift. But year 2s lack of motivation means a small sniffle and it’s sick day.

I’ve just gotten into my 2nd year, and the honeymoon is over. People are turning faces and their true colors are slowly emerging. The bureaucracy and the sluggishness of the chosen path is becoming more evident by the day. And I have the sniffle today.

Life is a struggle, S, and every step is an uphill climb. But you have to fight it through. And when you have family right behind you, catching you if you fall, then why worry?” Scotch 

Day 69: The great Indian madness

The great Indian madness called the roads. Driving home to visit the parents in Coimbatore, and the 6-hour drive has been fun. It’s almost symbolic of our manic lives – a random pedestrian walks across your path, carefree and wanton; a cow parks itself squat in the middle of the highway, oblivious to the high speed travel; an annoying family honks their way past you from behind, unaware that multiple lanes exist for a reason. And through it all, you’re stuck in your little metal bubble, behind the steering wheel, with the false illusion that your control is the reason you’re still alive.

Fish fry… Strange incense… Hot poodle poop… Man not showered in three days… Biriyani, Oooh where was that biriyani. Turn around, S” Scotch