Tag: Pavagada

Weekly photo challenge: Broken

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Her expression says it all

I clicked this picture when I was in a village in Karnataka, covering rural life for my journalism course. This old lady sat in a corner, looking desolate and heart-broken. I still feel a pang of guilt and sadness every time I look at her downcast eyes and furrowed eyebrows.

Most people in this village (Pavagada) suffer from skeletal fluorosis, owing to a high percentage of fluoride in their drinking water. Their teeth are stained, their bones are brittle and bent awkwardly. Despite that, most of the village folk manage to stay happy. Except this woman. I hope she could let go of whatever was on her mind when I shot this picture.

I don’t know if it’s rude of me to consider this “broken,” but that’s all I can think of when I see her. Sorry ajji.

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A tribute to all dogs I’ve ever known. Adopt, don’t buy.

Kuntea is angry with me. : (

FYI, Kuntea is my doggy, and she visits me every evening. When I come back from work everyday, she is waiting on the road in front of my house and greets me with mad wagging of her tail and excited whining. She can’t jump, however, because she’s limp. (Kuntea in Kannada means limp.) That doesn’t make much difference to her though. This road, this matriarchal road, is her Prideland.

But today, she’s bloody annoyed with me. Every time I go stand in front of her, she turns away. She’s enjoying my caressing no doubt, but she’s being very indifferent. She has caught the scent of another dog at my doorstep.

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Rambo, being a lazy bum

A couple of weeks ago, my dad and mom showed me a new puppy in the area. A tiny and hyper white puppy with big black spots. I’ve named her Puppy. She’s a bomb of energy when she sees people, jumping as high as he can, sometimes lifting all her paws off the ground. But when there are no people around, she’s a sloth. Sleeping all the time. I invited her last Tuesday to sleep on my doorstep. So she comes and goes as she likes, sleeping on the gunny bag or the door mat that has been kept for dogs that like to rest or those that like some shelter from the rain.

So Kuntea has caught her scent, because Puppy has been increasingly resting at my door. I don’t know how to handle the situation. I love them both equally. And they’re the only dogs that I love so much, I mean it. I don’t know how to make Kuntea believe that. Puppy, I’m sure, doesn’t care. She’s an excited little puppy and if she sees Kuntea at my door, she’ll go and bounce happily around her, smelling her and ready to play with her. That’s what she does with my other dog, Piccolo.

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Piccolo

So Piccolo is a dog that sleeps ten steps away from my house. Puppy is a big fan of him. She’s always following him around and copying his style. Piccolo is her role model. Piccolo is a handsome, muscular, well-poised two-year-old. He’s completely black, with a large white patch on his chest. He doesn’t care much about anybody. He sleeps around all day, eats the leftovers from the Momo and Omlette stalls around the corner, and perhaps some from the chaat shop close by. He’s a calm and composed guy, who’ll perhaps flick his tail lazily if you speak to him. I love him also, despite his indifference towards me. Anyway, he isn’t the only black dog around. There’s Chinnu, Munnu and Blacky of course.

These three dogs, two Newfoundlands (Freddie Ljungberg has one of these btw) and a Great Dane, Blacky, live just 20 steps from my house. They are big, handsome dogs. Blacky is still a few months old. Before him, there was Danny, a grand old Great Dane, whom they have donated to someone else because he didn’t get along with Chinnu and Munnu. All these live in the same fancy house, where the owners couldn’t care less about their pets. (I do NOT like such people.) The watchman takes care of them however, although I don’t really like how short their leashes are, which would be around one metre. But the dogs are the most “awwwwww” inducing dogs. They get so excited when they see me, they pee all over themselves. They jump on me and they’re huge, so I fall down. I stop my bike to greet them everyday, before coming home after work. This isn’t the only threesome around though.

On the other side of my house, there are three new labradors – Dhrona, Rani and something else. Didn’t quite catch the third name when the owner told me it, because I was still digesting the name Dhrona. These three curious fellows jump and peep from their compound wall every time I go past their house. It’s the most adorable thing. Then I put my hand through the gate, pass their trust test and pet them for a while.

That’s around 10 dogs eh? No wonder Kuntea won’t talk to me. Damn!

I used to have two other dogs, that lived inside my house, unlike all the others. One of them died and the other was stolen. Both were adopted. Simba was the one who got stolen. He was a beautiful golden dog with a pink nose and charged up eyes. Gunda, the cutie who died, was a docile fellow, caring and loving. He also had a pink nose. It’s a pity we had to lose him. : (

But that’s all I got in Malleswaram. This is a form of therapy for me when I’m pissed about something. Nothing can match the selfless, honest and blatant love that doggies have for you. I fall to pieces every time I look at them all, but I love Kuntea and Puppy the most. Then, of course, I have dogs in different areas. In JP Nagar, on Brigade road, in Koramangala, in Chennai, everywhere. Hehe… In Guttahalli, there is this furry dog that I’m a huge fan of. He doesn’t even know I exist. He’s a stray, but he’s beautiful, with flowy and surprisingly clean brown fur. I give him my positive vibes everytime I ride on that road.

Unfortunately, I don’t have a picture of him. But I have pictures of so many other dogs and I have a thing or two to say about each one of them. Here are their pictures, along with captions.

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The brown fellow here is Mr.Johnson, our dog at ACJ. He was a stupid dog, all over the place, getting chased away constantly by the hostel warden. We loved him. The girl he’s sparring with is probably his girlfriend.
This handsome German Shepherd is Mamba, my atthei's doggie in Koramangala. He might look ferocious but he's like a little puppy. He's harmless!
This handsome German Shepherd is Mamba, my atthei‘s doggie in Koramangala. He might look ferocious but he’s like a little puppy. He’s harmless! That thing around his neck is a rakhi that his sister sent for him from California.
This is Drago, a Golden Retriever from the next road. I was devastated to learn that someone stole him. I used to go and meet him everytime I was sad. He'd just rest his head on his paws and listen to my woes.
This is Drago, a Golden Retriever from the next road. I was devastated to learn that someone stole him. I used to go and meet him everytime I was sad. He’d just rest his head on his paws and listen to my woes.
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I don’t have a name for this guy, but he stuck around my area for a few weeks. He was sooo loyal, that one day, when I went to the beauty parlour, he followed me all the way and entered the parlour also, until the ladies inside started screeching! When they shooed him out, he waited at the entrance, until I got done. I think he sleeps near Malleswaram railway station now.
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This little puppy here, who looks much like my Rambo, is Paco. She is a resident stray at Swarnabhoomi Academy of Music, in Chennai. I made quick friends with her. I loved her for her tireless nature, despite the unforgiving sun
This, as all Mount Carmel Girls will know, is Gloria. She rules the roost at MCC. She would normally sit around the cafeteria, hoping someone wastes a chicken leg or something. She was a lazy, fat one, but a loving one.
This, as all Mount Carmel Girls will know, is Gloria. She rules the roost at MCC. She would normally sit around the cafeteria, hoping someone wastes a chicken leg or something. She was a lazy, fat one, but a loving one.
This beautifully furry doggy made friends with me outside Egg Factory on St. Marks Road. He was sitting by my bike at the parking lot and was too cute to ignore. He had a rich, golden mane
This beautifully furry doggy made friends with me outside Egg Factory on St. Marks Road. He was sitting by my bike at the parking lot and was too cute to ignore. He had a rich, golden mane
Doesn't he look like he has all the worries in the world? We found this puppy near Muttukadu beach house in Chennai. He was tied up outside a restaurant, and his friend, another puppy, was also tied close to him, but just out of his reach. He strained and pulled at his leash, but was still a foot away from his friend. He was so sad. : (
Doesn’t he look like he has all the worries in the world? We found this puppy near Muttukadu beach house in Chennai. He was tied up outside a restaurant, and his friend, another puppy, was also tied close to him, but just out of his reach. He strained and pulled at his leash, but was still a foot away from his friend. He was so sad. : (
This was the friend of the puppy I just wrote about. He was really handsome, in a very English way. I don't know why! He looked very smart.
This was the friend of the puppy I just wrote about. He was really handsome, in a very English way.
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This guy was so hyper that I couldn’t get a non-shaky picture of him. This is the third house from mine, and he almost jumped over and out of the compound wall. I don’t think he lives there anymore. He grew out of the place.
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This puppy was a shy one that I found at NITK, Suratkal. He was hungry and haggard, and scared of everyone. Look at those sad, watchful eyes
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My dad found this puppy lost on the streets and told me about it. I immediately brought it home. This picture was taken before leaving to CUPA that same evening. I left him there. I hope someone adopted him. He was dazed, confused and disoriented all the time. Strange fellow!
This dog made a one-day cameo and disappeared to God knows where! He was the most humble dog, who came up to my door step, ate Parle G and went away. Look at how those ears have gone back with humility. So heartening!
This dog made a one-day cameo and disappeared to God knows where! He was the most humble dog, who came up to my door step, ate Parle G and went away. Look at how those ears have gone back. So heartening!
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I don’t know this dog, but I was fascinated with him. He sat calm and majestic, feeling the wind in his hair as his masters rode on the road to Auroville, Pondicherry. Seriously, it happens only in India.

 

That’s that. These are just doggies, whose pictures I have. There are more of course, like the one at SN on JP Nagar, and others, whose pictures I haven’t been able to click. The entire species itself has had a huge role to play in my life and affected my general outlook behaviour, and the way I think. I take inspiration from these dogs.

I just want to thank God for making these four-legged creatures that are way way WAY better than human beings. I hope that someday, I can be as loyal, selfless, caring, protective and loving as a dog.

Puppy
Puppy

Of course, I’d also give anything to just laze around all day like them, wake up to a beautiful sunny day on the road, and sleep under any sort of shelter, anywhere.

If only…

Bottled up memories

I just had a break up. It was a year and a half long relationship. With a water bottle. It was very dear to me. Ask anyone around me and you’ll know. I never went anywhere without it. Not to college, not to office and not on a ride on my bike, not even on my cycle. It’s this orange Tupperware bottle.

Fishy and beer
Oops wrong picture! That’s not my bottle. That just Fishy refusing to drink beer. “You want me to drink this? Really? Irritating!”

Here’s the right picture.

Orange tuppy
With a heavenly glow and everything

I remember the day when my mum first bought it. She bought it because my previous Tupperware bottle started smelling weird. That was the normal blue bottle that everyone has these days. Other companies have even made an imitation of it and my roommate Sanjana had bought the fake one. Gosh! How hard she was trying to be like the elite Tupperware folk. (If my editor read this copy, she’d tear it apart and ask me if Tupperware was paying me). Anyway, my old bottle and I had good times. But it wasn’t unique enough. Also, it began having an affair with Sanjana’s fake bottle.

Look at that! Bottles these days... Shameless I tell you!
Look at that! Bottles these days… Shameless I tell you!

So my mum got me this new bottle when I visited Bangalore from Chennai. Sorry to quote the cliche, but it was love at first sight for me. The colour, the never-before seen shape, the size – it was too perfect. It was made for me.

I have taken it everywhere with me. First of all, its childhood was spent in Chennai when I was studying at ACJ and I’d bring it to Bangalore everytime with me. I took it to Pondicherry every time I visited the little pizza-land. I took it to Pavagada, a tiny taluk in Tumkur, to cover deprivation. (A course we were required to do for 15 days, to go and write reports about how deprived people are in remote areas in the country). There, it served me well. We even collected water in the bottle from roadside taps. And that water was full of fluoride, because that’s the biggest problem Pavagadans face. But my bottle purified the water and didn’t cause us any sort of fluorosis.

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Roadside tap water in Pavagada. I have no clue what that tiny star is doing on my hand

This bottle has been the orange ray of sunshine in my life. I have made iced tea in it an innumerable number of times, during hot sultry days in Chennai. It was the best combination with pizza from Pizza Republic (Because I don’t drink carbonated drinks). I have made rose milk in it after sweaty bouts of TT or cycling. It has accompanied me during walks to the beach. It didn’t matter that it was big and bulky. I’d carry it anyway, even if I wasn’t carrying a bag. It has been in my room in Chennai, day in and day out, and it has watched Game of Thrones and That 70’s Show with us. It has seen the four of us do things we shouldn’t. It knows all our secrets. But it never ever opened up, not until I made it open up. It’s a loyal, good bottle.

I feel bad about not having taken it to Europe with me. I’d lament in the night thinking about it, because bottles in Europe were either too small or too well-rounded. It’s just that this bottle has taken good care of me. It has made me drink so much water, and that is always good for health. I used to refill it around three or four times a day. More times in Chennai than in Bangalore. That’s about four litres of water. Now you know why I’m healthy all the time. It’s all thanks to my bottle, Tuppy.

Today, I am replacing the bottle with another one. Another Tupperware bottle of course. Like the bottle, I’m loyal as well. It’s of my favourite colour.

Me and bottle
Purple. Picture courtesy: Mum

I haven’t used it yet. I’m still in the process of letting go of Orange Tuppy. We are on good terms. But I’m not entirely letting it go. Don’t want to hurt it. I’ll keep it at home and use it from time to time. But for now, it’s a good bye.

Strange how such silly little things can get so attached to us.