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.
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.
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.
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.
Munnu, the peaceful one
Eeky dog love
Chinnu, the restless one
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.
If you continue to stick your head out of the gate, Dhrona, someday you’ll be stuck there forever
Peeking at me over the compound wall
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. : (
I had to get onto Orkut to get pictures of Simba. We had him in 2008.
This is Gunner, an absolute sweetheart!
My blue-eyed boy, Simbla.
Isn’t he a darling?
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.
Someone’s been naughtily getting their hands dirty
Fishy trying to tame the over-excited doggy
This is perhaps the happiest dog in the world. They all live on the beach in Besant Nagar, and feed on fish, chundal, corn and anything they can get their paws on
Scratch my belly, please!
I found these puppies in Pavagada, when I went to cover deprivation from college. I held the entire team up for at least ten minutes because my heart melted looking at them. I just couldn’t let them go
This is a puppy that I found in the backyard of one of my aunt’s houses. I didn’t bring it home because it was still with its mum. I don’t like separating them when they’re together
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.
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.
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.
Here’s the right picture.
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.
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.
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.
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.