Saturday, September 30, 2017

Breakfast Stories

We were on holiday recently and travelled for the first time with two other couples k works with. We have in the past enjoyed travelling with friends multiple times, but this was the first with these folks.

These are people I know. Folks I meet and have eaten with, multiple times, over the last 6 years. We have visited each other's homes and socialized to celebrate occasions and sometimes just like that. Yet I didn't know what to expect from the trip. It's one thing to meet people for a few hours every few months. It's a completely different thing to stay with them and be with them over the course of a few days.

While I mostly enjoyed their company, the majestic palace hotel we stayed at and the general chatter, I loathed meal times. Suddenly the dining table became a no holds barred advice giving forum. Advice on what to eat and how and why and when by the two ladies who are extremely health and diet conscious (read stick thin). Each time someone reached for a waffle or ordered Puri bhaji, there was a five minute discourse about how unfit the rest were and what wrong food choices we were making.

I'm a fairly rational person. I understand when people  dish out well meaning advice  But there is a limit to the mumbo-jumbo I could listen to from ill informed people bent on making my long pending three day holiday into a 'correct your eating habits' workshop.

So I did the next best thing, thanks to early rising with Sage that's become a habit, I quickly began going very early and ahead of everyone to have my coffee and breakfast in peace. We are talking waking around 5:45, walking an hour and heading to breakfast by 7 a.m when only the staff is around and they're still setting up for service. I can manage every other meal in chaos and tune out the noise, but I need my coffee and breakfast in absolute peace, preferably eaten in silence.


This arrangement worked to prep me for the rest of the day shared with other adults and a few kids and gave me enough time in the company I enjoy the most - mine. 

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Explaining tragedy to a very protected teen

I have two nieces. One is 17. K's sister's daughter. And one is 10, my brother's daughter. I love them both unequally. Because my brother's daughter was born before my eyes and I looked after her as a new born. I have a special bond with her.

With my 17 year old niece, I try to be her friend. Hand hold her through this difficult transition from childhood to adulthood. She's the child of a single parent and carries the heavy baggage that comes with it.

One of the most docile and innocent 17 year old kids you'll ever meet.

Four days ago, a classmate of hers went missing. A girl who sat with P during accounts class. A girl she went out to eat pani Puri with. They used to go by the same bus and were living in the same colony. The girl was called 'modern, fast and with it' she had an ex boyfriend and wanted to be a model. Day one everyone assumed she'd eloped. There was comments galore and insensitive talk. To her credit P told us that she didn't see anything so she didn't say a word. She didn't indulge in the loose talk.

Day 2 a missing persons report was filed and a massive hunt was on. P was distraught terrified something bad has happened. She couldn't focus on anything and couldn't sleep.

Day 3 the kids were scared shitless that the cops would come to them for questioning. P was terrified what would happen but k sat her down and had a long talk with her. Reassuring at the same time telling her that life would throw up many more of these instances and she needs to harden up.

Day 4 the worst had happened. The girl that was missing was found dead. This is a 17 year old girl, a girl that studied with my niece. P cried and couldn't believe what had happened. There was speculation of sexual assault and the probable scenes replayed again and again through her head. She wanted to keep talking about it and we spoke to her with as much patience as we could. Helping her process this was important. It also told me that while she has been exposed to a lot of things, at her core she remains a girl with a sensible head on her shoulders, who evaluates risks and threats and tries her best to manouvre her path.

Day 5. The school declared a holiday and to take her mins off this I took her to class with me. I put her with a partner who was quiet and gentle and she did well. We came home after class to the news that an arrest has been made. The culprit, an old classmate and a boy the victim was in love with had strangled and killed her to get her off his back. P has met this boy. He's some sort of a hero and legend In their school. She couldn't believe it was him who did this. She kept asking me how a friend could do this. I had no answers.

This is a 17 year old. Who murdered a girl he was no longer interested in romantically. Who teaches them this stuff. Who makes them think they'll get away with this or that it's ok to kill someone you don't like anymore?

My in-laws moved to an apartment on our floor two weeks ago. I have a feeling this situation would have inflicted even more trauma on us if we were not together. I have never been more thankful to be around her than now. I am trying to sleep but cannot.

Friday, August 18, 2017

How do I want to remember July?

I started to write this two weeks ago.......

Its already the second week of august and this year is flying at a speed I cannot keep up with.

Mostly the only bright spot about July was my birthday, which I got to spend with my friends that are my family, eat a lot of food and drink till my liver protested.

The work month was not as impressive as I wanted it to be, but it was not bad either so I will settle mid way.

Sage had a couple of seizures during the month and that threw me off quite badly. He is being brave and tries not to be a pain any other way, tries and recovers as soon as possible, but throw off it does.

There are a bunch of dogs in our colony, they wander around, mostly one family of a pair, their 5 offspring and 4 drifters, single dogs that sort of live on the fringes of the pack. They are welcomed when convenient and the first to be targeted when one from the family is having a bad day. All of them have names they respond to and are generally friendly. There was this spritely pup, black with some white on all four of his legs. I christened him boots. He was adorable, came on command, played like a pesty younger sibling with sage and was precocious. Suddenly he disappeared and I was told three others taken with him by the municipality. I called the dog pound and checked and fought till they were located and dumped back in our colony 5 days later. A week after they came back I noticed some of the dogs weren't around and the local auto drivers told me that two dogs had died over the last few days and the municipality had taken them away.

Boots was never the same. He was quieter, rapidly losing weight and didn't want to come and play. I dont feed the dogs, just watch over them and manage them when they are sick and need a vet. I checked and put him on saline for 2 days, he seemed to recover, and then suddenly one morning on my walk, I was told by the nearby tea vendor that he looks very very ill. I rushed to find him, almost cold, laboured breathing and smelling bad. I picked him up and wrapped him in a thick towel, brought him home and called the vet who asked me to come at 10 as he was in surgery. It was 8 am. I tried to give him body warmth and glucose and will him to be better. He pushed his head up and acknowledged me, but his frail body couldn't take it anymore and after an hour, as I had him on my lap, Boots just died. As the tears flowed down my cheeks, I said I was sorry for not doing enough and letting him down. I put him in a box and got him buried.

I couldnt get over what had happened and I clung to Sage that day.

A day later I began to notice that Joy, a pup from the previous litter, a white speckled fellow with a brown head, he was always so happy and would run to me and hit me with all his body weight, was losing weight rapidly. I took him to the vet who suspected it was distemper and said most unvaccinated dogs get it if in contact with an infected dog. Boots and Joy most likely were exposed to an infected dog when they were taken to the pound. Joy was on saline and anti biotics to help him and I was feeding him thrice a day for strength. 4 days of this and he greeted me feebly and I picked him up, he was a tall hound like fellow, nuzzled him and told him I was so happy to see him recover. Just when I thought he was out of danger, he deteriorated and in 24 hours was skin and bone, with a severe chest infection and having mild seizures. I put him in the car and on the way to the vet he had a massive seizure. He came out of it in 2 minutes but was bewildered. When I showed him to the vet, he said there was no hope and that joy would die within 24 hours and was in great pain. I asked for him to be euthanised to give him some peace. I sat there with Joy on my lap as he passed into a deep sleep. We buried him on the ORR at a spot where his lifeless body would not be a risk for other strays.

I also had Popcorn with me in the car. A dog I rescued from a pack that was attacking him, but could not keep. One building in our colony agreed to allow him to sleep inside the gate and I feed him once a day. Popcorn also was picked up with joy and boots despite having a collar and I was worried sick he was infected too since he was losing weight and was so weak his feet were buckling the last few days. So had taken him with joy for a check up. The vet said we cannot be sure, but gave him saline and a few shots of antibiotics.

K told me that in all of this, I didn't once worry about exposing sage to the infection. I was terrified for both popcorn and sage. We procured the testing kits and fortunately both popcorn and sage tested negative. most dogs with distemper die out of secondary infections that make them so weak that they are too tired to look for food and in the end it is starvation. So popcorn is now on a 4 times a day feeding schedule. I give him pedigree, boiled eggs and milk with glucose added. Its been a week and he seems to be gaining strength and I am happy about it.

The end of july also brought the bad news of the passing of an old friend who used to help me and amma with our taxes. A nice simple unassuming guy, just died of a massive heart attack and that was such a shock to me.

The month wasn't the best in terms of personal stuff and I hope and pray that the worst is behind us. I want august to be better....

Saturday, July 15, 2017

No two days are similar

This week has been checkered at best. The weekend began with bringing in my 40th birthday. As per usual, K and I didn't make any plans. He because he couldn't be bothered. Me because I was too proud to organise my own celebration. But B and J were here and we went out, I wore a new dress, we made merry and had a good time. Sunday was also a good day, more alcohol, food and some friends who came home to wish me. 

MIL's sister and her husband came to visit. He has alzheimers and is now unable to place most of his immediate family. He is aware of it, he has become a shadow of his earlier self, but is lucid and engaging. I took their grand daughter and my SIL's daughter to watch Spiderman the next day. It was to be a girls day out but one of my nieces had an upset tummy so it was just a movie date. I was bored out of my wits at the movie. I cannot think of a more insipid super hero movie in a while. 

Spent wednesday baking. And making about 120 theplas as requested by a friend who was travelling abroad. So the house and studio resembled a small scale spice and chutney powder factory that day. We baked some eggless jaggery banana loaves, cupcakes and lots of salt and pepper cookies. I feel humbled when they call back and praise the bakes to the skies. I need to stop dismissing praise. Learning to accept it gracefully will be a battle to fight in this new decade. 

Started my 8 day baking workshop on thursday. I have 4 people signed up for the whole course and through the week there will be folks who do single sessions. Starting the sessions on thursday is not by choice, I had to do it in order that the most popular ones which attract more single session participants comes on the weekend. I have an IITian whos quit his job because he loves to cook. One chubby boy turned fitness freak who weighs every morsel he eats. One set of identical twin ladies and my assistant is most intrigued about which one is older! 

Sage came to the studio on thursday and he slept through the whole session. Didn't show any signs of discomfort. But suddenly at 11.55 pm he had a massive seizure. this is the third in 4 weeks and I was at my wits end. Pouring rain, K not reachable and a completely disoriented Sage. I may have had a meltdown if I had an audience. I managed somehow but I swear I am really tired now. The mental stress of keeping all balls up in the air is telling on me and I am snappier than ever before. 

Yesterday K stayed home till I finished my session and went to work post lunch. I dont know what we will do today. Sage is not displaying any pre-ictal signs which is puzzling and each seizure in the last month has left me baffled because it seems to come out of nowhere. 

In the midst of all of this, I am thinking of starting a sourdough starter. Its popping up on every one of my social media and I am intrigued by it. I had a starter a few years ago which I killed off because I grew tired of feeding it. May be this weekend. Oh wait, today is already saturday!

Friday, June 30, 2017

Useless vanities

As I sit in the balcony this morning, enjoying the silence, a cup of well made coffee and the soft fur of my fluff ball that I have used to prop my feet on,I notice the colour of my nails is similar to his harness.

Yesterday after a particularly bad instance of I can't recognize myself anymore, I booked a salon at home appointment via an app. The beautician was late by an hour, rather clumsy and a little nosey but she threaded my brows and I got my nails painted a nice shade of red.

The last two weeks have been stressful with sage and his attacks. I'm living mostly on the support of online services that allow me to get most of my chores done while sitting next to him.

Today as I vainly look at my toes, I am filled with gratitude for all of this.