Saturday, April 16, 2016
Posted by Vishwa at 1:58 PM
Thursday, April 07, 2016
Nobody knows who named him 'Thunder'. Maybe it's because of his ferocity! He's a stray dog who became homeless when his owners shifted out of this place and decided to abandon him. There are a half a dozen strays over here along with another dozen pets. The competition for food is fierce among the strays. I saw him once, desperate for food, hungry, weak. Went to the bakery and got a few sweet buns. He gobbled them all up and continued to look at me, asking for more.
He followed me to my house and started to loiter around. I started getting him buns every time I visited the nearby bakery. And that's how he found a permanent unconditional basic income(the likes of which I salivate for :) ). He became a permanent fixture outside our house--loitering around the whole day, but keeping our house as his base. And once his hunger pangs got extinguished, another trait surfaced in him-- his territorial instincts.
No dog can enter our lane when thunder is around. He's absolutely ruthless! Doesn't hesitate to face 3-4 dogs, and with a little prodding, doesn't hesitate to attack and land a bite or two--just like a movie hero who takes on multiple goons at the same time. And he has another habit--to invade others' territories and stamp his authority over them. This happens when I go on a walk, at dusk or dawn. He yawns once, dusts himself and starts following me. As we cross the political boundaries, he lifts his hind leg and makes fresh markings. Invariably other dogs come barking, and thunder stands his ground, staring at them, assessing the situation. One prodding 'swish' from me, and he lunges forward, attacking the unsuspecting dogs and sends them packing.
Of course, there are times when he gets subdued and mauled but they are few and far in between.
What's even more troubling about Thunder is his suspicion towards anyone who dares to walk towards our house. 'Guilty until proven innocent' is his mantra, so anyone, be it the paper-boy, gas delivery fellow, cableman, internet-guy or any worker...they are welcomed with a ferocious, attacking barking stance. He bullies them and makes them freeze on their spot. Then one of us have to rush and shoo him away, apologise to the human, and allow them to pass. 'Good, in a way,' says a neighbour. 'Now, no thief will gather muster to come over here.'
Thunder has a sensitive side too. He isn't nasty with everyone. When a friend came visiting, I was on my feet, worried that thunder would attack him, but he was most subdued and docile. 'He gave us a warm welcome,' said my friend. So was it when my relatives came visiting.
One morning, a few weeks ago, Thunder let out a volley of ferocious barks. We rushed out, wondering which unfortunate person needs assistance this time, but no. It was a snake! Not a full grown reptile, but not a baby either. Maybe an adolescent. His hood raised and hissing. Must be a cobra. Thunder was furious, so was the snake. They were trying to attack and land a blow on each other. I screamed out at thunder, trying to dissuade him, but he mistook it for an 'attacking swish' and got more encouraged. The snake was equally agile, trying its best to escape but thunder wouldn't let it move. Sensing trouble I ran down, picked up a stick...and before I could shoo thunder away, he caught the snake by its tail, whipped it up in the air and struck it down on the hard ground twice!!!
That's the way a snake is handled...and I had seen it done in my village. Catch hold of a snake by its tail, raise it in the air and swirl so that it doesn't bite you, and then slam it hard on the ground, breaking its head. Thunder....bloody fellow, he must've been a villager from my native in his previous birth, because that's how he tackled the snake. And before he could bite the snake, I shooed him away, allowing the injured snake to escape and find refuge in a nearby bush.
The snake escaped with a few bleeding wounds. Thunder was seething. I called up a snake-catcher. The snake lay coiled on a bush, bruised and too weak to slither away. Someone had to keep the dog at bay until the snake-catcher arrived, so we kept vigil for a couple of hours. And before the guy arrived, the snake escaped into the thick jungle surrounding our house. Thunder appeared tired but
victorious. There were silent applauses for his bravery and dare-devilry. More food and delicious crumbs came his way.
The snake arrived today morning...perhaps by accident, or maybe to take revenge. Was it the same snake? It looked so. They say, an injured snake will not forget its enemy and will lay in wait even for years to exact vengeance. The snake...perhaps underestimated Thunder. A few warning barks, that's all.
And then....he grabbed the snake's head in his mouth and ripped him apart ruthlessly with an extraordinary ferociousness. We could dissuade him a bit, but the snake was finished by then. Thunder destroyed the lifeless body of the snake and threw him out in the under growth.
An vibrant dance of death and life. Thunder was lucky this time. If it were a fully grown snake, he would've found his match. Or maybe....he would've summoned his dormant primal survival and attacking instinct and thundered down to rip apart the reptile.
Maybe such battles await him in future, while he munches on his cream buns and gulps down cups of water in the sweltering summer heat.
Posted by Vishwa at 3:30 PM
Sunday, February 28, 2016
Posted by Vishwa at 9:14 PM
Wednesday, February 17, 2016
Posted by Vishwa at 2:06 PM
Sunday, January 24, 2016
Posted by Vishwa at 9:21 PM
Thursday, December 31, 2015
How did he manage it? There's nobody I know who's capable of this.
Wish I could connect more with him...then...and now.
Posted by Vishwa at 9:51 AM
Wednesday, October 07, 2015
Posted by Vishwa at 10:30 AM
Wednesday, September 23, 2015
Yea...I'm guilty of abandoning my lovely blog home, and spending extra time in the more vibrant(?) and more visited fb apartment. I meet more people on FB, get to socialize(??) more over there, receive instant feedback and can get into easy conversations---my pride gets a beautiful massage over there than in my shy blog palace. Add a bit of natural laziness...the home accumulates cobwebs and dust.
But think of the pre-facebook years--blogs were the place where the online socializing happened, at least for me. Not just recording life as it happened....but also checking out a wide variety of other blog homes regularly. Commenting back and forth, sometimes furiously. Writing memes and tagging friends. Picking up a idea from another blog and writing an elaborate post on it. Checkout the blogroll to see the latest update on our favorite blogs(much like the fb notifications). In short, blogs were the social media before twitter/fb.(They still are, for many).
If Facebook is the casual 'hi' on the way to the park, Blogs are the leisurely conversations on the park benches. FB is the pulpit for expressing opinions whereas the blog is my autobiography, a sketch and record of the past ten years of my life--the events, the view-point changes, the stories told and 'not-told'. Posts I read again to reminisce on an event long forgotten. Wondering at times why I wrote this, or why I didn't write that. Follow the comment link to another blog to see where they are in the stream of life.
Then it occurs...does it all matter? What you write, don't write, express, comment, argue, fight, put aside so much time and energy scribbling....does it matter, to anyone or yourself? As someone noted...'My writings and art -- paper boats in the raging river of time'. Will the world be poorer if I don't scribble my life down? Or do I add anything of value with my carefully crafted reflections on the events of my life?
Not just what we create, but we ourselves are paper boats in the raging river of time! So while being tossed by the rapid currents, if I have taken a while to make some small boats and set them afloat, enjoying their brief dance, I guess it's worth it---if not for anyone else, at least for myself. Guess I need to create more such blog boats and set them sail, just for the sheer pleasure of watching them skirt the currents.
Posted by Vishwa at 5:50 PM
Wednesday, June 03, 2015
Then there's this girl. Sumathi, if I correctly remember. She sits in the last bench along with a few other rowdy girls. A bit plump. Fair. Slightly loud mouthed. Good in sports, good in fights. Kinda opposite to shakir in every way.
One evening someone whispers a secret and we wait for the classes to get over, unable to control our glee. Then we hurry to the last bench, to the place where Sumathi sits and look under the wooden seat. There it is! A small pencil scrawl on the rough wood. 'Shakir, I love you'.
Whoa! Its an absolute scandal and we are over the moon, gossipping, discussing, analysing, guffawing a lot amidst all this. Suddenly we spot her, Nalini teacher! We run to her almost screaming 'teacher, teacher, teacher'.....'Sumathi has written something under her desk'.... Nalini teacher has a slight smile. 'Teacher teacher, she has written, 'Shakir, I love you', and the small group starts laughing. She has an understanding smile as she says, 'Ok, I'll look into it, now you all go home'.
The next day is judgement day and we want justice to be done! See sumathi punished for daring to cast her eye on our boy. Love!! At this age!! We wait for Nalini teacher and once she enters the class, our group is around her. She has an amused look observing our excitement. 'Nothing is there,' she says. 'No teacher,' we are horrified. Someone runs to the last bench and peers under the seat. The love signature is gone, neatly erased!!! 'But teacher,' I protest, 'it was there, I saw it with my own eyes. 'Shakir, I love you'. And it was sumathi's handwriting. She only wrote it and now she has erased it.'
Nalini teacher just waves us off, gently. 'Its ok, you must have seen something else. I'll look into it. Now get back to your seats,' she says. We return in disappointment, our small adventure fizzling out before taking off. The whole class seems to have got wind of the issue but its soon forgotten. There are a thousand other things in the world of 10 year old kids.
What keeps this small memory fresh is the way Nalini teacher handled it. Not punishing the 'offender'. Not admonishing the 'adventurers'. Just understanding the curiosity, excitement and inquisitiveness of kids on the threshold of adolscence and being gentle about it. There were other teachers and pt masters who would have taken the same situation and created a huge mess out if it. But she was different.
She taught social studies, just for less than a year before she was transferred out. But how the class loved her! How carefree we were when she was around. There's one lovely incident where, with any other teacher, I would have been skinned alive and scarred for life. A small assignment which we had to do at home, and I had faithfully flunked it. Nalini teacher picked me up and asked, 'Have you done the assignment?'. 'Yes, teacher,' I say, full of confidence. 'Ok, open your book and read it'. I open my homework book, and my hands begin to shiver. I open an empty page, and start saying something ....totally from memory. My voice is shaking and is on the verge of choking, fearing that I'll be found out. 'MN, stop for a while,' she says. 'Are you really reading from your homework book?'. 'Yes teacher,' (bloody guts!). 'Are you sure,' she has a smile, 'because, I feel that you are reciting from memory and not from the book'. I should have shut up and admitted, but being the reckless guy i was I stand my ground. 'No teacher, it is here in the book, see if you want', I hold the book towards her, covering the empty pages. She looks at me for a few moments. 'It's ok, sit down,' she says, before she moves to another student.
The whole class knows that I've made an ass of myself, and Nalini teacher saved me from further embarrassment. Did I dare do that mistake again? Hell no! Did I learn a lesson for my lifetime? Absolutely. It looked like any other incident then, but when I look back now, I sit back in wonderment at the way she took care of my budding self-esteem and ensured that I wasn't traumatised--just with a small gesture. And such gestures were a part of her daily interactions with everyone in the class, in other classes.
When she left, there was probably nobody who didn't bid her farewell with a heavy heart. 'Write down something about me on a piece of paper', she told us on the last day. 'Anything...good or bad, what you liked in me, what you didn't like, whatever. And don't write your name, so that I'll not come to know who it is if you have written something bad about me.' We all faithfully scrawled our anguish and sorrow at having to see her go away, expressing our love and admiration for this gentle lady.
There have been many teachers since, but this lady....she remains in memory as one of the first persons I came across who had this very sublime, very unique and rare quality---'to influence and inspire others just by her presence, nothing else'. Somewhat similar to Him.
Posted by Vishwa at 6:49 PM