Sunday, 19 July 2015

RUSTY AND ME!



For months I have been waiting to blog, but since my last one, life had kept me rolling on my feet. Sometimes travel took away all my time, sometimes mind was occupied with too many things that it could not pen down anything.
If I had to write about one special thing that happened from the time I blogged last till now, than I have to pen down three most special things that happened.

Firstly I turned the big 50 with God's Grace!  Spent many memorable moments with friends and family. Lots of parties happened, received lots of gifts along with lots of love from friends and family.


Secondly I lost weight, after eight long painful years I crossed my plateau and reached a number, which I haven't seen for many years.

Thirdly whatever happened is the best thing that ever happened in my entire life! I knew from the time that I was approaching fifty, that there will one great change coming along my way. From the time I was born till now, every decade of my life have come with a change and a twist. I am not going to write about that now, that might be my next blog.
This blog is all about the one that came as the biggest surprise and change in my life.

I never was a pet person. My sister was as she grew up with pets all her life. I didn’t, so I never really cared for one! But while I was coming close to fifty, my older two got themselves not one, not two but three puppies among themselves. In fact my older one adopted her second puppy who has got the cutest eyes and the biggest menace among the three, on my 50th Birthday. Honestly when she told me I wasn’t very happy about it as I was wondering how on earth with her lifestyle she will manage two of them. And as I said since I never owned a pet, I never really understood the 'pet emotion'. But when I met all three of them I fell in love with all of them because they leave you with no other option.
 
OUR HECTOR AND PARIS
When I went to London and there were three puppies and handful of people all around, at the beginning it wasn't a pleasant feeling. But as these three started to follow me, jump on my bed without my permission, walk over my laptop without any warning, I just could not help myself from falling in love. They were so adorable and lovable and so cute and each one with completely different personality. But I still didn't take care of them personally. I would just play with them and rest will be left for my daughters to handle, unless I was left with certain instructions to follow to handle them. I was such a dud when it comes to pets that when one of them was sleeping in his crate with his head out in a weird manner that I really panicked. I had to call my daughter's boyfriend to find out if that was normal and I was assured that it was.
OUR FONZIE

But since my older two got their own pups, my youngest one started pestering me day and night for her own. She nagged me, manipulated me, emotionally blackmailed me and everything else possible to convince me to get her one. I never agreed for a long time, I couldn't because I thought with my lifestyle of travelling all the time, it was not possible to get a puppy. And I had no idea how to train a puppy or look after them; I had no idea if there were any vets available in Lagos, (it’s another thing that later on I found out that there are more vets in Lagos than doctors for human beings).

Anyway at the end as usual she won and this is just after I came back from our December holiday. I told her that we would get one from London in the summer time and fly him down to Lagos. But as I started my research, I found out there is lot of paper work involved to get a puppy to and from Lagos and this summer getting a puppy was not working out so well. And I could feel my mixed feelings about this puppy from the time I said yes to Reana. I literally could feel my anxiety in my heart. Since London puppy was not working out and I was travelling so often this year that I told my daughter that she had to wait to get her puppy after summer holidays. I was going through so much tension and worries with the constant change of maids and then planning my own big 50 party, that I could not focus on having this puppy at that time. But my daughter knows how to get me; she will sit next to me and show me all the research that she has been doing to find a puppy in Lagos. I was exasperated with her. Sometimes I felt like sending her away to London as she was bugging me so much with her constant nagging. Ultimately little time that I got, I started calling some vets to find out about these puppies. First of all I didn't even know any breed of puppies and how they looked. So I had to go online and start reading about them and I was doing this simultaneously at the same time when I was buying my party stuff online. Double pressure on me! I am not a multi tasking person at all, if I have to handle more than one thing at a time, I lose focus and concentration and I just panic and lose my sleep. That is what exactly happened just before my Birthday, and somehow everything went wrong with all my planning. I almost had a nervous breakdown on the day of my party, with so much pressure on my head. But somehow everything went off well finally.

Back to my pet story! After my party, on my daughter's constant nagging and  insistence, I called few breeders in Lagos and found out there were puppies available but all were out of Lagos. And I was not going to travel out of Lagos to look for this puppy even if anyone put a gun on my head. So I was just waiting for some of the breeders to get back to me. I also found out that Lagos breeders bred a lot of Lhasa and Samoyed dogs. I didn't even know there was a breed called Samoyed, till I googled and found out that they are special snow dogs. And I was really baffled to understand why a hot place like Africa will breed snow dogs and how did this breed survived here. Anyway if I had to research all that I would have gone crazy. So as I was waiting to hear from these breeders, one of my friend suddenly put up these cute puppies picture on Watsapp chat and asked if anyone was interested to buy them as they were put up for sale. I showed the picture to my daughter and immediately she said she wants one of them and I thought she was getting frustrated with no answers from breeders and getting desperate to get any puppy. But she kept on insisting, at the end I asked my friend who was selling them and she said it was her hairdresser who had put this picture of puppies. I was more confused than ever, as I didn't know if this Lebanese hairdresser was a breeder too. 

I had to contact him and he told those puppies belonged to one of his very close Nigerian lady customer. When I asked him about their breed he said they were Lhasa and a Samoyed mix! Things were getting more confusing day by day but anyway I made that call to this lady customer and she explained everything on the phone. She particularly made it very clear that she is not a breeder that these are love puppies, created by her Lhasa who was the mom and Samoyed who was the father. I wanted to fix a time to come and see these puppies and she said she was out of town and she lived really very far from where I stayed. But I was allowed to go see those puppies. As Reana was going to school, I couldn't fix a time on a weekday to see those puppies and so I left it for the weekend but that weekend my driver didn't show up. My daughter was agitated and hell bent on seeing these puppies. Her father could not see her anguish and decided to take us on a Sunday to this place to see them. I was furious with both of them, for being so impatient. 

The night before I actually didn't sleep at all just thinking about my future and the mistake I made of giving in to my daughter's demand. Early morning when she got ready and came to my room all excited and told me that we should leave, she and her father got the biggest shouting of their life. I took out all my frustrations, anxieties on them but they kept quiet and decided that we will just go and have a look, we will not make any decision on that day. So half-heartedly I went along with them, and first we had to go to a shop to buy few puppy stuff in case we got one that day. My daughter had done enough research to know what to get, so we kind of picked the basic stuff and headed for this lady's place. It did feel like going out of Lagos, it was that far!  And I was annoyed with the fact that how my youngest one can twist her father's mind in her little finger. The guy who doesn't like to drive at all, decide to drive so far to show her the puppies.

Finally we reached her place, one man and the caretaker opened the door to the house. Out came these most cute and adorable eight puppies from inside and surrounded us. They were nipping our feet. There was this ‘puppy smell’ all over this house. We had decided to get a male as this was our first puppy, as everyone with a pet advised that male puppy was easier to handle specially if it was for the first time. As we asked the caretaker to show us the male ones, he did and put them down on the floor and my daughter picked up one and RUSTY CHAINANI CAME INTO OUR LIFE ON 12TH APRIL 2015! He was just eight weeks old. So tiny and fragile! When I asked my daughter if she wanted to still decide, she said," Nope! This is the one!" He was so cute, quietly looking at us. While other puppies were making noises and running around us, this one was so calm and quiet in Reana's arm. I fell in love with him the moment I carried him. And we brought him home! And my life changed forever! 
OUR RUSTY
He just turned five months recently and its been three months and a week since he has come into our lives. Since then I am adjusting my life according to his needs. I feel I have gone back to those days where I was looking after my babies. At the beginning I had to stay awake in the night to make sure he was okay. Then I had to start toilet training him. I had a major maid problem when he came, so I had to do single handedly everything, as my daughter was busy with her exams and schoolwork. Before I got him, I had no idea how I will take this whole situation but it was love at first sight! I was ready to sacrifice my sleep and I even sacrificed my summer holidays for him. I have to say honestly I have never been loved so unconditionally like this by anyone else! He follows me everywhere with his little paws even to the bathroom. He runs away with my shoes, when he thinks I am going out. He has destroyed all my home slippers! :)  He looks at me with those ‘to die for’ eyes, when I am having my tea and biscuits. When I am having my lunch and dinner, he sits next to my feet. He just waits for me to treat him with my yogurt. He just loves it. He loves going out for a car ride with me. He loves playing 'fetch' with me. When I am having my tea and biscuit, if I ignore him, he nudges me with his nose to get my attention. First thing in the morning he comes running to my bed to wake me up. Every moment spent with him is a moment of absolute joy and pleasure.
  

Before I used to watch Youtube to watch Bollywood songs and serials, but I now I watch to learn how to take care and train a puppy. I can proudly say that I have taught him few tricks and he is too smart to learn it so fast.  He keeps me busy from morning till night with all his playful tricks.
I have taken only a month’s holiday for this summer and right now we are all in London. I cried my eyes out while leaving him. But I made my hubby install cameras, so I can watch over him from here. And I miss him day and night. I am constantly calling my maids to find out how he is doing and stalking them in the cameras.
HE IS SUCH A DREAMER!

 Some of my friends and family think I have gone crazy with him, and I absolutely agree with them! I am crazy about him! He is my bundle of joy and happiness. If anyone needs to learn about unconditional love, you need to get a dog. Everyday I watch him; I learn so much from him. I keep accumulating and hoarding and getting stuff to make myself happy but nothing is enough for me. I stay discontent and unsatisfied and want some more but just one ball and a bone keeps my puppy happy and content day after day. Every other extra thing that I buy for him is to make myself happy. He doesn't really need anything beside food and water, bit of love and cuddle and lots of playtime. And in exchange I have received endless love and joy from him.
 Now I follow other dog lovers in Social media to find out more information about puppies and crazies like me. Now I get upset when I see abuse on puppies and dogs. I can’t believe myself sometimes! Three months back these things didn't have any importance in my life, but now my life revolves around my little Rusty. Right now I am full of guilt of leaving him behind, even though he is in good hands. And this is how I will feel every time I will leave him behind.

I was planning to start practicing a bit of detachment from life after turning fifty but instead I bound myself with more deep attachments. But whatever it is, I just love every moment of it! I don't want to offend anyone, but I truly feel that nothing or no one has given me this kind of happiness and love that I got from my Rusty in these three months.




Saturday, 6 December 2014

A LIITLE RAY OF HOPE

How will it be if the world was without any fear
Where no one dropped a shed of tear.
Where babies were born knowing they were in safe hand
Where their childhood will be spent in a peaceful land.

How will it be if the world was without any pain
Where there was no knowledge of loss and gain.
Where the only religion was of humanity
Where everyone lived in self sovereignty.

How will it be if the world was without any disorder
Where lands were free to roam and there was no border.
Where people only spoke the language of love
Where everyone and everything was blessed from up above.

How will it be if the world had no kind of disease
Where no one had to beg or ask getting down on their knees.
Where  life was a constant celebration
Where there was only one world and one nation.

How will it be if the world was without any scarcity
Where everything was abundantly available and no one lived in charity.
Where everyone constantly loved and cared for each other
Where everyone was one family and no one was a neighbour

How will it be if the world was without any terror
Where there was no threat and there was no need of warrior.
Where black or white or colour did not matter
Where caste and creed and religion was not a source of disaster.

How will it be if the world was without any greed
Where every one helped each other to succeed.
Where young ones were always available for older generation
Where young and old lived without any inhibition.

How will it be if the world was without any hatred
Where life was constantly appreciated.
Where learning was based on interest and curiosity
Where peace and harmony existed in every city.

How will it be if the world was without any anger
Where way of life was that of love and nurture.
Where gratitude was expressed in constant sharing
Where way of life was just of caring.

How will it be if the world was without any regret
Where there was no existence of the word like ‘hate’
Where the air was filled with the fragrance of jasmine
Where nature was available for everyone’s well being
How will it be if the world was without any crime
Where everyone just lived to have a memorable time.
Where sun was never too hot to dry up any land
Where rain just fell to bloom the flowers to decorate as garland.

How will it be if the world was without any evil
Where goodness was all around and no existence of devil.
Where parents slept in peace knowing their children were always safe
Where there was never a need to teach a child how to behave.

How will it be if the world was without any ‘I’ or ‘me’
Where equality existed whether it was ‘he’ or ‘she’
Where nature and animals co-existed in peace
Where laughter and joy were always in practice.

How will it be if the world was without any worry
Where  time was used in constant self discovery.
Where mountains were never to high to climb or rivers to deep to swim
Where there is fulfillment in every hope and every dream.

I dream of such a world every day and every night
Hoping one day it will come in sight
Where we all will co-exist with love and affection
Where sharing and caring will always be in our attention
My hopes are high and my faith is strong
That one day we all will be in this world where we truly belong.









NEW BEGINNING















Wednesday, 12 November 2014

LIFETIME OF MEMORIES AND STORIES IN JUST FIVE MONTHS


 It’s been really long since I have blogged last. My two months vacations turned into five, as my daughter’s school remained closed for a longer time because of Ebola issues in Nigeria. But these long five months have been most special months of my life.  There were so much of travelling, family bonding, learning, meeting new people, reunion with school friends after 33 years, celebrating Durga Puja(festival of Goddess Durga) in my hometown, Calcutta, after 33 years. And of course how can I forget? Becoming a student after 33 years and going for classes and doing assignments! That was my best experience of all.
Want to share some of my experiences and stories of people that kind of got etched in my memory and in my heart.
We went for a family vacation to a paradise called Santorini in Greece. We stayed up on the hills in a hotel that provided villas with your own pool, overlookinging the blue  serene sea and volcanic mountains. 
HOTEL MAISON DE LYS
I met some really good looking, hard working, endlessly energetic people on this island. I met this bartender there. His name was Nic, who had just come to work in that particular Hotel where we stayed. He made the world’s best cocktails ever! Every day he made me some amazing cocktails and he also let me try the cocktail that he won in the competition. It had chilies and black pepper in it and it was awesome.  This is the only time that I never went through the cocktail menus but just left him to do the job. And I had the most fabulous cocktails in this beautiful island. While I sipped my cocktails in this little bar overlooking the mountains and the sea and the cruise ships that had docked, he would tell me his stories.
ICY COCKTAIL IN SCORCHING HEAT...PERFECT!

He has participated in many cocktail making competitions and had won many. He travelled all round the world and worked in different bars and made cocktails and participated in different competitions. After Greece he was planning to go to USA. He showed me his beautiful dog’s picture in his phone and I asked him where did he leave his dog when he travelled, he said with his ex-wife.
The manager of the hotel, Alexendra, was exact opposite. He never left his hometown and never visited anywhere, even though he wished too. He was such a kind, helpful, friendly person. He made our stay very special, always booked tables for us in some local and exotic restaurants of   Santorini.  He was really young, must be my daughter’s age or little older and he seemed very naïve and innocent. I guess living in such a beautiful place without much of outside contact, kept his mind really pure and healthy.
On the beach while we were relaxing, we met a Nigerian guy who said he had done engineering from University of Lagos and because of no job opportunities in his country, he came to Europe to find a job. And what was he doing there? Painting and trying to make a living by selling his paintings on the beaches and the streets under scorching sun(which I guess didn’t bother him much, as he came from a hot country),constantly dodging the police to avoid paying bribes in name of fine or getting his paintings confiscated.  We bought his paintings just for €5! He was a funny character, even told us if he knew that we were coming from Nigeria, he would have send some clothes for his nephews.
Right now I am reading a book called Americana and the writer has written similar kind of issues, how educated Nigerians go abroad for better prospects and land up becoming a janitor or a truck loader at the end.
BLACK BEACH SANTORINI
After Greece it was my photography course. We were eight girls in that course, all from different parts of the world.  There was an Indian lady from Singapore who had come for her cousin’s wedding and decided to do this course to pass her time in London. Another one was from Switzerland and had come for a vacation and joined the course and last day of the course she came with all her baggage to go back to her country. One was a teacher; another one was working in her friend’s bar to pay off the money she borrowed from her to pay for the course. There was a graduate who was going to Cambridge for her masters and her result of her exams came out the second day of the course and she got in. Youngest one in the group was from Singapore but studying in London. She was the most intelligent among all of us and also most bored among all of us. She came to the course because her dad gifted her a Dslr camera and she wanted  to learn how to use it. But whenever I didn’t understand something about the course, she would help me.
Our trainer was really cool, looked like Ben Affleck. His name was Andrea. He taught in a University along with teaching photography. Just as a photographer he could not earn enough to live in a city like London.  And he told me he really wished to visit Agra, Delhi, and other parts of India but not right now. He said he needs to prepare himself first for this journey.
Those were my best days of my life. Learning new tricks everyday and then going to different places for practical assignments. Few of us girls used to go together for our lunch breaks, and this young girl from Singapore would take us to  some really neat little Japanese and Korean Joints in Soho. I felt like a schoolgirl, walking around with my backpack everywhere.
From that day I promised myself that from now on I would dedicate my time in learning and going for more of these courses. There is nothing like the feeling of getting back into a student life at my age. It bring backs the spirit of childhood!
PRACTISE SHOTS

ASSIGNMENT....PHOTOGRAPHY IN BRITISH MUSEUM

Then there was a short visit to Paris with my hubby. It was a gift from our daughters for his birthday. In that city I felt that there was French and rest was all tourists. The difference was so apparent. The French men in their suits and ties and woman in their chiffon and flowy dresses with dainty stilettoes and here we were in our sneakers and tracksuits or jeans and t-shirts.
We met a con artist there in the train station. She dropped something like a  gold coin, which we did not see and then she came and gave it to us. We told her it did not belong to us, but she insisted that we must keep it because it was good luck. We innocently thanked her and took it and then she asked for money for giving us good luck. We returned the coin back to her. If you can't beg than I guess you try conning. Some or the other way to survive!
EIFFEL TOWER PARIS

We also had family day out in Cambridge for lunch at Riverside and punting. Our punter was really nice, taking us around the Cambridge canal and telling us the history behind the Universities and the place itself. He said he was doing his masters degree in Cambridge and punting was a way to make some extra bucks. Most of the students from there used to do this job for some extra income.
PUNTING CAMBRIDGE

My daughter also took me to an Alpaca farm, in outskirts of London. She had some work with her client who makes crochet toys for children with the Alpaca wool. This is the first time I saw an actual farm and was amazed to see thousands of acres of land belonging to one person. It was a beautiful day and a beautiful place. The client was holding crochet classes for people in her barn, which was so cute. There was little café in there that served the best scones and tea. There was a huge oak tree in front of the barn where people were reading and relaxing on wooden bench. Some kids were playing with the alpacas. I didn’t realise how our time flew so fast in there. I didn’t crochet but was busy taking photographs.
UNDER THE BEAUTIFUL OAK TREE

ALPACA FARM 
After all these adventures I flew out to India.  My destination was Bombay and Calcutta. I went to Calcutta to celebrate Durga Poojo( the festival of Goddess Durga) after 33 years. As soon as I landed I felt that the whole city was buzzing with people and music and the preparations of the festivity.  The feeling of going back to my grandparents home after so many years and staying there was nostalgic. All my childhood memories came alive.
My childhood friends came back into my life after 33 years. At first I was a bit apprehensive to meet them, wasn’t sure if our reunion will bring back our childhood. All of us moved on in life and may have changed with time and for many years have not been in touch with each other, until we found each other on FB. They even told me that before they found me on FB, the rumour was that I was dead. Once I met them, it felt like going back to school days. Giggling away for hours, gossiping, sharing…..it felt like we have never really separated in life.
IDOL OF GODDESS DURGA

This also must have been the first time that I spent so much time alone with my mom. She kept me entertained with all her childhood and youth stories and also with all her problems and hassles in life. I also found out why am I obsessed with Bollywood so much. She said that from the time I was born she would carry me in her lap, and  go watch every Bollywood movies possible. She is a movie buff till today! And she made me into one:D 


DURGA POOJO MADDOX SQUARE KOLKATA


Three most important things happened in Calcutta for me that will be etched in my memory forever…..bonding with my mom, bonding with my friends and enjoying the festivities of Durga Puja in its full glory and going back to my roots and finding out that I am still the same.
What was so great about these five months besides visiting beautiful places? Meeting people, some new, some old, strangers, friends, and families. Meeting people from different culture, different countries and hearing their stories.  


What I realized and amazed me that we are some billion people on this earth and each of us have a story to tell. But most of the stories go unheard as we are either too preoccupied with our own stories or we are too afraid or feel too insignificant to share our stories. But this time I broke the ice and I asked and I listened because listening to stories is my best past time.
People say you need to be patient to listen to others, I think you need to be curious! Stories don’t have to be always be special and extra ordinary to be heard, it just needs to touch one’s heart.
P.S. I jotted the stories in my heart and captured all the memories in my camera. This was the  biggest platform I got to practice what I learnt and every moment turned magical.

I would love to hear your story or anything else if you can share, so please share below in the comments. Thank you for reading:)


US SANTORINI
SACRACOUR PARIS
VICTORIA MEMORIAL KOLKATA
FIRA SANTORINI

MOMMY AND ME @ OUTRAM GHAT KOLKATA
MY LONG LOST FRIENDS