A Quest on Overdrive … :)

An eccentric rambler on life's lessons and mercies, found and lost… :)


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Kuttan – Alpha Everything :)

That mewling sound, that morning, at around 8.40 am, will always stay with her. Discovering him, gathering him in her palms, carefully wiping him down, before handing him over to his birth mother, who was trembling in the anxiety of just having had her first baby. The joy, the bewilderment, the miracle itself, unfolding. She and his mother, they both owned that feeling.

His mother then went on to have another six babies over the next four hours. Gently heaving, an experienced mother, by the end of it all. All the while the other mother watched helped, and was the mid-wife. 🙂 The babies were healthy, jostling and suckling her immediately. But that first one, that Alpha Male, he was already earmarked – he’d always be hers, other than his own mother’s, his Amma’s own special brat.

And so it came to be, he stayed with his Amma, and his birth mother Paru, those first three months, after which his mother, Paru, went back to Cpl, her “tharavaad” to her Ammumma (my mother), and he, the Alpha, stayed on, with is Amma, his brothers, and his older sister, Chinnu 🙂 (LINK)

 

The Menagerie*

Paru, his mother, and the seven, Kuttan I like to think is the one, flush up against her, head of the puppy pack!

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12 December, 2017

As I write this, I’m struck by this wave of emotion. A poignant nostalgia, seeing him, lifting his head from where he lies, close by, a quizzical look in his eye, as if to say, Amma, you called?

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The Alpha, my alpha everything, as you know, by this time, is my very own Kuttan. Naughty, mischievous, rambunctious, bordering on aggression, sometimes too often, needing to be cautioned, monitored and occasionally whacked 😀 a bit, he grew up, as kids who are loved deeply and unconditionally do – with supreme confidence in himself, and ready for anything!

Even in the face of dire warnings and well-meaning advice, his Amma never let him go. She never spoiled him, though it seemed like that to his Ammumz! Well, when you’ve got an awesome personality, with an edge of energy, you gotta show it, right? 😛 That’s one question that always bubbled over from his raised (invisible) eyebrow look! He even added a low growl for good effect. You don’t mess with me, was is USP, especially nights. Except his Amma, no one was tolerated within 10 m., once he’d had his dinner, and had settled down on Amma’s bed for the night.

But we’re getting ahead of the story. When his mother, Paru, returned to the ‘tharavaad’, and his siblings all found loving homes, his Amma, despite much advice against it, decided she wasn’t letting his go. He knew that he owned her, from that moment on. He did own her heart, and would do anything for her – including listening to her, to shut the eff up, when he got aggressive with the others – Chinnu, Appu, or even his mom Paru. His Amma said so, so he would. 🙂

As all young boys, he had much energy, kinetic, potential, what you name it, and expended that energy by scaling the compound wall and going off for a walk/run on his own. If he was allowed to wander on his own, in the walled in compound, or if by accident, the gates were left open, he’d be off in a shot, like a bat out of hell, particularly if there were cats in the vicinity. His racial memories had these lores of what enemies cats were, and he couldn’t help but be conditioned by it, and set about cleanly finishing the few he came across, who were no match for his lightning speed! (Wait! he must have wondered, as I do, if he had some feline blood in him to move so fast? Naah! he must have answered to him self too!!! 😛 )

Now comes the twist in the tale, if indeed he was CAT! Because, how does one explain his bonding with the cats at home?! M’mzelle Malu (LINK), Mia, her kitten?! How! That’s a question his Amma, and his family wondered… He never did though, it would seem. They, them cats, were family, weren’t they? DUH! 😛 You always got you family’s back, doncha?! You sure do! Even if they were cats! Because, here’s the thing see – the members of this family are the same – pretty much human, though some of them take the form of a cat, dog, squrrel, or occasionally as has happened, a bird or a bat!

Thus happened, the seemingly impossible. The Mellowing, the Meaowing too, to put it lamely, of The Kuttan! Mia Arrived dramatically, a rescue cat, scrawny, feisty, even though she fit into the palm of my hand when I brought her home, it was clear immediately who was boss! She had to be bottle fed, the first few weeks with me. Kuttan now had a constant companion, too, out on our long drives… Mia was as unfeline, and Kuttan was uncanine 😛 Maybe that’s one of the reasons they got along so well together! Err, did I tell you? Yes, we are a rather hatke family! 😛

Those rides with Kuttan and Mia, in my AK 47 (car, duh!) are legendary! Initially Mia travelled, protesting all the way, in a wee basket, with constant chatter from me to keep her comfy. Kuttan got the back seat, Mia up front, in her basket. In time, Mia began protesting in earnest and therefore was permitted to roam the car- she wasn’t very uncomfortable, but neither was she fully comfortable, though she accepted the rides well enough. She would roam around, plonk herself on my lap, sometimes rest her head on my shoulder, or sit behind my feet, that were on the pedals of the car. Sometimes she’d be at the window, looking out… Closed spaces and cats do not go well together 🙂

Eventually, in the nearly one and half years of to and fro travel, we decided that Mia would stay at my parents’ place since she loved the sprawling compound and open spaces there, and far safer from the stray cats that thronged my own neighbourhood in the city. I must also mention that in the intervening period, she had three kitten, and they were old enough to be on their own – in fact she had practically given my home to her kitten and became an infrequent visitor, when we planned to shift her to my parents, where she was extremely comfortable 🙂

This was nearly three years ago. Kuttan had grown more quiet, mature, and was becoming a model of good behaviour, except for the nights 😛 He and Appu, the males in the family, were constantly at logger heads, and came to actual fights many a time when they were younger, but had grown accustomed to each other, and tolerated each other better, as the years passed. In the meantime, his best friend, Chinnu, had gone ahead to pets paradise, in 2013. It was him,Mia and I, till her kittens came along.

Wiser, older, and yet his Amma’s Kuttan, that’s who he came to be. Each morning as she left for work, he’d see her off, standing by the window, and each evening he’d be up at the balcony, to greet her, with his own signature greeting… An oooooooo, OOOOOOOOO…. following by happy high pitched appealing barking 🙂 His Amma still looks up at the place, each day when she returns, and hears it, even though he remains unseen … Her heart knows , and isn’t that finally what matters?

Early this year, in the third week of February, he developed a breathing problem. He’d gasp, suddenly for breath, when he hadn’t been physically active too. It got his Amma worried enough, and so began a week long trek to the vet, as grew progressively weaker. He needed to be on drips, as he wouldn’t eat, or drink. Thinking it might have been a lung infection, all the tests were done to rule out possibilities, till the final x-ray revealed an enlarged heart which was probably pushing itself on the windpipe. Medicines were started.

Kuttan, as you know by now, wasn’t one to take being held down, or given an injection, with any kind of docility. However that week, he submitted to all the injections, the drips he needed to be given, the poking and prodding, like he’d always been such a paavam! Never a jerk, never a growl, nothing. It does not cease to amaze me, how much he’d changed and accepted that we were trying to help. However, that day, Sunday, 26 February, 2017, at the morning visit to the vet, for his drips, and his injection to reduce the enlarged condition of his heart, the students at the vet hospital, were unable to find a vein easily, on his hind leg, and it hurt him enough to react. So he was muzzled, he got panicky, started to froth, and very quickly, I removed the muzzle, calmed him down, but he lay so still, so so so still on the table, unmoving. Heart in my mouth, I tried cajoling him into responding, shook him, tried to lift him up… The doctors gathered around trying their best too. I was told to just was a few moments, since he was breathing, his heart was beating. I did, and he finally stood up, with help. Slowly he walked to the car with me, and we got home.

He still wasn’t eating. Barely drinking water, but breathing a bit easier. That morning, being tied up with some work, that was another trauma, I left him at home to complete it. He had his water, his medicines, and was resting. It took me a few hours, to get back to him, and he simply came and sat at my feet, when I returned. I remember calling my kids, and we were on a skype group call, when suddenly he came up, sat in front of the laptop for a long time, looking at the screen, where they kept calling his name, and he kept looking at them. (He never does that, I thought. He NEVER does that!) I continued with the chat, as he lay close. We finished, and then came a call from Daddy. As I was talking to him, answering his query about Kuttan, I noticed he was not at my feet, but had gone out.

Stepping outside to check, all I could do was just keep repeatedly calling out his name. He lay on the verandah, his favourite spot, at the edge, his head having fallen gently, lax, peacefrul, to touch the first step down. He’d gone on. He’d left. He’d …. just, gone. The irony of the whole thing was that he had always been the healthiest of the lot we had, hardy, dependable, never ever ill.

Gently, I lifted his head and placed it on my lap, told daddy what had happened, and asked that he arrange for someone to prepare a grave for him there, since I wanted him next to his friends, Appu and previously, Ammini, our first Alsatian, buried there. I called his favourite friend, C, my help, and she came, heartbroken to discover he’d gone. When the taxi arrived, I carried him onto the back seat, cradled his head on my lap, and kept talking to him for the two hours we took to reach my parents’ place. It was almost 9 in the night, by then. We kept Paru inside, till the next morning. But a strange mournful howl, as Kuttan was taken to his final resting place still echoes in my ear, his mother’s goodbye to him perhaps.

He’s in a better place, oh yes, he is! And what is that final goodbye, but just a liminal, I tell myself, knowing that we’d meet again, some other lifetime, after we meet at the Rainbow Bridge, that is 🙂 He’s here, with me, for as they say, those who die, are never gone, not when you carry them in your heart ❤ and see them around you, talk, as often as you can to them.

Yesterday, I watched, for the first time (I know I’ll watch that one more times yet!) “Cloud Atlas”, and was struck by some of the wisdom in the beautiful writing of that script 🙂 Like these, for each of them leads me to believe, I’ve not finished my time with Kuttan!

Our lives are not our own. we are bound to others, past and present

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This world spins from the same unseen forces that twist our hearts.

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I believe death is only a door. One closes, and another opens. If I were to imagine heaven, I would imagine a door opening. And he would be waiting for me there.

***

I believe there is another world waiting for us, Sixsmith, a better world. And I’ll be waiting for you there.

I know he and the gang are waiting at the rainbow bridge 🙂 And that he’s happy with them, up there! It’s never goodbye, you know… for you’re always with me, Kutts!

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Kuttan of the pointy ears! 26 December, 2006- 26 February, 2017

25 December, 2017

Labour of love ❤

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The Thorough Gentleman

Alert: Almost 2400 words, so. 🙂

As chauvinistic as the title may seem, this is about someone who was anything but. Chauvinistic, I mean. (though of course, it will be another thesis here, as to why the title could be considered chauvinistic- but, no, this rambler is determined to be on track here!)

As a lad, as all young children do, really, he had to markings, forewarnings as it were, as to his greatness in the “gentlemanly” role he was to play. He was, like all boisterous boys, sprightly, lanky, thin, to the point of being a despair to his mom, and, as all mischievous kids do, loved to eat mud, scrape the wall paint off, that too, with his teeth! You’d never guess, too, that he was adopted. He was more family, than the other kids 🙂 – loved, cherished, adored, by others who knew him as well.

As the other kids before him, he was at once goofy, yet he bore a regal bearing, a steady stance, all done in by that goofy grin, so integral to who he was!

That’s Appu, our Appu.

The pictures, clockwise 🙂
From Top left: That was when Ashwin held a stone just above his mobile camera 🙂 Look at his concentration.; Appu in the Kulam, and look at the frisbee 🙂 ; The Gentlemanly pose, undermined by that stone in his mouth 🙂 ; I told you “mine mine mine mine” – all four of them, at Biscuit time 🙂 That would be Kuttan at the far end, then his momma, Paru, then the Black Beauty, Chinnu, and then Appu, with their Amma 🙂 ; And then there is his concentration on that dratted stone again 🙂 🙂 

He came home to us, in 2005, in the month of May, after we bid final goodbye to our other Alsatian, a gentle girl,  elfin, charming, wonderful soul, Ammini (LINK) As mentioned in that blog for her, she had a sort of OCD – she needed to ALWAYS have ball, a Frisbee, a something with her, as a pacifier, of sorts. Serendipity, maybe (yes, I am in Love with that word, to a point of being in relationship with it 😀 ) but Appu had the same, the very SAME trait, except that he would chew on it, and it extended to things like a chewed off stick, a stone, misshapen pieces of things. The fierce concentration on his face while you held the object to throw to him was a sight to behold.

I remember our first meeting, bringing him home from that kennel, settling him in. Memories rush in with these words. It had been barely a month or so, since Ammini had gone to Pets Paradise, and my mother was still recovering from that loss. She wanted to care for another again, and suggested a “boy” this time, feeling he would be less susceptible to ailments that came to the girls, as Ammini had had a cardiac arrest at 6 years, something related to her gender. However, mummy couldn’t have been more far from the truth.

Appu, the moment I laid eyes on him, that dusky evening in that kennel, I knew he was coming home to stay. Scrawny, all arms and legs, tall for his age, he stayed at the far end of his pen and looked on with liquid eyes. It seemed to me at that point, he needed much love and care, for there was an air of neglect about him, and the poignant feeling from more than 11 years ago to that day, still haunts. We lost no time in grabbing him, Ashwin and I, and taking him home, almost immediately. The change in him was almost instant, like he recognized long lost family, which I’m sure is what happened. At home, in an instant, he was all over place, even making advances on our 2 year old beauty, our darling Chinnu, who suddenly became coy and sprightly, for him 😛 (LINK) The rest is history, cliché though it be, for us. Not him, the story 🙂 You shall not be spared the history, of course 🙂

He grew, flourished, and seemed in so many ways, like our precious Ammini, not as gregarious perhaps in the initial days, having a more pedantic penchant for the pensive. Poetic, ain’t that! He’d be most animated when taken for a walk (which dog isn’t!!!) or maybe throw him his ball, Frisbee, or a stone, something, anything, or maybe to take a dip in the pond 🙂 along with Chinnu. A couple of weeks, the first two with us, he spent at my home, and then to his permanent home we went, my parents’ – where he was undisputed Lord of all he surveyed for the next almost 12 years. He, like all our kids, loved to travel, and along with Chinnu they made a great team. But wait.

When he was almost a year old, Paru joined the gang. 250781_4104330176467_1960399793_n  She must have been maybe 2 or 3 months, and was abandoned outside my parents’ home. A “nadan”, nondescript, except to us she was endowed with much grace, beauty and downright friskiness, and song, oh my!! What song!! 🙂 With great trepidation, I brought her home, wondering just how long it would take a hulking 1 year old Alsatian to snap her neck. The damnedest thing happened. He merely sniffed her thoroughly, checked her out, and then she followed him, EVER AFTER. She’d sleep, that impossible tiny bundle, between his paws, be ALL over him, playing, nipping at him, and they’ve remained best friends right through. That was in 2006. So our family grew, the kids were now 3 – my Chinnu, Appu and Paru. Officially, Appu and Paru “belonged” to my parents, but really, they are ALL mine. (remember those gulls in “Finding Nemo”?)

At the end of 2006, 26 December, the 2nd anniversary of the deadly tsunami that struck the east coast, in India, there was a minor tsunami of pups in my home. Paru’s. Seven to be precise. I’m quite positive that Appu was the dad, though we’ve not been able to really confirm, since most of the pups took after their mother, especially the fur and tails 😀 However heartbreaking it was, I had to give away her babies, once they had been weaned, except her alpha male, Kuttan who is still with me 🙂 He’s my baby more than he could ever be hers. So, the family grew again, two at my place, Chinnu and Kuttan, Appu and Paru, at theirs. The girls by now had been spayed to avoid further mishaps 😛

Appu, right through it, was pretty good with the kids when they were young, which is probably why I consider him their dad. However, with Kuttan, there has always been an ego clash of sorts. Like Ashwin once said, he’s like that kid who found out pretty late that his dad had not done right by his mother, so he carries that anger in him! Cripes! Yep, you guessed right. We, as a whole, attribute extremely human reasoning even to them. Heck! We’re right too, always. Told ya, we are one heck of a family! What I’m getting at is, growing up together, the almost 2 years older dad, and his (Alleged) son, Kuttan, always led to confrontations, testosterone displays, and there’d always be a need for referees, not to mention active, get-into-the-fight-and-separate-them occasions. Appu was far more powerful, and Kuttan was no less tenacious. Dynamite, on a short fuse, that was the situation till recently, ever since Kuttan sobered down, and “grew up” 🙂 Appu, all through, except in these confrontations, was the thorough gentleman, with the ladies, with us, with visitors, with anyone, except some stranger, who he discriminated, strangely enough!

When he was about 6 years old he developed the usual skin problems that affect his breed, as they are not really suited to the humid environs of Kerala. Since then, he had been a constant visitor at the Vet Hospital, attached to the Uni here. He’d improve well, then a few months later, it being a fungal condition and subject to weather changes, he would be afflicted again. My mother diligently, and with such devotion nursed him through it all. His hair would be all over the place; the ear infection, a consequence of the skin problem, which would aggravate with alarming regularity, despite the best medical attention, auroscopy, regular cleaning, that would have a discharge and foul smell sometimes were taken in our stride, and he was never banished from the house. He owned it, and us, no matter how he was. Once I remember the panic call mummy made, early morning. It was about his ear bleeding. They live about an hour and half away, but they got here quick and we got him to hospital to discover that is was a maggot infestation, in his ear, and that is why he bled so much. The process of getting him better was a constant, but he held up so well, with such composure and a stoic demeanour all through. He would have associated the hospital with much pain, but there was never any hesitation in going there, though it was always a tough time, holding him down. According to the intensity of attention required, he needed to be sedated, on occasion. Imagine your ear being subject to the kind of cleaning it needed. I must, at this point, commend the doctors and students at the hospital for their vocation, their dedication and their unconditional help, on all the occasions we’ve been there. Exemplary, they were.

The infection took its toll on him. Though he remained cheerful, playful, and ever ready to fetch, his legs began to give way, and he had another major maggot infestation, this time on the left side near his ribs. He was given an anti-parasitic which almost paralyzed him, and yet again, we rushed to the Vet hospital with him. It is nothing short of a miracle, his recovery. It took him nearly two days, to walk again, but he did, and this too, had passed for him. That time, we even considered euthanizing him in case he was going to be paralyzed. It was heartbreaking to see him so still. So he flourished. That was nearly two years ago.

This year, from over two months ago, the old ear infection reared its ugly head, this time robbing him of his hearing. He responded to signals, so beautifully, so beautifully that one wondered why he needed the danged sounds at all. But he was weaker, the skin condition far worse, despite the best kind of care, brushing, medication, bathing, anything mummy could do. Till that day on 30 October, 2016. The three days prior to it, he along with Paru and Kuttan were being cared for by my parents’ help, who loved these kids as we do, as we had to attend my niece’s wedding. The call came, on the evening of the wedding, that he, yet again, had a severe wound on his leg. Maggots. Couldn’t get up. Can’t hear.

It was time for the decision. All the more since my mother was also suffering along with him. We were, all of us, watching him hurt, shake his head, fumble while walking, and all the while, ALL the while, holding a stone in his mouth, or maybe a scrap of his Frisbee, or a stick, something. OCD, remember? Just like Ammini.

So we decided. We’d help him onwards to be with Chinnu, who’d been gone three years already, to be with Ammini, gone 11 years, and Malu, and Kunji, our cats… It was time for him, and we’d help him. So with the medicine provided by a vet my brother knew, my mother and I went on, as no one else could. A Sunday. No vet. Appu had to be patted awake, for he did not hear the wild, ecstatic barking of the mother-son duo greeting us.

All the way down, there was this lump that grew and grew, choking all sense except the focus on purpose. So once he was patted, petted, fed, along with the other, who were sent into the house, we lay him down near his favourite spot in the front compound. He lay, quiet, but sensing something, so my mother had to hold his head, and our help his feet. I administered the injection. I could not let anyone else take that away from me. Even though, forevermore, I would remember; I do wonder at the strength, that comes with its attendant guilt, on how I could play God. Did I do the right thing? I’ve asked myself and still do, with a regularity, as involuntary as breathing, but yes, I’ve finally learned the answer does not matter. What matters is that he found a way out of his pain. In the few seconds it took for him to sleep.

I lay beside him, Lay my head on his side, only to be fascinated by his heartbeat. How it grew, then softened, whisper soft, till he was at peace. A few seconds. But those beats will stay with me, till mine go with his. That much I know.

When Chinnu went onwards on angel wings to Pets Paradise, I could write, almost in a day, for her. With Appu the dam was firm and strong, welling up with more words each day, each heavier, laden with a million memories, delightful ones, each of them, till that last beat of his heart, whisper-soft and tear-drop heavy. Yesterday, it was a month, and it hit me, then. Suddenly, there he was, as he always is, in my sleep, his heart-beat is the rhythm that rocks me to sleep or drums me awake sometimes. This time he was there, so clear, in front, asking for his stone to be picked up and thrown.

Appu. I heard myself. And he wagged his tail, liquid eyes up, then fiercely down, on that stone, that I picked up and threw, with him bounding after… Away, away, happy puppy that he was deep down inside.

Appu. You understand, I know. You’re happy, I know. I won’t say sorry, my Appoosseee. Not now, not anymore. I can’t, can I? Not when you’re in peace, and not when you’ve lived such a loving and happy life, and given us so so so much of love and joy! I know we’ll meet up at the Rainbow Bridge, and in another lifetime.

We’re family. We’ll always be. You’ll always be mine ❤

Appu, The Thorough Gentleman
(January 2005 to 30 October 2016)

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This, from my Meggie, made it much easier.

poem-for-appu

Sigh. It did make things better

1 December, 2016


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Remembrance

Do  I walk down
The streets of
Nostalgia?
Connecting those dots,
Or move on?
Knowing you’re safe-
Beyond any place
That pain gets to you.

Do I mirror a life
Lived with you?
Or step out of
The Image I’ve built
On, and of you?

I loved you.
And had to let you go.
For, you had to.

What I am glad about
Is this.

What you left me with.

Your love.
The house
I live in

Today.

23 April, 2015

That place, where the past surges, always. But prophetic, today.

That place, where the past surges, always. But prophetic, today.

Two years ago this day, she left us, on the drive back home, winging her angelic way over the Rainbow bridge. This morning as I drove that way, with my Kuttan and Mia, I took a running pic of the place, out of the window of the car. What I found later, on examining the picture was a flash of identity 🙂 Couldn’t not help think that she was waiting there for us to pass by this morning, to tell me this 🙂 (No, it has nothing to do with the house in the pic! 🙂 ) Who? She. (LINK  )