A Quest on Overdrive … :)

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


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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)

WhatsApp Image 2016-10-30 at 1.06.39 PM.jpeg

 

***

This, from my Meggie, made it much easier.

poem-for-appu

Sigh. It did make things better

1 December, 2016


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That Virgo Woman

A pretty spectacle. Pretty. Spectacle. Decidedly determined. All spine. Made of steel too. Not just that. Loyal to the core.

“Her eyes are cool pools of pure love, and when she smiles, she can light up a whole room with her radiance. Better keep her”, said Linda Goodman. “You may never get so lucky again.”

 

I know I got lucky. He got lucky too, when he met her. And they kept each other, in the hallowed house of matrimony. They were pretty young when they did make that house, but you see, that is what it is about that Virgo Woman – you had better get her, for you might not get so lucky again. And he knew that, did he not?😉

She’s not the sort, like her Leo partner, who’d make that entry and crack the wisecracks there be, but you betcha you’d notice her, there’s a mysterious, quiet, waiting quality in this woman, and “passion of the spirit” , a romance with life, if you will – knowing what comes and what goes, and where one deals with the realities and dreams of life.

She’s known what she’s about. Ever since I have known here, that is the one thing that struck me about her – a quietness, but a waiting quietness; a knowing; a knowing about those she cares, and tends to, with that same fierceness of one who realizes it is on her. No compromises there.🙂 Told ya. We got lucky🙂❤

There is a world of love, this moment, that envelops her, reaching out, from a hemisphere and half a world, as she waits patiently for ME 😛 to get to her, in a week’s time, from all of us, here! It would have meant so much to us, and duh😀 her, for only she be missing in the midst of this family, here in the N. Hemisphere, and she be in the S. Hemisphere🙂 For she celebrates her birthday, as the clock strikes midnight, four hours ahead of us here, and we begin her celebrations, in earnest, sending out our prayers, blessings, wishes and much much much love from each of us, starting with the littlest… Ammini😛 , Changaran, Kunju… Nainu, Arun, Archana, Paru, Arjun, Kuttan, Paru (4 legged😛 ) , Appu, Kiru, Lakshmi, Abhi, N’ammai, G’amman, Chitta, Anu, Viju, Trips, Vinu, Mush, Ammumzzz… and of course, and Ash… and the awesome writer of this blog… to who she is her DIL🙂🙂🙂😛😛😛

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Haapppieeeee Neeetiiiiii!!!!!

 

Happiieeeeee Neetikutty! It’s going to be a mindblowingly, jawdroppingly, amazing year. Has to be. It can’t not.🙂🙂 When the collective of the wishes are the sort we’re capable of generating, it WILL Danged BE😛😛 As it always has been🙂😀

And, by the way, I’ve actually succeeded in making the awesomest wish ever, in under 500 words!

God Bless, always, Neets🙂 Love you soh soh soh much much much!

For 30 August, 2016

Missing you so much!


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Soar

As that dream you’ve always had!
Amazing us all, 
Articulating your deepest desires…🙂

Secured to the bonds that 
Scaffold, in certain faith
Serene knowing we’re your safety net!

High, as high as you want
Happy, hearty, in all good humour
Here… we’ll always be, for you, Just For You!

With confidence, knowing all the time, you’re a
Winner in life, 
Working to make what you love to do!

Into a love that holds you spellbound
Inspiring always, with your 
Innate goodness, and goofiness😛

Navigating the skies of opportunities
Negotiating each twist, turn and tack
Nattily, neatly, and with elan, as you always do!!!

Dearest Ashwin

The above is an acrostic in tercets, just to show you how your still-nerdy-hatke mom will never learn the basics of simple things, like simply saying, Dearest Ashwin, Happy wala birthday, Kunjunni❤ but she will the go whole hog and cook up a potpourri of crazy, wacky ideas, that actually come together in an insane but joyful way. Sounds just like your mad mom, no?

Well, this isn’t about her, but you, this day, when you are at this place in life when you’ve cleared the runway for the flight… on a different course in life! The nestling you had been is a sure and certain ace pilot of life, learning each day new skills and newer ways to make life as good as it gets! One thing I know you shall keep doing is this… learn, learn and learn some more🙂 It’s in your DNA – no escape – not that you want to either😛

So, my darling Lion, here goes… (yes, yes, yes, it has started… but there is something so compulsive about a cliché, that I keep going back to😛 )

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A prayer, a wish, a song in my heart for you-
To soar, as that joyful bird
To sing, in wild abandon of love
To laugh at life in silliness and gaiety
To stop a while, smell the grass,
To be thankful for all you have
To be inspired by who you are
To always be able to converse with your loved ones
To run, or sit, or lie down

in the sure and certain knowledge that we’ve got you, we’ve got your back, and are always, always there for you!

Soar, my dear one. Roar, with joy too! Have the best one ever❤❤

Happy birthday, Ash🙂 My bachcha! This song – it says a lot I’d love to! Well Coldplay is going to do it on my behalf! Imagine aaaa!😛

 

 

Loads and loads of Love, always
Amma❤

P.S. That latest black and white pic. challenge – Navmi says you look “quite a bit” like me😀😀 That makes my day, as it does yours too, I hope!😛

For 3 August, 2016

Psst. Glossary – in case you’re too lazy to google😛

tercet-a set or group of three lines of verse rhyming together or connected by rhyme with an adjacent triplet (mine does not rhyme😛 )

acrostic-An acrostic is a poem (or other form of writing) in which the first letter (or syllable, or word) of each line (or paragraph, or other recurring feature in the text) spells out a word or a message. (Your name is the acrostic, dear Ashwin, in one short of  the seven colours of a rainbow, supposedly 😛 )

Birthday Blog Tradition posts for Ashwin, over the years from 2009 :

2009

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

2015

 

 


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Holding on to Hope

How do you hold on to love?
That ephemeral thing.
Pour it, in every pore?
As ether, inhale it?
Spread it –
Into every cell there be.

How do you hold on?
When mooring ropes
Of bonds you held close
Are slipped off those
Piers of emotion-
The pier dissolves, into
A salty pool.
And you hold on-
To your own heart.
Adrift.
Alone.

How do you stay you?
Who are you?
You ask you.
You find no answer.
You have been consumed
By that ether.

You’re adrift
Your heart – all alone.

But.

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Your mooring rope-
Let loose into the
Salty sea…
That churning stormy sea…
You gather that close
As you bob, uncertainly.

You shall come
To
New and stronger harbours
You tell yourself.

Secretly wishing
All the while
That pier, which dissolved

Had been stronger.

31 July, 2016

Online. One of those Had-To-Write-Writes😀
Picture courtesy Google Images – belongs to the artist who sketched it.


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A Talent for Being Oneself

… is an amazing gift to have!
And that in itself, is perhaps, is a talent that ensures everything you do in life, you do with great contentment, in the confidence of being who you are, regardless of what anyone else wants you to be.

She’s got that gift. This girl, this lovely young woman, this precious heart, who has come to me, a daughter and a friend and a sister, and more than that, just being herself, beloved and loved.

Chronologically, it has been just over four years since we’ve “met”, but you know how it is that with some people, you “know” them the instant you talk or meet! It has been the same with her, and the other daughter I’ve welcomed into the family🙂 The knowing, ah! the knowing.

Marriages, even between communities in the same faith, with similar backgrounds are minefields- heck! within the community too, “love”/”arranged” wala… no exception😀 , but this lass, as I have already mentioned, along with her lad, has not let it change who she is, or changed others for herself. I find this ability of hers, in managing to be her, no matter where she is and with whom she interacts, to be the one wonderful defining quality that makes her so her🙂❤

Pratibha, meaning the talented, the gifted, the light … my dearest daughter in law, celebrates her birthday today. Another precious year awaits, filled with much love, laughter, happiness, good health, hers and her loved ones’🙂 , much baby talk, sweet nothings and days quite breathless, and some with the quietude of peace and stillness (though with Nainu around that would be premium😛 )

Dearest dearest Parukutty, you are loved so much by each and every one of us! May God bless you abundantly with the freshest and purest of things that life can offer, with slices of tang and spice and sweet to relish along the way!

Happy Birthday Darling girl! Stay sweet, chirpy and YOU, always!

Loads of love and hugs, Amma❤ and the brood at home – Appus, Parus, Kutts, Mia Mommy and Kunju, Changaru, Ammini, along with the extended family of Naana, Naani, Ammai, G’mman, their kids❤

Happy Birthday Lady in Red!

Happy Birthday Lady in Red!

Let life be that dance you'll ALWAYS want to do! And yes! Got a lot of the kids in there :D

Let life be that dance you’ll ALWAYS want to do! And yes! Got a lot of the kids in there😀

14 October, 2015