Sunday, November 25, 2012

Food strike

I was informed, sometime yesterday morning, that the princess has gone off her food. By evening, things hadn't improved, so as I was driving back from a dinner, I was asked to get onto Skype as soon as possible. The connection was terrible as usual, so video didn't work out, but I was able to talk to Kyra and tell her to be a good doggy and eat. Five minutes later, biscuits had been consumed.

This morning I woke up to hear the brother had spoken to her on the phone, and she had subsequently eaten some stew and even eggs. Rolling on the floor like a madcap has also commenced I believe.

She keeps doing this, my princess. A more emotionally fragile dog would be hard to find. Whenever the brother and I leave home - which has been happening all too often over the past 6-7 years - she spends the first few nights sleeping right next to the front door. She doesn't look at us once she realises suitcases are being packed (or if she suspects a scolding is coming her way, take your pick). If the father travels, she either stops eating and/or starts throwing up at regular intervals.

After years of looking disdainfully at my room, and never entering it if she could help it (why, I have no idea), she slept there with me the first three nights of my visit home this March. But stopped entering it once the suitcase started getting filled again.

I'm not sure what brought on this latest going off the food. The brother spent a week at home recently, but left a few days ago, so it seems a bit of a delayed reaction. Given that she's turning 11 in less than a week, I'm just glad it's over.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Learning and passing

The big news of the week was - no, not Bal Thackeray's death or the inexplicable fact that he got full state honours - that on my fifth attempt, I finally passed the driving road test and graduated from a learner's permit to a full-blown driving license.

Yep, you read that right. Fifth attempt. See, here's what happened. The first two attempts were within a space of two weeks, way back in January, with the same grumpy old man. And it really wasn't my fault that when I thought I was stopping at Stop signs, he thought I was only pausing, and then these strange garbage trucks would appear out of nowhere and stop in front of me giving me no time to react and then he would freak out. Really not my fault.

The third attempt, a good nine months later (because y'know, I spent four months away from this town in the interim), I got the same grumpy old man, and I will admit, it may have been a bit of my fault because I may have pulled out of a lane a bit too soon given that there was a car coming from the other direction. So yes, okay, a little bit of my fault.

The fourth time was two weeks ago, when I finally got a break, and got a different instructor, who for some reason decided to pretty much coach me through the whole test, and then decided I don't reverse well enough. He then told me to practice reversing, and come back in one week (not one month or six months later), and I would get my license. So one week later, I showed up again, got yet another instructor this time, who didn't speak at all during the test beyond telling me where to turn. And for the first time, while walking back into the DMV office, I didn't know whether I had passed or failed. So then I sat back at the counter and falteringly asked, "so... did I get it this time?", the instructor chuckled (I swear, chuckled is the word) and said "of course you got it." HALLELUJAH.

Technically, I learned to drive in India when I was 18. I went through the usual driving lessons, any my instructors were reasonably impressed with me. But then when it came to practising, my mother got into the car with me, and screamed bloody murder as soon as I put the car into gear and went forward two inches. So then like any reasonable person, I refused to drive with  her in the car. Then the father got his driver to practise with me, and this dude, who was a moron anyway, would keep leaning over and turning the wheel himself instead of telling me what to do, and how am I supposed to learn this way I ask. By the time the father decided to take over, I was too freaked out to drive at all, and just refused to learn.

So when we discovered that the town I was going to move to business school had little to no public transport, and you  need a car to get around here, there was simultaneous amusement and consternation among friends and family. All ye of little faith, I say. So anyway I got here, bought a car, and then... pretty much let it sit there while I hitched rides with all and sundry for about three months. Then decided enough was enough, and started driving. And I have to say, it felt good to be able to get around by myself instead of having to depend on others. Who knew?

See, the thing is, despite what certain readers of this blog claim, I'm really not that bad a driver. Yes, things like parallel parking (actually, parking at all) and changing lanes on busy freeways are still a bit nerve-wracking for me, and I may or may not have a tendency to not pay full attention to everything around me. And I may be a prime example of why female drivers have such a bad rep. But if you let me get into a lane, and just stay in that lane, I'm really not such a bad driver.

So there.