Saturday, June 29, 2013

An update on the princess

Some years ago, a former colleague asked me how old the princess was. On being told 6 or 7, she had asked "isn't it time for her to die then?"

First of all, No. Second of all, who the hell says something like that?

When I came home this past winter, the princess, now 11, looked and behaved much older. A part of me was aware and terrified that I may not ever see her again. And then, halfway through my sojourn in London, a call came from the parents telling me she had fallen terribly ill, had been taken off all forms of protein because of renal failure, and worst of all, may not make it more than a month.

To receive a call like that, to get news like that, no matter how mentally prepared you think you are, when you're a continent away from everyone you love, is the worst feeling possible.

Anyway. The princess is a tough cookie, and her vet has got through renal failure once before. And so she pulled through. There was serious concern whether my family would be able to leave her behind to come be with me for my graduation, with the father insisting he would stay back if need be, and me saying I wanted him there and that the brother should stay back if someone had to. The brother had no issues with this plan - at least, none that he vocalized. The mother was a little offended no one asked her to stay back or come, and insisted that she would be coming no matter what, which confused me a little - I mean, why would we ask her if she was coming or staying if we all knew she would be coming no matter what? Eventually of course, she recovered enough to be put into a boarding facility and the family did come to me after all.

AnyWAY. I arrived in Delhi this past Tuesday morning, after the worst 24 hours of travel, and there she was, at the airport to pick me up. She looked good, because the place she was put in really took good care of her grooming. On the other hand, it was very quickly apparent to me that her abilities to see and hear are not as good as they used to be. She's extremely picky about her khana, hasn't barked once since I've been home (not even when a friend came to visit), but has snapped at the brother a couple of times.

We took her to our vet this morning, and we got him to check her hearing. He says it's lessened yes, but isn't completely gone. Which I suppose is a blessing of sorts.

I don't quite know what's going to happen with her. But for now, I'm making the most of her presence in my life.

I was speaking to a family friend yesterday morning, who asked me if Kyra was excited that I'm home. I was explaining how she's aged and doesn't show much excitement about anything anymore, and got this is response:
"Well, you know, she's more used to your brother coming and going frequently these days and that probably excites her more. She probably doesn't care about your coming all that much anymore."
Who the hell says something like that?

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Of ants, souls, and stories that stick

When I was a kid, we lived across from a park, and often walked through when returning home from friends' houses, or the market. There were a lot of ant hills in this park, and I don't quite remember what prompted this, but my mother once told me that these ant hills are the homes of ants, and if you knock any of them over, even by mistake, those ants will hunt you down, and destroy your house. I don't think my mother was quite as graphic as this, and I have never bothered to find out if this is a true fact, but even today, some 20+ years later, I choose not to step on any ant hills should I see one, thank you very much.

When my brother was a kid (and I therefore a somewhat older and wiser kid), we visited the Kali Mandir in C R Park (and while looking up its exact name, I discovered it has a Wikipedia page all of its own). The brother and I were bored while the parents did their chatting-with-God thing, so I told the brother that the stones which have names written on them (dedicated by families of people who have died) have the souls of said deceased individuals trapped inside them. And therefore, while we need to walk all around the temple while waiting for the parents, we need to make sure we don't step on any stone that has a name on it. And so we did.

Some ten-odd years later, with the brother now a teenager, we visited Kali Mandir again. A lot more stones had been dedicated by now, resulting in hardly any blank stones left. I watched my brother stand in one spot and try to figure out how to go anywhere in the temple complex without stepping on the souls of some poor departed-from-this-world individual.

Whenever I go home next, I want to drag him there and see what he does at the age of 23.