Wednesday, December 31, 2008

God, Please Save the Little Bunnies

I want to begin this New Year with a prayer for the all the animals that inhabit this planet. I also pray for a compassionate and Violence-Free world. I pray that may we as humans – the most advanced creations of Nature – acquire a collective sensitivity to understand the full implications of how our actions affect other living beings around us – both animals as well as other humans. The chaos all around us is certainly not a proof of our evolved status as human beings.

Coming back to animals, one piece of news brought me some cheer last week. Donna Karan, owner of the DKNY (Donna Karan New York) fashion brand finally promised publicly (on 22nd Dec, 2008) that she will not use fur for her 2009 creations or use fur anytime in the future. This comes after PETA’s (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) directed campaign against Karan’s use of fur for her fashion label. Karan had been charged with systematic butchering of little rabbits like the one in the picture. Rabbits are routinely skinned alive by the “violent and bloody” fur industry.

This significant declaration from Karan comes after a sustained campaign led by people sensitive to the cause of animals. The people protested outside the designer’s boutique and crashed into her runaway shows to raise awareness against her cruel use of fur. A website – – (now offline) was launched to expose how little rabbits are tortured to death. The well known American fashion consultant, Tim Gunn also joined the campaign and sent videos to Karan depicting the cruel treatment of animals by the fashion industry. This video also for consumers, helps us make informed choices before buying clothing and accessories made from fur, wool, and leather. The video is available at the PETA site and is too horrific. I couldn’t watch it beyond a point and the little that I did caused me much depression and made me feel so very ashamed of my brethren.

It is heartening to know that Donna Karan has followed in the footsteps of designers such as Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger, and Calvin Klein who have already stopped using fur. Another battle is being waged. This time it is with Armani who has till date refused to stop his complicity in the killing of innocent animals for profit as he continues to fuel the insane passions of wo(men). Even Tim Gunn’s appeal to Armani has fallen on deaf ears. At times like this, I wish I was in primary or middle school blissfully tucked in a dream world with Enid Blytons and Nancy Drews and Hardy Boys and fairy tales. There are too many cruel and painful things I know about the world now.

God, please save the little bunnies.

Appeal to Armani

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Of the Tamil Tongue

Six months old in the city of Chennai and I can boast of some familiarity with the Tamil language. At least I no longer think of “po” as an abuse word! Early this year when I was not even a month old in the city, I was rudely shouted at by a stout auto rickshaw driver who suddenly appeared in front of me from the wrong side. “Po!”, he thundered. I stopped in my tracks and let him pass. I walked back where I lived feeling very low for being shouted at. Not being able to keep it to myself, I blurted out the incident to my local host. I was not prepared for her reaction – the lady laughed heartily for a full half minute. Then, amidst crackles, she finally said, ‘”Po” means “go” in Tamil, the auto rickshaw driver wanted you to go first!” She laughed even more at my saucer eyes at the revelation.

I resolved that I must learn Tamil, at least the basics. Next day, I related the incident to my colleagues at office and laughed with them. ‘”Wanga” is the opposite of “po”’, they helpfully supplemented. I will surely remember the Tamil word for “come”, I thought to myself. I made the “wang” from “Wang’s Beauty Parlor” opposite where I live as the anchor point. I had begun to delight in my method of learning Tamil.

At the residence of my local host, two serials are watched on daily basis – “Arasi” and “Kolam”, and one weekly dance program, “Maanada-Mayilda”. I also watch them over dinner with the rest of the family. My brain connects the oft-repeated words, and I must say that now I have an impressive collection of words in Tamil whose meanings I know! The three words that top the list are – “rombha” – meaning “very much”, “a lot”, “many”. In its many manifestations, the one that is clearest to me is in the expression, “Rombha thanks!”

The second word is “saapaad”. It is a ubiquitous word, as common as “po” and “wanga”. I hear it not only in the serials but also several times during the course of the day. This is a word not to be missed. “Saapaad” means food. The third word is “sollunga”, means “to say” or “to tell”. I coax an answer from my host’s two and a half year old who is learning to speak English, “Nikkie, what are you doing sollunga……” He doles me out his standard answer, “I am standing”, he prattles, as he removes his mouth from the feeding bottle to answer me.

This is one part of the story. It is another matter that when I open my mouth to flaunt some of my knowledge of Tamil words, I am either laughed at by the light-hearted or given a Pickering-like lecture for the abuse of the Tamil tongue, by natives in serious love with the language.

All said and done, I take the cake in the end. Even the Higgins and the Pickerings look at me with awe for knowing the meanings of “maanada” and “mayilda”. Why, that is easy, what else do you call a deer-and-a-peacock-like dance in Tamil :-)

Notes: The words "maan" and "mayil" in Tamil translates into "deer" and "peacock", respectively. "Ada" translates to "dance".

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Password + Confirm + Delete

LAST MONTH, I said farewell to a 3-year long alliance. It was difficult to let go but I was able to do it. Time made it considerably easy. When I look back, in these three years, the first two were like a party. However, the last one year was marked by suspicions, doubts, apprehensions, fear, anxiety, fickleness, boredom, refusal to comply, etc., etc., etc. One fine day last month, it took one trigger to end it all.

Now that all is over, and considering that it took a while to decide to split, I don’t feel any bitterness. In fact, I have rid myself of many guilt traps. The time is not right, the time is past "right", I have told myself.

I have rid myself of the guilt of not answering text messages, of not returning phone calls, of not trying hard enough, and of having “grown up”. I accept that there are many other people, including my own friends who are having a ball of a time. Long live their unions and re-unions. For me it is a no turning back!

It was good while it lasted. It brought some important people back into my life. Needless to say I put in a lot of efforts to find them and I am happy that I found them—people I have shared my tiffin with 18 years ago, people I have created sweet memories with before disappearing for an intermittent period....... what more can I ask for.......

Well if you have not guessed it already, here comes the clincher...... LAST MONTH, I deleted my Orkut. It wasn’t too difficult. Password + Confirm + Delete!!

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Daisy - IV


MD thinks I am making excuses. Only she can think so, with an empire under her feet. I too have a little kingdom, except that it is of a different kind. Also, it comes minus leisure internet hours.

Back to where I left. Its now been more than four months since I have known Daisy. In the meantime, there have been more four-legged additions to the gang: Poppy, Rani, Blackie, Bhootni, and one more who I am yet to name (I seem to wait for the right name). It is difficult to tell whether I have adopted the dogs or the dogs have adopted me. So it is appropriate to say that we have adopted each other. Poppy is one year and something old (so I think) and the darling of the lane. She has other benefactors too. She "pops" up from nowhere and looks as fresh as a flower, always. Hence the name Poppy. I have known Rani for as long as I have known Daisy. She is small and lives in perpectual fear of something. She is like a hermit, looks like she has left everything to the Universe. She looks forlorn and hence the name Rani.

I am inspired by the story of a dog who was admitted to the Blue Cross hospital after she was paralyzed in an accident. She could not sit or stand and took her feeds laying on the ground. She looked a ghastly sight with injuries all over her body. An Australian lady and her two children – volunteers at Blue Cross, fell in love with the dog and started feeding it the best dog foods. The lady told me that the feed was imported from Australia. They named her Princess. Blessed by the grace of the Australian family, Princess put up a fight against all odds and one day to everyone's joy and relief she could sit up. The Australian family took her home.

Do I notice any change in Rani? Yes, now she stands her ground when bullied by other dogs, at least.

Blackie gets her name because she is black all over. She also has jet black eyes that twinkle like little stars. Bhootni is the cutest, the naughtiest, and the most playful of the lot. She is forever hungry (therefore the name) and tries to stick her nose into my bag whenever she gets an opportunity. When I pull her ears, she jumps in delight. She is a funny dog who shadows me everywhere. I have to hide behind the cars and sneak out of her sight when I can do without her company. Also, she is the one who creates the maximum racket. The one that I am yet to name shares characteristics somewhat similar to Rani.

Very recently, I realized that my movements are being watched. After all, why would some one want to spend a substantial amount of her time with dogs? Street dogs at that. It seems that people have decided that it is high time they got it all out from the horse’s mouth.

“I have seen you feeding the dogs. You are doing a great service. Are you a social worker?” a lady observes as she pauses her conversation on the mobile to speak to me.

I put on my brightest smile and say, “Do I need to be a social worker to feed dogs?”

“Uh-oh, no, no, not really”, she says and resuming her conversation starts to walk away.

I do not like the idea of people thinking that they need not get involved in social initiatives, it is someone’s else "job". I wonder if I was rude. If I was, I had tried to disguise it with my smile.

One afternoon from the corner of my eyes, I see a young man eyeing me from across the street. He seems he would break into a smile if I caught his eye. That is what I want to exactly avoid. But he is a determined young man, he crosses the street and demands my attention, “It is a great job you are doing. Would you like to do something for humans too?”

I gape at him. Is it sarcasm? Still, I want to know what I can “do” for humans? He introduces himself as an executive from CRY.... Isn’t every living thing – humans, animals, insects, and plants part of the planet? Did the CRY executive ignore the fact or did he just want to complete his targets? The issue is that even in the social sector a hierarchy exists, decided by the beneficiaries of the initiative. You may laugh at me for my interest in the Donkey Sanctuary. As for me, I am glad someone thought about them.

It is not often that you see people wearing sunglasses after sundown. And you wonder about the ones that you catch. Last week, one day at around 8:30 PM in the evening, I sensed a young man with a John Abraham style haircut and goggles giving me signals that he wants to start a conversation with me. After dilly-dallying a bit, finally he was by my side with a question. “Why are you feeding only one dog?” That day it was only Daisy who was around me.

“Excuse me?” I say.

“Why are you feeding only one dog? There are so many others on the street?” he elaborates.

Gosh! Why don’t people mind their own business, I think to myself. I wish Bhootni was around. I would have liked her to bark at him, if possible bite him. I tell him, “If everybody fed a dog each, your question will not be necessary.”

The guy does the vanishing act. He failed at hooking up a girl. He would probably never know that the girl has lived decades more than him.

Anyways, his question lingers in my mind. I dial New Delhi and consult with MD. “Was my answer appropriate or should I have asked him – How many dogs do you feed?” MD says what I said was fine. I take a second opinion from G, my good colleague. She has an opinion. She says I should have said – “Do you want to be fed too?”

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Daisy - III

At The Hospital And After

I reached Blue Cross hospital the day after Daisy was picked up. It took me a while to locate her in the hospital. When I found her, she was still in the isolation room. She hadn’t yet been attended to. A couple of Blue Cross workers were assigned the duty of initiating the formalities for Daisy. Under my scrutinizing eyes, they opened the doors to the isolation room. Daisy emerged at the doorway, and I must admit she looked terrible. Her mouth was red with blood – she would have bitten her tongue from the terror of the “pick-up”. She did not seem to recognize me at all and refused to budge. One of the workers promptly carried her in his arms and we marched toward the general OPD under a tree. A lady doctor greeted us with a smile, and asked Daisy to be laid on the metal table before her. She examined Daisy and ascertained that a muscle on the leg has been damaged in the impact of the accident. Therefore, Daisy limped. She administered an injection and Daisy’s treatment began.

The doctor informed me that the chances of recovery were unknown at that point. It will all depend on how Daisy’s body responds to the injections, she said. I left the hospital that day not with guilt but with a feeling of peace. A little voice inside told me that she has come this far, it will only get better from this point onwards.

Daisy was in the hospital for four weeks. I visited her every weekend. My visits also opened the doors to a world of compassion, love, and care toward animals. This was the first time I ever visited a hospital for animals. In the hospital, apart from dogs, there were cats, goats, pigs, and horses. I read whatever I could find about Blue Cross Hospital, Chennai on the internet. My purpose of coming to Chennai became clear to me. This was my primary gain. I left the hospital each of the days I visited with a sense of inner peace. The world of animals is so uncomplicated unlike humans that it charges the weary recesses of the mind with hope and love.

By the end of the second week, Daisy had started responding to the treatment. After the third week, she was up on her four feet. I was very excited at the recovery. All the same, she had grown thin. I was told that she was not taking food, she was in fact, surviving on glucose. Now when I think about it, I am not surprised or alarmed. Daisy is very choosy about food!!

Finally, the day to release her approached. MD had presented Daisy with a violet band. I had chosen the color. Being the color of the crown chakra, among many of its properties, violet also provides healing – physical, psychological, and spiritual. I believed Daisy would stand protected at all times. Another reason for the band was to send out a signal that the dog had an “owner”. I handed over the band to one of the Blue Cross workers requesting him to fix it around her neck the day she is released from the hospital.

The van, a much smaller one halted at the same spot it had come four weeks back. A door opened and Daisy popped out. Although thin, she looked sprightly with twinkling eyes and a cool voilet band around her neck :-) She looked relieved to return to her old spot. She went about busily sniffing the various corners of her bus stop. It was fun to watch her. The Blue Cross workers produced a sheet of paper once more, I signed on it, and tipped them generously out of heartfelt gratitude. I left Daisy at the bus stop as I walked back home.

To be continued.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Daisy - II

Daisy Goes To Hospital

Two weeks passed, Daisy regained strength – the wound healed, and she started to walk. But, she still limped. That is when I decided she needs medical attention and institutional care. I wanted her to scamper about on her four legs just like Budi Boo. My search to find medical help for her began. I googled.

Apart from what I had set out to find, I came across news articles about exceptional people in Chennai whose compassion for dogs have translated into meaningful service for these animals. I was led to the rousing tales of Narasimhamoorthy and C. Padmavathi, Amala Akkineni, and Yaggna Prabha. I remembered the language of omens that Paulo Coelho talks about in The Alchemist. I felt that these news articles were omens to support and encourage me in my search to find help for Daisy.

I finally found a list of animal welfare organizations in Tamil Nadu. I still remember my ecstasy at finding the list, I was ecstatic because I had never taken an initiative of this nature in my life before! The list made me feel that I had won half the battle. Armed with the list, I started dialing. Most numbers had changed, so I had to search some more to get the current ones. I spoke to different types of organizations with various approaches toward animal welfare. One well-spoken gentleman wanted to rope me in as a volunteer-researcher for his organization, another wanted me to help them with their website “in lieu” of helping Daisy. Another well-intentioned gentleman tried his best to convince me to give up the idea of keeping her under institutional care. His reasons were plausible, only it didn’t suit me. According to him, I should get Daisy home from where she can receive medical attention. Leaving a dog in an animal hospital is sinful, from what I understood of his viewpoint. My plea that the possibility is RULED OUT coz I live in a P-A-Y-I-N-G G-U-E-S-T accommodation fell into deaf ears.

It was taxing speaking to this well-intentioned gentleman, so I was grateful when he decided to spare me.

After more phone calls and more talking, I finally hit upon the Blue Cross of India, a hospital for animals – primarily dogs. For now that is all I will say about Blue Cross. It deserves a separate post, which I shall make in the future, soon. So done, it was decided that Daisy will go to Blue Cross for treatment. All arrangements were made and at an appointed hour on the first Saturday in March, the Blue Cross pick-up truck stopped in front of the bus stop where Daisy lived.

Two men got down from the truck; they first made me sign on an undertaking as I was the informer for this “pick-up”. That afternoon, Daisy was sprawled on the bus stop grounds enjoying a siesta, she had no notion about what was to come. I had especially been careful not to make any mention of the hospital trip to her knowing fully well that dogs are capable of extra sensory perceptions.

The operation to “pick” her began. One of the men approached her stealthily from behind with a long iron handle at the end of which was a roundish clasp. Seeing the device, I remember feeling a sudden pang of guilt. What was I pushing Daisy into? I was having a premonition of what was to happen. Suddenly, the man, with a quick and deft movement of his hand fixed the clasp on Daisy’s neck. Time seemed to stop for a few seconds thereafter. And my heart missed a beat. A heart-rending cry filled the air. The passersby stopped in their tracks. The crows started flying low helter-skelter and crowing menacingly. The invisible dogs in the locality joined in her shrill cry....

I will not go into the details from this point on till I went to meet Daisy the following day at the hospital. Suffice to know that I was distraught for a long time after she was “picked-up”. The manner in which it was done got to me. Everybody I spoke to about the ghastly pick-up tried to convince me that, that is how dogs from the street are picked up. Moreover they told me, the method does not cause pain to the dog, although it seems that it does. I hoped that they were right. My heart was still divided. I patiently waited for the next day when I would meet Daisy at the hospital. For a dog that I knew to have suffered trauma, how far was I justified in subjecting her to this experience? I wanted to know.

To be continued.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Daisy - I

It was a sultry morning. I was waiting for my bus to office. The bus stop was crowded with office goers, their eyes glued to the road. Not many would have noticed a bundle of brown huddled on the ground – face buried between its two fore limbs. It seemed oblivious to the human forms moving around. I feared that it might get trampled. Just then, I saw a woman pause by it, a train of children behind her. Suddenly, she kicked the brown bundle. It got up with a start, eyes dazed, looking hurt. That was the first time I saw its full form. I also noticed that it limped as it slowly made its way to a corner in the bus stop. It had a fresh wound on one of its hind limbs – most probably caused by a speeding motorist.

This was sometime in the last week of February this year. I remember feeling very upset and helpless. All day I channeled Reiki to the emotionally and physically hurt dog praying in earnest that insensitivity towards animals come to an end. I also prayed for it to get better. Before the end of the day, I had started to feel hugely responsible toward the dog. I resolved to facilitate its recovery. From next day onwards, I started giving it food twice a day. I found that it had no interest in the South-Indian platter. All it had was Marie biscuits and milk. I got a red-colored bowl for the milk.

It was a shy dog. It wouldn’t come near me although I could sense that its eyes lit up when I arrived with food. It seemed scared of humans. It would spring up with a startle when someone passed by. I am sure this reaction was rooted in some traumatic past experience. It never really waited for me and my arrival with the food, or showed that it did. At the same time, I could sense that it was grateful for the food. The dog came across as a being who had lost all interest in life.

I encountered all kinds of attitudes from people who had started noticing us. A guard in the nearby building offered to keep its bowl at his station at the gate, so that I do not have to get it everyday. I felt very heart warmed by his thoughtfulness. There was another who ordered me and my dog to go to a distance because he believed we were a nuisance outside his premises. Not that the sidewalk belonged to him. There were yet others who enjoyed watching us and would say a few kind words here and there. This experience reinforced one learning I've had in life: for every negative action or thought expressed, there are always positive actions or thoughts of equal number or more. The Universe has fine ways of balancing, tilting it in favor of the positive. Faith is the key.

One early morning in the stage of wakefulness and sleep, a name popped into my consciousness: DAISY. I decided to name my dog Daisy. I felt that “Daisy” has been her name forever.

To be continued.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Counting My Blessings

I have lots to be thankful and grateful for. I try to live in an attitude of gratitude. But, sometimes, when something does not go my way, I am quite capable of cribbing. I do it as a matter of right. A few days back I had a mail from a penpal. One sentence stood out, it read, “Please try to remember to be grateful for the things you have”. Obviously, I had complained. What I got as a response is profoundly true. Therefore, I have decided to dedicate this post to counting my blessings. I want to make a mention of all the things that have made my four-month long stay at Chennai joyful. I don’t want to look beyond the four months because then I will have too many blessings to count and you will not believe me when I crib!!

Here goes.... these are a few of my b-l-e-s-s-i-n-g-s.... Daisy, Blue Cross, pups, doggie world, Sri Kumaran Stores, Pondy Bazzar, Globus, idlis@Anandas, chillie parantha@Sangeethas, Ratna Stores@Pondy Bazzar, basundi, set dosa, and fresh orange juice@Geetha Cafe, Gandhiji chips@T. Nagar, the luncheon gang@LB, weekend gateaways to Bangaluru, Life Research Academy, Bharmarishi Patriji, Pondicherry, the drive along ECR road, tender coconut, cheap transport, the cool sea breeze in the evenings, heavenly coconut polis@Sree Annalaxmi Sweets, Landmark@Spenser’s Plaza, the time to read, the time to relax, the time to shop.... (I might come back to add more).

I will make separate posts on some of the above. As for now I am content with listing them. I am all set to enjoy the Labor Day off tomorrow. How I only wish that 1st May had been a Friday and not a Thursday.... had it been a Friday, I would have got an extended weekend.... and now that it is a Thursday, I hate to think I will have to come to office on Friday....

PS: My roomie has been sent to her hometown, she has malaria.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Gurgaon say Chennai tak

I am writing on this space after more than a year. At various points of time during this period, friends tried their best to get me to write. But, the writer’s block had totally consumed me. I am especially touched to find the link to Ambrosia blog still in theirs, despite the fact that I had removed my blog from public space. I am grateful for the patience and the faith.

When I started my blog, I never wanted it to be on something specifically. My life is an assortment of various things, events, and people. With no central theme. My blog couldn’t be any different! So I continue with the same thought I started it with.

I am in a different city now. Chennai. I will soon complete four months of stay here. Most of my friends came to know about my shift after I shifted here. I am getting more into the habit of taking decisions and making the announcements later.

Most asked, “Why Chennai!?!”

Valid question. I got a hint of disbelief mixed with amusement even in the text messages. At first I maintained that I came for the ocean. Only to increase the amusement component in the tones. I think I managed to convince them that I took the decision in a sound mental state. Cut.

January 2008. Chennai. I am greeted by humid air as I step out of the plane. I quickly remove my coat. It was freezing only three hours ago. I wait for the evening. I am excited to sit by the ocean. When I reach Marina beach, I don’t notice the ocean. I notice the filth instead. I am in high spirits. I discount all of that. I join my new office. I am not exactly excited. I know it will be the same. I quickly check the number of leaves I am entitled to. I will not get more than three till June. This gives me a shock. Why did'nt the company mention this in the terms and conditions! Still, I am all set to enjoy a new city. Chennai. Mid January I am all worked up. I need to find a place to stay in. I cannot stay at the company guest house beyond a month. Ideally, I want a single room set. I travel with the blazing sun following me, looking for a place to stay. Soon I find out that the set-up of my dreams is out of question. I will need to pay a year’s rent in advance. I am not prepared for that kind of commitment. I settle for a hostel. But I terminate my search soon enough. The hostel rooms are as filthy as the beach. They are slums from inside. Last week of January. It is a Sunday. I am very tensed. I am sitting under a big banyan tree by the road side after several unsuccessful attempts that morning.

I have one of those regular angry conversations with God, “What do you want from me!!”, I ask.

I buy a copy of Freeads. I search out an ad. I call. A pleasant voice answers my call. She says she is in Kerala right now. I can come and see her place the following day.

“How many will share the room?”, I ask.

She says two.

“Will there be space to move around with two beds in the room?”, I ask.

She is amused, “Yes, you come and see”, she says.

In the last few days, during my accommodation hunting, I have seen bunk beds made of iron stuffed in small rooms. They remind me of the dingy war-time barracks. I cannot expect anything better. I can imagine only the worst.

The following day I see the place. It is a two room flat. One room shared by the girl, her two and a half year old son, and her grandma. The other is where I am to stay, with another girl, of course. There is plenty of room between the two beds. I pay the advance.

February 2008. I shift in to the PG. My roommate is a young woman from a small town in Tamil Nadu. She is a software developer, one of the many in this profitable industry. She is at least 10 years younger to me.

On the first day she declares, “I sleep at 10 pm, I want the lights off by then.”

I wonder if I heard right. Yes I did. I don’t say anything to her. I stop talking to her from that day on. I am hurt. I finish all the work I can do in the room before 10 pm. After that, I sit in the living room and read. This is my schedule every evening. The girl and her grandma are very nice. The little boy is funny. He loves to call me by my name. A M Y-R I T A, he prattles. My roommate comes to the living room. She puts on the television. The audio is blaring. I wonder if she has a hearing defect. She talks very loudly on the phone as well. And she talks all her waking hours. In Tamil. She has a booming voice, with no voice modulation. I have an angry conversation with God.

March 2008. Things happen at the workplace. I don’t remember much. It is as if I don’t take conscious notice of that aspect of my life. Life goes on amidst inane conversations with colleagues. At times, I find a connection with some. Those are fleeting moments. Guess everyone is too busy. It has got very, very hot.

April 2008. My roommate has got into a strange habit of talking loudly on phone, at midnight. I can’t take it any more.

I tell her, “Can you please go out and talk!” I speak to her for the first time I started living with her.

She is taken aback, “Ok-ok”, she mumbles and goes out.

She has also got into the habit of switching on the lights at odd hours when I am in deep sleep. It wakes me up. I wonder if she is frenzied or suffers from weak eyesight? She behaves like she is the only person in the room. She never cleans the room or the bathroom. Her side of the room is like a slum. Mincing no words.

Something interesting happened. Yesterday, I find her bleary eyed, literally dragging herself about in the room. I am shocked, I ask her what the matter is. She says she has viral fever. I ask her if she is taking medications. She says she is going to the hospital to get injections. So I tell her to take care. I am not surprised I spoke to her. As she is about to step out I ask her how she will go to the hospital.

“My friend has come to take me”, she says and smiles a sick person’s smile. I would have offered to accompany her. She had the choice to refuse.

Today in the morning, I am in the bath. There is no electricity. After a few minutes, I hear the fan in my room. A few seconds later the bath light is also on. This is a rare show of sensitivity on her part. It brings a smile to my face. Cut.

This is one side of my nearly four-month long chronicle in Chennai. There is another side to it. Probably the side that has helped me to bear this side of the story. Next post. Next time. I am glad to be back!! :)