Monday, November 14, 2005

2005 A dog's love story

We have a German Shepherd at home. When I was moving out my Dad looked at me and said,"You're going... We need a dog now". So we got a dog and I christened him Scamper. When he was about 4 months old he entered an all India dog competition and won in his category. His grandfather and father had also participated and won in their respective categories. So it was kinda a family affair. A couple of years have passed since then and he has grown to become a very handsome mutt. He is single coated and has a very muscular frame. I mentioned this to my little sis Janelle and she was like,"yeah you have shoulders just like him". I don't know whether to take it as a compliment or not, being compared to my dog, but it was yet another oppurtunity to mess her up. Even my mom calls him all 'my' pet names when she has to make him eat :-) His daily diet consists of about half a kg of meat, 1 litre of milk and other stuff. My mom gives him carrots for good eyesight. He wakes up by 5am and then protocol demands that my dad take him for a walk. There are these cats that like to tease him. They walk along the roof of our neighbours house and he goes into a frenzy. Barking and running around. The cat daintily walks by, pauses, gives him the look and then moves on.

His life was moving along peacefully and then the birds began to sing. My cousin Charlene and her cousin Tina had arrived in town. Both of them love animals, especially dogs. I remember sometime back when I was out with Charlene there was this guy who was kicking a calf to move it off the road. Charlene pounced on him and beat the crap out of him. Also when I wanted to shoo away this cat she was like,"I'll beat you up if you do that". Anyways one look at Scamper and it was love at first sight. Actually it was kinda a love triangle. Both the girls would cuddle and tickle and hang out with Scamper trying to woo him. They would kiss him... yup kiss him... there would be these blue marks on their hands and legs after playing with him. After they left, he was like deeply hurt, mentally bruised and visually scared. His eyes were all droopy and stuff and he would just sit and wait for them. Sigh!!!!! Then the cat came back.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Four weddings and a 'holy communion'

I had taken the week off and was headed homewards to attend my sis, Sonali's wedding. Well her name is Sonali cause she was born in Sonali hospital. Nikhil, my brother in law, is from Kolkata. We know him from small when they used to come down for holidays. Nikhil's aunt Jocelyn is my mom's sister-in-law. Sonali and Nikhil met again at a wedding and exchanged phone numbers and Airtel's profits doubled. After some months they realised that they liked each other. I had been for the engagement which was held at Kolkata. He currently works in Delhi. I carried a lot of extra baggage with me since my mom feels that masalas from the south and better than masalas from the north. Anyways the free space in the baggage is always filled up on my way back so I never complain :-) I arrived on saturday, just in time for all the revelries and after all the preparations had been done.

Day 1: Nov 5th - The Bachelorette party
We started with some prayers. Then Sonali and the two bridesmaids, Charlene and Janelle, prepared themselves physically and mentally, to be embellished with rosewater. We decided not to use haldi since it sometimes gets messy. Not for the 3 of them but for others. I've seen it happen :-) Anyways I also was to sit with them cause I was one of the 'best men', but I somehow escaped, which is a good thing. The initial few ppl stuck to protocol and applyed rose water in a decent manner. When it was my turn I and a few others smashed some eggs on their heads. Then someone poured water on them. It was pretty cold and we were partying outside the house. After that some home made wine was poured on them. They drank some and the remaining was used as conditioner. But they were still looking decent so someone painted them with atta (flour) :-) My dad got it all on 8mm. Finally we were contented with our efforts and allowed them to get cleaned up. After that there was this naughty game... Aunty Sandra came up with it. Nice :-) Nikhil and a few of his friends dropped in. Then there was dancing and dancing and a lot more dancing. I mean a whole genre of dancing!!!! There was the jive, the shake, the gajre re types dancing, the item number types dancing, the decent dancing and the mellowed form of dirty dancing. Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey could take a few tips from us. I mean it was technically a bachelorette party. We danced way into the wee hours of the morning.

Day 2: Nov 6th - Rest day
The next day was supposed to be rest day cause of all our exploits. However there was a parish fete so we went for it. Won some prizes or maybe its cause we bought all the coupons to ensure that we win :-) We did this at various stalls. However some of them we actually won. I tried my luck at this football game where we were to kick the ball through a tyre. My very first shot was an all star shot. I kicked the ball straight into the volunteer who was running the show. It was definately an all star shot. Ouch!!! I took solace in the fact that I've not touched a football for quite some time. I decided that it was wise to let the volunteer contemplate on the recent turn of events, like the turning of the ball, as if a premonition. The volunteer at the next stall was ... err... luckier. I tried my hand at this wire game where you were to move another loop through this length of bent wire without touching it. The trick here is to use your second hand as a vibration dampener and to assist in maneuvering the sharp curves. Bingo!!! We decided to stay on for some jam session that they were having afterwards but it was getting late. So we decided to gate crash the bachelor party that was on our way back. The ambience had sobered down by the time we arrived. We hung out there for some time then headed home, only to realise that we had missed a lot of fun. Aunty Sandra what was that....

Day 3: Nov 7th - Wedding day
I took out some snaps of Sonali as soon as she woke up. All puffy and groggy. I then followed her around as she applied some cream to remove her moustache :-) I mean I'm the brother ain't I!!! I then decided to make myself useful and carried out some wedding errands. When we got the cut cake we realised that the slices were too tiny. On apprising the baker about our concerns, she was like, "You'll are lucky... I have another order and I still have to cut that cake." Ok so then what about their concerns!!! I then went to check out the hall and church decorations. Nikhil was practising with the choir, polishing certain pieces. After that I headed home to rest and then get ready.

The colour theme was blue so the bridesmaids and best men and flower girls and page boy's attire had a dabble of blue. My mom had this flower on the side of her head. Nice :-) The bridesmaids also had this flower thinghy on one hand. Sonali was looking gorgeous. I reminded her that its just the makeup and showed her the morning snaps. Hey I'm the brother ain't I :-) Once everyone was ready it was time for the blessings and then we were off to church. My dad led Sonali up the aile. The page boy was Kevin and the flower girl was Ruby. They walked infront. I walked with Charlene. Janelle the other bridesmaid walked with Nikhil's brother, Anil. Nikhil played the violin along with a friend. He then sang 'You raise me up' backed by the choir and the laptop which gave it a gospel song type feeling. Aunty Rhonda did the first reading. Nikhil's sister Diamay did the second. After the sermon there was the exchange of vows. Uncle Vincent and Jackie stood as witnesses. UB sang the 'Our Father'. Anil and our neighbour Sheena also sang. I did the reading for the offerings. Before the mass ended Nikhil sang 'Beautiful in my eyes'. Charlene was like, "I'm gonna cry". Well it was the song... I didn't step on her foot.. trust me!!! After a brief photo session we walked out of church where the couple were mobbed by family and friends.

After the wedding we were to go to the studio to take out some snaps. Before that we went to my aunt's place where Nikhil's parents and relations were. We made Nikhil carry Sonali inside. I took a lot of snaps and also tested his endurance :-) They had a short prayer service which was called 'The welcoming of the bride ceremony'. Midway through the ceremony Sonali was like, "Is something burning". Oh my gawd!!! Her veil was on fire. Nikhil and Janelle doused the fire with their hands and got some minor burns. Seems her got too close to the candles behind her as there were a lot of ppl in the room. I called it 'The burning of the bride ceremony'. Maybe its cause we never spoke about dowry :-) They then cut the veil from the sides and did some kind of overlapping and covered the evidence. However I caught the veil cutting act on camera.

We then went to the studio to idle away some time before the reception. When we entered the reception hall we walked around before the cutting of the cake. Then Jocelyn said a few words on the couple as she knows both of them from small. Then Nikhil spoke. Instead of singing the bridal special first, Nikhil sang 'Through the years' for the couples parents. He then sang 'Amazed' for the bridal special. This was followed by the grand march and the wishing of the bride and groom. After that there was a lot of dancing. Nikhil played some heavy metal on the guitar accompanied with his friend. Janelle also sang. Then my cousin Adrian who is a percussionist, played a little Jazz. Uncle Ralph joined him on the synthesizer. They played pretty well together. I played err... I played ... the fool and danced too :-)

After the carrying of the bride and groom which was an energy sapper there was the throwing of the bouquet and shoe. Tina got the bouquet and I got the boot.. err the shoe. Then it was time for our item number. We danced with a lot of jhatkas and matkas.... Then Tina tried to hit me with the bouquet and the flowers came off, the stalk still firmly held in her hand. Being in a challenging situation, my survival instincts kicked in and so I picked up my weapon.... err the flowers and we fought... Zorro style.... Then there was another photo session before we called it a day... a wedding day...

Day 4: Nov 8th - Dinner.
We had a dinner for family and friends in the compound outside our house. It had become pretty cold so we started a fire. This time I made sure there was no 'Burning of the etc etc ceremony'. Nikhil's dad, Uncle Danny the organised a game.

There were 3 other weddings that week. Then there were also some 'holy communion' ceremonies too. Tiring :-) After the dust had settled down, Sonu and Nikhil packed their bags and were all set to head off to Shimla and then Delhi. We also had this guest book thinghy, where people could write some message for the couple. Since most of us were partying hard on the wedding day we did not get a chance to write in it. Finally when I sat down and was trying to marry words together I remembered this saying which I had read in the Readers digest eons ago. It goes something like this, "Falling in love is not about finding the perfect person. Its about learning to see an imperfect person perfectly." After jotting that down I put down my addendum, "But thats just falling in love. Love is whats left when all the falling in love part dries up".

When I was back in bangalore a friend of mine told me he was soon to get engaged. He had seen this girl at his brother's wedding. His parents spoke to the girl and her parents and felt that she was a good match, so thats that. He had not spoken to her yet. I asked him if there was eye contact. You know like one eye or two eyes. Or first two eyes then one eye :-) When we subtly asked him about the 'haven't spoken to her yet' thingy, he pointed out, "What comes out in half-an-hour exchanges are niceties about a person which may not be a true reflection of self... just like personality contests." Hmmm. Yeah I guess love is whats left long after the personality contest is over. The gestation period may range from half-an-hour, to a few months, to a few years.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Tricks up his sleeve

My Dad is known to always have a few tricks up his sleeve. Like when he came to work in Nagpur he was living opposite my mom's house. He was upto his tricks even then. He like winked at her and stuff and put her under his magic spell. When we were small, sometimes we used to wake up early on weekends and escape into these nice magical sceneries. My mom would be praying (overtime) at home so that snakes don't bite us. He also had this small bag filled with various magic tricks. He has always had this thing with children. Dada retired sometime after I moved out to earn my own bread and butter and cheese and jam. I then heard that pops was upto his tricks again... err magic tricks.. just to make things clear :-) I heard that he had been performing for a lot of children, big and small. Children of all backgrounds... some with no backgrounds.

I had reached home for my sis's wedding just after all the preparations and stuff had been done. My cousin Luke and his family had come down from hyderabad. His little girl Ruby was like really shy. She wasn't talking to anyone. Dada showed her a rope trick and some other magic tricks and she became very pally with him.

The next day some kids had come home to give us their 'holy communion' invitation cards. A little boy had come with his 2 little brothers. Since I didn't know them I smiled and bent down and asked one of them his name. It was sometime around that very moment that I saw stars. The little fellow punched me in my face!!! In slow motion I unfolded myself and grew to my usual size, my shadow growing on the little fellow, finally enveloping him. As he gaped at the silhouette that had metamorphosed right in front of him, I contemplated about what fate had in store for the little chap. I mean I could have taken him out right there... but etiquette prevailed and I beat him up... just kidding... Ok just for the record I may have been 10 times his size but I wasn't afraid either of him or his 2 little brothers. I mean I could have had a go at all 3 of them.. that too at the same time... but you know me :-)... hmmm.... so as I was saying the 3 brothers came ahead of their parents, so that they could get some extra time at Uncle Melville's place. Pretty mischievous. Finally the eldest guy decided that it was ok if I know their names. He then whacked his brother on the head as if pointing to him when he mentioned his name. Then he pulled his other brother and hit him on the head before mentioning his name. Hmmm nice introduction... I smiled. As they stood there like 3 penguins on an african savannah they started to twitch, then squiggle and squirm in their place with their mouth shut.... then the eldest one exhaled,"MAGIC". And all their eyes lit up, as if they had achieved what they had set out to do.... then my dad appears and takes out this huge box and shows them some tricks.

However come to think of it, when my mom misplaces the keys she has to resort to praying before she finds it. Now thats one magic trick my dad hasn't figured out yet.