The Road ()…

A fine day it was, nevertheless I did not know the following narrative prior. As usual, the reminder pops – Cab, Go home! – @17: 00. Shutdown the demon, packed my bag and left the cubicle. I was alone, waiting at the bus-stop behind the fenced shabby grass. My cab was delayed, past beyond the routine, in-fact no sign of any cab that runs for my company. Yes, your intuition is right, its the aftermath of rain. Not a heavy rain by Chennai’s standard, recently Hyderabad has raised the bar. This place is now overcrowded, the ones who never stayed back for fire/safety drills were now lunging forward eagerly to spot their cab, while I for VT 061. A lady, who genuinely looked like a HR manager was waiting a few meters away from where I was seated. A car at high velocity ran over the dirty puddle orthogonal to her, I could hear some genuinely swear words from that lady. I pulled my legs closer to me, hoping to miss the splashes in my way. After an hour, the cab arrived; we boarded.

Yet another hour, we were still inside the tech park. Our cab took a left turn around the corner of our building , a detour. The Road that lead to the rear gate was blocked, and our detour was a total failure. This unplanned detour, lead to another detour and yet another viciously. Finally, we were outside the tech park via one of the rear gates. The Roads, supposedly belonging to the residential society had HMV barricades installed lavishly, adding to our detour. All this while, I was buried in this book “The Road” which boasts full of misery that the protagonist faces during his road journey. I appreciate every author’s vivid narration that helps teleport us to the fictional plot, but this time it was surreal – everyone around me was teleport-ed along with me, how is that even possible? I closed my kindle, reality was no less than the author’s narration. Our cab was literally circling around the residential lanes to find a way out. Wayfarers would point to a direction, google maps would be misleading because there would be no tracks in that direction. To give myself some peace of mind amidst this chaotic ramble, I switched on the shut-demon, Quantico S02E22 it was. Babe Priyanka was single-handedly saving the US of the A from the badass Mr.President. I could relate Priyanka’s instinct & skills to my Driver’s instinct & puddle drifting expertise, those helped us reach the Thanissandra main road safely. After all madness for 02:30 hours, we were at the Nagawara junction which was just 500m from the tech park’s main gate. ORR ring road was beefed-up with smoking vehicles glittering brown puddles on the tar. After sometime, the roads cleared and our driver was peace-out; rashly taking turns; enjoying his ride. I reached my home in half-hour from that junction, credits to the road, the rain and the traffic !

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The Lemon Tree()…

It’s been a few years since I moved out of Chennai, still nothing to mark my presence here. A mistake that I regret, thinking about the lost time. Yes, I should have spent some time planting and watering some saplings. 4 years in Bangalore now, I would have had some fruits and a legacy to leave behind. So, I went to the nearby Lumiere store – handpicked the plump, juicy and rounded yellow balls; lemon. A glittering knife slit them apart, I was cautious as to not to damage the seeds. Found a terracotta v-shaped pot, I had some manure stocked under the stairways. With some gardening tools and the available manure , I potted the seeds I had ripped out of the juicy yellow balls. Shades of brown, black spots and layers of sand formed the burial bed. Not knowing what to expect, I just took a stick and pushed the seeds deep down the layered soil in the v-pot. 7 seeds at a time, to increase the chances of germination.
After a month, the soldiers veered out of the soil, piercing out – peekaboo. Sun served as their guardian. They grew lush green, tilling high hopes of lemon fruit in the near future. As we know, a tale of happiness often faces some harsh realities. One night, when their guardian was away, the shady night-crawling mice – with claws of death – visited them with flowers, unaware about the ploy, the lush kids welcomed the shady villain to their own funeral. Morning, I was shattered at the sight of splattered greenery all over the balcony. The day was bruised, I could not take those wavering tiny green leaves of my thoughts. Vengeance – before I could think, I was at the nearby hardware store paying for the glue board (mice trap) to take down that swine. Not to be said, I got some steel mesh to fence the v-pot for about 3 feet and some lemons. All over again, I had the next set of seeds potted in a fenced pot. Maintenance was never a big task, watering was an effortless task. Some days, rain would cheer them up with chilling drizzles. Now, after six months I see them all grown up, wavering in the breeze. Their defenses were up, strong, sharp thorns all over the stem and branches.
I felt they are good to be let alone, not really alone: their guardian, their rain-mother have the eyes on these lush kids. I planted them in the soil near the stairway and the rest is nature. They are growing vehemently (look at the roots in closeup) and I can happily look back, these lush kids will be there to remember me. The next time, day one: I will plant a seed in the new city I move!

Friends, Foes , Friends forever(Chennai) …

We are fucked, seriously ! Lets spin the wheels back to about 70 years, this is how the greenery around this area(Chennai) would have looked like. They were friends (chuddy buddies), the plants and tempting breezes.  One nourished in the other’s presence, displaying lust and love affectionately using their whip lashing movements. They were inseparable. Together they are uncontrollable and never dishonored. On dispute, they tend to be violent. Who knows , what their recent hassle was. Vardah, was her name, chaotic and dominant was their elderly alliance. In moments, her vigor got the towering majestic tree’s dark green leaves to cower on the roads like crawling toddlers. It was a pathetic sight 😦 I understand guys, but please resolve your dispute meekly. Over thousands of giant trees grounded in a day. Some of these trees, shadowed us when we walked past , but now they were under my shadow -sabotaged and defeated – brushing my boots as I walk, bid their goodbyes.  It will probably take decades to see the greenery again in the same place in that same old manner, may be we hope they remain friends again forever, without such a dispute .

Old to New ()…

Its been a while since we went on a trail together, times been running without mercy. Once again, Mr.Firefox and Mr.Scott decided to explore the options and finally set out for a round trip from Old Airport(HAL) to New Intl Airport, Bangalore.Old airport is used solely for special operations. Precisely, New Intl Airport isn’t new anymore, it came into operation since 2008.  It was the gateway to Bangalore that i took 3 years ago! Nostalgia 😛 Though airplane’s travel protocol makes it a less fancier travel option between the two contrasting cities, I feel that people of Chennai and Bangalore still love to fly to and fro.

It was 3 am , I started from HAL main road and got pumped up due to the cold temperature, it was dead cold. Reaching KR Puram was a big feat, to get past the sand dunes that was shielding my visibility on the way. This hour of the day, necessarily did not seem to be the right time for any vehicle, particularly to the ones in the bottom of the automotive chain. Heavy vehicles seemed to be politely honking with a blaring horns just to embrace their ego. I pulled away towards the KR Puram bus stop, making the milestone call to Mr.Scott. Few night rangers were barking at me, their jaws grinning and gleaming in the high beam lights. It was a realization on existence of fear towards untrained dogs that was deep hidden in me 🙂 The plan was to meet at Horamavu junction, then head together to the New Intl Airport. Lets maintain the naming references for clarity, despite the years that passed by 😀 I was finding some warmth at the tea spot that had lit some waste materials to help heal the frozen dermas. Mr.Scott had arrived and we started the trail, ensuring Strava to track our co-ordinates. ORR has most number of flyovers and subways. Surmounting these architectural highway structures is always pleasant, cold breeze cuddles you on the down slope. Straddling my legs on those peddles down slope is just a mega version of vert skating down a ramp with my skateboard, both gratify with an adrenaline rush.

So many days i have been bantering about Bangalore’s climate being no better than Chennai’s (precisely from under the quilt). Now, I was shivering, out on the roads, damn the coldness! I take back my words apologetically! But,only 47% humidity, that looked kinda funny and too low according to my Coastal standards. A few miles surpassed, my thoughts were substantiating the visuals I saw. Few boys and girls were smoking their lungs out, early in the morning. I was trying to draw a reasoning, cyclists like us cannot afford to smoke, it will affect the mileage that we could cycle. On the contrary, motorists are more inspired by their sputtering engines that smoke ghastly. It was way before dawn, motorists were all relaxed near the Hebbala junction, I and Mr.Scott were desperately peddling our tires against the dusty tar, evading the sporadic potholes. Yes, we hit the express highway that connects to airport. Quite , dark and pacified like a graveyard; I could listen to my breathing while I was weighing my chances of crossing a junction on par to a car which was heading towards the junction from the opposite direction. I was commanding my 4 chambers to pump harder, faster and my air chambers were at their best. But, I could lay no harm to the horsepower generated by those inhumane pistons, the white sedan went past me, swish ! I dunked half the bottle to vain. Stealthily, we passed through the service roads that were actively guarded by the barking crawlers.

We had our first stop at Vidyanagar Cross. A2B logo was blinking with colors that were familiar. Mr.Scott. put on the earphones, seemingly inspired by the situation. Probably he was listening to the EDM masterpiece. No pun intended. I was shadowed by a group of dogs, slowly i moved to the lane closest to the median.Bingo! The league of shadows vanished. Mr.Scott popped out a map on his bright device, we had almost reached the toll gate. I was determined to step a foot on the New International Airport, we continued. The freeway was a smooth as butter, bordered by the greenery and lighting was perfect. I could see some modern fireflies rising ahead of me, approaching me faster than i expect and some vanishing even faster. I realized that these were zillion times bigger and mightier than the fluorescent insects, whose analogy i drew. We stopped peddling , gliding until we reached the Cargo Circle. This demarcation meant 15 mins rest. My airport visit was shattered by Mr.Scott’s claim about security checks at the airport. Just kidding! After 3 hours of ride, I had an uncontrollable desire for food. We spotted a highway dosa corner, I happily stuffed two dosas. Hebbala was our next stop on the way back, we separated out following the schedules demanded by our own body! It was physically tiring, we traced the route back dodging the mighty flyovers, shabby subways and expected a perpetual down slope to Marathahalli. Clearly, I could see the impact of population explosion in Bangalore, amidst the tightly  populated urbanization was the humongous areas of military and air bases. I noticed the flying school at Jakur, flying has been one of my fascinations like any other kid, inspired from flying kites. We halted at Mr.Scott’s place for a while. Then i found my way home, Old Airport Road, it was 11 am.

RBCs & the Rest of Them()…

One fine day,  an office mail about blood donation camp popped with a ting! This happens twice a year, but I am a first timer recipient. Within few moments of skimming through that mail, a Chubby, happy and smiling dude came up to my cubicle and fiercely said “Come On! Let’s hit the camp and shell out few RBCs (RedBloodCouriers 😀 ) and some WBCs( WhiteBloodCops 😀 )”. Trust me, the mail laid out details with all motivation and clarity a newbie needs to become a Blood Hero(donor), no sorts of Biological major required. A transformation far from top-level R&D discussions, the conference room was now filled with lots of recliner cots, soft mattress laid underneath a white blanket ,a puffed up pillow and a side arm to rest. Few unfamiliar people with white overcoats wandering like ants established their identities as Phlebotomist by carrying blood pints instead of cheese. Initially you are gauged on a weighing machine to hit a mark above 45Kg, glad I was eligible. I had breakfast less than 4 hours ago ,it reiterates my eligibility. I was requested to fill a long questionnaire addressing my personal details while I was awaiting my turn. To give an euphemistic gist, it is necessary that your body was exposed to proper hydration(pure drinking water) and void of Smoke Pollution in the past 24 hours. Certain norms that spanned over few months of look back on personal hygiene. A sharp prick on my forefinger, a representative of millions peaked out and she was dropped off immediately in a solution which looked like a vertical section of the pacific ocean, her scuba dive down to the bottom of the beaker asserted that I was not anemic. I walk to the next counter embracing her valor and guts for that dive. Few gulps of water anticipating the void in the near future. A technician comes close and taps on my shoulder, I look back and walk in the direction he points me. He goes to the table at the far end of the room and picks up a pouch with a lot of cables attached to it, like the wires that hang out of an old Pickup’s radio. One end of the cable had a rectangular plastic hanging aloof and waving in air as the technician strides towards me with my Bean Bag (that’s how I call it).A few barcodes and labels transcribing my personal details were attached to it. I lay silently on the cot with both my arms extended, not knowing which arm the technician would prefer. He signed at me asking arm preference, I hovered my sight sinistrally, contemplating it’s benefits being dextral by nature. Armband of Sphygmomanometer was pressured up against my tiny bicep’s to catch hold of the heroic vein and also to ensure my vitals are sane based on the mercuric freefall observations. The removal of the plastic cap exposed the iron hand in charge of collecting the blood cells, the opening was slant, symmetrical curvature (an invasive attribution). Needle’s walls are few mm apart(usually gauge 17) to prevent damage of blood cells at the visage of iron hand. A cotton dipped in deep yellow solution is grazed against the forearm on  the inner side of elbow to kill the bacteria , prospective Villain. After the abrasion you witness an invasion, the translucent cables now become opaque with all the redness that you emanate, slowly the cradling Bean bag gets filled leaving a sense of constant turbulence in your arm. The invasion is lopsided so as to prevent the breech on the opposite wall of the vein. As I was appreciating the tech’s precision, a beep begins and the cradling stops. The technician leaves the other donor whom he was initiating and pulls out the needle delicately, I felt the pore clotting. I turn and look at the chubby dude with a huge smile “). We were pampered with a lots of confectionaries and juices, given ample time to rest we fed our stomachs full and it was then I saw a badge on my technician “I am silent by nature.”, later realized all his signs during the blood donation procedure. Ever since my first blood donation a couple of years back , I voluntarily donate blood every 3 months . A Funny analogy which I use to motivate people around me is “Even Petrol engines need change of Oil every maintenance, think about your Heart :D” and My dramatic friend’s quote “It gives me immense pride and happiness to give away the river of life to others👌🏼👌” .

My recent Blood donation was informative and bit of fun , every hospital has huge blood bank facility attending only 3-4 donations weekly which is ridiculously less when compared to the needs. Blood is not synthesized,marking the limitations in Scientific advancements. Blood donation benefits you and the recipient in a very short span. Blood donated has max shelf life of 35-42 days, caters to 3 persons and enables the process of saving the needy. On my way back home by a crowded Volvo bus, I had my phlebotomized hand being ants :D,then I raised my other hand to find balance. I loved this realization 🙂

“Donate Blood when you are alive, Donate Organs to project afterlife meaningful since both helps the living mankind to be healthy.”

Our Body regenerates Plasma within 48 hours to fill the void, rest of the blood components are regenerated within 8 weeks.

Review: Unlikely Friendships: Dogs: 39 Stories of Canine Compassion and Courage

Unlikely Friendships: Dogs: 39 Stories of Canine Compassion and Courage
Unlikely Friendships: Dogs: 39 Stories of Canine Compassion and Courage by Jennifer S. Holland

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Advanced Reader Copy: https://www.netgalley.com Jennifer S. Holland

My Heart beats woof -woof -woof. This amazing collection of dog’s interactions with varied set of fellow beings on this planet was completely transfixing. The author’s words could gravitate readers blindly to realize what love is in a dog’s world. Selfless, fierce, passionate and its surely not a one way lane you pass by, its duplex levitation on 100% trust. Scooby is what we call him, a Labrador retriever.
“A fawn colored moving canon fur ball with pitch dark black eyes and an electrifying tail” is a perfect metaphorical description. I drive to Marina Beach, he accommodating himself between the bars of the frame of my scooter .After a brief bumpy ride we reach the coast and finally step on the sandy shore placing the 6 feet(4 paws actually) only for a moment, swish like a wind he would sprint towards a huge blanket of blue shades with symmetrical and calm, yet deceptive appearance.
Flop on to the water as long as he is tired, the waves try to pin him down. 1, 2, 3 and boom! knock out was revoked. Its a constant tug between the untiring Bengal waves and Scooby, the electrifier.
After a few bounces and digging up of crabs and snails from the puddle, we start a walk to parallel the horizon either towards Light house or its counter. Waves still teasing Scooby with their ghostly grabs targeting our paws(2 feets actually). We reach the end and trace back the way leaving new footprints exactly where they were before the waves stole them off the shore. Greedy Waves! We will fight you till we tame you,funny we. Placing the rump on the sand carefully, we gaze at the sun thoughtfully hoping that the layers of clouds could dramatically increase and acquit us from sun burns, greedy we. Fishermen, few of them on their tiny boats far away seem to be fishing valuable schools, now come closer and closer fighting against rip. A fish tossed at us would do no harm, rather be a blessing, but such generosity is a rarity. Parallax rays from Sun reminds us about the time that’s flying , we walk away from the shore wearing a sandy sox and flops in my hands,leash in his muzzle.

This book was absolutely a brilliant repertoire about the passion that dogs spread across the species on this planet. A must read for each and everyone , even remotely connected to a living being. 🙂

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