Friday, July 30, 2010

How well do you know your ABCs?

Being blogging doggies has been a wonderful experience. Not only have we made such pawsome friends but also vastly widened our realm of information about this world we live in.
ABC Wednesday is a wonderful meme conjured up by DENISE NESBITT and HER TEAM which we are certain will help us update our knowledge in addition to giving us glimpses of the artistic takes of many of our friends on the English alphabets.

We missed ‘A’ which was pondered over by all last week. So, hurrying to catch up, Ginger is discussing ‘A’ and Buddy is discussing ‘B’ today.

‘A’ is for Aquarium’

Remember our friend Rick? Well, here he is.

(Rick is supposed to be our littlest friend. Will someone tell him to stop growing up so fast?)

Recently, he sent us some pictures from his weekend visit to the NEW ENGLAND AQUARIUM in Boston, Massachusetts.

You better try clicking here HERE instead of squinting at that photograph!
Aquarium is a ‘vivarium’ which according to the FREE ONLINE DICTIONARY is a place, especially an indoor enclosure, for keeping and raising living animals and plants under natural conditions for observation or research.
The New England Aquarium is one of the world’s largest vivariums which acts as a centre for ocean exploration and marine life conservation.

Those are African Penguins also called ‘Jackass penguins’ due to their donkey like cry!! They are an Endangered species

Don't they remind you of ‘Ramon’ from ‘Happy Feet’? He is a Southern Rockhopper penguin.
Conservation status: Vulnerable.
Did you know? He is the only type of penguin who dives feet first rather than head first into the sea?

Little Blue Penguins are world’s smallest penguins. Conservation status: Least concern

Oh! Isn’t that Nemo now? He is wandering off all by himself AGAIN! Did you know, Nemo is an ‘Anemone Fish’

That is an ‘Ochre Sea Star’, a species of what is commonly called star fish.

Those two are Lion Fishes, a type of Scorpionfish.
Don’t be fooled by their lovely pattern. They have extremely venomous spines. No wonder their conservation status is stable!

Can you spot Rick? He is talking to that Seal out there. Is he a Northern fur Seal? Must ask Rick. If it is,it's Conservation status is Vulnerable

That is Myrtle the Giant Green sea turtle. She is 70 years old approximately.
Conservation status: Endangered

Those are Moon jellies, a species of jelly fish. They are survivors and can thrive even in dirty polluted water. Conservation status: obviously stable

Thanks Ricky and Ricky’s Mummy Ria and Daddy Arnov, for the pawonderful photographs. They made us read a lot and learn about our marine life.
And now over to Buddy....

Hello folks! Buddy here.
After that long discussion, I decided an ‘illustrated B’ will be a good change. So here we go…

B’ is for BONES.

‘B’ is for Bourbon Biscuits.

(Well, you can't see any because Mumsy wouldn't let me have any!!Sigh!)

‘B’ is for Bouncing Ball

B’ is for Butter

‘B’ is for Burger

‘B’ is for (Mummy’s) Baked chicken

Ginger:  STOP,STOP Buddy STOP! We have learned enough of your Bs! You are drooling all over the sofa and yourself too!
Anyways, it was Mummy’s mistake. She should have known better than to let Buddy discuss ‘B’ of all alphabets!

Mumsy, you better hurry up now and get US…err...I mean Buddy….some bones if you love your sofa!
And today's post was 'too much study and no play' already!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


You would think Mummy would post these pictures she calls 'RANDOM SHOTS' in her own blog page, considering that she has been neglecting it for centuries!!!
But she seems to be hooked to OUR page! We have a sneaking suspicion she no longer intends to work on her own page, what with time constrains and everything.
Not that we are complaining.

But this blog is called 'PAWPRINTS (NOT FOOTPRINTS) in the sands of time'. Publishing this Photo-post without a Gin-Bud photograph is unacceptable!!
After we put our paws down, Mummy fished out this file-picture for you guys. And as you can see, she has sneaked into it too!

But it's alright as long as she hugs us tight....

Monday, July 26, 2010


Mummy found these lovely figures and designs all made out of a simple mixture of sand and cement displayed on the roadside while on her way to work.

That is the hut where a humble labourer lives.

He derives his livelihood out of constructing cement rings for dug-wells.

For thousands of years, dug-wells have been in use to obtain drinking water. These wells are holes dug deep into the earth down to the water-table.
In rural India, these are still a popular as a source of drinking water.

Sometimes, these wells are left open to the environment and can get polluted by animal waste etc.
Improved wells have rings around them, like caissons, that project higher than ground level and help protect the groundwater from being polluted.
Often a mixture of cement with sea or river sand, which is cheap and readily available, is used for making these rings.
It was very interesting, moving and inspiring to find these lovely works of art in this humble abode of a minimum wage labourer.
That is why today this unknown man is our ‘Face of the Week’.

Hope you liked knowing him.

Pee Ess: Guess what Furiends? The sun peeked out from behind the clouds today.
              Not very Happy and Bright but definitely a very long and inquisitive peek!!

(Sun portrait courtesy Google)
Thank you very much. That was certainly an example of what we call the 'Power of Collective Positive Thinking'

SISTERTEX seems to be on a holiday. But nevertheless, we are still playing this very special meme.

SIGH! 5 days of Incessant Rain.....

Rain Rain Go Away,
Come Again Some Other Day,
Ginger and Buddy Wanna Go out and Play,
Oh! Rain Please Do Go Away....

(You'd think it is sunny outside from this picture, but it isn't. It's just camera tricks. It has been raining Garfieds and Beethovens and it is all Dark and Gloomy)

Hating the weather,

Pee Ess: Mummy's  too would have felt better faster, we feel, had it been Bright and Sunny

Saturday, July 24, 2010


Nancy was our Grandpa’s dog. He was always with her, taking her for walks, playing with her, giving her baths and never-ending belly rubs.

Nancy would never leave Grampa’s side. Even when Grampa was having his meal, having a bath or reading a newspaper, she would be there, waiting for him to come play.
We were so sad when at first mummy and then daddy were gone for those long days. We hated the sight of those bags being packed. But they are back and we are thankful our family is together again.

What must Nancy be going through? How can anyone explain to her why Grandpa isn’t coming back?
She has been scared and miserable, refusing to cuddle up to anyone for too long. She would go lie down alone in some corner of the house and snap at anyone who tries to pick her up.
Mummy tried to cheer her up during the days she was there. She took her out on walks and long drives.
Nancy seemed to bond with her a little. Sometimes, late at night she would come and lie down close to Mummy, pawing her for a belly-rub. It was really very endearing.
But then, she wouldn't stay long. She would go away, wander about the house and lie down somewhere all by herself.
There have been so many visitors but no Grandpa. Late in the evening, after everyone has left, she still goes out and sits on the threshold, waiting for him to come back home.
Hope she finds the understanding and realisation in her heart to accept that Grandpa isn’t coming back…ever.

All our humans cry over the loss of a loved canine friend. It is traumatic to lose someone who is a part of your life, a part of your soul.
But then what do we Dawgs do when we lose a Human friend we loved so well.
A Dawg NEVER ever forgets. And a Dawg Always waits.

We hope one day Nancy will be re-united with Grampa and they both will live in a happier, lovelier place forever together.


Friday, July 23, 2010


On the 3rd of July, at around 5: 30 in the evening, Grandpa breathed his last. He was 74 years old.

It was weekend and mummy and daddy had gone out shopping. Daddy was looking for guitar strings when mummy received that call that changed so many things…

That faithful evening, when Mummy came back home rather upset, we couldn’t really understand why. She was feeling very, very low, we could sense that but couldn’t guess why. Had we done something wrong?
Buddy tried to ask her, his ears folded back, his eyes doleful and his tail tucked in low under his legs. But she hugged us and cried into us. We tried our best to cheer her up, climbed up and tried to fit into her lap and licked the tears off her face. It probably helped a little, coz she did stop crying.

Then she told us. Grandpa was dead. He had died,still talking about what he would like for dinner that evening, of a sudden stroke. It was simply very difficult for Mummy to believe or realise.
Grandpa lived some 3000 kilometres away from where we stay. It would take Mummy at least 12 hours to reach as there were no direct flights and layovers etc would simply take that much time.
And then, there were the ceremonies thereafter. The long drawn, religious rituals that followed the death of any Hindu person. Which meant Mummy would be gone for many days at a stretch.
It was difficult for us to understand what was happening that evening. It was a kind of gloomy confusion. Mummy began packing whatever she could think of and the very sight of the bags made us dread the days ahead. We know by now that the bags meant someone was going away.

It was very difficult for Mummy. She wanted to get to Grandpa’s place as soon as possible and at the same time, wasn’t ready to go without Daddy and Us.
Having Daddy around at a time like this would be a real support.
But there was the question of ‘Us’.
Mummy couldn’t think of leaving us someplace else apart from home. And it was not as much because she was worried about our not being taken care of well, as much as it was because she knew we would be terrified with Mummy and Daddy gone for so many days. She knows we would be worried sick.
Buddy has only just learned not to run to the door each time a car like the one his previous family had, crossed by. Mummy couldn't bear to let him get displaced again. And I, of course, wouldn’t touch my food without Mummy or Daddy telling me to eat.
Mummy would never be at peace leaving us some place without her or Daddy around.
But then, we couldn’t possibly fly all the way. Not only would the whole process of getting us crates etc take time, the flight changes, layovers and long flying times all would be too useless a strain for us. Besides, adjusting to a houseful of mourning relatives would prove to be difficult.
The only solution was for us to stay back home with Daddy to look after us. And then, after a few days, Mummy planned to come back so Daddy could go visit our Grandma.
So, early morning, we all went and bid Mummy goodbye. She flew away and disappeared for never-ending days. We would sometimes hear her voice coming out of the telephone. We tried licking the receiver, but it never tasted or smelt like her though it sounded like her.
On many occasions we thought we heard her at the gate. We would hopefully go check but she never came till one day, when we had almost given up hope.
But then it was time for Daddy to go. he flew off the very next day and disappeared for days just like Mummy had done.
Those were very upsetting days. And we could sense a kind of gloom all around Mummy. We tried to be on our best behaviour. We not only ate our food without fuss but also tried not to pull on the leash on our walks. Buddy even ignored the occasional stray!
All of us were just waiting for Daddy to get back home, when we felt, everything would be normal again.
We think, it is better we let mummy take over from here and tell you the later part of story. We have named it ‘Nostalgia’.

Dear Furiends,
It has been a blessing to have you all in our lives. I have always felt very thankful to have made so many friends, many living in far off lands, across thousands of miles, who have embraced my darling babies and loved them so well.
Even though I have my own little space in the blogosphere, I somehow felt it right to share my grief with you here, in Ginger and Buddy’s space.
Somehow, I feel our furry friends and their pawrents are more alive, more receptive of joy, sadness, grief, acceptance and any other emotion for that matter.
Many of you have been worried for us, many have sent us words of support. I would like you to know that your thoughts have been a great help. Thank you very much.  
Somehow, Ginger and Buddy, with their liquid eyes, their comical antics, their ready hugs and licks and the incessant wag in their tails have been my great strength. During the last few days, they have reinforced my belief that Dogs indeed can make EVERYTHING right.

Papa was a very quiet, very silent person. Now that I think back, I had never heard him raise his voice! All those who knew him, including my friends from college, still remember him as a very unassuming man. He lived without malice, without greed and with a lot of honesty and simplicity.

For his entire working life, Papa lived in Arunachal Pradesh, the north-eastern most state of India which shares it’s boundary with China. I was born there and cherish my childhood days in that lovely state nestled in the mighty Himalayas.

It was from Papa that I learned to love the simple indigenous tribal people. He had a way with them. The chieftains often came visiting him, to invite us to some local wedding or just to bring us some home grown vegetables and fruits.
Dressed in their regal traditional attire, complete with their rapiers, javelins and other weapons, they looked rather formidable.
But with Papa, they were at their gentlest best and even as a little girl, I learned to love and respect their simple ways.

Arunachal is a lovely paradise of wild flora and fauna.

(A peaceful abode nestled deep in the mountains)

(Driving along these narrow roads with a steep drop hundreds of feet into the raging river below is both chilling and exhilarating)

Though I haven’t travelled to as many beautiful and remote places as Papa had, I still have very fond memories of this mountain state.
It will make another story which I would like to share with you some day.

Papa had a way with languages. He could fluently speak a number of local dialects which he had easily picked up during his stay in various regions of Arunachal – Apatani, Nishi, Adi were a few tribes he interacted well with. Apart from these, he could also speak, read and write Hindi, English, Assamese, Bengali and Nepali.
I seem to have inherited this knack from him, for I too seem to be able to pick up languages fairly well.
I also have his eyes, everyone tells me.

And I realise I probably have inherited this love for writing from him too. He used to compose lovely little poems but sadly, none of them were published.
I was a pampered daughter and pretty much got my way with Papa! But even then, there are certain things that I remember he tried to teach us very early on in life. Like the need to develop a good and neat handwriting; and to keep our elbows off the table while eating with a knife and fork!

It has been years now, since I left home. I was all of sixteen years when I went to stay in the hostel to pursue my studies. For me, home was soon a place I visited during summer vacations, post exam breaks and other holidays. The hostel soon became my home; I learned to grow up on my own.
Ever since the August of 1992, I have grown used to finding my parents on the other end of the phone. The initial homesick calls gradually got replaced by perfunctory reports of my life.

Papa would come visit me, frequently at first, with loads of cookies and stuff. Gradually, as I settled down I began to feel guilty of the trouble he took to change buses and travel the hilly terrain overnight to reach my hostel nearly a thousand kilometres away. And that too, for maybe just a day because he had to get back to work on Monday.
I offered to travel and meet everyone at home instead, if only for the weekend. By now, my parents had settled down halfway between Papa’s work place and my place of study, the main reason being Papa’s transferrable job which was getting in the way of my brother’s studies.
As I got busy with medical school, my visits home declined in number too. And it was mostly phone calls now.
Into my final year in medical school, my entire family decided to settle down in Guwahati, the capital city of Assam, another north-eastern state bordering Arunachal Pradesh.
Papa had retired from service by then and both I and my brother were here now.

Of course, I could have gone stayed at home again. But I retained my hostel seat. The unearthly, unpredictable hours of medical school was not the entire reason though.
I guess by now, I loved my freedom too much!
After living all by myself for over a decade, I had grown anti-social enough to ignore guests and relatives I did not like or to avoid religious functions I didn’t quite believe in.
The fortnightly visits home suited me just fine.
Soon, it was time for me to leave altogether, to find work in a new place and make a new home for myself.
It didn’t feel much different leaving home and my parents this time around than it did some 13 years back when I had gone away to stay in the hostel.
Except for the fact that this time I was with my friend and husband and coming Home, which of course, made the world of difference!
For the past 5 years, relations with my parents had been a series of phone calls and irregular visits. There were the occasional gift packs that arrived on birthdays and special festivals.
That is probably the reason why I could not really realise fully about Papa’s death when I went home now. It felt like he was away somewhere on some task.
And I could talk to him about it later on over the phone.
Even the long drawn ceremonies, the rituals felt unreal. There were hundreds of people, mourners who came everyday. Many talked of papa’s quiet ways, of how sudden and untimely his death was.
But I somehow believe death is always timely.
Each soul comes and lives for whatever time it has been destined to live on earth. It is only to us left behind that it is difficult to accept the loss of someone we loved.

For me, Papa’s death means I will never hear his voice again over the phone.
Which will take some time to accept.
I don’t know how this feeling of interminable gloom will go away.
My darling of a husband has been trying many things from cooking delicious dishes, getting me chocolate pies and even offering to take me shopping. The latter, in normal times, would literally be absurd for him! But somehow I haven’t been feeling up to it.

He has been suggesting I start writing again. And in fact, I feel much better now that I have.
Maybe this is what will snap me out of the gloom - writing again for Ginger and Buddy and getting immersed in the lives of my adorable Furry friends.