It’s been just so long since I last sat down to write. Over two months now. It makes me very restless. I go about doing everything that needs to be done and even on days when I’ve accomplished(I use that word here because that is exactly how I’ve been feeling at the end of my days, there’s always so much to do) my day’s agenda there’s this persistent feeling at the back of my mind that I’ve missed something important.
It is just not about blogging. I’ve come to realize that I need to write if I want to really relax. Anything at all, but I just need to be able to put the never-ending string of thoughts cluttering my mind down on paper. Alright, the keyboard isn’t bad either, though I prefer pen and paper. And then of course I do keep thinking about all the friends that I have made over the years in the virtual world. Many a times the blogging world and all the beautiful people- YOU- who I’ve come to know seem so much more real than the people I meet and interact with in my real life. You seem so much kinder, we share so much and I’ve learned so much from you….I really miss everyone…
There’s been a lot going on actually. The new CEO at work has devised policies to ‘kill two birds with one stone’. Free health check-up camps, including on Sundays. So last month I ended up working for three weeks at a stretch without a break!
Yes, we did ‘kill the two designated birds’ very successfully. One was making specialized health check up free to over a thousand people (who also got discounts on any investigative procedures that was required) and two, increasing the foot-fall in our hospital so we also garnered business.
The whole experience was amazing. We are placed right in the middle of Delhi NCR – the National Capital Region and there are just so many hospitals around. Both Government ones (mostly free) and Corporate ones (highly expensive). But there we found thousands of attendees at our health camps that were still ignorant of the available healthcare schemes or just couldn’t afford even basic medication! It felt good to be able to make a difference in our own way, however small.
My husband has been very supportive all the while in spite of his forever hectic schedule. For one, I’d always get special lunch on the table when returned from the Sunday camps. It’s, of course, another matter that he loves cooking and takes all the pains to perfect the dishes, unlike me who ‘quick fixes’ all the time!
Ginger, Buddy and Shadow enjoy the time when their Daddy’s home, cooking. There they would lie patiently, sniffing-nudging-snoozing-sniffing-nudging-snoozing and invariably manage to wean out scrumptious treats straight from the stove!
Time seems to have flown so fast I didn’t quite realise it’s winter now till that day when I wasn’t wearing socks and my feet remained very cold the entire day!
It is amazing how the whole world changes overnight. Just the other day we were still complaining about how the sun still burns through and then, one fine Saturday morning Delhi woke up to a nice and cold 11 degrees! Just like that!
Winter’s here with all its signature trappings – spicy snacks, woollens and a series of bright and beautiful festivals.
It’s the perfect time to come visit us in Delhi if you are planning a trip. Lovely autumn flowers are fast changing into seasonal winter ones, the summertime juice stalls have morphed into spicy snack stalls and the general atmosphere is one of elation and festivity.
A couple of months back we celebrated Durga-Puja, Navratri and Dusshera! Three of the most exuberantly celebrated festivals in the entire Northern,North-Eastern and North-Western India, they all denote the triumph of good over evil. For most of us, it is actually a time to gorge on the numerous delicacies like innovative kulfis (an Indian ice-cream that comes in almost 50 different varieties! Our favourite is coconut,paan and kesar), Chaats (snacks that include fritters, curd, sweet pickles, potatoes and a variety of other mouth-watering fried stuff!) and fruit salads.
Ramleela Ground in Old Delhi is known for the largest and most un-believable combination of food and festivities on Dusshera, when the larger than life rag idols of the wicked King Ravana and his brothers are set afire to once again reiterate the victory of good over evil.
This also marks the end of Durga Puja, a 5 day long festival in which the powerful Durga, a Goddess with ten hands, along with her brothers and sisters are revered, adored and venerated.
Navaratri, meaning the nine Holy nights, is essentially a nine day long festival when believers shun what is considered the routine pleasures and attractions of a material life – smoking, drinking, non-vegetarian food- and spend time in prayers, fasting and giving alms. It is basically a festival that is aimed at purging your soul and cleansing your life.
Diwali however is by far my favourite-most festival. I love Diwali. It isn’t just a festival but a part of the identity of the city of Delhi.
Diwali transforms Delhi. The bright decorations and the food are just a tiny little aspect. It is more about the joy of anticipation, how every face shines and how there is a general aura of love and sharing.
The one part of Diwali which everyone talks about changing and which needs serious transformation is the ritual of setting off crackers.
Why is it so necessary to be so loud and that too for hours and days on the end? Is it some kind of power game, like I can afford louder and more crackers than my neighbour? At least that is what it felt like when I watched the group in my apartment complex having a face-off with the group across the street.
I am not against anyone having fun. But I strictly believe that one hasn’t the right to hurt others in the process.
On occasions, I have been told I am concerned mostly because of I have dogs at home and not so much because of the noise pollution and such like effects.
To them I say, So what if it is true? Earlier Ginger used to be sick for days afterwards for days. She has congenital arrhythmia which gets worse whenever she’s scared. Ever since Buddy and Shadow came along, she’s so much better. The boys would get a bit upset and lie down quietly or cuddle but they both don’t seem that scared. May be it has rubbed on to her. So much so that this time she actually went for her walk, albeit less confidently, and had dinner afterwards. Her heart was quite stable and almost back to normal when we all settled down at night. A terrific improvement and we are just so thankful.
Yes, I am concerned because I have dogs at home. Because I know exactly what those poor strays must be going through out there when we humans are having our bit of fun.
As I watched those groups of people on their cracker bursting spree (which continued till the wee hours of the morning, by the way) from my balcony, I kept praying and hoping Sheru would be alright. Sheru, our colony dog who’s 13 and stays at our gate. And the two little pups, barely two months old who usually cuddled under the mattresses in the road-side mattrees maker’s stall across the street – their new adopted home. And those two girls who weren’t allowed inside our colony but have chosen to live just outside our gate and invariably consider this their home. It was exactly their home which was being vandalized that night.
It isn’t just about the noise. What of the litter of burnt crackers which adds up to tons, which certainly is going to kill a lot more dogs and birds when they rummage through the rubbish searching for food? And what of the fumes that make Delhi choke the next morning?
Is it really all that necessary? Why can’t the bright lights, family and friends suffice?
Sheru and the girls were fine the next morning. Shaken, but fine. They accepted their meals, forever accepting and forgiving of all that we humans do. The two tiny pups were safe too. But sadly, one of them soon fell very sick. I tried to help a bit but it had probably caught parvo viral infection. With no mother to suckle him he refused feeds, even the chicken soup I tried to feed him. And then one afternoon when on my way back I inquired of him, the little boy who was taking care of him told me he had died.
Ginger, Buddy and Shadow are sheltered and soothed by classical music and what not. There must be hundreds of other lucky dogs who had someone to cuddle them. But for every lucky dog there must have been at least two more who didn’t make it through our ‘celebrations’…