Unbroken

( Disclaimer: This blogpost is to be read  with earlier ones : ( A)  ‘Piece of my Heart’ May20th, 2014.( B) ‘Bruce Almighty: The Dark Knight Rises’,June 8th, 2014. ( C) ” My Jill, My beloved & My 4am friend” August 22nd, 2014.( D) ” Wabi- Sabi Your Life”,October 24th, 2014. ( E).”Sputnik Sweetheart” October 28th ,2014.Just so that you know about my beloved rescued dogs.

When I suffered a terrible car crash years back, a very strange incident had  taken place at home, just at the time the vehicle went hurtling off the road. My pet calf ,called Sita, who had grown into a lovely, ebon black cow, suddenly collapsed on the ground and died. Everyone was shocked and mystified because she was a young creature and in the best of health.Three hours later my family received a call stating that I wouldn’t probably make it . So great were my injuries.It was a New Year’s eve morning.No parents should ever hear such a statement…that their child is dying.I can never imagine what must have gone through my parents’ hearts.But my sister told me, later, that my Ma had  steadied herself and said simply and strongly.”Nothing will happen to her.Her Sita took it upon herself”.

Nothing did ,actually. I came out of that terrible ordeal, unbroken.

I have always believed that my animals protect me from any kind of harm. They watch over me with their beautiful unconditional love.With all their strength and purity.Time and again I have been proved right, sometimes much to my distress.Just as this time when the accidental sufi battled a terrible personal crisis, yet again. As I fought back ,my little Golden Cocker spaniel girl, Ashlee Aishwaraiya, fell mysteriously ill.She just lay down one morning, ten days back, and started bleeding through her nose.She refused to eat and drink.It was frightening to see  what she suffered.The vet couldn’t diagnose the sudden cause for internal hemorrhage. He administered a saline drip because she  was dehydrated completely and going into shock.

I spoke to her on the telephone then.( she is, for a short time with my sister in my hometown). Telling her not to die on me. That we had both found each other.That we had both rescued each other.That she can’t abandon me. That she should give me strength.That I will fight back.

My sister told me that Ashlee got up after she heard my voice.She was very, very weak.But she went to her water bowl and drank a few sips.Minutes later, she ate two glucose biscuits.

This dog of mine had suffered unspeakable brutality and abuse. Yet, she had emerged from it victorious because of her spirit, her will power. Teaching me that “there is a brokenness out of which comes the unbroken. There is a shatteredness out of which blooms the unshatterable. There is a sorrow beyond all grief, which leads to joy. And a fragility out of whose depths emerges strength. There is a hollow space too vast for words through which we pass with each loss, out of whose darkness we are sanctioned into being“ ( Rashani)

Each of my rescued dogs teach me bravery,resilience and strength. What Camus says “In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer” 🙂 My rescued and adopted dogs were all special needs K9: 1.Jill, a three legged Boxer girl. 2. Jigar, an English bulldog girl, with terrible mange & skin disorder.3.Ashlee,a blind Golden Cocker Spaniel girl 4.Bruce Wayne, a  paralyzed miniature black pug boy.5.Layla,a starved and beaten Great Dane girl.

Appeal: Christmas is around the corner. A New Year too.To anyone reading this blog, please adopt an animal from a shelter.Please do not buy a puppy,kitten etc…when so many beautiful animals are languishing in shelters.Please donate.Please help in any little way you can.PLEASE!

And  what words shall  I tell you ? 🙂 To never get used to the unspeakable violence and the vulgar disparity of life around you.To pursue beauty to its lair.”( Arundhati Roy)

And what song shall I play for you ? 🙂 http://youtu.be/DhlPAj38rHc

Zach Skow: Warrior [The Warrior Series]

[The start of ‘The Warrior Series’ on this blog. This would be about those people I know/have known/will know. They are real people. The ‘Warrior’ has five qualities: 1.Courage/Valor 2. Compassion 3.The ability to love unconditionally 4.The willingness to bleed/sacrifice joyfully.5.To stand, unwavering &rock solid, by a cause/person. Such warriors are the fellow travelers of time & space of the accidental sufi. ]

It is so fitting that the start of this series on this blog is on December 8th. For its Jim Morrison’s birthday today.Happy Birthday, beautiful warrior.You and I could have talked about so much.For like you, the accidental sufi “is a dreamer. For a dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world.”  ( Oscar Wilde)

The first warrior that I shall tell the world about is Zach Skow. A man of great inner beauty and strength of purpose. A man who is fearless and walks tall in his convictions. A man who is tender towards those who need him. A man who would probably cut himself up to defend those who look to him for protection and help. “There is an ecstasy that marks the summit of life, and beyond which life cannot rise. And such is the paradox of living, this ecstasy comes when one is most alive, and it comes as a complete forgetfulness that one is alive. This ecstasy, this forgetfulness of living, comes to the artist, caught up and out of himself in a sheet of flame; it comes to the soldier, war-mad in a stricken field and refusing quarter…..”.Zach has found this ecstasy.Only the chosen ones find it actually.

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( Photos of Zach and his beloved dogs)

As he lay terribly sick, almost dying due to his liver failing from sustained alcohol abuse, Zach Skow says he was ‘depleted’. In all possible ways a human can be depleted : physically, mentally and spiritually. The doctors warned him that he would not survive without a liver transplant. But he would need to build his strength and stay sober for 6 months to go through it.
This warrior began building back his spirit and body, supported by the un-conditional love of his two rescued dogs Marley, a Rottweiler/Pit Bull mix, and Tug, a Lab mix, who wouldn’t give up on him. Sunrise strolls and hikes in the mountains near his home in Bakersfield, California, with his two dogs, were the only medicine that Zach needed. He rose from certain death to being so healthy within a year that he no longer needed a transplant.

He then started a non-profit organization with the help of his Dad. This is called “ Marley’s Mutts Dog Rescue’, a touching and heartfelt tribute to his beloved dog Marley, acknowledging that he ’LIVED’ because of that un-conditional love. Zach and his father rescued dogs scheduled for euthanasia from local shelters, then fostered and trained them before finding them new homes. Marley’s Mutts today has a formidable network of people who love and aid animals and the organization grows from strength to strength every single day.

Read about Hooch, a French Mastiff who, horrifically, had his tongue and ears cut off by his abusive former owner when he was just a puppy. He and Zach are inseparable today. Read about Apollo, found with a d-ring hook, the remnants of a tie-down chain, imbedded in his foot. Rather than attach the chain to his collar, his tormentors attached in through his flesh, tendons and bone in order to keep him immobile. Zach says “No rescue case, before or since, conjured up such anger in me than that of Apollo’s.” Apollo has since then been adopted to a lovely home. And Zach says “ In his rehabilitation he taught me to focus on constructive ideas like love and forgiveness, therefore today I harbor no hate for those that hurt him”.

Read all about this warrior, Zach Skow and his militia here:https://www.facebook.com/MarleysMuttsDogRescue?fref=ts

Draw courage, compassion and love from this man.Support him and the awesome work he does..and watch roses bloom in your soul 🙂

Zach buddy, you have a friend in the accidental sufi for life 🙂 Stay wild.Stay un-tamed.Above all, stay beautiful and blessed, you warrior! This one is for you :http://youtu.be/M43wsiNBwmo ! Wild boy, never loose it.Wild boy,never close your eyes.Wild boy, always shine 🙂

Over & Out, guys.Till I tell you about another warrior 🙂

Wabi-Sabi Your Life

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This is my Golden Cocker Spaniel girl. She is called Ashlee Aishwarya. Her second name is from ‘Aishwarya Bachhan” who is a former Miss World and superstar in Bollywood. She is not a favorite actor of mine though, but undeniably beautiful. Well, my Ashlee is a rescue baby.She came to me when she was around 7/8 months old. Starved, tortured and beaten.She had terrible aggression problems because of sustained abuse.Gradually, with a lot of gentle handling she settled down. She regained her health, her coat is a mass of golden curls today. She learned to trust human again. Her attachment to my big sister , especially is very touching.

But, today my Ash baby, only 3 years old, can no longer see.She has become totally blind. Her eye sight was poor when she had come to me because she was not given any food when she was a pup.Let alone necessary nutritional supplements ! The damage to her eyes was irreversible, my vet told me, although we kept up a steady intake of Vitamin A.While she cannot see any more, her sense of smell is very, very strong and as the days go by, I think it keeps getting more acute.So also is her hearing. My sister’s gardener, who is Ash’s pet hate, has to tip-toe around the place!

I seem to love her more now though. She is damaged..but she is so brave, so beautiful , her  eyes shining with trust and so much love that  I am reminded of the Japanese concept of ‘Wabi-sabi”.

What is ‘Wabi-Sabi”? “Pared down to its barest essence, wabi-sabi is the Japanese art of finding beauty in imperfection and profundity in nature, of accepting the natural cycle of growth, decay, and death. It’s simple, slow, and uncluttered-and it reveres authenticity above all. Wabi-sabi is flea markets, not warehouse stores; aged wood, not Pergo; rice paper, not glass. It celebrates cracks and crevices and all the other marks that time, weather, and loving use leave behind. It reminds us that we are all but transient beings on this planet-that our bodies as well as the material world around us are in the process of returning to the dust from which we came. Through wabi-sabi, we learn to embrace liver spots, rust, and frayed edges, and the march of time they represent“. (http://nobleharbor.com/tea/chado/WhatIsWabi-Sabi.htm) Loosely translated, “wabi” is simplicity, whether elegant or rustic; “sabi” means the beauty of age and wear. 

Some years back, the accidental sufi had met with a terrible car accident.Although my injuries healed and I was back to normal within a short span of time, a  long,perpendicular scar remained on my right forehead. I was very conscious of it. Put it down to female vanity, but it troubled me a lot. I would brood .Although my sister told me that I look perfectly fine, I cried and harped on getting plastic surgery done.

Then, my Shams, gifted me a rough clay bowl. It was cracked.The crack had been filled with gold. Somewhat like the pic below.

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( Photo Credits :http://sloannota.com/blog/crash-art-kintsuori-and-modern-dreams/)The art of filling pottery with silver  or gold lacquer to repair the crack and understanding that the piece is more beautiful for having been broken is called ‘kintsukuroi” in Japanese.

And Shams explained “the difference between the Japanese “kirei-merely” or  “pretty” and “omoshiroi”, the interestingness that kicks something into the realm of beautiful”. I stopped thinking about plastic surgery 🙂

Much later  there was this terrible  upheaval in my personal life.My sister told me   ‘scar tissue is stronger than regular tissue. Realize the strength, move on.’ My Ma gave me a photo of the Lord Jaganath to keep in my purse.Its frayed now…but  strength emanates from the folds.  My Shams wrote me this :”I know sometimes
it’s still hard to let me see you
in all your cracked perfection,
but please know:
whether it’s the days you burn
more brilliant than the sun
or the nights you collapse into my lap
your body broken into a thousand questions,
you are the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen.
I will love you when you are a still day.
I will love you when you are a hurricane.” ( Clemetine von Radics)

All in their own ways living the wabi-sabi way and telling me to do so 🙂

So Ashlee Aishwarya, of the golden curls and the beautiful eyes , is wabi sabi-ing her life with me….we both heal each other everyday 🙂 Try adopting a broken damaged animal and heal it, guys, with your love.Your soul will smile, believe me 🙂

And what about love ? Well, wabi sabi love tells us to find perfect love in imperfect relationships .

And what is perfect love ? Ummm…anything less than mad, passionate, extraordinary love is a waste of time. There are too many mediocre things in life to deal with and love shouldn’t be one of them.

And what is an imperfect relationship? Ummm…the Shams sent me this pic.Says it epitomizes an imperfect relationship !  Oh by the way, he plans to make this the wallpaper in his house 😀

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( Photo Credit :http://waggingworld.com/2013/08/05/off-the-leash/ )

Alright guys, check this song. My kinda wabi sabi. It takes courage to attempt ‘Imagine’ by John Lennon. Its not perfect. But its beautiful because Eddie Vedder sings it with so much belief and passion ,non? http://youtu.be/KhrmkCW6Ph8

Ta ta, guys !  *curtsies low* .Jeez, I need to work them  ahem gluteal muscles 😦 Auto suggestion : Wabi sabi your a*** woman…its perfect 😉


My Jill, My Beloved & My 4 am Friend

Its almost 2am here in New Delhi. The city hasn’t slept as yet. The weather I feel is balmy. Maybe some would say its hot. But there is this chill inside me which makes me crave warmth. I hardly touched the truly wonderful food at Sevilla (http://www.claridges.com/the-claridges-newdelhi/dining-sevilla.asphttp://www.claridges.com/the-claridges-newdelhi/dining-sevilla.asp ) .The ambiance failed to elicit ‘the smile I was looking for’. Those are my buddy Kabir’s words. He is my ‘4 am’ friend. You know the ones about whom Marlene Dietrich says “It’s the friends you can call up at 4 am that matter” 🙂 So he buys me iced Coke, drives me to the ‘Garden of Five Senses’ (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Garden_of_Five_Senses ), bribes the leering night security, finds us the perfect place to sit and tells me seriously ‘to bare my heart’. Thankfully, I am saved by his irate –stood-up-girlfriend’s tirade on the cell. Atta girl! Lying, devious manipulations, declarations of undying love etc have managed to exhaust the man who now is stretched on the ground, snoring 🙂

Which leaves me free to blog 🙂 To make the blues go away. To remember and write about adopting and bringing Jill home, a couple of years back.

Jill, is a female, white Boxer. Today, she would be around 7 yrs old. She has three legs. Her right hind leg is smashed beyond repair. Perhaps, she was run over by a car? Or she had fallen off the roof? Why did her owners not have her treated? Why did they throw her out? Because of her deformity? Or maybe she was stolen, mercilessly bred by unscrupulous breeders and then just dumped? I never did find answers to all these questions. The shelter staff couldn’t help me out either. They only remembered her dragging herself painfully to them from the streets, to collapse…begging for help. She had been attacked by street dogs, stoned and jeered at by people.

She stayed in the shelter for over two years. The staff despaired over finding her a home. Even kindly visitors who fed and petted her , were taken in by her big ,beautiful eyes shied away from taking on the huge responsibility of a Special Needs K9. So my lovely Jill wasted away in the over crowded shelter, while I remained unaware of her because of my constant, work related foreign travel.

The day I saw her at the shelter, I brought her home with me forever.

Today, she is a beautiful Boxer in her prime. She has enormous amounts of energy, loves to run after the ball, adores balloons, pizza and cake. My other rowdy dogs treat her gently ,showing a tenderness which makes me misty eyed. They let her ‘win’ in their doggy games, never steal her treats, and allow her to greet me first ,every evening I come back from work 🙂

Here is Jill 🙂

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My sister and I have had dogs always since we were children. But we never had a rescued dog then, although we would always feed the strays, take care of their injuries etc. There were no animal shelters/animal rights organizations in our home state  Odisha, back then and so we remained unaware of the terrible crime of abandoning pets. But I remember, both of us putting up a strong protest for Golda. She was a beautiful Golden Retriever and a police dog, who had become ‘un-serviceable’ because of her age and was to be auctioned off as per Government regulations. My sister’s exceptional reasoning skills and my magnificent tantrums saved Golda. My Dad, who is an IPS officer, relented and Golda was allowed to live a dignified life in the police kennels till she died.

We were also clueless about the hateful business of backyard breeding. When I moved to Delhi, I gradually became aware of this heinous crime. But nothing had prepared me for the degree of human depravity that I saw for the first time at one of the ‘elite’ breeder’s ‘ huge farm’ in Bengaluru ,in 2003. There was a massive website of the ‘reputed’ breeder boasting of pedigreed dogs, sun ,space, excellent food and care for his ‘pride’, ‘his beautiful dogs’. Reality ? The ‘farm’ was a scrapyard. Male stud dogs were tied with thick iron chains in the open regardless of the weather. Two Neapolitan Mastiffs had broken legs which were never going to be treated; a GSD had maggot wounds in his ears; a Golden Retriever, with vacant eyes, was lying in its own urine and feces. The females were kept in such small iron cages that they couldn’t move. Many were pregnant. The breeder proudly told me he used hormonal injections to get the bitches in heat quickly for more litters. For quick money.

Thanks to the power of the Internet and the dedication of a global animal loving community , people are today aware of animal abuse in all its terrible forms.

Yet, many of us still go looking for that ‘oh cute puppy’, ignoring the beautiful, helpless animals in the shelters, begging to be saved. Or turn a blind eye to the torture at the breeding hells…

I am crying. I wish I could undo all this cruelty ….

Kabir has woken up. He looks at me worried. He calls up my guy in London. I refuse to speak with him. So my beloved guy, my Shams tells Kabir to take me home.

Kabir plays this on his mobile  :http://youtu.be/XZkKGoT9Gno 

And tells me that ‘s what I mean to a man,his friend, sitting in London 🙂

I smile. I call him up. I hear him tell me…… ( unfit to be published on blog ) 🙂 God, thank you for this love.

Tomorrow is another day, right ?  🙂

 Appeal : Please adopt. Don’t shop!

Adopt Happiness

Some days are really special. Like today, when I log into Facebook after a little  hiatus and see this pic.

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This is the picture of ‘Kade’ who has been adopted by my Facebook friend and his partner from CUPA ( Compassion Unlimited Plus Action, Bangalore Pets for Adoption).

I will tell you the story behind this.

Around 2009, my friend and me became Facebook pals. Over the years, a virtual friendship evolved to a comfort level in which he could tell me how to make the perfect filter coffee. I haven’t  met him till date ,though.

Animals welfare/ rescue /adoption are my favorite  topics for Facebook status along with  the magic of Led Zeppelin and of course mooning over Jimmy Page. My friend would always like the posts about my beloved animals and lead an indulgent  virtual ear to my  ramblings about them.

When I started to blog ,I naturally wrote about my rescued and adopted babies. There are  my four girls: my English bulldog  Ms Jigar Ka Tukda,my Boxer Jill,my Golden Cocker Spaniel Ashlee Aishwariya,my Great Dane Layla. And yes, after a line of girls in a row, I kept trying for a son,like a typical Indian woman 🙂 Then I was blessed with Bruce Wayne,my little black miniature pug boy 🙂 All of them have had terrible pasts of cruelty, abuse and abandonment. But today, this ‘Motley Crue’ is a force to reckon with in the neighbourhood!

After reading my blog post about my bully girl Jigar, called ”Piece Of My Heart”, here is what my friend messaged me in the FB inbox “You write oh-so-well Dame!And, I must confess something.I am an absolutely no-pets person. My partner has always wanted to have a pet at home but I hadn’t agreed to it.(Yes, even after having known you here for quite a while and having always liked your pics of your darlings)And, yet, after reading your write-up about Jigar-ka-tukda, my eyes welled up. I felt I have done something wrong all these days – of not allowing my partner to have a pet as desired. We possibly could’ve had a rescued dog or a cat or something else but we didn’t.So, on Monday when I return from my trip to parents’, I’d be telling, “Please go ahead and get the pet you’ve always wanted to have. I’ll support you as much as possible“.

 Let me confess something. Although, I smiled when I read his message and hoped that an animal will be saved, I wasn’t really expecting it to happen.My cynicism stems from the numerous inbox messages I get about ”the great work I do for animals”, ”my compassion” blah, blah without anyone really doing even a wee bit for the precious lives languishing in the shelters. No volunteering,no donating, no fostering, no adopting. The ones who have done so are truly my FRIENDS and are spread all over the globe. I perhaps will never meet any of them but I know that ours will always be a bond of beauty and strength.

 
Well, coming back to my friend. We kept having an inbox conversation about  the pros and cons about adoption, the breed, how to take care , what should be the diet, how to deal with anxiety in both the humans and animal etc etc. I started to feel hopeful. I kept my fingers crossed. Come to think about it, even my toes 🙂
 
To be rewarded with the picture of this beautiful boy Kade today  and the words of my friend “Thank you ——  for inspiring us” (  the blanks are my name;how I wish the name could be  erm..Mrs Jimmy page; *deep sigh*) .
 
 I also just read an inbox message from my friend just  1/2 hour back which says “apart from the adoption of Kade by us, we – my partner largely – have influenced three other friends/couples to adopt an abandoned dog over getting a puppy. Successfully. You sure have started something BIG!”
 
 I am truly humbled. Thank you for your compassion, friend 🙂

Gray, only sometimes. Always, Black or White.

We all live our lives in shades of gray. But there are certain areas where gray shouldn’t be the color. These are core values and beliefs, which if compromised , leave us as lesser beings. So we need to think, see and act in either black or white. At least, that is what I do or try to do.

Two incidents of two separate people have inspired this post.

1. Where I thought in Black, when actually it should have been White.

This about a former colleague of mine whom I couldn’t stand till sometime back. When he was unceremoniously thrown out of the job, possibly I was the one who cheered the most. Sometimes his name would come up in conversations and I would make sure I made a vitriolic comment about him. Everyone would laugh and marvel at my ”wittiness’.

This guy comes form a very orthodox Brahmin family.Old money and respected.He is reasonably good looking and went on to earn a pretty decent salary. Read: No dearth of parents wanting  to get their daughters married to him ( This is India, folks. We have a strange system of ”arranged marriage” , which is widely accepted http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arranged_marriage)

He chose to marry a divorced Muslim woman.Actually, the woman was abandoned very perfunctorily by her husband. You know, just bloody dumped.Everyone felt sad. Shed tears too. Some true, some false. But just that. And people moved on with their lives.

She was known to him since childhood, but its not the usual childhood sweetheart story. They were just family friends. From her first marriage, she had  two daughters.One of them has Down’s syndrome. He has given both the girls his name.

Family and friends protested. Religion, social stigma  and Down syndrome figured in the protests.All he said was ”Who is going to look after her now ? I can’t just turn away and do nothing”. He converted to Islam too ( necessary or else the marriage is considered void according to Muslim personal law). Said it didn’t/doesn’t change his being. He was still ‘he’.

Married now 9 years and going strong. Inshallah.

2. Where I thought in White, when actually it should have been Black

This is about a former ”friend”, couple of years elder to me. I admired her greatly. She had lost her husband at a very young age and single handedly brought up her three children.All of them settled and doing very well in life.She is witty, confident, beautiful.And the quality which endeared her to me the most ?Her love for animals.

I was with her when she picked up a poor little stray pup from the road on a cold winter night. She adopted him and called him ”Tintin”. The pooch lived a life of luxury  and love.

Sometime back she quit her job.Decided she has made enough money, has no responsibilities and now was ready to ‘live her life’. I cheered, Oh to be a free bird!

We had dinner last Sunday. Fabulous momos and thupka. She told me that she is moving to a very up-market locality and has bought a fashionable apartment.

She added that the housing society there doesn’t allow dogs. So she would leave Tintin at the shelter. Of course, she would pay the shelter some money to look after him.

I couldn’t eat dinner anymore. I said good-bye to her and Tintin.