The Golden Memories Of The Years Gone By

What was your favorite thing to do as a child?

So I’m gonna say three of them. Number 1# was watching cartoons as a kid. I loved my cartoons and feel bad for the current generation of kids who grew up watching utter crap. For me Tom & Jerry, Droopy, Bugs Bunny & Looney Toons, The Flintstones, The Jetsons, Pink Panther, Tweety Bird, Roadrunner, Mickey & Donald and all of them were awesome stuff. Thundercats and other bigger animated shows were so good. Even in the 90s when Cartoon Network’s What A Cartoon shows like Dexter’s Lab & Johnny Bravo came out – so much fun!

Second thing was eating snacks and good food. Like my Kitkos, Chocolate, chips etc. I loved the snacks I had growing up. So did other kids my age. Drinking 7UP and Pepsi and other soft drinks. The shawrma and burgers we used to get in Kuwait were amazing. And ofcourse KFC – these were the highlights. On some Fridays we also used to buy a special type of shark meat which was delicious. And I miss Hungry Bunny burgers which I think is a Gulf countries only product.

Third would be playing games and spending time with my cousins. Nothing like it. Whether it is playing cricket or football in the front yard of our grandparent’s house or boards games and card games during the evenings and on rainy days. Then watching movies or tv shows together, eating snacks and drinks and also playing quiz games. Also we spent hours playing music and just sitting and chatting, enjoying each other’s company and hanging around reading books. Those golden days will never come back again.

Prompt from 30 Best September Journal Prompts for 2022 at Lifegram.com

Five Benefits That Owning A Dog Gives You

Lower stress: Studies have shown that petting a dog or cat can release the oxytocin hormone and decrease levels of the stress hormone cortisol, resulting in a more relaxed state. Incidentally, scientists have confirmed that dogs reap the same benefits from being petted. In recent years, dogs have been brought into airports, nursing homes, even school campuses to help relieve stress and pressure.

Healthier hearts: A study dating back to the 80s found that touching or even talking to a dog can lead to lower blood pressure. In 2002, another study found that married couples who owned a pet had significantly lower heart rates and blood pressure levels than people without pets. Furthermore, in 2003, the American Journal of Cardiology published a reported that claims heart attack survivors who own pets are eight times more likely to live another year if they own a pet.

More active lifestyles: Need to amp up those steps or drop a few pounds? Owning a dog may be the kick-start you need. A 2011 study by Michigan State University researchers found that 60% of dog owners who walked their pets regularly met the recommended criteria for regular exercise. “There appears to be a strong link between owning and walking a dog and achieving higher levels of physical activity, even after accounting for the actual dog walking,” said epidemiologist Mathew Reeves, who led the study.

Fewer feelings of loneliness: From feeling obligated to get out of the house to walk their dogs as well as attracting attention by the presence of a dog, people who own dogs are proven to be less lonely. A study published in 1993 found that “dog owners reported significantly less dissatisfaction with their social, physical and emotional states.” Recently, researchers at the University of British Columbia, Canada, determined that homesick college students could benefit from dog therapy.

Fewer allergies: According to the Department of Pediatrics, infants in homes with dogs are significantly less likely to develop allergies. “Children who had a dog at home as newborns were much less likely to have allergic dermatitius (12% versus 27%) and wheezing (19% versus 36%) by their third birthday,” the department claims. Also, researchers are examining whether the bacteria in dogs’ mouths may have a probiotic-like effect on humans after licking their owners.

5 Benefits Of Getting A Labrador Retriever For Your Home

Labrador retrievers are the most popular dog breed in the world. When I was younger I think in India the Germans Sheppard was the most popular breed but the Lab has overtaken them in the last decade or so. There are numerous reasons for the desire to have one at home, ranging from their friendly nature and outgoing attitude to their willingness to try almost anything.

1. Labrador retrievers are stable, friendly dogs.
Although every breed can have individual dogs develop conditions that can promote instability in their character, mood, and behavioral reactions, Labrador retrievers are generally sweet and happy most of the time. They connect with humans on an emotional level, which is why they are so effective as support dogs. You are almost guaranteed a smile every day when you share your home with one. As long as you don’t mind taking time out of your day to play, whether that’s out in the backyard or out at the beach, then you will have a friend for life.

2. These dogs are exceptionally patient.
Labrador retrievers will put up with almost anything if they think it has the potential to be a good time. They work well with kids because they can put up with the tail pulling, fur yanking, ear grabbing behaviors of young ones without an adverse reaction. Give this breed a bed near your favorite chair or the fireplace, and they will be eternally appreciative of a spot that they can call their own.

These dogs are willing to try new things, invent new games, or horseplay on a quiet afternoon. Their personalities develop into a complementary role with your family, which is why they seem to fit right in all of the time.

3. Labrador retrievers are very easy to train.
This breed is one of the most intelligent dogs that you will find today. They are easily trained because they love to satisfy the needs of their owners. Playing fetch is a necessary skill for anyone who wants to have a Labrador retriever for a friend. Although their smarts can get them into trouble sometimes, especially if they figure out how to open the refrigerator door, it tends to be a better relationship since you are working together in life instead of telling the dog what to do all of the time.

Because they have a strong food motivation, treats are an effective way to get your Labrador retriever to learn new behaviors. You’ll want to be careful about the number that you offer because problems with weight can develop quickly.

4. This breed loves water as much as they love you.
These high-energy dogs love to go for a swim. If there is any water around for them to find, then you are going to have a pup swimming around all day long. Most are well-behaved, which is why a trip to the beach is often the best trip for this breed. A dog park where they can run without a leash and have access to a pool is another great option to consider. Since they have lots of energy, the low-impact exercise of swimming can help to wear them out so that their destructive boredom behaviors don’t come out when you get home.

5. Labrador retrievers are generally healthy dogs.
This breed is generally healthy from an overall perspective. Responsible breeders will screen for issues like hip dysplasia and elbow issues. Heart disorders, muscle weakness, and eye conditions can happen in this breed at times as well. There is also a condition called Exercise Induced Collapse that can happen with some young adults.

Happy Birthday To My Late Best Friend & Family Member

Today is my baby cousin’s birthday and the rest of us have wished her from the morning. September 1st is always very special to me because it’s not just her birthday but it is also the birthday of another beloved family member, one who has passed away but I always think of this family member every day and especially on this day of all days.

Today is also the birthday of Shawny, my late dog. Shawny was a Golden Retriever who was born on this day way back in 1994. She was second of 2 pups left when I decided on getting a Golden and went with my cousin to the home of the breeder who had about 20 dogs of different breeds and took such good care of them. My cousin and I went and she asked me which one would I pick of the two – one was a boy pup and the other a girl. At that time I had no idea if I wanted a boy dog or a girl dog but the decision was made for me — by Shawny! The bredders has taken all the dogs inside their kennels, except for the mum Golden and the two pups. While the breeder’ wife held the mother dog inside, I and my cousin went to see the pups, who were 6 months old at the time.

The male pup didn’t seem to want to be with us but the girl puppy was not only playing with me and let us pet her but when I was looking away, she started biting my shoe laces and wouldn’t let go. I just had to pick her and carry her in my arms and she started licking my face. I knew that she was the one and so did my cousin. I agreed terms with the breeders and paid them and then took the roly poly girl to our car and brought her home. At first she was scared and stuck to me but once we were home, she wanted to explore. The next 11 years she was my best friend and companion but after she passed away in 2005, I have so many regrets. It is never enough and I want to see her every day.

Happy birthday Shawny and even though I don’t believe in an afterlife, I do hope there is one and if there is I am sure you are impatiently waiting for me to come and throw a ball for you to fetch. I miss you so much.

Just 24 Hours For Us To Live?

If you only had one day to live, how you’d spend it

Is it just me that’s going to die in 24 hours or the rest of the world as well? Let’s say we have this huge, catastrophic event on a global scale – the earth is about to hit by huge asteroids and the impact will kill off each & every living thing on earth! Not even cockroaches will survive (good!) and not even germs and viruses. Everything that is termed alive will be killed off. The earth will initially have tsunamis the side of mountains hit many areas and then heat from the exploding celestial bodies hitting each other will burn out everything on the surface. Leaving behind no trace of anything ever having existed on earth.

Nice, cheerful thought eh? I’ve always thought about what I’d do for the end of the world.  I’d hope that my cousins and I can gather all our close family & relatives in one big place. Have everyone under one roof so we can go out together. Huddled in one big, huge room or hall. Get all the best food we can lay out hands on; it doesn’t matter which particular ones but for sure beef, chicken, pork & bacon, fish will be on the menu. Pizza, burgers, fried rice, naan, porotta & noodles. Fried stuff, curry stuff, grilled stuff. Lots of beer, vodka, brandy and whiskey. Lots of fruit, milkshaked, juices and ice cream.

Loud music playing on speakers, all our favourite hit songs of all time. Large tables set up, each staggering under the weight of the food. Lots of jokes and laughter. And yeah some of them will be crying as well. I won’t! I will be happy. To go out with all my loved ones near me and enjoying food and drink and everyone in one place. That is something that is difficult to achieve but we did it. I would be happy. And as the hours and minutes tick on by and we reach the end and as the world breaks apart and just before everyone is killed instantly, I will look around at everybody and smile. Good bye & good night!

Prompt from Sweet ideas: 50 things to blog about at Fat Mum Slim

Your Dogs & Cats Belong Inside Your Home With You

Would your pet prefer to be indoors or outdoors and why do you think that is?

My first dog was a Golden Retriever named Shawny who was with me for 11 years and just after she died, I then took care of my sister & brother-in-law’s dog Junior, who was a Black Labrador & Dalmation mix, for about a year. Now mainly because of my mother, who was afraid of dogs (why is for another post) and still is. So we had a kennel built for Shawny next to the house and that was also where Junior lived for a year. I still regret it to this day and had I been older I would have been able to convince my mother and father – who would not have needed much convincing – to raise the dogs inside the house. And I will regret that for the rest of my life.

Why? Because your pets like cats & dogs belong with you inside the house, inside your home. Let’s talk about dogs since I love dogs a bit more than I love cats, though I would want both. They are not just your pets, they are your best friends and they are family. Or atleast they deserve to be and they deserve to be treated as such. And you should take care of them. My dogs got a ton of love but never got to stay inside my home. I still imagine having the dogs and changing the past – that they were brought home and then I raised them inside. Especially Shawny. I would buy her a nice big dog bed so she can sleep next to my bed.

At you could have your pet sit on a dog bed next to the big sofa as you sat and watch movies & tv shows. Up in my computer room/home office she/he could sit and play with a few toys while you work or play on your laptop. However you could have the dog play in your backyard, or if you have a side yard like we did, at times and romp in the grass. Also have designated pee and poo areas. You can also take your dog for walks, to the park, small trail treks whatever. But otherwise, they deserve to be with you inside the house. And sleep on a soft warm dog bed next to your bed in your bedroom. Or pretend to do so and then when the dog know that you are asleep, sneakily jump into your bed and find a cozy spot next to you.


Prompt from July Blogging Prompts For Dog Days Of Summer at BlogPaws.com

Five Ways That The Rains May Affect Your Dog’s Behaviour

You may notice your dog shying away from rain sometimes when other times he seems to love it. In fact, he may just flat out refuse to go outside when it rains. There are reasons for it. Each dog is different and will respond to rain differently. The following may explain why your dogs acts so weird when it rains.

Wet Paws

Most dogs, aside from labs and a few other breeds, hate getting wet. Baths are always a good way to introduce a dog to water, but most will run and hide. Starting baths at a young age will help a dog become more comfortable with water. When it rains everything becomes wet. The grass is wet on their paws and there are puddles everywhere. Some dogs hate having their paws wet and will refuse to go outside to go to the bathroom.

Smells Are Amplified

The moisture in the air causes smells to be amplified. The water vapor holds onto the scent molecules longer causing the smells to be stronger and last longer. Once you get your dog outside, you may notice he is smelling a lot more. If your dog likes to smell for wild animals, they will love it when it rains because the scents will be stronger and easier to follow.

The Sound It Makes

Dog can hear four times stronger than we can, meaning the sound of thunder and pouring rain is much louder to them. This increase in noise can cause some dogs to become nervous and overwhelmed. Penn State did a study and found up to 30% of dogs are afraid of thunderstorms. If your dog pants, paces, barks, or hides they are afraid and need comfort. There are special vests and jackets made for dogs to help comfort them, or you can use an essential oil like lavender or chamomile in a diffuser.

Decreased Exercise

Most people are not excited about having to walk their dogs in the rain. This negative feeling is detected by our dogs and makes them associate rain with a negative feeling. Not to mention, they will not get their regular long walk if it is pouring rain outside. Fido will become bored, so it is important to play a game inside, or entertain him with a chew toy.

Rain May Trigger a Reluctance to Go Potty

Yes, many dogs have this negative reaction to rain. You can see it on your dog’s face when you let him out to potty and it’s pouring cats and dogs. If your dog hates to potty in the rain, rest assured you’re not alone. Many dogs dislike rain and its associated sensation of getting wet. This “hate” may stem from lack of a proper introduction to rain and getting baths, which should start when puppies are young, ideally during the critical window of socialization. It’s a good idea to therefore start early and turn rain into a fun event by playing under the rain, engaging the pup in fun water games and making baths fun.

When It’s Time For Bed, My Family______

Well it’s pretty much the same thing. We usually eat dinner by 9 pm or so. I would say anytime between 8:30 pm to 9:30 pm. Once that is done, my parents check out what they want to watch or continue to watch on tv (some inane reality tv crap or endless, mindless soaps). My dad will usually head to bed by 10:30 pm or 11 as he cannot stay awake for much longer than that. My mom will stay awake and watch all the shows and by midnight she will switch it off and then watch clips on her phone until she feels sleepy. She will then fight sleep, switch the living room lights off and go to bed.

Me? If I am not working, I usually and online till 11 pm or midnight. Then I will eat an apple and take my medicines that I am to take post dinner. All the while I will be listening to music or watching Youtube videos. By midnight I will get up and switch off my laptop and set it aside. I will take a leak and then come into my bedroom, take off my clothes (I usually sleep in the nude) and get into bed. My phones, tv remote control and ac remote will be kept on my computer chair which will be next to me. I then watch tv shows or if possible a movie before sleep takes me over.

Then I will get up, switch off the tv and the lights and get back into bed after placing my glasses next to my computer. I get in between the sheets and yawn as I start to drift off and dream about chasing comets, traveling the galaxy and visiting alien planets on my spaceship. Shawny next to me as usual.

Prompt from Lalilo May ’21 Writing Prompt Calendar at Lailo.com

Turtles Sound Like a Good Option For Raising As Pets

Other than dogs and cats,  my family & I have had some love birds at various times and a lot of god fish that we have raised as pets. Well, I don’t think you can call them pets really since you don’t actually interact much with them. Especially gold fish! I never like to keep them but my parents seem to like it. However I would like to keep a turtle as a pet if it’s in the water.

If I had a big enough aquarium I wouldn’t mind getting a couple of small turtles. I think that would be really cool. I do not know much about all the various type of legal types here in India but I think I would like them if they don’t grow too big. I wonder how much work they are to maintain and clean. I am not sure but I think I want to find out and then make a decision. Also, all this sudden thought about turtles makes me think about the time I saw one, slightly big, on the streets during a ride back home from work.

Ages ago, I was coming home in the office car at around 1:30 am & we had stopped to drop a guy off at Kadavanthara. Coming back the same way that we drove, I saw a stray dog sniffing at a shiny rock, about the size of two palms kept together. The dog was obviously looking for something to eat among the garbage & stuff. Then as we passed I knew what the shiny rock actually was. It was a turtle!! Yes, a freeking turtle – in the heart of the city! In god damn Kadavanthara. How in the blazes did it come to Kadavanthara?!! I have no idea.

We stopped the car & reversed back to take a good look at the thing. I got out and moved towards it. It was crawling upwards & trying to get away from the stray dog & us humans. I wanted to take it with me; and if not for the fact that I had a dog at home & that my mom would freak & have a cow if she saw me bringing home a turtle, I would have. But it was kinda cool to admire a turtle in the middle of the night as u don’t get to see one in the city.

Do You Like Puppies? Why Or Why Not?

What kind of a stupid question is that? Ofcourse I love puppies and dogs. Who doesn’t love puppies – enemies of humanity! And probably cats! I love dogs and yeah puppies melt hearts at the very sight of them. My eyes go wide and my spirit soars when I see these puppies, especially Golden Retrievers.

Goldens are my favourite breed of dogs and I used to have a golden in my life who is very hard to replace. I would say she is impossible to replace as she was my best friend and she is sorely missed every single day. But every time I see Goldens on Youtube or on tv or on the odd occassion in real life, I turn into mush. Like an Elvis Presley or Beatles fan! But here are some health benefits to getting a puppy :

Puppies Reduce Stress

Puppies can be even more beneficial during times of stress. Your puppy doesn’t even have to be present for this “pet effect” to work. It’s simply enough to know he’s waiting at home. Petting and stroking any friendly dog or cat also lowers blood pressure, so if you’re pet-less, you could volunteer at the shelter or get your fur fix at a neighbor’s home. Petting is especially effective, though, when it’s your own animals. Infants and children who grow up with puppies and kitties are less likely to develop allergies as they mature.1 Dogs can also reduce the risk of cardiovascular issues.

Puppies Improve Childhood Development

Current evidence suggests that overall, pet ownership may be beneficial to child and adolescent emotional, cognitive, behavioral, educational, and social development.3 There have even been studies by Aline and Robert Kidd that show youngsters from pet-loving families score higher in cognitive, social, and motor development. Another researcher, Robert Poretsky, developed the Companion Animal Bonding Scale. The higher preschool children scored on this measurement tool, the higher their scores also were in all measures of development and empathy.

Puppies Reduce Doctor Visits

In a survey by British researcher Dr. James Serpell showed it that only one month after getting a dog or a cat, senior citizens had 50 percent fewer minor medical problems such as painful joints, hay fever, insomnia, constipation, anxiety, indigestion, colds and flu, general tiredness, palpitations or breathlessness, back pain, and headaches. People who have suffered a heart attack—and own pets—recover more quickly and survive longer than heart attack survivors without pets.4 And those of us who live with a beloved puppy or other pet experience only half as much blood pressure increase when stressed, as those without a pet.

Puppies Increase Exercise

Keeping up with the new puppy can be a challenge. Chasing him around the house and yard, though, has other benefits. Part of the pet effect has to do with increased exercise.3 Dogs won’t take “no” for an answer or let you sleep late if the food bowl is empty, and you can’t ignore the puppy’s needs the way you can a membership at the gym. Exercise relieves anxiety, boredom, and depression.5 Set aside time every day to play with your puppy and you’ll feel better for it. Pets keep us connected socially, too. Walking the dog or talking about your puppy at the pet food aisle at the grocery encourages contact that keeps us interested in life and other people.

Puppies Relieve Pain and Anxiety

Positron emission tomography (PET scan) is an imaging test that helps physicians to detect biochemical changes used to diagnose and monitor various health conditions. These tests show that touching a pet shuts down the pain-processing centers of the brain. Petting your puppy relieves your own pain and also buffers anxiety, all without the side effects of Valium. In other words, a puppy on your lap can ease your pain. We often refer to “the bond” when talking about the love we feel for our pets. Science can actually measure this pet effect because thought and attitudes are influenced by changes in brain chemicals. These chemicals prompt feelings of elation, safety, tranquility, happiness, satisfaction, even love.

Prompt from Lalilo March ’22 Writing Prompt Calendar at Lailo.com

Describe A Favourite Vacation From Your Childhood

When I was 12-13 my extended family got together and decided to have a road trip to go and see a few places in South India. Like a joint family trip during the holidays. I think this was during the year 1988 and 1989 and the cities we hit up were Mangalore, Mysore, Coimbatore, Palghat, Madurai, Ooty & Kodaikannal. And I do not think that this was during the summer but it was during the 2 week period that we kids got off during Onam. Atleast that is what I remember it being the time around. And yes we went both years.

To ensure that we could all go along, the elders hired two 14 seater tempo travellers – the vehicle that you see in the inset pic. They came set with a tv/vcr and stereo system. I don’t remember who did not join but some of our relatives did not come along for the 1988 trip but joined us in between for a few hours in one place and I think for the second trip it was everyone. I do not remember who and why that was so. Anyways – getting older blows – despite that part, I remember a whole lot of other stuff. Like us, kids having a van to ourselves so we can play songs and games on the ride. I think my eldest cousin brother who was 21 at the time was in charge plus we also had two drivers in each van. I think we also had two Ambassador cars as well in our little convoy so everyone had space to stretch about.

We would hire out a few rooms so we could sleep peacefully at nights. Us boys shared a couple of rooms in various hotels and we had a lot of fun playing board games in the night while having dinners at restaurants along the way. Taking turns to go the shower or toilet non-withstanding, it was a fun trip. We still remember going to an art museum in Mysore and a few other fun places. That was the first time I had been to Kodaikannal and I would go there 2 more times. I love hill stations and the colder weather there. The second time around I was in a large car with my cousin and a driver we had hired up front and our moms and another aunt in the back. Overall the trips were great but it’s a shame that we can’t find any of the pics from those days.

Prompt from MARCH 2022 JOURNAL PROMPTS at Rachel Greig.com

Afternoon Tea/Coffee Is The New Happy Hour

I really do believe so; although in my case it is coffee and not tea. My mom drinks mostly coffee too but she does have tea a few times during the week. But I really do feel that the best and most enjoyable meal can be the afternoon or late afternoon coffee/tea plus snacks.

Especially on a cold rainy day. Imagine this; it’s about 4:30 pm and it’s pouring rain. It’s the weekday or a weekend and you are having that late afternoon lull. A good strong cup of coffee is the order that you need. So in my home we drink coffee around 5pm. Now imagine that you are feeling a bit peckish as well and want some snacks along with that coffee. You have the coffee and milk at home but you have no snacks. That’s where Swiggy or Zomato comes in and you can order in some snacks.

I usually do this a couple of times a month from Supreme Bakers. There are a few things that I order from there but one such are these chicken puffs (as pictured above), egg puffs, chicken or beef samosas, chicken or beef cutlets. Along with the puffs or samosas I also order their bakery buns (so delicious and great with tea or coffee) which are slightly sweet and really fresh, some mixture and maybe some nuts or chips. Even with the 30 minute or so time it takes to get it delivered to my home, it is still warm enough and munching on those while sipping the coffee is awesome and gives us a boost and energy needed for the rest of the day.

Prompt from 115 Trending Blog Topics & Ideas For 2022 from Simply Hatch

What Are A Few Tips For Getting Kids Excited About Reading?

I think the very first step is to get the kids some age appropriate books. Colourful and with lots of images – this itself draws kids to the books at that age and makes them curious about learning about about the images & words in the book. That’s what it was like for me and most people I know.

Tell stories to your kids from the time that they are really young and make it a point to read from a book. Watch their big eyes go wide as you talk about kings and queens, swords and bows & arrows, big romance and big wars and happily ever after. Make the voices and make humour a big part of the story telling. These all, time honoured traditions are awesome ways to get their imagination going and tell them about stories you want them to know and love and share what you had read to you when you were a kid.

Once you have done that, you create a habit in the kids to want to know the stories, either to be read to them or read it themselves. That curiosity and thirst for knowing will be instilled and they will soon start to read and ask for more books. Provide it for them and every time there is a birthday or Christmas or any kind of gift giving opportunity, get them some books and ask relatives who want to gift your children something to also get them some books. You have now sown the seeds of reading.

Prompt from MARCH BLOG PROMPTS {12 MONTHS OF WRITING IDEAS} #BLOGPROMPTS at Food Fun Family

It’s The Simple Things That Matter

How can you show your family that you love them?

Well that is quite simple I guess. You do things for them that makes them feel happy. You get them dinners that they will like, you check what they are in the mood for and then either take them out or order in. You give them little gifts of things that will please them and that they would really enjoy.

Look for activities or things that your family may enjoy doing together. Take a trip, go for a vacation and ensure that this is something that everyone will enjoy. Try to make it so that there is something for everyone. If it is a trip, fill it with locations and activities for everyone old or young. Involve everyone in the decision making and get a consensus that everyone can agree upon.

Otherwise just spend time together. Every week or 2-3 times a week look for family time. Watch a movie together, cook a meal, prepare desserts and or cocktails/mocktails together. Try to find those things to do, doesn’t matter how simple it is or the duration – quality is what matters. These kind of decision making and doing things together will make the family unit happier and the relationships that much more healthier.

Prompt from Lalilo February ’22 Writing Prompt Calendar at Lalilo.com

Shawarma – The Food Of My Childhood Memories

One of the foods that I associate with my childhood and good times with family is shawarma. Kuboos, hummus, KFC as well but shawarama is up front and center in those memories. That with Coke or Pepsi and French fries. When I was growing up in Kuwait, my older sister, dad, mom would have family meals in front of the tv. Most weekends, my mom’s brother & his wife, and when my cousin was born, she too, would join us.

The exception was my aunt who has always been vegetarian. So she would have kuboos or buns with fallafel and French fries. We either sat around the table in our living room or at my uncle’s place. Meals times were special. We would usually watch a movie or some tv show that was fun at the time and enjoyed these special moments.

I remember when the shawarma craze first came to Cochin & Kerala. This was way back in the early 1990s and there was just that one place that served them – Kentucky Inn on the second floor of GCDA shopping complex on Marine Drive. They cost just Rs.10 and the portions were bigger. Pretty soon they were Rs.12 but the portions stayed the same. Then it was Rs.15, then Rs.20 and 3 or 4 years ago, when I started having them again, they were Rs.25. Smaller portions have been the norm since then but the price kept going up and now you can see them at Rs.120 to 190 depending on the place.

But they have never tasted any better than since my childhood.

Pets Are Family – No Questions About It

Do you think pets are part of a family? Why or why not?
What a question? Pets are family! They are part of your family, they are brought to your homes to make them even more loving and brighter. Well I suppose there are some people who do not consider pets to be family and are just animals you keep around because they entertain either you or the kids or maybe both. I do not want to see people in that camp. I want you to see pets as part of your family. They might not be related to you by blood but a cat or dog especially will make your family that much more loving. I also believe that it is very advisable and even sensible to have dogs or cats at home when you have kids. Like from the age of 8 or 9 atleast. The kids will grow up not just loving the pet but they also learn to take care of them, nurturing the caregiver instincts that are there in us humans.

I have had 2 cats for a while – Chocolate & Lollipop – and then ofcourse I had Shawny my golden Retriever for 11 years. You think I don’t miss them? The cats came into my life when I was 12 and died before I turned 17. I got Shawny when I was 18 and she passed away when I was about to turn 29. For a year at age 29-30 I also took care of Junior Shawny who was a black Labrador & Dalmatian mix, and who actually belonged to my sister & brother-in-law. That dog also passed away I think around 2013-2014. While I had restrictions for the dogs, the cats had the run of the house. Do you think a day goes by without me wishing I had those 4 back in my life and all at the same time? My life would be so much better.

In dreams – I can always dream of those futuristic dreams, can’t I – I have these 4 pets and a loving wife and 3 kids. 1 daughter who is about 12, fraternal twins who are a boy and a girl aged 9. And we have some robots to help us and who are part of the family as well. And in this futuristic world, my family and I are going off into deep space in a spaceship that kinda looks like a big home on the inside. After we take off, it’s bed time and I’m shooting a vlog about where the kids and animals sleep. Chocolate, the mostly ginger male cat, sleeps in the same room as my 12 year old daughter, right at the foot of her bed. Shawny Junior sleeps with my 9 year old daughter, while Lollipop the female mostly white sleeps in the bedroom of my son. And ofcourse, Shawny sleeps with me and my wife in our bedroom, snuggled up in the blankets at the end of our bed.

That’s family!

Prompt from Lalilo December ’21 Writing Prompt Calendar @ Lailo.com

The Bastard MotherFucker Is Dead & I Am Not Feeling Sorry

One of the biggest problems with our society in India is that they choose to ignore and keep quite about a disgusting human being (and I use those last two words lightly) and choose to bury your head in the sand about this things he has done, just to avoid bringing attention to it. Avoid the shame. How would you be able to show your face in public if people knew? So you push it to the back of your mind, ignore it and conveniently even treat it as if it was “normal”. And you adjusted to it – after all it didn’t happen to you or to your kid, right? It’s ok to forget. It’s easy. So you forgot.

This is because of the sense of “normalcy” about this vile excuse of a human being, who would abuse his wife and even once raped his own daughter, because it happened in the early 80s (81 or 82 I guess). At that time, until very recently, it was so common for such things to not go reported because “how on earth will we face the public? The shame that it will bring to our family when everyone will know.” Even when someone saw this man naked with his two young daughters (way too young for them to know) and reported it, due to the shame it might bring, charges were dropped. The mental abuse to his wife continued on for a while, until the children became bigger.

So now he is dead. After suffering a long time with an illness. But he flourished. Was a respected doctor. Most people who interacted with him outside the work place would get the feeling that something was off with him but he did well in life. Had 7 kids, controlled them (not raised, controlled) for as much as he could until 1 daughter told him to “fuck off” and she went to live her life the way she wanted to.

But generally now that he is dead in his late 70s, people want to forgive him. “Oh poor man, it is sad” Why? Because he prayed? He goes to temple or TEMBLE as the bastard used to say! He does pooja in his home to please the imaginary dieties who he feels has enabled him smug superiority and gave him what he wanted in life. Is that the reason he went scot-free?

Adopting A Senior Dog : Here Are Some Things To Consider

November is also considered ‘Adopt a Senior Pet’ month. What are some products that make caring for an older dog easier.

They say that adopting a senior dog and earning the love & trust of one is a truly wonderful thing. It grounds you and brings you down to earth and your life will be must more enriched due to that. It is true for any dog but if it came to it, try to adopt a senior pet and make the rest of their live as comfortable and love filled as possible.

Try to get a portable pet stairs for the pooch as it will be better on his/her aging joints. If possible a ramp as well and pee pads would be good for those accidents. A nutritional gel is any easy solution if your dog has become a pickier eater or started eating less as those product includes Omega-3 and Omega-6 essential fatty acids, which are key for joint health in senior dogs. Protect your old pal’s paws with a secret wax, which is made from 100% natural waxes. Whether your dog’s paws are irritated by ice in the winter or scalding sidewalks in the summer, the product will create a barrier to prevent cracked and painful paws and pads.

Even older dogs love to play with toys so get them a few comforting, soft toys. Elevate your senior pup’s snooze game with an orthopedic bed with bolstered sides that offers head and back support.  There are several chewy treats that provide your dog with vitamins, nutrients and supplements, claim to offer hip and joint support for old pups who have arthritis pain so get one that is recommended by your vet.

And finally give them lots of love and company. If you have small kids make sure that they are never too rough or forceful with the older dog. The dog may want to catch up or keep up as they might be young at heart but it might too much for them.

Prompt from 30 November Blog Post Ideas at The Frangipani Creative