Dreams and Tears

Appreciate what you have, before it turns into what you had. We all have heard this before. But we still do not implement this in our lives. We keep on abusing the zeal given to us, until it is too late to realise what we had was way too precious to us, and is there no more. When you take things for granted, the things you are granted get taken.

I had always dreamt to marry a guy who would love me, encourage me, protect me, stand by me, etc. And I was even fairly lucky enough to find that person. But somewhere, I believe, I took my oomph life for granted. And somewhere, even my husband acted with decorum. We would have our differences, but that’s a part of any marriage or relationship. But what I personally didn’t realise was, we had some faults which instead of addressing to each other and talking to each other like matured adults, we would fight and scream on top of our voices. Eventually, get tired of fighting and then forget the topic without bringing a solution. All this resulted in separation, and eventually breaking the marriage.

Life was reasonably beautiful back then; but immature us just took each other for granted. It clearly takes 2 hands to clap, and while I do not know if my husband ever realised his mistakes, but by the time I realised mine, it was too late. I couldn’t do anything but watch him go to someone else. Maybe the love was still there, but sometimes the situation becomes so unbearable, that even the silence starts haunting you. You have become so tired of holding on to a marriage or relationship, hoping in the dead air for things to not only turn around but also become as exciting as before; only to realize that one day the bubble bursts, and you just have to let go. And even though you love your partner, deep within you know you are no more in love with them!

Taylor Swift has said “It’s hard to fight when the fight isn’t fair.” The same holds true for life also. Just when I realised my mistakes and started improvising on them, I came across guys who showed me an altogether new meaning of taking things for granted. At the beginning of the relationship, they show you rainbows, and once they are confident that you are completely theirs, they start showing you thunderstorms. Once they know you are madly in love with them, they assume you won’t leave. And you are constantly hoping, rather illusive that they will change. You even signal it out to them that the changed behaviour is unbearable and you may leave. So for a short amount of time they change completely and become all loving and caring, but go back to being ignorant in no time. With time, the hurt is so bad that it loses its meaning. You start becoming distant and stop caring. You stop satisfying their ego to give them a taste of their own medicine. But by doing this, I learnt one thing; recklessness is almost a man’s revenge on his woman. He feels he is not valued so he will risk destroying himself to deprive her altogether. The best revenge is, TO MOVE ON. If they cared, they would have showed you. There are no ifs and buts to this. Actions always speak louder than words. We keep lying to ourselves in the name of love by giving excuses to unacceptable behaviour.

Love is said to be a journey, not a destination. If you commit, you promise to love that person even when it is difficult to talk to them. The one man that I met didn’t even think once before playing with my emotions and broke me so bad, that I stopped feeling anything. He used me to forget someone and forgot me like I was just some object when she came back in his life. And the other man that I met became so reckless that I started to feel that only I was in a relationship. He fed me breadcrumbs and expected me behave like he was the whole treat. What was common in both these men? They were so good and loving in the first few months, committed, sweet talkers, promised to be with you in the good and the bad, seemed matured and actually looked genuine. But once they gained your confidence, suddenly all the promises were broken, the once matured men became someone who seemingly “didn’t know” what they wanted. If I addressed their changed behaviour, I was labelled to be sulking and nagging. ‘I Love You’ was just another statement used to trap you and then eventually to abandon you for an ex or next. While I was clearly naive and rather stupid to trust words; a more severe effect of this is that even though I still believe in love, I cannot trust a soul now. Many of us these days feel, “I will get anyone. There are a lot of fishes in the sea.” They sabotage and destroy the person they are with to search for something better outside. When they realise the grass wasn’t greener on the other side, or, when karma hits them back with the same thing of how they treated their partner, they come running back realising they had the best; obviously it is too late then. It’s said, “Women fall in love in the man’s presence and men fall in love in the woman’s absence.” Many men probably know this, but what they don’t know is women take longer to leave, but once they leave, they never come back!

Rumi, the 13th century poet had said, “Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself” With all these happenings in my life, I have only learnt. Learnt to be patient, learnt the value of the present moment than getting anxious about the future, and, learnt to trust actions and not just words. I also learnt to never beg anyone to stay in my life; for where you are not celebrated and respected, leave. The moment after being let go, when we can finally let it go, is the moment when love once again has hope. And I want to keep falling in love even if I have already hit the ground. To young hearts; keep beating, keep breaking and keep falling in love. But never take anyone or any moment for granted. Because what you have today, tomorrow it just might not be there. And that will hit you like a bullet in the heart. By the time you realise what you have lost, it will be gone forever. If you love something, love it completely, cherish it, say it, but most importantly – show it. Life is finite and fragile, and just because something is there one day, it might not be the next. Never take anyone or anything granted. I had read an article about a man’s last words on his death bed. He said, “Wish I had paid more attention to the relationships I had in my life.” Value them when they are still there other than adjusting to their absence in the future. My intention is not to gain any sympathy, but only to help people to not repeat the mistakes I have made.

Having said that, there are times that I too feel guilty of not spending enough time with Casper and he was gone too soon. So this lockdown has given me an opportunity to take a break from the grind and spend a lot of time with Junior, take care of his health and wellbeing, laugh at his funny sleeping positions, talk to him random stuff and see him tilting his head, hug him tight where he tries his best to free himself and love him a lot more. My dogs have been the biggest blessings in my life. Having such short lives, they still fill yours with so much meaning, faithfulness and loyalty. And under no circumstances, I would take even a single moment with Junior for granted. For this time, will never come again – Spend your time with those who love you unconditionally, not with those who only love you under certain conditions!

You are a whole lot of lovely!

It takes a strong person to remain single in a world that is accustomed to settling with anything just to say they have someone. Several women, at times, force themselves into romance, only because they are apprehensive of being single forever. The end result is usually misery, as in the process they start making compromises, and invariable end up losing their identity. The truth is, a woman who is unapologetically herself, comfortable in her perfect imperfection, doesn’t play the victim, never afraid to be on her own, vibrant and goal-oriented is so much more attractive, than a woman who waits around for a man to validate her existence!

Being in my late 30’s, its natural for my family and friends to be concerned about me being single – to the extent few consider it to be a taboo! I am accustomed to be at the receiving end of various advices; “your biological clock is ticking” / “life cannot be spent alone” / “right now you will still get a guy, later it will be too late”, and, as ridiculous as some of these reasons are; believe me the list is endless. While it is extremely easy to advice, what people, who I know only mean good, fail to understand is as we age, it gets more and more difficult for us to find the ‘right one’. It’s not the age which does that, for age is just a number. What happens is with age we mature, we learn to understand what truly makes us happy, and we are less susceptible to just settle for someone who really doesn’t understand or care for us.  With the booming trend of social media, it is not difficult to find someone. But the question is; how genuine are they? And even if they are genuine, how compatible are we?

Personally, I have never been the one who would do a random hook-up, or anything even remotely similar to it. With age, and of course my past experiences, I have become so scared to get my heart broken again that I fortified myself with a wall of scepticism.  It has become extremely difficult for me to immediately trust someone. It’s not that that I do not want to date or eventually get married, but I do not want to be the only one falling in love. I want to be loved equally as well, and I strongly believe this isn’t much to ask! The problem is you will come across people who will express their love, but it is fairly impossible to immediately judge who actually loves you, and who is pretending to do so. Most men I have spoken to, choose to conveniently assume I am available and desperate immediately upon learning that I am separated and live alone. To be brutally honest, I have learnt that only 3 types of men approach me, and this is the harsh reality of today’s world:

  1. Type 1: The married ones, who generally just are looking for a little extra spice
  2. Type 2: The confused souls who say they care, but honestly only want a physical relationship with pretty much No Strings Attached
  3. Type 3: The truly genuine ones who end up being some of the best friends I have made. But believe me, these are the rarest of the rare ones and extremely hard to find

After Casper crossed the rainbow bridge, my husband told me that very same day that he wanted to rework the marriage. I was content, but it was only an eyewash. Apparently, my husband had approached the divorce lawyer the very same evening. I was shocked, deceived, and realized it was better to end this legally once and for all. It made no sense to keep watering a dead plant, and more than a dead relation it was the trust which was totally shattered.  I gathered myself together post getting off the depression medicines, and got back on routine and finally became open to dating. But it wasn’t easy at all. The dating scenarios had completely changed. There were so many new words and actions that I had never experienced in the past or even heard of, like ghosting, gas lighting, rebounding, etc. Unfortunately, I experienced all these the hard way when I finally had prepared myself to give love another chance. I had met a guy in my worst phase and told him everything about my past and he shared his. In spite of him being a dog lover, I thought he would understand of what I went through when Caspu passed. We never really dated but had become pretty close, and I had started thinking about him a lot more than I had planned to. Just 20 days after meeting him, I was ghosted. Yes, that’s when I learnt this word. And after some months I realised I would have just been a rebound to him. His ex came back in his life and he forgot me just at the drop of a hat like I was just someone to divert his mind off a break up he had recently had when we met. Ironically, that’s when I learnt the second trending word “rebound”. It was so hard for me to believe that when you share your personal life with someone and they promise to hold your hand through thick and thin, but end up being the same person they claim to never have been. I was extremely heartbroken. But once again, my baby, my dog, my Junior came to my rescue and never let me sink in. I realized I was actually stronger than before. I chose to give a piece of my mind to that guy, blocked him and never looked back. The following year, as I continued with my work and actually experimented with social media, I came across a lot of people. And as mentioned before, some became my very good friends, and other; I realised their intentions way too early and didn’t even bother entertaining them.

Life went on, and without me even realising, I kept getting mentally stronger, and being alone with Junior had just become the best way to live. I was so much happier, and, so was Junior. We enjoyed our time playing and dancing for no reason. If nothing, then I would take Junior out for a drive. Some of the best moments of my life are spent alone with Junior, and definitely, they are precious. Apart from that, my cousins and friends also made sure that I was not left alone. I started travelling, having so many girls’ trips, also my Mom and me travelled overseas just for shopping, family trips; all in all – life was beautiful!  

Then, a friend of mine introduced me to a guy. As they say, you meet the most unexpected person at the most unexpected time. It was a long distance relationship. But this time, I didn’t give my heart away immediately. I took my time and being long distance, after months, we met in person. It is amazing how different a person can be over phones and in person. After a while, I started to sense that we were not for each other.  I began to curse myself for a very brief period that none of my relationships are working out, and, probably, I am the toxic one, or I have some problem in me. Self-doubt can be a troubling and persuasive voice that holds you back. My thoughts literally made me beg this guy to stay with me, which he did too, but his behaviour towards me changed dramatically. He took me for granted thinking that I begged him to stay, so I will never leave him. He chose to call or text me at his convenience only, not reply to my texts for days, not tell me about his whereabouts and literally made me an object of convenience. I hoped and thought he would change for good but things only got worse. Finally, I opened my eyes, kept my heart aside, and called it off.

You have what it takes, don’t ever doubt yourself. Whenever you feel weak, remember the things that made you strong. Whenever you start to doubt yourself, remember those who believe in you. And remember this, when you start to doubt yourself, the real world will eat you alive. Victor E. Frankl (Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist as well as a Holocaust survivor,) has said, “Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” Once again, living alone, failed relationships, a lot of baggage, a fur baby who is no more; but here I am. Still cheerful and hopeful. I still believe in love. I have not given up on meeting the right one for me. Even in this world of divorces and breakups and hook ups, I believe somewhere the one meant for me will find me in the right time. Remember this, it is better to wait long than to marry wrong. Learn to be whole all by yourself. Be kind enough to let someone in, but wise enough to even let them go. Not everyone who enters your life is meant to stay. And it is ok! Learn from it, and move on.

Till then, Junior and I are living it playfully in this lockdown. He is a kitchen king (hahahaha). He is always in the kitchen when I am cooking keeping his hopes high that anytime some food might fall on the floor from the platform and he will eat it. Regarding his skin infection, he is doing absolutely great. The Saffron Oil did wonders and he is off antibiotics now. Apart from this, a very good friend of mine had to put his senior dog down due to complications from old age. It caused overwhelming distress to him to take this call and implement his decision, but that was the right thing to do. Seeing him like this is very upsetting. No matter how much time we get with our fur babies, it is never enough. Whether they lived for 5 years or 10 years or 15 years with us, their passing always takes away a part of us with them. It is never easy!

In the time of destruction, create something.

Christopher Walken has said, “At its best, Life is completely unpredictable”. There is no better situation to exemplify this quote than the one we are currently in!  We all must have planned for the next week or next month; but who knew, the whole world would come to a complete standstill! COVID-19 has plagued the world, crippled almost every livelihood and has become a menace to the sheer existence of human kind. But you know what, everything is not lost; I strongly believe there is still hope, and we should use this time for self-reflecting. I can tell you this, because I have been through a similar time before. The only difference is, I self isolated myself because of a broken marriage and my baby crossing the rainbow bridge, and now it is a mandatory requirement called a Lockdown. If you are feeling low, or are stressed for your work or business, or the lockdown situation is making you feel petrified, then all I will say is that these surely are dark times, but If you do not see light at the end of the tunnel, consider it an opportunity to create an opening yourself, wherever you want!

Many of my friends tell me, “Wow! You live alone. You can do whatever you want and go wherever you want. No one is going to question you where or why you are going somewhere.” To my foreign readers, yes, living alone is not a common thing in India with many families still living with their parents or even grandparents. As weird as it may sound to you, yes, the Indian family system revolves around living with your parents and taking care of them as they once did when you were a child. Coming back to the topic, after lockdown, the perspective of many of my friend has dramatically changed. Now they tell me, “Now we know how difficult it is to stay home alone. We don’t know what to do. How do you live all alone?” Let me tell you this. I am pretty used to staying alone and doing my stuff. But it wasn’t like this always. The moment the sun would go down, I would start sinking too. Take a bottle of beer and would drown in my thoughts and create negative scenarios in my mind, and put myself in a state of panic (yes, I would literally get panic attacks). I have worked extremely hard on myself, and have leant to control myself the hard way. I would like to share some tips to overcome this time of crisis, especially your mental health.

  • Whenever you feel down, start doing house work like, dusting, or moping the floor or making the cupboard, etc. Yes, it does sound like a simple task, but you will be surprised how much time something as simple as emptying your closet and re arranging it could take. Believe me, you will find at least 1 thing that will make you say “Wow, this still exists?”
  • Get a hobby like painting or sketching or cooking or writing a blog, etc. Try out things you have wanted to do or thought of, but never had a chance to.
  • If you have the urge to drink, distract your mind by putting on loud music and dancing to it. Drinking occasionally is ok, but do not become an alcoholic!
  • If you live with family, involve them in playing some board or indoor games. If you do not have one, then check with your neighbours.
  • If you have a pet, see some YouTube Videos to train them with new tricks and implement them.
  • Talk to a friend or loved one. Use the opportunity to reconnect with old friends or family.
  • Work on a side business. There are many ideas available on the internet which require less to no investment and can be done from the comfort of your house. And Warren Buffet had said, “Never depend on a single income source.”
  • Start reading the book you had bought 5 years ago. If you don’t own one, try the online versions.
  • Sleep as much as you want. Believe me, as easy as this may sound, it may be the hardest!

Remember this, patience plays a key role. Great works are performed not by strength but by perseverance. You do not need to have patience with the task at hand, but infact, with your own self. Once that is done, the rest will fall through. If you expect results in a day or two, it is not going to happen. You have to be consistent and true to yourself.

As mentioned in my earlier blog, I was miserable post loosing Casper and had to seek medical assistance. The medications worked like magic, but the withdrawal symptoms which came after getting off the medications were terrible! I would get such bad and realistic dreams that I would wake up crying and scared. Many a times I felt like getting back on the medicines. But that would mean, being on medication all my life. I had to remain strong and what kept me strong was my love for Junior. I realised, that if I have to keep him healthy and sane, first I had to be healthy and sane. It’s all in the mind. I know it is easier said than done, but if you have the will to live and do it, you will do it.

Today, I am definitely living a more sane and healthy life. Before the pandemic, I would normally get tired by the end of the day and force myself to keep my hobbies active or go out socialising. But now, I complete all my work with enthusiasm. I am more agile than before; I cook different dishes, recipes of which I had saved since months but never got the time to cook. I paint every alternate day. I clean the house much better than what my maid does (hahahaha). I work from home with Junior by my side. I video call my parents every day. I play with Junior more than before. But here’s a catch. Do not over involve your pets in your current daily routine, because after all this is over, we have to get back to our normal life and they will suddenly feel left out. So after sometime, give a break and go to another room leaving them alone or let them be by themselves when you are working or doing some activity. Do not get them used to your presence all day at home.

Couple of days ago we visited the Vet in this lockdown as I freaked out after seeing a lot of rashes on Junior. As an over thinking person, my thoughts reached to the level of Junior probably having Skin Cancer. Turns out, Junior has Staph Pyoderma. It’s a bacterial infection and the most common skin disease in dogs. The Vet put Junior on antibiotics, an anti-fungal, and multi vitamins and we have to visit him again next week to check on the progress. A home remedy that the Vet suggested was to apply Saffron Oil on Junior 2 hours prior to giving him a bath and then wash it off with the shampoo the Vet has prescribed. Well, sounds good. But being a pet parent and many other pet parents out there, we all know how tedious it is to bathe our dogs. I always have to take a biscuit in the bathroom for Junior to come in. Otherwise it is a marathon in the house. I am running behind Junior and he is running away from me. And now, removing the oil from his body is going to be a task at another level. I will update you all how it went or did the oil work for his body in my next blog.

Times are tough, and I know everyone is fighting their own battles. I had recently read an article about many couples stuck together in this lockdown who had applied for divorce or who had just broken up and were planning to move out or who had just expressed their feelings of breaking the relationship. I realized I too was facing a somewhat similar situation at the moment. But only difference is, I am not staying with my husband. I can understand the awkwardness many couples are facing because of the above, but remember one thing, be patient and everything happens for a reason.  Patience is not the ability to wait, but the ability to keep a good attitude while waiting. In the meantime, just know that this too will pass and everyone of us will come out as a brand-new person. COVID -19 and the hardships it has bought has made most of us realise that how little material happiness matters, and what we have, and probably take for granted, is a lot more.

Spend time with family, talk, laugh, cook and play. When this is over, may we never again take for granted:

  • A handshake with a stranger
  • Full shelves at the stores
  • Conversations with neighbours
  • A crowded theatre
  • Saturday night out
  • A routine check-up
  • The school and office rush each morning
  • Coffee with a friend
  • Each deep breath
  • A boring Monday
  • Life itself

When this all ends, may we find that we have become more like the people we wanted to be, we were called to be, we hoped to be, and may we stay that way. I have no idea what’s awaiting for me, or what will happen when this all ends. For the moment I know this: there are sick people and they need curing, there are people with more troubles than mine, and at the end of the day all that will prevail is humanity! Try and help anyone you can; not many are as privileged to be able to stock up on groceries. Even if you can help one family with their daily meal, I promise you, it will bring you more happiness than any materialistic desire.

Stay home and stay safe.

Each morning has a new beginning!

For the first time in history, we can save each one of us by staying at home and doing nothing. So I request everyone to “Stay Home, Stay Safe.” When our Honourable Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi announced the 21 days lockdown in India, I panicked too. Various thoughts came into my mind; do I have enough groceries? Do I have sufficient dog food? What about basic medicines? Do I have them? Apart from Junior, I even look after a few stray dogs. Was I allowed to feed them in this lockdown? The thoughts were endless. But a very close friend of mine made me sit down, and helped me with all my concerns. In these difficult times, it is imperative that we understand that we are not the only ones with problems and there may always be someone with more difficulty. The only thing which the human race can survive on is compassion. I can only quote the words of Janusz Korcza “I exist not to be loved and admired, but to love and act. It is not the duty of those around me to love me. Rather, it is my duty to be concerned about the world, about man.” Janusz Korcza was a polish-jewish educator, who ran an orphanage with 200 children and refused to abandon them and finally fell victim to the holocaust. 

As days have passed, everything started getting normal for me as well, predominantly mentally. I have made a routine for myself in this lockdown which although seemed extremely strenuous, in realty wasn’t really that bad to follow. I utilise my morning and afternoon in walking Junior, feeding the strays (yes, we are allowed (by law) to feed strays in our vicinity), cooking lunch and finishing basic chores. Later, I take a short nap and early evenings I do Yoga and then clean the house. In the night, I cook dinner, then I either paint, write my blog or do some office work (from home of course). Since I have been living alone with my dogs from the past 7 years, and as such I am more of a loner, this lockdown has not been very difficult for me. And, in any case, when you have a dog at home, you can never get bored.

When Casper had passed away, I had faced a similar time. The only difference, I felt lonely that time, and now, this is my life. Things were awful after Casper crossed the rainbow bridge. The first day I came home with only Junior, I burst out crying. My house was empty, and, Junior kept running around the house looking for Casper. Poor soul didn’t know that his partner in crime would never come back. My vet told me to control my emotions as dogs can sense it. I tried my best to be normal in front of Junior, but there were times when I couldn’t control my tears. Casper was fascinated with tennis balls; in totality he had 36 of them. He also had a favourite pillow. When I reached home, I hugged his pillow hard and cried cried and cried. My brother was with me that time and he suggested that I donate everything that was of Caspu. I knew that was the right thing to do, but my heart was not in favour of it. But every time I looked at Caspu’s stuff, I would cry. So I agreed with my brother and donated everything. The house became emptier, and Junior was a confused soul, who couldn’t figure out what was happening.

Days passed, but I couldn’t come to terms that Caspu was gone forever. Nothing helped. I tried keeping myself busy, played with Junior, worked more than my normal hours, but all in vain. The moment I would be left alone, I was lost in the memories of my baby. I searched the internet for countless hours to find answers if I could have done something different that could have saved Caspu. I blamed myself that it was my fault; to the extent that I isolated myself completely for some time. I also did an entire health check up of Junior in fear. I did everything so that Junior wouldn’t feel alone. But little did I know, not just me, but even Junior was getting into depression. One day, I didn’t even realise that I was hallucinating and was talking to my Mom and I told her that I feel the vet will call me and tell me that someone has abandoned a dog, and he looks exactly like Casper; please come and take him. That’s when my Mom realised that I now needed to see a psychiatrist. She explained to me that that there was no shame in seeking medical help. I agreed and visited the doctor and from the very first day of taking medicines I stopped crying. It wasn’t that I had forgotten Caspu. The medications only helped me to cope with my pain and accept the fact that he was gone, and I had done my best to save him. With time, and under my doctor’s guidance, my dosage was reduced, and I was completely off them after 4 months. I would like to give my suggestion to anyone suffering from depression and anxiety – Please ask for help. Do not suffer alone and talk to your loved ones. Vent it out and take medical help. There is nothing to be ashamed of. But do not take any such step by which people behind you suffer.

Healing is neither a fast track nor an easy process. It takes time, and a lot of courage, to accept the situation, and move on. Along with me, I had to stop Junior also from sinking. It took me quite a few months to get out of my miserable state and get back to routine. Even today, I have my days; I cry it out, I sulk, I vent out in front of my people. But next morning, I am a stronger girl to fight the day again – Like a phoenix rising from the ashes! I had read an article some years ago about an old man who had suffered a lot of loss in his lifetime but was still fulfilled with his life. I do not remember the exact words, but will try to convey his message in my words. He said, “Life is like sailing in a boat with your loved ones. Then a big wave comes and the boat goes down. Some make it to the surface and some drown. You hold on to one of the scattered log of wood to stay afloat in the water. Then another wave comes and pushes you back inside the water. But you have the log of wood so you float trying to catch your breath. Again, some make it and some don’t. With every wave, you are now prepared with what’s coming. So it doesn’t affect you much now. That’s life. The log of wood is your Hope to Live. Waves are the difficulties in life. And with every bad time, you get more and more prepared to face it.”

My separation from my husband and Casper’s death taught me a lot of things. First and foremost, I learnt self reflection. It is not necessary that always the other person is the evil; sometimes, in some situations, there is some amount of toxic in you as well. When a marriage breaks, or a relationship breaks, it is very easy to blame the partner. But, with time, you realise where you went wrong as well. It is always a two-way process – as rightly said, you cannot clap with one hand. With time, I reflected on my mistakes, accepted them and began the process to correct them and never repeat them.

You must be wondering, in all this, where was my husband. He left immediately after cremating Casper, and I never heard from him, or saw him again. Till that time, I was still hoping for a patch up. But after Casper’s death, I cremated my hopes also. I had finally accepted that we were not good for each other, and it was better to end the marriage legally now. But it was not easy. I didn’t know where my husband was or what he was doing. He was untraceable and even if I had to send him a legal notice, I didn’t have an address to send the same to. My family and I made many attempts to get in touch with him, but all in vain. Finally, last year I received an envelope from overseas which turned out to be a divorce notice which he had finally chosen to send. After 7 years of separation, my estranged husband had surfaced. We started the legal formalities, and the divorce will soon be finalized!

So, as I said before; this lockdown is going smooth for me. I cannot take Junior for a walk as often as I would like to. So I keep him fit and entertained by throwing one kibble of his food around the house. He runs for it and eats it. I know many people don’t keep food on the floor as the dog will get into the habit of eating crap from the ground or floor or during walk. But if you have trained your dog, your dog will never eat rubbish from the road or ground. Like Junior, he will only eat his kibble when I throw. He has never ever eaten anything from the road during his walk, or pounced on my plate when I am eating. He was trained when he was a puppy. Apart from this, a close friend of mine has gifted him a Tug Toy with suction which sticks to the floor and there is a ball on the other side of the elastic rope. Junior spends a good 20 minutes with that toy trying to pull the ball. He then gets tired and goes off to sleep. I also give him a Kong Ball filled with frozen curd and biscuits. There are many ways to keep your dogs entertained in this lockdown without much human involvement.

I just hope my blog brings encouragement, strength and positivity to your lives. And I hope my tips are helpful for your dogs. It is indeed a difficult time, but we have to be patient, and together, and we all can get through this. Daisaku Ikeda (Japanese Buddhist philosopher, educator, and author) has said “We are not defeated by adversity but by the loss of the will to strive. However devastated you may feel, so long as you have the will to fight on, you can surely triumph”

Once again, “STAY HOME, STAY SAFE.”

Till I See You Again!

William Godwin had said, “Hope is in some respects a thing more brilliant, more vivifying, than fruition. What we have looked forward to with eager and earnest aspiration is never in all respects equal to the picture we had formed of it. The very uncertainty enhances the enjoyment.”

In many ways, I do not necessarily agree with these words. Sometimes, just when you feel things are going great and you are back on track, life throws a curve ball and your world comes crushing down. Just when I was beginning to love life, life gave me a cruel slap on my face. It broke me in such a way, that this time, it was difficult to gather my shattered pieces and live again. The little happy home that I had built with Casper and Junior through a lot of struggles, tears, sacrifices and pain, came crashing down in no time. Year 2016, the worst year of my life! The year I shall never forget till my last breath. I was once asked – “What will be the most difficult thing about owning a dog?” I replied “The Goodbye!” Unfortunately, for all of its uncertainty, we still cannot flee the future!

2016, the year that took my Casper away…forever!

I had just moved to another house which was big enough for my 2 dogs to live in. It had just been a day in the new place when Casper started throwing up. I assumed it was the new place, maybe the smell, or just the dust from all the boxes and packing, which he was just trying to adjust. I gave him a carrot which was his favourite treat to munch on; but, for the first time, he didn’t show any interest in it. Casper had always had a sensitive stomach, and used to gobble up grass many a times and throw up. The vets had always advised me to just give him an anti-acid which I did this time as well and got back to unpacking my boxes. Junior was his usual self, playing, and irritating Casper as always and I assumed, Casper would be OK as well in a few hours. However, the next day, Caspu threw up again, after which I took him to the vet immediately. The vet did a general check-up, and prescribed another anti acid and told me to update him about Casper’s condition after three days. But Caspu didn’t stop vomiting and I took him to the vet once again. By then, Casper had also developed a little swelling on his stomach. The vet immediately started him on saline and took his blood sample for testing, which to our amazement, and relief, came completely normal! I was extremely confused as Casper vomited everyday despite all the treatments and medications.  By the 10th day I had gotten extremely paranoid and asked the vet to do another round of blood test. The tests again came normal and so the vet advised me to do a sonography which I did as well. His sonography showed little thickening of his liver walls. The vet informed me that Caspu had liver issues and started treating him for the same. By this time, Casper had started throwing up blood, pooping blood and peeing blood!

I was in a state of mess. Day and night, I was at the vet’s clinic with Casper, no time and enthusiasm to eat and drink, as it was difficult balancing between Junior who was all day alone at home and Casper’s illness. Even though Caspu’s health deteriorated and the vet classified him to be in a critical state, he still wanted to play, would eat and drink normally, and slept well. Somewhere, I had hopes that Caspu would make a full recovery like before; somewhere I feared the worse. But I could see that my baby was suffering; there was blood everywhere. Even when the vet tried giving him an injection, that part of the body would completely swell. This stress and fear took a severe toll on me as well. I stopped eating well and my weight came down to 40 Kgs. I couldn’t sleep at night and would randomly check on Casper to ensure he was still breathing.  But I was determined to leave no stones unturned for Casper’s treatment. I took opinions of three vets; but, nothing helped. Casper’s health kept going downhill. In all this, Junior was getting severely neglected so I decided to keep him at boarding lodging facility till Caspu came home hale and hearty. Little did I know, Caspu would never come home!

Gertrude Stein (American novelist) has said, “It is natural to indulge in the illusions of hope. We are apt to shut our eyes to that siren until she allures us to our death”. I was fighting a battle against time to save my baby and one day, I had an absolute melt down. I couldn’t handle the situation alone and I called my husband (still legally married but separated) and begged him to come and be with me and Caspu. To my extreme disappointment, for a man, who couldn’t live without Casper, and had infact thrown a fit during separation to keep Casper with him, was now giving excuses for not coming. But after a lot of pleading, and begging, he came.  Somewhere within me, I knew Casper was probably not going to make it, and I guess, my main motive to call my husband was so that Caspu could spend his last days with him.

The next day, at the vet’s clinic, Casper got a stroke. That’s when the vet finally suggested putting him down. I was beyond devastated; I blanked out and I didn’t want to believe what I was seeing and hearing. Maybe it was just a bad dream, and I would snap out of it any minute. While my mind, and my soul were still processing the words which the vet had just said, my husband immediately gave his approval to the vet. I froze, but before I could even react, the vet looked at my husband with a stern eye and his exact words, as I remember were, “You are no one to take this decision. You were not even here. The only person to take this decision is your wife.” The vet then looked at me for my answer; this was by far the most difficult decision of my life I ever had to take. I knew there was no way Caspu would have made it after the stroke. I couldn’t see him suffer more and I gave my approval to the vet, but requested him if he could wait a little? The vet told me to take my time.  I wanted Casper to have his favourite meal which my Mom cooked one last time, and I immediately called my mom who said she would have my brother get it there as soon as possible. While I was waiting for my brother to come, I put Casper’s head on my lap and started talking to him that “everything will be all right. I am here. Your Mumma is here.” Just then, Casper’s eyes rolled up, he let out a sigh and he passed away naturally on my lap. At that very moment, I wanted to die with Casper too. And just when this happened, my brother arrived with Casper’s favourite food. I broke down in my brother’s arm and till this date, my brother curses himself for reaching late and Caspu crossed the rainbow bridge without eating. My baby was only 5 years and 8 months old. He died of Liver Cirrhosis within 10 days of showing symptoms!

I was inconsolable, so my brother bought me home and my husband went to cremate Casper. The only thing left with me was my Angel’s memories and his collar. Not just my parents, but my uncles, aunts, cousins, and friends were waiting for me at home. All had tears in their eyes but were trying their best to put up a strong face in front of me. For the first time in my life, I saw tears in my Dad’s eyes. A man who avoided coming close to my dogs, giving a reason that it’s an unwanted attachment; had broken down. My brother, who drove me and Casper every single day and night to the vet’s clinic, was shattered. And my Mom was beyond grief stricken.

Why this happened? Where did I go wrong? Was it my fault? There were a lot of questions in my mind. Except for vomiting once a day, Caspu didn’t show any other symptoms at that time which eventually resulted to taking his life. The time when the meaning of life was sucked out of me, I learnt a few things which I would like to share with all you pet parents:

  1. Get your pets blood work done every year; even if they are absolutely healthy
  2. Labradors are very playful dogs, so they do not show symptoms immediately
  3. Never neglect a slightest change in your dog’s behaviour. Talk to the vet immediately
  4. Do not leave anything for later. If you have plans to take them trekking, take them now, if you plan to do a photo shoot with them, do it now, etc. Life is too short!
  5. Do not blame yourself. You did everything you could
  6. Do not be a Google doctor. Trust your vet. Your vet knows what he/she is doing. Follow the instructions well
  7. Love and take care of your pets now. You do not know what tomorrow brings. And in general; LIVE IN TODAY!

Today, 4 years after Casper has left us, Junior and I have become even more inseparable.  I may have moved on, but the memory of Casper lives in me forever. At times, I remember the famous words of George Eliot, a rather famous English novelist of the 19th century. She wrote, and I quote, “Our dead are never dead to us, until we have forgotten them.”

Change begins at the end of your comfort zone!

Whether you’re grieving the loss of a loved one or adjusting to move to a new place, life is full of uncertainty. Navigating previously unexplored terrain is difficult, exhausting, and even scary. The worst feeling isn’t being lonely; it’s being forgotten by someone you know you will never completely forget. You never realise how lonely you are, until it’s the end of the day, and, you got a bunch of things to talk about, but no one to talk to! While Loneliness makes living difficult, from my experience I can say, nobody is really alone. Lonely, in its true sense, is not about being alone; it’s the feeling that no one cares, and trust me when I say this, there is always someone who cares! You will find company, if you really want to, and I found it in my dogs, Casper and Junior.

William Arthur Ward’s had said, “The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.”

In life, when things don’t work out, as humans, it is a very normal tendency for us to blame things on the other person. We, at times, even vent out to others about how bad our partner was or how he/she ill-treated us. While, the same is a matter of perspective, and ill treatment does not necessarily have any set parameters to it; as a thumb rule, any kind of a physical abuse is generally the tipping point for many. But who is to blame, when there is no physical abuse also, and two individuals are just drifting apart? During my separation stage, I got a lot of time to reflect on my entire relationship, and where we went wrong. To begin with, I realized I got married for the wrong reasons. I was probably a young, immature girl who got married out of the sheer excitement of the term marriage, while still living in the fairy-tale world that now, this is forever! Without realising, that my juvenile shoulders STILL didn’t have the strength to carry the responsibility of a steady, understanding and a patient relationship.  Sometimes, things don’t work out.  You can be with someone for years and believe that they are the one. But, in reality, it was built on the everlasting fear of loneliness and insecurity. Perhaps it wasn’t that you didn’t love them, but it was more just a relationship that was to teach you that not all things last forever, despite how much you want them to. And you cannot hold on to someone who wants to go. They let go of you, so you learn that, although you both once believed you were each other’s forever, or that you both still love each other – it’s time to go in separate ways.

In her novel ‘Frankenstein’, Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley wrote, “Nothing is so painful to the human mind as a great and sudden change.” I too never got a closure from my husband; we never sat and spoke to each other about our issues. We were already sailing in different boats and the separation was like a sudden blow of the wind to our ships which drifted apart so quickly that we could no longer even reach out to each other.  The biggest lesson I learnt was, in a relationship, when the communication starts to fade, everything else follows.

It’s funny how things don’t work out (and funny how they always do). In this testing time, in this time of doubt and fear, my only constant were my dogs. Those dogs, whom I had given up for adoption. Those dogs, who accidentally came into my life, only for me to later realise were God sent; to save me. And as I always say, “Everything happens for a reason”. Sometimes good things fall apart so better things come together. Now I had a responsibility as a single mom to look after my two dogs. My mindset had completely changed. I was a completely new person. Once an arrogant and rude girl, I had turned to a more docile and matured woman. The change was good. We all fear change, we all get so used to our comfort zone that we start believing that “this is life”. Or we accept our fate that “it is what it is.” But I will say this, “if it scares you, it might be a good thing to try”. As at the other side of fear, is freedom.

It wasn’t easy at all! With limited income, pressure from family to once again give up the dogs for adoption so that I could start my life afresh with a new partner, emotional blackmailing, suicidal thoughts, struggling to find a job, lonely and depressed; life was a living hell at that time. But I was determined; I was head strong, that no matter what, I will never ever give Casper and Junior up for adoption. For they taught me how to remain strong! They were the main reason where I had the guts to let go off my dead and stagnant marriage, and realise that change is messy in the beginning, chaotic in the middle, and beautiful in the end. I was fighting against all odds to keep them with me.

As time passed, everything started to sort out. My family stopped pressurising me to give them up, I found a good job and earnt a decent income to live a comfortable life. But that was just the beginning. It was just getting better day by day. If you are determined, and, have the courage, anything is possible. Just believe in yourself! I started getting confident in taking Casper and Junior out in public all by myself. Handling two Labrador Retrievers all alone by a petite girl was not a piece of cake. But I was gaining confidence. I got better at managing time and money. I got comfortable at living alone. Having Casper and Junior by my side, I didn’t need anyone else. Suddenly, life became a party. One day I woke up, and everything was fine; in fact, better than before. That day, I thanked my husband (legally we were still married) for leaving me. Because my alone time, and my dogs had turned me from a Caterpillar to a beautiful Butterfly. Not just mentally, but playing around with my dogs, their walks and exercise, the laughter I got from seeing them act funny, the feeling of living in paradise I got from seeing them sleep peacefully, made me physically attractive as well. I lost 20 kgs of weight. I was happy and at peace; I was glowing!

I wished I had come to terms sooner that my marriage was dead long time ago. I was holding on to nothing. My fear was actually holding me back. But it’s better to be late than never. If that time my husband didn’t have the courage to end it, we both would have been living a stagnant life, holding each other back with unknown fears, not realising that the end of a marriage doesn’t mean end of life. I was completely unaware of what my husband was up to; but that did not bother me at all. He would get in touch with me sometimes through text, just to know how Casper and Junior were doing. I was still not open to dating anyone new that time. I was just enjoying the time of my life with my dogs and my freedom. Had it not been for Casper and Junior, I would have gone back to live with my parents, and they would have got me married immediately to someone else after divorce. Me becoming the accidental dog mom was the biggest blessing of my life; and believe me when I say this, being separated and single isn’t exactly a taboo or the end of the world!

Today, as we are sitting in isolation, or let’s say, avoiding going to public places and interacting with people due to the Corona (COVID-19) Virus, Junior and me are having a ball of a time. His naughtiness still keeps me entertained. His walks and exercise still keep me mentally and physically active, and not even once lets me slip into depression. He is soon to be eight years old, but he is still like a one-year old puppy. Everyone around loves him a lot. And my parents who had once told me to give up my dogs for adoption, now cannot live a day without him. As Steve Maraboli put it, “The truth is, unless you let go, unless you forgive yourself, unless you forgive the situation, unless you realize that the situation is over, you cannot move forward.”

Always together, yet forever apart!

Lots of things can be fixed! Then, there are things that can’t be fixed! But, there are also things that should not be fixed – some relationships fall into this category.

In life we sail through a journey boarding a particular ship only to realize that our partner wants to board another one, and you just can’t be with each other anymore. It’s not only about what we want, it’s also about what the other person wants; and at some point, realization sinks in that holding on will only make the goodbye more painful. As such, you cannot make someone stay if they want to go. You can only love what you got while you got it.

“Dusk, is just an illusion, because the sun is either above the horizon or below it. And that means that day and night are linked in a way that few things are; there cannot be one without the other, yet they cannot exist at the same time. How would it feel, I remember wondering, to be always together, yet forever apart?”
It’s said; if you love someone, set them free. If they come back, they’re yours; if they don’t, they never were. I was so involved with Casper and Junior, that I overlooked what my husband was up to. My dogs had given me so much joy, that briefly I forgot about all the problems that existed between my husband and me. But turning a blind eye to them won’t make them vanish right! My husband looked calm and composed at all times. He fulfilled all his duties as a husband and a father to dogs with perfection. I always thought, everything is fine! We will get through this. What I failed to realize was, that there were floods of thoughts going on in my husband’s mind. Thoughts about leaving me and Junior…forever!

You must be wondering why I didn’t mention Casper’s name. Here’s why. One fateful night, when I was waiting for my husband to come home from work, the most frightful thing happened. Dinner was set on the table, I was dressed up to go for a movie with him post dinner. He came home, Casper and Junior were playing, he saw me sitting on the couch and it seemed like he couldn’t hold it in anymore, so he just screamed out the words, “I want a divorce, and come what may, Casper will always stay with me.” It was a sudden and violent blow on my heart. For some seconds I was in denial that did I hear it or was it a horrible dream!

Out of impulse, my only reply was, “Either Casper and Junior stay with me or both stay with you. I will not separate them at any cost.” I was ready to sacrifice my love, my motherhood for my dogs only so that they could stay together. At that moment, I didn’t even give a second thought about my forthcoming divorce. Because the only thing going on in my mind was to keep Casper and Junior together. End of the day, love is about sacrifices as well.  Ever since Junior came home, Casper and Junior had become inseparable. And what I had learnt with time was, dogs wait all their lives for the ones they love. If they were separated, they may even die of depression. I could live without my husband, I could survive without my dogs, but my dogs wouldn’t get through without each other.

I didn’t ask my husband to stay. Somewhere deep inside me I knew this was coming. But this suddenly, that wasn’t likely. My family got involved and tried a lot to convince my husband to stay. But he was determined and, when he didn’t budge, my family offered my husband to take both the dogs with him and not just one. In all these meetings to save the marriage, I was always quiet. I still loved my husband a lot, but I knew nothing would change his mind. So my only goal was, to keep my dogs together, either with me or him. I assume my husband saw this sadness in my eyes and, the unbelievable happened. One day, in between all these silent nights and days, the fear of thinking that any day would be the last day for me to stay with Casper and Junior; my husband came to me and told me, ”I will not separate them. And you cannot live alone. You keep them, take care of them. I will visit them whenever you allow me to. They will protect you and also won’t let you fall into loneliness.”

Here I was, devastated but also happy. For the first time I realised how much I loved my husband and how much even he too loved me. But we were just not meant to be together. We had self-sabotaged what we had. We didn’t do it right and we were too late to make things work. My relationship may be “Breaking Up,” but I won’t be “Breaking Down.” If anything, my husband was correcting a mistake that was hurting four people, you and the person you are with, not to mention the two people who you were destined to meet. My future was uncertain, but I knew my husband had someone else in his life. But I was happy, as I got my babies back…together!

We separated. Both of us moved out, but to two different places. We sold our house. A place where there were so many beautiful memories. I opted to live alone with my dogs and not with my parents as I needed healing. Away from everyone and just in my own little world to find myself again. To come to terms with what had happened and plan my future. Little did I know, my battle wasn’t over!

Life was never the same. But today when I am sitting on my comfortable chair and typing this, I know it was the best decision my husband took. I strongly believe everything happens for a reason, and, as days passed, the mystery started to unfold; the answers to my questions started opening up. I became the accidental dog mom, but that accident was the finest accident of my life. Keep following and reading my blog to know more about how many more troubles I came across and how I achieved victory over the problems in my life. And the biggest role to help me through was played by my dogs!

A little piece of advice: when you bring home a pet, it becomes a family member. It is not a toy or an object that when you are bored, you throw it away. When we decide to welcome a new furry member to our family, it is up to us to provide them with the lifelong care they require. Make sure you are ready to commit and ask yourself what your situation will be in five, ten and twenty years before welcoming a new pet. Whether you are getting married, or leaving the country or state, or having a baby, under any circumstances, never abandon your pet or give them up for adoption. The impact is huge on them. Just because they don’t speak, doesn’t mean they have no feelings. Bringing home a pet means a commitment for life time. Little lives they have. All they ask for is love. Don’t let them live in trauma, heartbreak and a shattered sense of trust. As Elizabeth Eiler has rightly said, “Dogs don’t make judgments about physical appearance or abilities, and they don’t care how big your house is or what you do for a living. They care about the quality of your character and your capacity to love.”

Two are better than one!

Over the years, if there is one thing I have learnt, it is to try something different, even if you don’t think it will work. Trust that little voice in your head that says, “Wouldn’t it be great if…” and then do it. You will be surprised as to what you can achieve with this little thinking. You will never be happy if you hold on to things that make you sad.

In spite of having Casper and comprehending that things will turn out for the better between my husband and me, it once again went stagnant. To be honest they never really had improved and it was only figments of my imagination hoping for them to get better.  We had reached our comfort zone. We were in that phase where there was no drama, nothing good or bad happening and we got used to it. During that time, we got Casper mated and soon he became a father to a litter of 8 puppies. I was elated; never had I imagined that I would ever be so happy over a dog being a father to 8 puppies. Around the same time, we received a call from a relative that he wanted to adopt one of the puppies. So, we bought one of them home, got him vaccinated and cleaned, and he was all ready to be adopted into his new home. Unfortunately, the relative never came over to take him, and upon inquiring, we were informed that he had changed his mind and didn’t want the puppy for now!

We had ended up in quite a predicament and were clueless on what to do. We already had Casper, we were struggling with our marriage, my husband was frequently travelling between Mumbai and Dubai, and, I singly did not have the dexterity to handle two dogs. We had no choice, but to put him for adoption. The puppy was adopted three times, but, lamentably, was returned back to us every time for various reasons.

Call it destiny or whatever it may be, but after the 3rd time the puppy was returned back to us, I decided to adopt him myself and keep him with me permanently. My husband was completely unsupportive of this thought. But I was rigid and had made up my mind; for I couldn’t see the puppy being adopted and returned for lame reasons all the time. After all, he was a living creature with a heart and not an item which one can simply return if they don’t like it! Junior entered my life accidentally. Yes, I named him Junior; after all, he was my Casper’s son!  My husband had made it crystal clear to me that he had nothing to do with Junior and would play no role in bringing him up. I had absolutely no idea as to how I would bring up Junior alone along with Casper! But a little voice inside me told me, “Do it”.

Sometimes, destiny leaves a door a little open and you walk right through it. But, sometimes, it locks the door and you have to find the key, or pick the lock, or knock the damn thing down. And sometimes, it doesn’t even show you the door, and you have to build it yourself. But if you keep waiting for the doors to be opened for you… I think you’ll have a hard time finding a single happiness, let alone that double portion.

Today, when I sit back, and think, keeping Junior was one of the best decisions of my life. Everyone needs a friend or a partner in crime. I had a father and son duo. “We all have flaws, no matter how hard we try to tame sometimes still eludes us. If you give me your flaw, I’ll handle it flawlessly, and I give mine, you’d do the same. That’s when two is better than one; else, we’ll have two aggravated untamed flaws.” Both Casper and Junior were my babies. I became The Accidental Dog Mom, twice!

With Casper and Junior, everything doubled. Double the trouble, double energy required in running around, double the efforts in training them, double the expense, but also; double the joy, double the love, double the affection and care, double the happiness. What also doubled was the knowledge of how to handle and look after two dogs under one roof. Having said that, I would like to share a few tips with my dear readers of how to handle two dogs, and why two is better than one:

  • It is recommended to neuter the dogs. It calms them down which makes it easier to handle them. The negative side to this is, they start putting on weight. But with proper exercise and nutrition, weight can be easily managed
  • Both the dogs play with each other, burn their energy, get tired and go off to sleep. This gives pet parents more time to themselves and their personal work
  • It is easier to manage them in public as they both are stuck to each other and don’t get hyper when they socialise with other dogs
  • If one dog is scared of something, then the other one is there to comfort him. Like Caspu was super scared of crackers, and Junior would always be by his side to snuggle him

Of course there are pros and cons to everything. But, trust me when I say this, at the end of the day, it is worth it. Casper and Junior were polls apart. Casper being the calm and composed one, on the other hand, Junior was a handful. But, if you follow the Vet’s and Trainer’s instructions properly, and not to forget to give them a lot of love and devotion; you will become a pro.

Today, I once again can see the difference between having two dogs and one dog. I have to devote a lot of my time for Junior. Specially to play with him, burn his energy and socialise him. He is well trained, but being a Dog Mom, I feel extremely guilty of leaving him home alone while I go for work. Such short little lives our pets have to spend with us, and they spend most of it waiting for us to come home each day!

Limitations are self-imposed!

You know what’s the worse feeling in the world? The worse feeling in the world is when you are with someone, but, you still feel alone! You feel you don’t belong anywhere. Sleeping right next to the person you love every night but those few inches in realty are more than a million miles. The life, the home, and, the family you had made, were falling apart like a crushed dream. Have you ever had that feeling where deep down inside you know this marriage is not going to make it through, but, you aimlessly wait for a miracle? You wish, pray, to the extent desperately hope, for your partner to change. You have endless conversations and efforts only to realize that everything is fine for 2 months and then you are back to the same old situation. I have realized It happens to everyone as they grow up. You find out who you are and what you want, and then you realize that people you’ve known forever don’t see things the way you do. So, the best thing to do is keep the wonderful memories, and move on!

Casper coming back into our lives was a big ray of hope; as for once, me and my husband both wanted something together and would spend time together discussing him. I am sure all of you are probably baffled by the idea that how can a girl who is petrified of dogs, not only decide to adopt and raise him, but eventually turns out to be a dog mom. Honestly speaking, I am perplexed myself till date about how the events of life have unfolded and carved me into what I am today.   

Whenever we got Casper home, my husband would go for his work for couple of hours and then come back and work from home. In those 2 or 3 hours, when I was home alone with Casper, I used to be terrified and keep Casper confined inside his crate. Then one day, my husband got annoyed and gave me an ultimatum that either I work on removing my fear of dogs or he would have no choice but to give Casper up. I was super happy not touching Casper and only seeing his little paws dance around the house, but giving him away was not an option I could accept. So, with great courage, and a task which was no less than bravery on a battlefield for me, one day, when my husband went to work, I sat down in the centre of the living room and told my maid to remove Casper from the crate and leave him free. Casper came running towards me and started licking and biting me with his small teeth. For the Initial few minutes I literally froze to death; almost like I was a helpless goat in a field, faced with a tiger and inevitable defeat. But after the initial few excruciating moments, slowly my fear started to evaporate from my body. All I could feel was love and the feel of a tiny gentle soul trying his best to get all the attention from me that he could.  For the first time in days I took Casper in my hands and hugged him and there was no feeling in this world better than this. Things were fantastic for quite some time. He bought us a lot of joy and happiness. From a breaking down marriage, to looking forward in anticipation for a better tomorrow; that’s the magic Casper had done. Even though we only saw him every 3 months, whenever we did, our joy had no limits. Each time when we would meet him, we would be surprised to see his growth from a little puppy to a big dog. We would regularly be sent his pictures and videos from the boarding lodging and that would bring a big smile on our faces. We were pleased that he was in good hands in our absence and was taken good care of.

Whenever we would come down to Mumbai, we would take Casper on short trips, buy him a lot of toys, pamper him, and, also got him trained. As I have mentioned before, I took up further studies and had to come down to Mumbai for my final exams. During that time, we had sent Casper to a summer camp out of Mumbai and had plans to pick him up once my exams were over. But, before my last exam, I had a break of 8 days, and, so, we decided to have a surprise visit to the place where Casper was. Typically, Casper would enthusiastically come running to us as soon as he would see us. But this time something wasn’t right. When we reached there, Casper didn’t move and lay still on the ground. We immediately understood that something was wrong and without wasting a single minute, my husband literally picked him up, put him in the car and drove back straight to the vet’s clinic. Our fears were confirmed and Casper was not only diagnosed with tick fever but also was in a critical state. The vet immediately started his treatment and upon asking, he informed us that chances of his survival were bleak. My world came crashing down. This was the first time in months that I realised that I wasn’t a dog owner, I was a dog MOM. My child was fighting a battle with the Grim Reaper and I wanted nothing else but for him to live.

Day and night, we were at the vet’s clinic doing everything we could; I was cursing myself every minute to have sent him to the summer camp. After 5 days of treatment, Casper finally showed some positive results. The vet told us he would make it and I was overjoyed and mirthful that my baby was going to live. In all this chaos, I didn’t get the time to study for my final exam and I decided to mark absent for it and attempt it next year. But my mother told me, “If you don’t appear for your test, you will as it is be marked as failed. Why don’t you read your books and give your exams. At least you will be satisfied that you gave your best instead of not going at all.” I took her advice, stayed up all night to study while my husband bought Casper home and was looking after him. I appeared for my exam and when the results were declared, I had PASSED.  Guess chaos is only a matter of perspective; what is chaos to a fly is normal for a spider. Giving up at the first instance of seeing a difficultly in life will surely ease that particular situation; but we won’t know what possibilities could lie ahead only if we try a little harder then. It is always better to try, give it a shot, rather give it our best shot, and then accept whatever happens, rather than not try at all and then sit and think a few years later what if we had only tired. The possibilities are ambiguous, but at least we know within us that we tried!

Within months, I had seen life, death, failure and success. My mother taught me a very good lesson which till date I remember and follow whenever I have to. No matter what, get up, dress up, and show up. This has become a motto for life. Seeing Casper near death and back to life gave me a new life. Basically, a new and stronger perspective to life. He taught me to face my fears. He showed me that anything can happen in life, good or bad and we have to be prepared for everything. He taught me how to have fun and laugh for no reason. He made me a responsible human being. Above all, he made me a Mom. Yes! I am a proud Mom and my kids have four legs and fur. As I write this, my eyes glow seeing Junior sitting next to me and once again makes me realise, I am so lucky to have this baby in my life. Casper taught me life, and Junior is the reason that I am living my life. And I always thank God, for blessing me with such beautiful babies.

Petrified! Tranquilized!! Casper-fied!!!

I was once asked, “Why do you want to get married?” And, the naïve me promptly answered, “When you are married, it is difficult to end a marriage after a fight. But when you are dating, you are not sure if you will patch up, as you are not legally bound to.” It was a very impromptu answer, and I guess, I today know, I was so wrong. As life progresses, I finally learned, and understood, that like many others (possibly), I got married for the wrong reasons. Marriage is a union of two people who come together because they trust each other, to know your partner at a deeper level, to want the same things, to even fight fair, to have an endless sleepover with your favourite person, etc. It’s not just the paper work that solidifies your love for each other, but marrying the right person should make you feel more secure. You feel and act like a team by which your lives are calm and certain. But I reiterate, I definitely married for the absolute wrong reason.

Relocating to Dubai, I assumed my life would be wonderful. Living independently, without in laws, or for the matter of fact any relatives, I thought “Wow! What fun; I can do whatever I want!” While that was true to some extent, what I had not imagined, or realized, was the same freedom also gave my husband the license to do whatever he wanted too. Within the first year of our marriage, we had already started falling apart. For me, my husband had become my entire world; there was not a single moment that I would leave him alone. I had also started working in his company and we were practically together all the time. While I was delirious, I was oblivious to the fact that he on the other hand had started feeling suffocated. I guess things majorly started going wrong because we didn’t communicate our issues with each other. Like any other girl, I had left my family and friends back, got married to the love of my life and shifted to a foreign country. I had thought, he is my best friend, he is my family, and he is my life. I was wrong and the distance between us only kept increasing.

I was dejected, and, to divert my mind, I took up further education. I indulged myself in my books, and while I was trying to not only educate myself but also save the marriage, my husband saw this as an opportunity to continue with his own life. While things looked great from the outside, from within, on some level, both of us knew long back, that we were not meant to be with each other. In all this chaos, we came down to Mumbai for a family function. My sister mentioned that she wanted to gift a puppy to her son on his birthday and gave the responsibility to my husband. My husband was more than excited as he was an insane dog lover. Two days before my nephew’s birthday, my husband came home with a very cute puppy.  As mentioned earlier I was petrified of dogs; even the mention of the word Dog would literally fossilize me. The tiny puppy was in my home and I didn’t even touch him. We took him to the vet, got him vaccinated, and gave him a bath, all ready to be gifted. The two days the puppy was in my house, he would run around, play, eat and snooze most of the time. When the day came to gift him, my husband had already become emotional, and I on the other hand, was waiting for him to go away from my house. We reached my sister’s house and surprised her son with the puppy. He was ecstatic. And finally, the puppy had a name – Casper. When we left the party and sat in the car, that moment hit me like a bolt of lightning. I started crying as I realised, I had got attached to Casper. Those two days that he was at my house, even though I was panic stricken, I had fallen in love with him. Unfortunately, I couldn’t do anything about it!

We were in Mumbai for a month and we got busy in our lives. But there was not even a single moment that I wouldn’t think about Casper. Then one day, my sister called and informed my husband to take Casper back as she was not able to manage the kids and dog, and was doing injustice to him. It was unbelievable. My eyes glowed from joy and my heart was beating faster than a humming birds wings. But it wasn’t that simple. We were residents of Dubai and had to go back. We couldn’t take Casper along with us; UAE isn’t exactly a dog friendly country. Although we had been contemplating moving back to Mumbai for a while, doing that immediately there and then wasn’t an option. My husband and I had a discussion about this and we decided to get Casper home, keep him in boarding lodging, and visit him every 3 months, till we could figure out our future address. Clearly, both of us were not ready to let him go and we bought him home. Our joy had no limits; especially because after months of fighting and differences of opinions, this was the first time that my husband and I agreed to something together and shared our joy.

Life is so unpredictable. When you feel it is the end of the road, you suddenly see a way. Today, as I look back at the last 10 years of my life, I see and believe that ‘Happily Single’ is recognizing that you don’t need or want to be rescued from your life by a handsome prince because your life is pretty awesome, as is! Bing Single is NOT a taboo – There is no need to rush. If something meant to be, it’ll happen in the right time, with the right person, and for the best reason. Being single does not have anything to do with your past, IF you’re single, focus on being a better you instead of looking for someone better than your ex. A better you will attract a better next!

There is only one cause of unhappiness: the false beliefs you have in your head, beliefs so widespread, so commonly held, that it never occurs to you to question them. Over the past few years, I learnt this that never stress about anything. Because whatever you over think and stress about, usually not even 10% of it happens. It’s said that there are more things to alarm us than to harm us, and we suffer more often in apprehension than reality. And, if, when, something does go wrong, you automatically get the strength to face it. Let me not deny the fact that after I got Casper and Junior, my life has been wonderful. In more ways than one, my fur babies have saved my life and turned me into a wonderful human being I am today. Even today, as I have passed through a terrifying phase of my life, Junior still inspires me every day. There is a saying, be like a dog. If you can’t have it or play with it, pee on it, throw some dust and move on. As I am excited for another positive coming up in my life in a few weeks, Junior is doing the best that he does, eat, play, sleep, repeat. And you know what; I would not want to change anything of it. I fall in love with him every single day over and over again.