Pleasant Neighbours Vs Annoying Neighbours

Till the time I was not married, I lived in the same house for 23 years. And my parents being so cool as they are, they are always loved by neighbors and other building residents. Fortunately, every resident and neighbors were also so pleasant that we still share cordial relations with them. But as soon as I got married, my luck was never on my side. For some or the other reason, I had to keep changing houses. And that is when I experienced the different types of neighbors, especially when you have dogs.

After we relocated to Mumbai from Dubai, and basically our first house after marriage, we were fortunate enough to get an apartment where the building already had 3 dogs. Adding Casper and Junior, it became 5 dogs in total. My immediate neighbors were dog lovers and very friendly. Overall, all the residents of the building were ok with dogs and did not mind even if I ever walked my dogs at the podium or parking area. In fact, there were times when we even had dog parties having all the dogs gather at the podium and make them play, while the pet parents socialized. Sometimes, even the security guards would tell us to keep our dogs down with them for company. It was safe, and they took good care of our fur babies. I know this, because I am someone who never gives my dogs to anyone when I am not present, but I kept looking from my window which faced the main gate and the security cabin. I lived there for 2 years and had a wonderful experience and stay. I really miss that house and building.

I shifted to another house as I had separated from my ex-husband and had to put up that house for sale. The next society that I lived in, was majorly good. Being a huge society, it had several flats on one floor. My floor had 6 flats. Pretty congested but I had no option. Two of my neighbors were utterly rude, but never interfered in my business. But I always feared encountering them when I would take Casper and Junior for a walk, as they hated dogs. The other three neighbors were chilled out. And one of the couples were such insane dog lovers, that every evening they would bring chicken or fruits for Casper and Junior. Once I got used to the new surrounding and the huge society’s innumerable people, it got a little easier for me take Casper and Junior in the compound for their evening walks. After a period, Casper and Junior were welcomed with open arms by everyone (except my two neighbors) and the kids loved playing with them. I lived there for two and a half years and had to shift again as my lease got over and the owners were looking forward to selling the house rather than putting it up rent again.

The third house that I shifted to, was a disaster, and unfortunately, I lived the longest there, for four and half years. This house had been such a bad luck for me, that every single day I would cry and did not want to spend even a minute more there. But I was facing financial crisis, as well as the legal proceedings for divorce had started, for which I could not change the house.

The day I shifted there, one of the neighbors created a havoc. It had become their ritual to fight with me on daily basis and anyhow, they wanted to kick me out. They were so bad and evil, that even when Casper was ill and vomited blood once on the staircase, the man came and blasted me for making a mess and asked me to clean immediately (which I was obviously going to), inspite of seeing Casper had collapsed and I was struggling to pick him up. Casper passed away within just 18 days of shifting to this house.

However, my other neighbors were so nice, that they stood by me through all thick and thins and cared for Junior and me like family. They looked after me so well, that even when a stranger or service person would come home, someone or the other from their family would come and stand at the door to make sure I was safe. There was a time when I had to be taken to the ER for a deep cut on my hand. My neighbor came with me to the hospital, stood there till I got the stitches, bought my medicines, brought me home and did my dressing every day. In the meantime, their son took care of Junior while I was away, fed him and stayed with him till I came home. Because my hand was nonfunctional for somedays, they made lunch and dinner for me till I was cured.

And finally, the last straw was, one more fight with the disgusting neighbor and I decided to shift even in the lockdown. Today, as I am in the new house, which has far more pleasant and good neighbors, I think to myself that I should have taken this decision earlier rather than spending four and a half years in hell. Junior and me are in a better place now, where he is accepted and loved by all the society members. Kids come to play with him, and the mothers are carefree as they know Junior will do no harm to them.

Sometimes, we linger a lot and hold on to our fears. Fear of the unknown, fear of change. Many a times, there is no problem with us or our life, but it is our surroundings which create problems. But we think, there is something wrong with us. Having the same mentality, I lived in fear and in my comfort zone for many years. Compromising each day thinking “this is my life and I have to deal with it”. But had I shown a little confidence and courage for myself, I did not have to compromise living in a toxic atmosphere that I lived.

It is true. Love yourself, take care of yourself. You must save your own self. Most importantly, trust yourself. We all deserve to live in good atmospheres and live happily. All the solutions are available, we just have to TRUST ourselves that we deserve good and are capable of achieving it.

Codependency

Legitimately, there are so many new words I heard and learnt in the past 4 years that it is unbelievable how our generation and the younger generation has complicated, wasted and made the beautiful term “LOVE” meaningless. Besides ghosting, gaslighting, narcissist, talking stage, etc., codependency is just another word that I learnt.

Now what is codependency? In simple words, it means where a person is needy, or dependent upon another person. Basically, clingy. In a relationship, one person is so addicted to the other, that their life doesn’t function normally without the presence of the other person. In a crux, it is actually an unhealthy relationship.

But here, I mainly want to talk about codependent dogs. Yes, I learnt this word after interacting with a Vet. And to understand it better, I read through some articles on the internet and realized this has become very common these days in a relationship.

I had recently gone to the Vet as we are in the process of changing Junior’s medicated food to normal food. He relatively had less patients that day and was free to talk to me. He shared some not so surprising facts with me about the 2 major issues dogs faced in the lockdown – anxiety and obesity.

Obesity was because of the restrictions during the lockdown and the fear of coming in contact with the virus if humans walked their dogs in public. So most of the dog parents over fed their dogs with treats and crumbs to keep them entertained or not to disturb them when they were on a work call or in short, when they were working from home.

The other problem was, anxiety that the dogs faced was because outdoor activities were limited, socializing was a strict no and every walk was atleast 6 feet away from any kind of interaction with other dogs and humans. Because of the pandemic, the humans stayed home 24/7, which means, it was a party for the dogs. For them, there is nothing better than being with their humans’ day and night for months together. Unfortunately, this in due course resulted to codependency. The dogs became completely reliant on their humans for every minute of their day.

You probably would think, “how cute, my dog follows me everywhere. Aww, he/she loves me so much.” But in reality, your dog has forgotten to grasp the concept of having space, and their dependency could be making them a nervous wreck. They have now become so afraid when you leave the house or are not there at home that they become ecstatic when you come home. Their tails are wagging frantically, they start jumping on you and sometimes, even the house is a mess.

For most of us this is a normal behavior, irrespective of the pandemic. But the difference is, now it has become difficult for the dog to be on their own after we have spent months with them and started suffering from anxiety.

So, how do you know the difference between cuteness and codependency? Here are some signs to check in your dog:

  • Barking more than normal
  • Jumping a lot
  • Howling
  • Peeing on the floor
  • Destroying things at home
  • Following you from room to room
  • Nipping on people who gets close to them
  • Over possessive about their humans
  • Head bobbing
  • Become a little aggressive
  • Eats only after you feed them

These are some signs to look for. If you can relate to some or all of the above, then your dog is completely dependent on you and may develop anxiety if not corrected soon.

When I had relocated to a new apartment, Junior faced codependency for a few days as the place was new. But since I knew it was a temporary phase till he got adjusted, I just let him be. But codependency can turn into a permanent problem for the dogs with the little lives that they have.

Allow me to share some suggestions/tips to help your dog and you through it. But first, let me once again bring light to the fact that their clinginess may look cute, but being responsible dog parents, we have to help them be mentally independent just like how we would for human kids. Here are some tips when they behave to gummy:

  • Pet them less
  • Ignore them when they are wanting too much attention
  • Make sure they sleep or have plenty of things to do when you leave home
  • Be strict on their sleeping time
  • Slowly and steadily start taking them to dog parks and socialize with other dogs (now that the lockdowns have eased all over the world)
  • Even when you are home, send them to their favourite space as time out. Basically, less dog-parent interaction
  • Burn their energy
  • Stimulate their mind with mental games

Let me inform you, sometimes, the way one partner is dependent on the other partner, even humans can be dependent on their dogs. Like some humans cannot sleep without their dog by their side, or some call the day care 10 times to know how their dog is doing, many won’t go on holidays or dates without their dogs, and even if they do, their only topic to talk about is their dog! Either way, codependency is not healthy. For the betterment of everyone living under one roof and the dog, start being honest with yourself. Learn to have a life of your own and also help your dog become healthy mentally.

Flashback of the year 2020!

Last day of 2020, and coincidentally on a Thursday, my blog day! It would only be appropriate for me to use this opportunity to summarize everything that happened in the past 365 days. Sipping on my tea and calmly thinking about this entire year, all I can say is while the year has been a roller coaster ride; it was probably not all that bad mentally.

I started the year with a bang; ended 2019 and began 2020 with friends at a small hill station. Took Junior to a Doggie event where he enjoyed to the fullest. Devoted a lot of time to this blog. Started trying various form of painting and exploring my skills. Sowed the seeds to my new business. While the new venture was kick starting, my partner and me also got into a parallel business which we had not really envisioned. And then, I even changed my hairstyle. Closely, all this I did in the months of January, February, and March, before the lockdown. Bizarre isn’t it? Since December 2019 I kept reading and hearing about the Corona Virus in Wuhan and eventually how Italy and Iran went into lockdown and people would sing from their windows, etc. But never even for the slightest second I thought that India too will go under complete lockdown.

Honestly, I believe no one around the world would have thought that this virus would turn into an outlandish Pandemic. Ever since the lockdown, there were many things that happened which awakened my inner strengths and weaknesses. Let me start by the major turnaround moment, and that was Junior’s deteriorating health. He fell ill in April and continued degrading till September when we finally were able to diagnose what was really wrong with him; needless to be mentioned I had almost lost him. Due to the lockdown and the fear of contracting the virus, we had limited movement, living alone and I was clouded with only negative thoughts. That was the time when I realized Junior was just not my strength, but biggest weakness also. My old fear (Casper’s death) creeped in and I was paranoid beyond belief. But Thank God, since September, Junior’s health took a U Turn and is improving every passing day. He is still not completely fine, as Pancreatitis takes about 3 to 6 months, and, a change of lifestyle to cure, but we are getting there.

Then later in 2020, after years of tears, fears and a long long wait, I finally got divorced. This was another major event that happened in my life this year. The initial few days felt empty, but later, I was rejuvenated.

I also changed my house, which I had been adjourning for the longest time. I was still contemplating whether or not to move, but I finally did and was the best decision this year. After relocating, I grasped the fact that I was living in my comfort zone, and, compromising a lot on my standard of living. The new house opened up my perspective on what I deserved which I had denied for a pretty long time.

The other thing that I did was, I exited many WhatsApp groups. Sounds small and irrelevant, but when you are living alone and cannot get out of the house, the major source of staying in touch with everyone is phone calls and WhatsApp. But I had quit for a few months; the major reason being fake news that were circulated nonstop. The unnecessary panic was not worth and I occupied myself in other indoor activities, specially entertaining Junior to keep him healthy and active, which in turn also kept my mind busy and body healthy.

It’s funny when in bad times; Facebook and Instagram prompts memories of the things you did on a date a year ago or some years ago. Because of this, each and every festival and birthdays also we celebrated on Zoom calls. My friends and cousins often spoke about what we did last year because of the social media prompts. But we also came to a conclusion, that when all this is over, we will all meet up, laugh and remember that how Zoom call was important in 2020. The best part was, Junior was present in every Zoom call and family and friends also used the doggy filter to not make him feel left out – : )

Work from home, cook for yourself, exercise at home, do home remedies to increase your immunity, social distancing, wash your hands, sanitize your house, etc. started as a temporary phase but ended up being the new normal which I still follow inspite of COVID19 cases reducing and the country has opened up.

Therewithal, I realized I was much happier alone and all the forced conversations, friendships and relationships ended. Some I terminated, some others did. This year put an end to all the halfhearted connections. Everyone who was faking, their masks fell off. And I have been the most grateful for all the people who left. It gets lonely sometimes, but being alone is much better than being friends, family or lover with someone who only used you when they were bored. I believe this happened because people spent most of their days indoors this year with their immediate families. Either they realized their closed one’s importance and mended the broken relations, or they realized they were not meant to be together and parted ways. Also, the savings were exhausting and businesses tanking, there was frustration. Because of all the personal issues, the other bonds faded. And those which were weak, crumbled down. In a way, it made me realize who was actually down for me and who was not. This lockdown turned out to be a blessing in disguise.

This year, many lost their loved ones, a lot of people lost their lives, some became bankrupt, jobless and homeless, some sewed up their relationships, others lead up to divorce or break up. Me too, disorientated from a lot of connections, lost a loved one, sinking business, a lot of frustration and panic attacks. But here I am, finally overcoming all the obstacles and setbacks one by one, sitting comfortably on my couch in my new house, with Junior by my side. All the setbacks were hurtful, but also prepared me for a comeback. Each time, stronger, braver and wiser. Everything happens for a reason and now I am positively hoping and wishing for a better 2021 for me and everyone else.

Wishing all of you a very Happy New Year, All The Best and Never Give Up. It gets better!

Fun, Romantic, Silly – Date Ideas During Pandemic!

If the world was easier, would you still want to be with your person? This pandemic has not just affected the businesses and overall health of people, but has led to a lot of breakups too (including mine). But there are some who continued loving their partners no matter what. And there are some who even realized the value of their partners after staying apart due to lockdowns.

Regardless the reason, being in love and being loved is the best feeling in world. Now that the lockdowns have eased, but the fear of Coronavirus is still there, people are reluctant to step out just yet.

So here I am, sharing some fun indoor date ideas to rekindle the mystique once again:

  • Breakfast in bed:

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. And it can be the most romantic too! I can bet over this as I have had firsthand experience. Impress your partner with an unexpected breakfast in bed. Whether you are serving just some hot tea/coffee with toast or cereals or have cooked an exotic breakfast spread, either way, your partner will relish the unexpected room service! The element of surprise is always fun, so attempt to wake up before your partner making the least noise as possible unless you are using appliances like the blender. If your partner wakes up, tell him/her to go back to sleep as you have a surprise. There is bound to be an immediate adrenaline rush hearing that and it will only add up to the excitement. You eat with your eyes first, so make the breakfast presentation in bed extra appetizing. Breakfast dates have been so undervalued but seeing those happy eyes first thing in the morning in your comfort zone is the best feeling.

  • Challenge in the kitchen:

Challenge your partner to a cook-off with random pantry ingredients. Oh my, this is going to turn out to be a laughter riot with romance. Pick a day, and, ask your partner to cook a dish from the ingredients available in the kitchen while you cook another one. Do not let each other know what you’ll are cooking and then…BOOM! You have 2 dishes with a lot of laughs and sweet fights for the same appliance or ingredients; some mess, and, a lot of kinky touching each other.

  • Spa at home:

Relax your partner with an at-home spa day. A scented candle, face packs, essential oils, steamy music, and, you are on cloud 9. This will even open doors for communication. Communicate openly, and, be open for communication. This is an unprecedented time in our lifetimes and it will create a series of emotions. Being able to talk about emotions and needs is the key to getting through these though times, and, it can happen smoothly when you are relaxed.

  • Dress up and role play:

This can be as romantic as possible to get it on. Wear your best lingerie or a party dress or tuxedo or just boxers. This itself will get you started. Have some drinks, and, role play to totally spice up your night. Let all your imaginations and fantasies come to life!

  • Workout together:

Whether it is yoga or weight lifting or just normal exercises, plan a day to do it together.                Choose exercises that couples can do with little kisses here and there. Couples that workout together, stay together. Hold hands, help each other in counts, reward your partner if he/she completes a fixed number of squats or pushups, etc. This surely turns out to be a hot and steamy workout session 😉

  • Test your singing skills:

A karaoke night singing your lungs out, wrong lyrics, bad voice and lots of fun. You do not have to be a fantastic singer, all you have to do is build the atmosphere and sing duets with your partner. Dance a little while singing, sing solo, have a great selection of songs, dim the lights, make videos of it and upload for fun, try a song of the opposite sex, etc. All in all, a creative and unique date night.

There are many other indoor date ideas like playing board games, floor picnic, dinner date, etc. But the above ones are sure shot to bring in a lot of laughter and reawaken the romance. Always remember, romance is not about the quantity of time you spend with each other, it is about the quality. But never suffocate each other by being around at all times. Give each other space, and, have your own life too.

As for me, I have never got bored living alone, and, I continue to have my own life even after being in a relationship. I have Junior and 50% of my day revolves around him. The other 50%, I work, paint, cook, read and exercise. At the moment, I am content with life and happy how it is going. In the near future, when I have a partner, I am surely going to try all the above date ideas. But I will modify them a little to involve Junior in it. One important tip, if you have dog, do leave him alone in a room or some place in the house for 2-3 hours. Because once we all start with our routine after the Novel Corona Virus, dogs will get separation anxiety if we leave the house. And for sure, you get those 2-3 hours to continue with your romantic date ideas as well!

A small week before a big week 😬

The featured image is of Mushroom Masala.

Enjoyed super quick and delicious Paneer Makhani Pizza made at home on a Tawa 🤤
This is how one of the days my lunch plate looked like. Mushroom Masala, homemade Pickle (made by my Mom), Malabari Paratha and Chocolate Mousse.
Methi Onion Paratha…So healthy and tasty. Had it with curd.
Tomato and Cottage Cheese Burger. One was enough. It was so filling.
Noodles in White Sauce and the veggies include Cauliflower and Chickpeas. The most tastiest dish I made this week.
We went to the Vet and Junior met his Mamu (Mumma’s brother) after 4 months and he just couldn’t stop admiring him 😍
He was so excited after meeting Mamu, that by the time we came home, he had drained all his energy and I had to cool him down.
Checkout his excitement 😆
Shamelessly gave him a shameless Vanilla Ice Cream 😜
Relishing his Ice Cream 😘
When I paint 😊
Walk in the rain under one umbrella ❤️

Life would be RUFF without you!

Had we ever even imagined that in our entire life time we would be in a situation like the ones we are in today? Arrogant humanity always thought that among all living beings only humans can write a sensational story in the world! But here’s a nano organism called corona-virus – proved the opposite of this!  But the fact is that the mind is more powerful than the body and it’s all a matter of acceptance! We all panicked first when the lock-down was first imposed, and, now we are adopting to this new lifestyle which has come to be known and the “new normal”.

In India, the lock-down was imposed on the 24th of March 2020 for 21 days initially.  My first few days went in utter panic as to how am I going to stay at home alone with Junior. I also feared Junior’s walks and well-being for staying locked in for 21 days. But as days passed by, the fear subsided and I started to accept the realty and make adjustments to living the new lifestyle. Junior, I must say, has been such a patient dog that he too adjusted to the new normal. As such, Dogs have a keen sixth sense and usually know when they should behave how. I read quite a few articles where some people adopted dogs during the lock-down to give them company; on the other hand I also hear stories about some people who chose to abandon their dogs as they either feared contracting the virus or just didn’t have enough money left to support the dog due to going out of work. Now, after 3 months and with some relaxations in place for the lock-down, I am reading that many who adopted dogs during lock-down are giving them up for adoption again. It is said Catastrophe reveals character, and those who are treating dogs as toys are in my opinion not worth being called humans.

I am a dog mom and under no circumstances I would ever abandon my dogs. Whether I have to get married, leave the country, the pandemic, any natural disaster, lack of money, etc. My dog is my baby and just because he is an animal, does not make his importance any less.  During these though times, I have tried to make Junior’s life as comfortable as I could. I agree it wasn’t easy, but, if you have the will, you will find the way. In these 3 months, I did have my ups and downs; I too got depressed and anxious for some reason or the other.  But I never let that affect Junior.

We lost a young and talented movie actor to suicide around 2 weeks ago. The whole country is mourning his death; Infact, many young kids who were his die-hard fans also committed suicide as they grieved over this news. There are a lot of speculations to why he took such a drastic step; some say he was in depression due to work, some say he had family issues. While the truth has gone to the grave with him, his demise has raised many questions about people suffering from depression. The reason I mention this is because, he had a dog too named Fudge; A very cute and adorable Labrador. It makes me wonder; didn’t he think of his dog before taking his life? Where was his dog when this happened? My mom always says, when a person wants to take his own life, it is just a matter of seconds, and if in those seconds someone calls or talks to them or diverts their mind, this can be averted. I can say this is 100% true. I remember the time when I was ready to commit suicide and just in the nick of time, Casper jumped on me and started licking my tears. That was the first and last time I had ever thought of taking my life. After that incident, I pledged to work on myself and my life, especially for my dogs. Had it not been for Casper, I wouldn’t be here right now writing this. There are many people who have come forward to adopt the late actor’s dog. I hope he finds a wonderful house, and, I also hope people understand that a dog is for life, not just for a global pandemic.

Are dogs really good for you? Let me share my views on this based on my personal experience:

  • Dogs are just not cuddle partners. In fact, they bring real health benefits. They help lower stress levels not only in adults but also in children. Dogs have also been linked to lower blood pressure.
  • Despite of gyms being shut and the inability to go out for walks, I have been physically active because of my dog. I literally have the best buddy to work from home, who gives me continues breaks by tapping on me so that I get up from my chair and give him a treat or give him belly rubs.
  • Dogs keep you mentally sane – Due to Junior, there has never been a dull or boring moment in all these days
  • Dogs are very alert and Junior is usually at the door even before the bell rings. Their sixth sense make them extremely intelligent companions
  • Dogs make you forget HATE; as such the word HATE does not exist in their dictionary
  • My dogs not only saved my life, but If I am even just sad, they cuddle me and all my sadness is driven away. Even though I feel I am taking care of my dogs, the reality is, they are taking care of me
  • I automatically become more attractive to people when I say I have a dog J hahaha true!
  • I sleep well and fearless at night; I practically need no one to talk to, because I keep talking to my dogs and they listen without judging me
  • My dog’s social media account has more followers than my personal account (rolling eyes)
  • I have made more friends in the past few years because of my dogs
  • If I am on the phone for too long, he starts growling and barking at me to hang up, sometimes it’s the best thing to end a boring phone call J
  • He is the best excuse for me to come home early as I do not like socializing a lot
  • I love my space and when some people want to hang out with me uninvited, I suddenly remember I have to take Junior for a walk J

Let’s all us pet parents agree, some way or the other we have used our dog’s excuse to get out of a boring or unwanted situation. Isn’t it? The only disadvantage of a dog is, their short lives. Apart from that, I am a very happy and content person now. And I cannot thank God enough for sending my dogs to me accidentally. This lock-down made me realize, we need very little to live happily, and if you have the company of a dog, life is still so beautiful even though there are speculations that the world in going to end. It’s really all about being content with what we have, and what we can make out of it. We can either sit and crib today speculating the tomorrow; or we can live today and have fond memories of it tomorrow. The only thing to remember is today can never be lived again, and the last thing we want is to tomorrow repent wasting our today!

We sparkled every single day 😊

Another picture gallery of all the fun Mumma and Baby had in the lockdown.

The featured picture is of Quinoa made in Tomato Puree. Healthy, delicious and filling. Yum!

Onion Rawa Dosa made from Semolina, Rice Flour, Onions and Green Chillies. It is super easy, super fast and super tasty.
Cottage Cheese Enchiladas. The sauce is homemade and the filling is of Paneer and White Sauce. It’s not a typical Enchilada, but I tried something different and it turned out to be too good.
A vegetable to be had with Rotis made with Bell Peppers and Gram Flour. Another quick and delicious dish to make.
Another Sabzi made with Potatoes and Lady Fingers. This is my all time favourite dish to eat with Chapati.
Painted a colourful rainy evening couple.
Made this handsome baby Goofy’s portrait in Oil Pastels as a gift for a friend. This baby is no more. But always in our hearts ❤️
It takes 4 muscular men to get Junior’s nails cut 🤣
Post nail cutting, he sleeps in his all time favourite weird position. But sleeps like baby as he has lost all his energy in resisting nail cutting.
Then Mumma had to pamper him and remind him that he is always a good day 😍