Celebrating One Year of Blogging!

I am so elated at this moment to celebrate my one year of Blogging; to say that I am cherry and merry just does not do enough justice to my feelings! I remember, for the longest time I wanted to start my own blog to share my life experiences, and, the importance of dogs in my life. But somehow, my actions were always blocked by an invisible anxiety. Had it not been for my friend & business partner, who learnt about my passion and encouraged me to act on it, I wouldn’t be having a toast of completing this wonderful one year of Blogging.

Today, as I am typing this, at one side I feel nothing has changed. But on the other hand, when I reflect on the past year, everything has changed; except for Junior and his unconditional love. Allow me share my experience of Blogging in the past year.

It started with, I was sitting in my partner’s office having a light hearted chat with him, where I mentioned about my dream to start a blog. He lent an ear and then opened his browser, booked a domain, made me a profile on WordPress and told me to get started. I was flabbergasted. But that maneuver gave me a push, and, finally made me work on my dream. Initially, I was scared as I didn’t know how to work on WordPress and honestly, I didn’t even know where to begin with or which topic to start off with first. Nevertheless, my friend helped me out in that as well.

Isn’t it staggering, this past year changed everyone’s lives! The pandemic ruined so many beings than built a living. Many breathed their last, numerous lost their jobs and houses, the depression rates are at all-time high. And now, all of us are limping back to normality. Whereas, for me, it was a good opportunity to build my blog and share my raw experiences with all of you. I also took a new turn in my career and started a new business. Junior fell seriously ill and recovered. I got divorced. I also relocated. Woah! So many escapades and yet, here I am; sitting with my cup of tea and Junior by my side. So many changes, yet somethings never change.

Blogging has helped me to share my piece of ups and downs without being judged and without any fear. I am so glad I got at it; or else my fear would have always kept me away from this wonderful experience to all intents and purposes of openly being who I am.

In true words, this is honestly a celebration as I have received a lot of feedback from friends and followers telling me how some of my posts have inspired them in their personal lives and how they look forward to read more every Thursday. Nothing better than being a tribute in uplifting someone’s soul, right!

Besides personal life, I also got a lot of insight about dogs wellbeing which time and again I anticipated in sharing here. It wasn’t that I always had something to write. There were days when I struggled with topics to share. Into the bargain, I have even been rebuked by my friend for not sharing much about dogs sometimes. Nonetheless, I always had a comeback in a way that, “I am a dog mom, I have a personal life as well. I can always share that side of my life. And for all that we know, Casper and Junior have always been my strong pillars.”

It has been overwhelming to read comments, appreciation and even criticism. All this only pushes me to be as authentic, and, raw as I am, and deliver useful content to help anyone out there. I have also shared my other hobbies of cooking and painting which too received a good response. Whereas that’s just a part of me, I will always want to be known as a proud Dog Mom.

I would like to thank each and every one of you for being a part of my journey, for encouraging me and for your continuous support. It gives me immense pleasure to share this gratitude with all you people and I am blessed to have a very supporting family and microscopic but profuse friend circle who have always been a brawny support system in my life. I will continue sharing rightful and veritable posts and your sustained assistance is highly appreciated. Thank You!!!

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!

What has the pandemic done to us!

Anxiety, depression and suicide are the only things I hear these days apart from someone testing positive from the novel Corona Virus COVID-19. I will be wrong if I say I am now immune to anxiety; though I do not get depressed at all. But anxiety definitely takes a toll on me sometimes. It is said, if a person is living in the past, they suffer from depression. And if a person wants all the answers to the future, they are living in anxiety. And there are some, who suffer from both, which sometimes become fatal and leads to suicide.

In India, in the past few months, we came across a lot of celebrity suicides, which is heartbreaking. And I can say, it was the highest during this lockdown and testing times. We feel, they have name, fame, money, luxury, etc., then why do they have to commit suicide. Some of them even happily married or in happy relationships. But still they decided to end their lives. Well, we will never know the answers as none left behind any suicide note. But one thing I can say, and specially to people who always feel that the grass is greener on the other side, that money or fame or luxury or even being with the perfect life partner is not the only way to live. So what has this pandemic done to us? It has taught us these very important crucial life lessons.

It has taught us that savings is the most important thing in life. It has taught us that not only can we survive with just the bare minimum, but also live happily. It has taught us the importance of essential items. When the lockdowns were announced worldwide, no one rushed to buy a new car or a new dress or an expensive purse. But everyone dashed to buy groceries, medicines, and, even toilet paper. This pandemic has also thrown light on the importance of having our family around us safe and healthy. This pandemic edified us to do small small work on our own like fixing the light bulb or cleaning the clogged drain for which we used to be dependent on other people. It has created many bakers and chefs who had never even made a cup of tea in their entire life. It has coached many to start living a healthy lifestyle and I am the biggest example for this. I was a junk food eater and would barely drink water throughout the day. Now, out of fear though, I have started cooking healthy meals, taking my multivitamins, drinking adequate water and many other healthy things which I will share with you’ll below in detail.

Mumma drew eyebrows on me because she was bored, and now she is laughing like a mad woman – Junior

To one side the good things this pandemic has taught, it has also tested many relationships. Never in my life I had heard about so many divorces or breakups before. All the relationships that were built on shaky foundations collapsed. This shows that most of the relationships were only materialistic, either physical or monetary, and when it was time to show true love, many failed. And there were some, who were so bored and tried to reach out to their ex….ha ha ha! Since the only mode of communication during lockdown is video calls or phone calls, just like a long distance relationship, after an argument, you never know if you are going to speak to your partner ever again or no. And as the favorite thing or I can say, the most fashionable thing what people are doing is “ghosting”. Many couples are also restoring to breakups over zoom calls. Or to not sound bad or irresponsible, slowly and steadily one person starts getting distant giving excuses about increased responsibility at home or work tension due to lockdown or any other excuse and eventually disappears leaving the other person with many unanswered questions and a brutally broken heart left to heal on its own.  And the next you know, they are dating someone else which turns your life upside down. SAD!

We must understand, these are testing times. Instead of behaving like jerks and idiots, one should take a few days to figure things out instead of just breaking up. You can navigate tough waters without having to disentangle from a relationship. Take a few weeks to figure things out. It’s important to note that at such a time, our ‘shadow selves’ can also come out. We all have a ‘shadow self’, which could be impacted by past baggage, traumatic memories, and things we are not aware of. In other times, we are distracted by work, but when we are by ourselves, we may not know how to deal with past emotional pain. Don’t take impulsive decisions. Unless, one has been cheating behind the scenes or as I said before that an ex sent a text out of no where and the old feelings came rushing back in, then there is no solution to it and the strained one should move on with dignity and self-respect. And use this lockdown to better yourself and rise from the ashes stronger. Trust me, breakup during lockdown will look like a challenge, but soon, you will start loving your me-time. And you will have one less person to worry about….ha ha ha ha ha!

Apart from breakups, savings are drying up and there is less to zero income which is the biggest concern right now. Many of us are struggling to cope with this and the only solution is when the country entirely opens up and the number of Corona Virus Positive cases drastically reduce. Also, all of us are desperately awaiting the vaccine for same.

Mumma should be reminded that I am not a girl – Junior

I am trying my best to stay healthy and keep my immunity on top notch. Taking all precautions like face mask, sanitizer, social distancing, etc. Rest I leave it in God’s hands. Let me share with you’ll the home therapy I am doing for good health and immunity.

  • I take nasal steam 2-3 times a day
  • I drink a cup of Kadha a day. Kadha in India is an age old Ayurveda drink used for cold, flu, immunity and overall health. Add crushed peppercorns, ginger, cloves, cinnamon stick, green cardamom, turmeric, tulsi leaves, mint leaves and lemon juice to water and bring it to boil till the water turns to half quantity. Strain and add a little honey and drink warm.
  • On waking up, I have a warm glass of water with a pinch of salt, turmeric powder and lemon juice on empty stomach.
  • Later I have a glass of warm turmeric milk
  • I take multivitamin and Vitamin C tablets

All the above I have apart from regular lunch and dinner. Please note, for some these above home remedies or therapy may create a lot of heat in the body to handle and build acidity. So do only what suit your body. As you all know, I live alone and again even in this crisis, my baby Junior has kept me rational and level headed. Thank God that animals cannot contract the Corona Virus and they are safe. I thank Casper and Junior every day of my life. And I thank God for creating such beautiful and loyal creatures and giving me the opportunity to wake up every morning to the face that loves me the most. My heart would be emptier and life would be less with my dogs.

I see an Angel every morning when I open my eyes. And that Angel is Junior ❤️

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.”