Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Face on The Finger Puppet

Anoushka was the first baby I carried in my arms, the first baby I bounced on my lap, the first baby I recited poetry to. Until I held Anoushka, I used to hate the thought of caring for babies, but that would all change...and I had Yadav.

For the face on The Finger Puppet, Anoushka's face seemed the perfect choice. Especially when I took this pic of her and Yadav in Austin. But I didn't want to hurt the feelings of my very many nieces, so I decided to draw a generic face on a blown-up image of my thumbprint. As it turned out, the face on The Finger Puppet still looks a lot like Anoushka :-)

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Lovvve, Anu

I had a lot of fun playing here. Now I have to retreat into myself and do some serious writing. Thanks for your comments...I absolutely lovvve the interaction. Email me at anu.jayanth@yahoo.com or leave a comment here. I promise to respond.

Rima, dear, I shall always have a special regard for you...you got me to blog and through blogging I have found my voice for the next novel.I pretty much do my first draft the way I blog, to heck with grammar, that sort of thing.

Razigan, I shall take you up on your offer to read my manuscript :-)

Murphy's Mama, thanks again for giving me Murphy, for a happiness I never thought I'd find again.

Ayanna, Gay, see you in dance. Our morning cardio is especially great, we have some interesting discussions before class. This morning, it was all about legalizing drugs and prostitution.

Lilla, will talk to you this weekend. Lilla and I have known each other for about 25 years and she has been through two divorces and is now single again. Hungarian, peaches and cream skin, short blonde hair, hazel eyes, great dancer, very loving and creative. Any man interested in her will have to have an interview with me first.

Anonymous, thank you. When I was a child, I was very fond of poems written by Anon in Palgraves Golden Treasury. So varied in style, I'd think, not knowing that Anon was short for anonymous.

Venkat, Lynn, LAC, Tripti...many thanks for stopping by.

Lovvve, Anu

Monday, February 16, 2009

Chocolates for Thought (sorry, I'm in a rambling mood)

If a chocolate is available at a drugstore, then it can't be the kind that will have me devour a whole box of them. With this in mind, I got myself a bag of Dove's Promises -- squares of chocolates with a creamy caramel filling -- and tucked it away in the butter compartment in the fridge. Since I don't care for caramel, I could just nibble a bit on the chocolate coating and dump the rest, fool myself into thinking that I'd eaten the whole piece. Certainly better than chewing on a chocolate and then spitting it out, the way a friend does.

Chocolate craving time came and I took one square of chocolate and nibbled on the exterior, as planned. But my tongue clung to the caramel and refused to let go and I had to eat the whole square. That was not all. There was a message on the inside of the unwrapped foil.

A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.

It ought to be a single step...more punch to it. Of course, I had to read more of these messages. I took the bag of chocolates with me and settled on the sofa.

happiness is in the heart, not in the circumstances.

Tell that to the dogs and children being abused, tell that to the prisoners being tortured, tell that to people being blown up by a bomb, tell that to someone who's just lost a dear one. Give me a better one, please.

Listen to the Wind

Ah that's nice. I leaned toward the window and caught the sound of a distant fire engine. I thought of the time when my previous neighbor had dialed 911 because she believed my house was burning. Three fire trucks and cop cars drew up alongside our house and I had to explain to them that it was a false alarm. Just some weeks before that incident, my previous opposite house neighbor, Sally, yanked me out of the house and we went for a walk around the neighbourhood with our dogs.

Sally: Anu, is everything all right with you?

Anu: Yyyesssss. Funny, XX (my next door neighbour) keeps asking me the same question. She phones me at odd hours and asks me if I am all right. Of course, I am all right. I mean, whatever all right means. Does she mean all right in the head or does she mean all right in the body? You know Sally, I think XX is going crazy.

Sally is silent and then she says: Anu, she thinks that Jay is abusing you and she's very concerned. Her son, came over to our house the other day and
he wanted us to make sure you were all right.

Anu: Jay abuse me? Good heavens, no! If anything, I'd say he's the one that is the abused :) (I start to laugh).

From then on, I'd be terrified that if I died innocently (is there such a thing as an innocent death) XX may end up accusing my husband of murder! Not only would he have to deal with the grief of my death, he'd have to deal with all the unpleasant stuff of having to prove that he is innocent :o

Sally was relieved because she is very fond of me. When I went to India, last year, she was so concerned I might starve in India that she bought me a big box of protein bars to see me through a month's stay.

Anyway, after the fire engine false alarm, XX eventually got admitted to a hospital/home.

I sighed, and opened another chocolate.

Call a friend and set a date to get together.

OK, OK will do....later. Can't you see, I'm curled up on the sofa with my Murphy baby, the bestesstttt friend ever. If two years ago, someone had said that I'd love another dog this way, I'd have been mortified. God knows I loved Sirocco so much that I died when he died. And yet, here I am, loving this dog, Murphy, so much and Sirocco is becoming an illusion. Life is indeed very strange, but beautiful.

Feel the grass under your bare toes.

Oh, mmmm... sure, carpet will have to do for now. I dropped my socked feet to the floor. My feet get so cold that if one foot touches the other when I'm asleep, I wake up startled. And we are having a cold front, sorry I'm not baring my feet until summer. What's next?

Feel the grass under your bare toes.

You just said that. Oh come on, give me something different. There were five messages asking me to feel the grass under my bare toes. I refused to comply and ate the rest of the chocolates and stopped reading the messages. I guess the chocolates sold in drugstores can be just as good as the Belgian ones :-)

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Austin Trails

Murphy and I catch the trails at the craggy overhang off Lamar and 30th. It's absolutely a delight to walk Murphy because he's so obedient. I have had him for just over a month now and when he takes off after another dog, I call out, MURRFFF, and he dashes to my side. On the stretch between 24th and 29th, pets are allowed to be off leash, and dogs rub noses, sniff bums and try to hump each other. Mutt-mitts for easy disposal of poop are available at various points on the trails.

Some owners let their dogs off-leash even in non-designated areas. I'm tempted to do this, but a couple I know are suing the owners of a dog that dashed in front of their tandem bike and had the two riders landing on their heads. That's a strong enough deterrent for me not to have Murphy off the leash where he's not supposed to be off leash.

We stopped to watch disc golf -- frisbees as golf balls and chainlink nets on poles, as holes. Fun. Not so fun when I found myself scratching my tummy which looked as though a dozen red bindis were stuck on it. Fleas? Murphy is on Sentinel, but he's going to have a flea/tick shampooing right now. It's such a pleasure to bathe him. He joins me in our shower-stall and enjoys all the grooming and fussing. I do hope he's not a lecherous old man reborn as a dog :-)

Shiv Sena

I was in Whole Foods standing in line at the cashier. The woman in front of me was in a wheelchair, she had a bag slung on the handles of the wheelchair and held another on her lap. In these two bags were all her groceries. Politely declining assistance, she wheeled her way out and waited for a bus for the handicapped to pick her up.

She was young, with straight, blonde hair stopping at her jawline in a trendy cut, but what got me talking to her was her dazzling smile, her white beautifully aligned teeth.

'You're so beautiful, I said. 'And I absolutely love your personality.'

'Oh thank you,' she said.

'Are you in a wheelchair...because of an accident?' I asked her.

'No, I have a degenerative disease,' she said. 'I hear there might be a cure for it this year'. Her mouth twisted to one side as she spoke and I had great difficulty understanding her.

'What's it called?'

It sounded like frieder's Attack. I did not ask her to repeat the name, confident that I'd be able to google it. And I did. It's called Friedreich's Ataxia.

I was thinking, we have so many things that can go wrong in us and instead of cherishing all that we have, we go about destroying each other, and often in the name of religion. When I hear of violence from Hindu groups and, recently, of the pub attack in Mangalore, I'm completely at a loss to understand their thinking.

I'm very curious to know what the Shiv Sena has to say of The Finger Puppet.

Andres Rosales

I'm back in Austin. On the way, on 71, a cop stopped a speeding motorist and I immediately glanced at my speedometer. As always, my speed was well under the speeding limit. With Murphy in the car, I am extra careful. I wondered though what Murphy would do if a cop thrust his head in our car? Would Murphy bark as he does when someone approaches our driveway? Would the cop be startled, pull out a gun? My thoughts spun into a dark comedy as I drove on.

In Bastrop, I pulled into a well-lit gas station and then forgot to turn on my headlights when we got back on the road. I saw the flashing lights of a cop car in my rearview mirror and I exited the highway, parked on the shoulder of the road and waited for the cop's face to materialize. Murphy got up. Stopping again? He thrust his big head in front just as the cop walked over to the passenger side. I lowered the window about two inches.

'I have a dog, I said, even though the cop would have seen Murphy's silhouette through the rear window.

He turned his flashlight on Murphy.

'He's extremely gentle,' I said.

'Can I have your driver's license?' he asked.

First I gave him my credit card, and then my Yoga class card. These days MAC does not charge for Yoga, but I had bought it a year ago only to drop out when I found that I was the only one in the entire class of non-Indians who could not sit cross-legged. Anyway, I kept pulling out various cards, like a magician, from a slim slot in my purse -- specially designed for the driver's license. The cop waited patiently, shining his flashlight on my handbag while I rummaged through the many compartments.

'Here it is,' I said, ‘I knew I had it somewhere.'

He disappeared with it and returned some minutes later. 'I'm giving you a warning this time,' he said.

‘Thanks,’ I said. He really was the nicest cop I have ever met and so I asked him for his name, because that’s not always legible on the ticket/notice. ‘I want to blog about this.’

‘Sure,’ he said, giving me his card.

If all cops were like patrol officer Andres Rosales, being apprehended for a traffic violation may not be such an unnerving experience.

After Slumdog Millionaire

Full of clich├ęs though Slumdog Millionaire is, there were some very compelling images that had me revisiting India in my mind. Hence the long silence...

Wednesday, February 4, 2009


Our house in Chennai, India, overlooked the Buckingham canal on whose banks mushroomed huts of mud and thatch. From up on the terrace, I could look into the homes, hear laughter and song and gossip and brawls. Dog or slumdog, flung at one another and intended to insult, would have me bristling.

‘Don’t insult dogs.’ I’d yell from the terrace revealing myself.

Everyone in the slums knew us or rather, of us, of our love of dogs and creatures. There were always a bunch of strays hanging about our house and guarding our gates. Many of them victims of abuse and rescued by my mother. These slumdogs showed a love and loyalty that very few humans are capable of.

I was very surprised to read this, http://www.tehelka.com/dotnet/mainheadline.asp?id=1

I love the title, Slumdog Millionaire, and I am looking forward to seeing the movie. Over the years, we have grown accustomed to watching DVD’s at home, because I’m usually so cold in the theatre. But for the first time I feel awkward to admit not having seen a movie that all my friends have and are raving about. So this weekend we shall watch the movie on the big screen.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

This is Murphy’s 36 x 48 orthopedic bed. He chose it. Like Goldilocks, he tried the variety of snugglies and snoozies I spread on the floor in Petsmart. Too floppy, he said, rolling off a giant pillow. He didn’t like the boxed-in feeling of the ones that look like a fluffy bathtub. Perfect, he said, stretching himself on this one. I’m going to get another of the same – Road Companion – for his car rides.

After Petsmart, I thought I'd go to the grocers, but of course I couldn't take Murphy along, so I had to leave him home. I hate to be separated from him for even a few minutes. I am tempted to keep my sunglasses on when I enter a store, tap a cane and get Murphy to pretend he's my Seeing Eye dog.