Dog, Friendship, Pet, Indian Dog, lab, labrador, mans best friend, journey

A new beginning 

Meet Marshall. He’s a loving, 8 month old (I can’t be too sure of the actual age) lab-mix. After loosing Coco a lot of people advised me to get a new dog ASAP. But I just couldn’t get myself to do it, it seemed wrong in a way, an insult to Coco’s memory. How could he be so easily replaced? And so I dealt with his absence and came to terms with the fact that he may never come back. His loss affected my entire family in very different ways. My sister bought another lab and fortunately I had the privilege of occasionally living with her family (her hubby and her) and helping out in bringing up Caesar. We went through another round of gastro with him, fortunately he survived. Came out stronger, if I could say so. Now he’s a complete menace, with a mind of his own, he’ll be the most obedient dog when it’s just his mom and dad, but should a guest (read: me) come home, all hell breaks loose. 

Caesar

And still I wasn’t ready yet to bring one of my own. I can’t fathom what came over my mom when she decided that we needed a dog. Her primary objective was a guard dog, to scare away any trespassers. Since we had moved to a new property, a huge 2.1 acre bungalow with a low fence. It was an easy target for school children passing by to pick tamarinds off the huge trees. We’ll get a stray off the road, that’s what she had decided. 

And so after my dear sisters research, we came across Mission Possible and the lady behind it– Padmini Stump. Such a big heart that woman had, nestled in the Shankar Seth roads of Pune was her dog shelter. She had been responsible for single handedly taking care of abandoned dogs and strays. We went, we met her. I saw so many dogs, in such miserable conditions 😞 A dog had half his ear chipped off because some neighborhood kids had set off a firecracker in his ear, another one had wounds all over his body– he was used as bait to train other guard dogs. All rescued and all of them had started trusting in humans again thanks to her!  Human beings can be really cruel sometimes. And then there are those who open their hearts and homes to service, not humankind, but the ones in most need of help the pets/strays.

Once she knew our requirements she showed us her Doberman- Tiger. Nice and loveable, he would do. But my heart was set on Coco. “Do you have any labs”,I asked hopefully. And out they came one by one. 

Kajal- the lab we could have had

Kajal-She was so loveable and full of energy! Your typical lab. What Coco could have grown up to be. And then came Marshall. A thin lanky cute little angel. He’s the ginger coloured dog in the pic above! He had some small wounds and some skin coming off but we knew when we saw him it would be him. And just like that the decision was made. Padmini would come to our house to drop Marshall off the next day! 

The next day when she got Marshall home, he jumped out of the rickshaw and came running down the pathway to greet us and we towards him. It was as if we were being reunited and he was always ours, always meant for us. I’ll never forget that moment, when he just rushed into my arms without a moments hesitation. He knew he was home! 

Since the day I got Marshall in our lives, we never looked back. Everyday was an adventure. He didn’t have the typical over energetic behaviour of labs and the intent to destroy and chew evrything that comes his way. So we bought him a new home

Marshall sleeping in his bed

And then he destroyed it after a few days 😂😂 I got him a ball to play fetch, he loves chasing after it. Although he never brings it back to me, he’s more than happy to chew away at it.

His ball, torn in the middle, resting on his chair

 I love taking him for walks around the property, although he loves running wild, free and chasing the squirrels or the ants scurrying away for the day. It’s such a delight watching him in action. Like a gazelle he prances through the property chasing the squirrels and cats that always elude him or barking the pigs of the property. When I leave him free to run around, that’s when he is really in his element, runs around to his satisfaction and then comes back to me😍
Tried the famous photo of the photographer following the model around the world🙈
Something in the ground warranted Marshall’s attention. No, he wouldn’t back-down.

He loves his car rides, my Marshu and he’s quick to jump on the seat if the door is open. P.S when no ones there in the car, he’s always my co-passenger. The best to-date. Yes, he directly jumps on the seat and is set to take in the sights with his tongue out and ears flapping in the wind.

King of the hill

I love him so dearly, but does that mean he has replaced Coco? I don’t think so. I always whisper to him about his older brother who too would’ve loved to help him chase the birds, butterflies, cats and pigs. How Coco is watching over him, happy that he has a home now too. I’m sure they would have loved each other.

Brothers: Marshall and Coco
 

Just like me, he too is a fussy eater. Probably that’s why he hasn’t put on much mass since he got here. I’m sure with time as he growls older, he’ll put on some more. Of course not to the point of becoming obese but still…everyday is an adventure with him and I’m looking forward to what’s next. A lot of times people ask me, is he a lab or is he a stray. Honestly I don’t care. He’s Marshall! 

Marshall
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Hold on or move on

Ever put your all into something? Only to realise years down the line that maybe it was never worth it.. I often wonder about ‘unconditional love’. It’s true when they say that the only people who will be there for you always are your family and your close friends (if you’re lucky to still have them) 

I’m sure I’ve been a horrible, selfish and ungrateful daughter and sister most days to my family and yet when the storm passes they’re always there for me. No, I’m not a teenager anymore and yet I find myself on the verge of an impending heartbreak. And like a lovelorn child I choose to vent it out here. This anonymous platform where I can just say my piece and get some peace. Don’t get me wrong, it’s great to get advice at these moments. But in these moments the ‘yea you’re right’, or the ‘you’ll be over this by tomorow and you’ll will be good again’ just seems so empty. It’s definitely not what I want to hear right now. And therein lies my other problem-I don’t know what I want right now. 

It’s been a while, you’re in a relationship and your going steady and it’s great and then you get settled in. There’s a comfort level that’s established and you get so used to everything and then it gets bad and the relationship monster raises his ugly head. Accusations are hurled, taunts are yelled, you hit them where it hurts, the battle cry has begun and your tongue is your only weapon. Yes, the brain shuts down and the bitterness takes over, and there’s no taking back what was said. Maybe it was never meant to be taken back, cause whatever was said was meant to be said after all. Taken for granted. Disappointed, miserable and hurt. The battle is done. You pick up what’s left and call it a day. Wounded and broken you make your way back. Time to decide now. 

And as I sit making up my mind I’m left thinking, was I wrong or was I wronged. It was beautiful while it lasted but if you find yourself alone everytime you have an issue with something you know it’s wrong to hold on. But it’s been so long and such a great ride so should I be so quick to move on? 

Brands, customer service, post sales support, Airtel, Samsung, Tata Sky, FloraIndia, Zomato, HUL, PureIt, Uncategorized

Customer Satisfaction-Are we there yet? 

When I had a pet, I was a frequent customer at the vets. During my numerous trips there while my pup was really sick I noticed a pattern-most of the foreigners would come in with their stray dogs, though not many local people adopt the strays, they actually make for really great companions. I should know, I’d had 2 myself earlier. So this foreigner walks in with a very aggressive black dog and when it’s finally her turn with the vet, her first question is,’what’s wrong? Is evrything okay with you?’. This surprised me as am sure it did the vet to. He seemed totally zapped and replied that all’s good. This explanation wasn’t enough for her. She went on to explain that when she approached him she told him hi and he didn’t respond, that if she is not feeling welcome and at ease with her vet why should she stay there. So she went on complaining for about 2-4 minutes while I listened on in the other room fascinated. I felt bad for the vet as he was trying to assure her that though it seemed that way to her he didn’t mean it and well they finally moved on to the examination. 

I thought to myself this is a woman who’s used to good service. And she will not settle for anything less. Even if it is a simple hi not being acknowledged well. Lucky is she for the place she hails from imbibes a sense of never settling for anything but the highest levels of service.   Here we are just lucky enough to get our turn after a long wait, be it a bitchy/bored receptionist or a quick to wrap it up representative. 

I have experienced some great customer service in the hospitality industry, I wonder why it’s not the same with the others. I’ve heard from a close friend on her first trip abroad how rude she found her own local customs/immigration personnel whereas the same formalities were explained with so much respect and in a simplified manner that left no doubts in the airports abroad. 

I personally have had numerous horrible experiences with the telecom industry. Once an avid supporter of the telecom provider Airtel after numerous follow ups I ended that relationship thanks to mobile number portability and soon after switched to a different ISP as well. Although I did feel cheated having to pay a lot more than what was owed but nevertheless happy to never look back again. Now whenever I see their female short haired perky protagonist claiming to have coverage everywhere (yes even in the most deserted mountain ranges though I never managed to get any in the heart of my city), all I hear is Nicholas Fraser’s Why you always lying! 

Another issue I had of late was with my water purifier. After upgrading to a 19L water purifier called PureIt I didn’t think that I would have to deal with lousy customer service since it belonged to brand HUL. But how they proved me wrong! Numerous follow ups from my end, numerous fake promises from their end and no pure water for days on end. Finally frustrated with the customer care I decided to give them a shout out on social and I wasn’t surprised to see their Twitter handle was flooded with many clients facing a similar issue like me. Although they did come and repair it the machine broke down a few days later and I decided that just like that flooded handle of theirs and I don’t have the patience to deal with my literally flooded kitchen. Bye bye PureIT by HUL! And ever since that day I’ve actually shyed away from their CPG products as well. I guess hell  hath no fury like a customer scorned! 


I also found myself in a similar situation for my Samsung washing machine. I completely lost track of the number of my follow ups with the customer care. After around 6 days of continuous calling and staying on hold, finally a representative came over to resolve the complaint. What surprised me was that the service which was supposed to cost around 500 rs was free because of the trouble. WOW! I was surprised. Finally here is a brand that actually says, ‘hey you’re upset and we are sorry’. No the free service does not make up for the grief I was put through but it tells me that you are listening and you want to make it right. And for that I am really glad I chose you and I will really want to stick with you! 

Tata Sky is another brand with whom I have always experienced an impeccable level of customer service. I’ve also found food ordering app Zomato and online flower delivery provider FloraIndia to take their customer feedback very seriously. As a customer it feels really great to know that you’re important and you’re being heard no matter how big or small my contribution is to your business. Kudos to the brands who are reaching new levels of customer satisfaction. 

I only hope I’ll live to see the day when all the brands in my country would strive to go beyond customer satisfaction to customer delight. That one day we could be like the foreigner not at the mercy of some brand/person and not ready to settle for anything but the highest levels of customer service be it telecom, banking, fmcg or any industry. After all isn’t it cheaper to retain an existing customer than to acquire a new one? Or maybe it’s just #GreatExpectations

Coping, Dog, Dreams, Friendship, loss, Meaning

If only 

I had that dream again today. It’s been almost 2 months he’s gone and yet the memories keep haunting me. It starts with a small innocent memory and it grows the good times so few and the bad memories catch up and I find myself reliving those last days. 

I have a recurring dream though. One I don’t want to loose. The places and situations are different but the outcome is always the same he almost died but somehow survived. Just barely escaped the clutches of death and he’s there with me my sweet 2 month old puppy frozen in time. Though technically he should be 4 months old now, had he survived. Sigh 

I’m petting  him and so happy that he made it. Somewhere deep down I know it’s a dream and yet I enjoy it, I want to believe it. I need it to be true. I’m so happy he’s here and I’m holding him somehow I know our time is limited so I try to make the most of it. I don’t even wonder why he’s not being his usual active self and running around and biting evrything he can lay his teeth on. Maybe my subconscious is tryin to bring me back to the reality that ‘he didn’t make it and this isn’t real’. 

It’s overwhelming holding him again there’s so much left to say. Does he understand that I miss him dearly?  Does he know that I love him so much? What does he have to say about evrything? Does he miss me? Knowing our time is limited I don’t mull over these questions too long. Just enjoy the moment and sure enough I’m jolted back to reality. 

Another precious moment torn away from me way before my time. I was not ready to let go so soon. And there I lay wondering, if only…

loss, Uncategorized

Dealing with loss

Death. It’s all around us. We read about it in the news, we see it on the news, we hear about it from our friends but yet we seem unaffected by it. We carry on with our lives with just a thought that yes something bad has happened to someone somewhere, but that’s all it is- a brief thought. All we may feel at most is empathy. 

Until that monster raises his ugly head to strike where it hurts and then when we are exposed to the sheer brutality of death it HITS our very core! And moving on seems impossible. But nature has its way and coping with death is one of the things that we are gifted with beforehand. Nobody teaches us to deal with it, it just happens. 

Hear those empty consolations from your well wishers as you whisper a polite thank you and they say time heals, it will get better, translation- you will get used to it in time. No you may never forget but everytime you remember it will hurt less. 

It’s not yet been a month since my pup passed away. The first week was the worst. The grief came every other hour and with it waves of pain with uncontrollable tears. Then it got better. After avoiding the places he used to tread I finally came to terms with facing it all and I walked his paths and remembered him and no tears were shed. 

And I thought this is it, I’m finally able to remember him and not break down every time I do. But in the last week as I went to his room in the middle of the night it all came back. The tears, the grief the sadness it all overpowered me again and that’s when I realised, I may never be completely over it. The pain may reduce but in some corner the pain of those last few days will always remain. I try to think of our happy times together but somehow it’s the last days and his pain that keeps  overpowering the happy thoughts. 

In this age of tech I resorted to what any other millennial would do, thank God for google. Though there are others out there it doesn’t help. With everything I read (the first site being mydogjustdied.com)I just wondered why I had to be in this situation, why couldn’t he have survived, why did he even get sick, why was our time so short? 

None of my questions remain answered, I just hope and pray he is happy chasing birds and biting pipes and dragging branches and biting shoes wherever he is.  HAPPY..  Atleast that would make one of us… 

Dog

Bye bye Coco 

Death is a horrible monster. I’ve never  experienced a passing in person and nothing I know could have ever prepared me for when it struck. 

Death is unfair, especially when it strikes when you least expect it. A good 20 days back I was blessed with a little angel my Labrador retriever, after much thinking Coco we christened him. But alas fate had a cruel plan for us. He was happy all the time, running around, chewing everything except his Kong and bone and other toys, putting his mouth where it didn’t belong and being naughty! How I loved him! 

But then he got sick it started with an innocent puking, I took him to the vet ASAP but meds, antacids just wouldn’t stay down. And then the ordeal began, viral gastral enteritis or whatever it was. Pooping and puking had become an everyday thing, as much as I cleaned between trips to the vet for his saline and other meds I felt like a single mother! My family pitched in wherever they could but it was not meant to be. Destiny. Only 50% make it they said, unfortunately we were the other 50% 

As we buried him and I laid a rose on him I couldn’t help but curse the universe for taking him away. Death is easy life is hard. It surprised me how easily I began referring to him in the past tense I hated it. I wished it could go back to the present tense. But nothing in the world could bring Coco back! Everything from the clinic to the burial site was a blur, I was completely oblivious to the stares and curios eyes each wondering why this girl is crying her eyes out. 

Coming back home was the hardest part. Knowing he will never run that path again kills me. Coco you are loved and you will be greatly missed. 

Yes, nothing can prepare you for loss. All that’s left is a 20 days worth of memories and emptiness. 

I spoke to many strangers at the various clinics I went with my Coco, all of them had loads of advice and how this doc is the best doc etc. This is the line that stuck with me- 

Addiction hai yeh (they are an addiction), once you love them you get mad for them, you can do anything for them. That’s what she’d said, but I wonder what do you do when u can’t save them… 

Shopping

Whatever happened to customer service?? 

Recently had a lousy experience with a retail outlet. Was completely appalled by the behavior of the in-house tailor, what was more disturbing was the neutral attitude of the manager incharge. 

Considering the sorry state of consumer satisfaction I’m well aware that no change will come from my negative feedback, nevertheless I would like to pen (in this case- type) down my feelings to them, so here goes- 
Dear Pantaloons,

Just had a horrible experience shopping at your outlet at SGS mall Pune. 

Purchased some items which needed alteration, after I was assured at the billing counter would be done by the tailor at the customer service desk. 

After waiting for about 20 minutes I was greeted by a very rude tailor who flat out refused to do the alteration saying he only does the length without even listening to my problem. I have no idea from which presidential suite this tailor hailed from but I do not appreciate being spoken to in that way! 
Being a member and a regular shopper at Pantaloons your one employee has completely ruined my relationship with your store! Maybe a little more efforts with your recruitment the next time around. Rest assured will alert my social circles of the unpleasantness they can expect at your stores as well! 

Namaste! 

Regards, 

Highly irate customer! 

So much for the customer is king attitude..

Uncategorized

Thank you- A term lost to an older time 

My sister s getting married at the end of the month. After 10 years of courtship, they finally came around to tying the knot. With just a few days to go for the big day, the last minute shopping was becoming a tiring affair ( primarily because all the major shopping was left for the last month! ) 

After a particularly long and exhausting day of shopping we ( sister, mom, aunt and me) were all but ready to catch a cab and go home, a young girl with a worried look on her face approached us. 

‘Excuse me, do either of you have the Ola app? My battery has died and I am stranded’ she said. 

Now whenever a stranger approaches someone with such a request, it usually involves some heavy decision making cause the good old days of the simple times don’t exist anymore. 

My sister obviously denied the request since she frequently uses the app and had a good amount of balance on her app whereas I had a measly rs 100 balance. 

I figured she looked like a decent girl, who was just stuck in a helpless situation and I decided to help her out. Not expecting anything in return of course. An hour later I got a notification saying rs 86 had been deducted frm my Ola account. 

The woman had just given me a quick thanks (a hurried one, if you know what I mean) and ran to get her cab, she could have obtained my mobile number from the cabbie and dropped a thank you message at the very least. But she didn’t. 

Just goes to show there are people who are helped in a time of need and yet they can’t be bothered to show some gratitude! Truly the magic words seem to be a thing of the past nowdays. 

Friendship

Fickle relationships…

I don’t consider myself to be the ‘stalker’ types, but let’s face it, each one of us must have found ourselves there at some point or the other in life. I much prefer attributing this behavior as innocent curiosity. And for all the ‘in their limits stalkers’ like me out there technology does not help our case any.  Yes, I’m talking about you facebook!

So how did I surprise myself this very dull morning and do something I thought I’d never do? An idle mind is the devils workshop they say, I guess an idle time does not leave you with much to do. So like any other millennial my age I decided to check my facebook feed.

And there it was, staring me in the face an update about a friend I’d long lost touch with.  On any other day I’d move on without giving it another thought but for some reason today I felt compelled to click on that link. And being redirected to that specific page caught me up on some things. Yes, I could have just clicked on the pic, seen it and moved on to the next update but my curiosity had already taken over and as I scrolled down I got more updates. Ok technically this isn’t some serious stalking, but still..

It brought back some memories of the past. The years of an amazing friendship. The one who knew all my secrets, the one who I could tell anything, the one who always ‘got’ me. It was an easy friendship. And we used to be good friends. Really good ones! But time, ego and well different interests had us drifting away. Not one to hold on to the past, I let go with surprising ease, yet years later a memory or two remains.

I wonder why it’s so difficult to maintain some relationships in life. Yes, they say the real ones stand the test of time but there are some which must have been really good but fail because we’re too busy being slaves to our ego. First you lose touch, then you tell yourself its cause your busy and you’ll get to it tomorrow and then tomorrow never comes. Your plans of staying in touch are lost in ‘limbo land’ and then the all-powerful ego comes up- ‘The other party didn’t get in touch either’. If a relationship is lost we force ourselves to believe it’s not our fault and the other person didn’t take efforts.

Come to think of it, is it really worth it? Letting go is easy, maintaining on the other hand not so much. I guess the question you can ask yourself is – ‘Maybe I DON’T NEED this relationship to survive but will I be happier if it still exists? ’ If your answer is yes then, it may be time to let go of the past and mend what’s broken. If not, I guess that’s why friend has the word END in it..

Uncategorized

Samaritans & Miracles

A long time ago, when I was younger I had gone to watch a movie with my friends. We were going out after a really long time and we were really looking forward to it.  As luck would have it I was about to have a ‘girl’ moment, even though I was unaware and back then a pressing issue for me was to go to the nearest loo and pee asap!

So while my friends went on to book the tickets I stayed near the counter to check available timings with my back pack on. My friends came towards me and asked why my back pack was open and I frantically took it off my back to check. My wallet was in there and even before I checked I knew I wouldn’t find it there. I had just been robbed and it was my first experience with the ‘Big Bad World’.

I had my secret money in there , my license and some other important stuff. Being a kid, I did the most normal thing a person my age would do- finish crying and run to daddy! Well actually I couldn’t run cos he was far away so I called him up crying instead and though he made me understand that I may never get those things back I prayed and hoped against hope that they would come back to me. But as any one can predict it never did.

6 years later I was completely over wallets by then. My license, Pan card and ATM cards are always safely placed in my pocket. As I was busy paying the parking attendant my license and ATM card must have fallen out. On the way home completely unaware that I’ve lost important stuff I stopped at a shop to buy a refreshment and to my horror I find my pockets empty!

In an instant all the memories came flooding back with one slight difference this wasn’t me being robbed this was because of my own carelessness. Whether you loose something important by mistake or are robbed there is a sadness which takes over. Much wiser this time I got the card blocked immediately and prepared to run around for the license. Since it was  the weekend I knew I had to wait.

That naive child of 6 years back did not return as I didn’t even bother to pray to get my documents back. So imagine my surprise when 5 hours later two men show up at my door.

‘You’re cards’ they said. I was ecstatic. And flooded with gratitude. My joy knew no bounds. I never expected to see those things again. So I ran to my room took out a 500 rs note and gave it to them profusely thanking  them all the while.

‘We were going to come tomorow but we were worried you’d block the card so we found the place today on google maps and got here.’

‘Too late’ I thought. ‘You really helped. I’ll manage now. Thank you so much.’

As they left smiling I realized I didn’t even ask them their names. Damn it. I said a silent prayer for them and thanked God for his samritans.

The things we loose somehow find their way back to us…