Fifteenth Ramble : Ek manjar range ke andar…

On 13th February, the day was passing usually, till suddenly I began to hear ‘cat meows’ with my headphones, which were supposed to give only Pro-Timer alerts. (For the uninitiated, Pro-Timer is a workout app).

I was at the shooting range, doing holdings (lifting a pistol in front of a wall and staying there for 15-30 secs, and then putting it down). I thought my brain had gone cuckoo (see, I never go cuckoo, it is always the brain, ALWAYS) because the earlier evening, Abhijeet had unceremoniously dragged me away while I was trying to coax a momma cat and her 2 carbon copy kittens down. (They were perched on an electric pole.) I was so cat-sick, I wished for a cat to appear anywhere I went after that evening.

I asked the neighbour whether he was hearing the mews too? He said that there are cats living beyond the target panels. Huh? How is that possible? Maybe I had not heard him right. To me, it was as if the kitten was stuck in one of the AC ducts above me. Now, how is THAT possible?

Since I am working on self-discipline, I tuned out the alluring mews and went back to holding.

There were sounds of a scuffle at the far end of the range. Someone was shouting ‘Catch her!’ I could hold myself no longer. I set out to investigate.

A kitten skidded in front of me and went straight towards down-range. Heck! It is suicidal, I thought and was about to shout ‘Cease-fire!’ when I realised the bottoms of the tables are blocked and it was too small to jump up on the desks. Phew! I continued trudging towards it, now in the opposite direction, since it ran straight to where I had come from. A lad tried to pounce on it, it swerved deftly and ran straight at me. (Well, diagonally. Diagonally straight at me). It realised that and ran straight towards the stands. (I am going to set a record in using straight in a blog post).

It sat mewing in panic in the corner, trying to figure out if there was a way out if it jumped up. Niet. And it was too small to know aggression common to cornered cats. Meanwhile, I had jumped the railing in pursuit and was looking at it from a distance. (Also trying to soften its state of mind by mewing back soothingly.) I told the others not to try to catch it by force. Let it settle, and I’ll take it out. (Not with a pellet!!!)

An ace rifle shooter from our academy came from behind and caught it when it was trying to run back in the other direction. So much for knowing cat psychology, hmph. He caught it but dinno what to do next. So I offered to drop it outside. The poor kitten was panicked and frightened beyond imagination. All it could do was to wail and try to climb over my shoulder and run for dear life. I assured it by my genteelness in holding it that I am not a predator.

I took the wailing fellow downstairs into the office and at the gate, thinking they would know the whereabouts of its family. Everybody agreed that they live in the space above the false ceiling of the 10m range, but nobody knew how they get there. So the watchman, the caretaker, me, and 2 of the rifle shooting girls decided it best to set it free by the neem tree at the end of the parking lot, where it would be safe from the puppies which are seen goofing around the building these days. Momma cat would come to the rescue there since she had not come to the range.

It was trembling. Its brain had shut down. It didn’t know how to react to the petting it received from me. One second it liked it and looked like it would settle down comfortably on my hand and the other second it remembered it had to call his mother and wailed. If not for the genuinely frightened fellow, I would have found it highly comical. When it could think of nothing else; it hid its face in my elbow, like a true blue ostrich.

The peon got milk from the kitchen. It would not drink in front of company. So I took it at the end of the parking, and set it down. It wanted to run away outright. But I picked it up again and made it smell the milk. It was torn between the urge to lap it up and the instinct to run for dear zindagi. In the end, it decided to stay and have the meal, because in any case, if it were to die, it would be better to die well fed. With tail firmly lodged between its hind legs, it lapped up the milk while I sat beside it, giving it complete freedom after 15 minutes of smothering it with the most luxurious petting anyone could ever receive (and give). It stole looks at me – probably thinking : petting done, feeding done, now the predator is going to eat me.

Unlike the tiger from Life of Pi, it did give me a backward glance after sprinting suddenly, leaving the milk midway. It even ran back to me. So I thought. However, it was only to sniff at the dead giant cockroach lying upside down 2 feet from the milk bowl. It decided that the cockroach dessert wasn’t worth it, especially since the predator had risen on its two legs. So much for gratitude. Paah!

And then it ran straight into the bushes, exactly like the tiger from Life of Pi. It did not vanish and was not never heard of again afterward though; because on 14th, when I walked in to the range, I found the rifle shooter and told him about where we dropped the kitten yesterday. He smiled and said that a big cat had come today. (Thankfully, he doesn’t know the difference between kitten (chhoti billi), cat(badi billi) and big cats (???) otherwise I would have fainted. I am dead afraid of big cats.)

Abhijeet wouldn’t let me pet the cat in the mall parking. So what? GOD sent me a cat right where I was practicing the next day. (Selective atheist me?) Such an amazing Valentine’s Day gift!

Even today, I could hear the distress calls of kittens and the cajoling/scolding calls of the momma cat from the ceiling. Thankfully, they were restricted to the ceiling only and there were no magical apparitions to tend to my cat-sickness anymore.



Me and the Jurassic World

I just realized how fans of Star Trek would have felt all this while, when I heard of Jurassic World last month. Funny I had no inkling there was a dino movie in making.

The childhood memories came back rushing. I was 7 when the first movie released. There is a theatre just behind my home (literally! When it was not yet sound-proofed, I could hear every dialogue of the movies showing there. I have been told that it used to be an open theatre and my Dad and his cousins used to watch the movies from our terrace!). They used to extend neighbourly courtesy of allowing the tiny me to watch the show anytime, everyday for free.

Truth to be told, I hated the movie. I was petrified at the thought of the T-rex chasing people in the movie. ‘Cos that was an age when I thought I was with them in the Jurassic Park. It all seemed so real! I think all the kids’ minds augment the CGI effects, till they are below 10. I passed up the ‘watch for free’ opportunity and used to stay only for the scenes where the herbivores roamed tall and free.

Then the second part came. We had gone to watch the movie Border, to the neighbouring district. The theatre there had better sound effects ‘Dolby Digital’! And alas! Border was taken down the same morning and some Lost World was up. Our faces (mine and the younger sibling’s) were worth watching – to have travelled 2 hours for a war movie and to find an English movie up! Those were the days when I barely understood 1 or 2 lines of the foreign accent. The younger sibling was only one when the earlier (Jurassic Park) was released, so he was very curious when we got to know that the Lost World is actually Jurassic Park II. I was hesitant. I had signed up for Border, a war movie – not THAT horror movie again! And they said it was even scarier!! Reluctantly, I stepped in with the family – to 2 and a half hours of sheer horror. The li’l girl’s part in it was comforting though, as I was nearly as old as her – or so I thought 😛

After that, whenever we went to Balaji Talkies – a theatre owned by my friend’s family on a property located at the outskirts of our town (we basically went there to play in the garden, their house was being constructed nearby – so we used to make a half-day trip out of it) – we used to sneak into the ‘balcony’ and watch the scary scenes with open mouths. It was a funny feeling – to be scared to death and enjoy it. Maybe I had grown up. Those were the days when movies ran for months on end. Jurassic Park II stayed for almost 6 months or even a year, enthralled a packed house everyday and the theatre closed down a la the park after that. A fitting end to a legendary theatre of the town. I still remember sneaking in, the guard coming rushing after us and us proudly stating we are the owners or just staring at him till he realised it for himself.

Such was the effect of the movie on our small town that the winning Ganpati pandal that year (organized by my other friend’s grandfather) had a 20 feet T-rex – roaring, walking, and then chasing the spooked and shouting audience. I went there daily and could hear some of the petrified kids earnestly appealing Ganapati Bappa to save them from its wrath!

Jurassic Park III came and went by in a haze. I don’t even remember whether I have watched it or not.

When I was watching the Jurassic World yesterday, it was the first time I thought – ‘Sigh! I should’ve had kids old enough to watch it! Then I could have told them about all the fun I had when I was their age.’

Oh boy! These childhood movie sequels and the nostalgia they evoke!

If you ask me about the movie, thankfully I did not try to analyse the CGI. I watched it with belief. Like I did in childhood. (The only difference being, now I understood each and every dialogue. 😛 ) And I was rewarded. It was a real thrill to discuss memories with the hubby – us having been in the same school! Pity, we never watched the movies together as children 🙂

You should’ve seen my wistful face. And then it gave way to an excited expression – I had just watched a movie which dominated my childhood RPGs- with my husband! These games were not on the screen, by the way, but in actual playgrounds – where we (not me and him, we hardly talked then *sigh*) released the fattest, strongest buffalo and pretended she was T-rex and the winner had to bell it! Later, we added the calves as raptors 😛

Go watch it! You will relive your childhood. Better still if you have kids 🙂 They will relive yours!





I am back!

Here ends my tryst with procrastination, which I had very cleverly termed ‘taking a blogging break’! 😛 There have been lotta personal and professional changes during this time off. As usual, I have registered for NaNoWriMo, but with a completed outline this year. I have also written half a chapter. Now that’s improvement!

The fine art of improvisation

The art of improvisation is closely related to oratory which comes in handy while addressing a large crowd. Oratory or public speaking as we say, needs a lot of composure and background thought. Folklore has it that once Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan was asked to address a student gathering. Somebody introduced him as a speaker who can speak on any given topic. One cheeky student pointed to a bottle of water kept for the speakers on the dais and asked him to speak on the bottle’s cork. He spoke for 2 hours to the hall packed with students, all listening with rapt attention!

Dr. Radhakrishnan was as exceptional a teacher as he was an orator. Teachers across the nation thank him on Teacher’s Day (his birthday is celebrated as Teacher’s Day in India), for giving India’s teachers their much deserved prominent place in people’s minds. Teacher’s Day is celebrated in schools and colleges throughout India with much enthusiasm; primary and secondary schools leading the way in the nature and scale of celebrations.

When I was in school, I looked forward to Teacher’s Day every year; eagerly waiting for my chance to be THE TEACHER. Ours was a fairly new school and mine was only the 4th batch which would pass SSC since the school’s inception. As a consequence, the 1st batch always got to play the teachers for consecutive 10 years! I always used to envy them for that. 🙂 Finally in 10th grade, I got to be in my teachers’ shoes. I taught Science and English then. There was this lesson on a fox terrier and I had prepared in advance for it.

I had taken along a chart showing various types of dogs from pomeranians to labradors to bull terriers and great danes. Dogs are queer species. Unlike cats, who pretend to be their master’s masters, they like to learn tricks. Cats hate being told to learn anything. Unless it is Talking Tom, he not only learns everything ‘by heart’ as school students say, but also repeats the speaker’s words in a cute accent. That is one good student!

That is how a teacher wants his students to be – obedient and receptive. Such students make their teachers proud. I hope I am one of them. It  feels as if that Teacher’s day was only yesterday! But then tomorrow (5th Sep) is again Teacher’s Day! Gosh, time sure flies! And I am still a big procrastinator. I must really improvise. Err, improve. Improvisation is an art already acquired by me. For how many of you noticed that I did not have a blog post here?!  *ducks n runs*

An ideal student – obedient and receptive



2011 in review

Been a great year. It was a pleasant surprise to see WordPress sum up the 2011 blogging year for me in such a sweet way. If I were a child, I’d certainly start liking statistics after having a look at this report 🙂

Thank you WordPress and my dear dear blog readers for such an awesome year!!!!!

A very happy and rocking 2012 to you!

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 4,000 times in 2011. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 3 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.