Forward ho.


Everywhere she goes, she smells the sunflowers.

The plastic chairs on gravel, dilapidated houses with musty books and familiar beds, bright lights and music that make her nauseous, tiny dhabas obscenely lit.

She desperately looks around for escape, but there is none, not even a tiny one, and the truth is, even if there was, she wouldn't take it.


The Arrival of Ringo Starr.

My mother was clearing out my grandparents' desk the other day, and found this story I'd written soon after Ringo Starr entered our lives. I was fifteen years old.

Ever since I can remember, I've wanted a dog.

Unfortunately, being blessed with a mother who has a heart of granite, I've never been successful in getting one. Last year however, she softened somewhat (must be because of age...I hear people get sentimental when they reach their mid forties) and on March 24th, 2006, Ringo Starr arrived.

He's a pug puppy, with big beady eyes and a squashed black face ad velvety soft ears and a curled up little tail. He's also slightly mad, which is why he fits in so well with out family.

The first time I saw him was when his owner brought him up to our flat in a tiny little basket. I glanced casually at the basket (you couldn't really see what was inside) but didn't really register anything. I was disappointed because the owner, Mr Sinha (a nondescript man but possessor of the largest mole I have ever seen till date...right on his nose!) hadn't seemed to bring the puppy with him.

Finally (my brain always does work exceptionally slow on Sundays) I realised what was in the basket. I deducted this, not from Mr Sinha whose English I couldn't really understand (not because I am retarded, but because it was so terrible), but from little scrabbly noises coming from inside it.

I tiptoed over to the basket, and opened it, and this little, tiny...thing (for want of a better word) scrambled out of it. He kept slipping and sliding all over our floor, looking absolutely proud of his horrendous sense of balance. My mother and I didn't exclaim over him. Not at first. We just stood there and stared.

We stared as he slid over to the wall and inspected it. Then he tried to walk through it. Having discovered that he couldn't, he snorted at it, and having told the wall exactly what he thought of it, he moved on to explore greener pastures...such as our carpet, which he promptly started chewing. He shredded up the carpet edge in under one minute, and then started on our dining table leg.

Mr Sinha, noticing our shell shocked expressions, said a hasty, "bhery good, bhery good...eggcellent, eggcellent...I am go-eeng, bye bye, bye bye."

He went.

The puppy (he hadn't been christened yet) now decided that my shoelace would be a good thing to chew on. So he chewed on it, his beady eyes looking up at my face suspiciously all the while. I bent down and gingerly patted him. He obligingly chewed my finger. I glanced up at my mother. She had a huge soppy smile plastered on her face.

She held out her arms, and the puppy tumbled into them.

He had come to stay.

The first time we fed him was an experience. I had to hold him down, while Mum gave him his dinner (milk mixed with some other bizarre yet apparently nourishing substance). It was obvious, as we watched him eat (or more appropriately, swim in) his dinner, that this was a dog, whose stomach would always take precedence over his heart. He ate so enthusiastically that milk kept going up his nose (pugs have a very squashed face) and after he was done, he started banging his paws on the floor, which was his (very ineffective) way of getting the milk of his nose.

Almost as if he was playing the drums.

Hence the name, Ringo Starr. Ringo Starr was the name of the Beatles' drummer. (If you don't know who the Beatles are, I advise you to go soak your head).

Of course, we didn't come up with it right away. We went through Sumo (because he looked a bit like a wrestler. Sumo wrestler, get it? Ha ha. No one else did either), Jughead (an obvious choice because of his appetite) and even King Kong (my mother's suggestion. I would never do that to a dog.)

Ringo Starr is now nine months old and thriving. So far he's chewed up every single carpet in the house, a couple of table legs, my grandmother's silver cabinet, all my socks, sixty six fingers, and forty toes. Not to mention a dozen ears. He has also boosted the sale of biscuit companies all over India. He's terrified of milk cans and cats and babies infuriate him. If he ever sees a lady in a salwaar kameez, he will promptly put his head up it, regardless of whether he knows her or not. When I take him down for a walk, he barks furiously at everything in sight, but if something dares to retaliate he hides behind my legs. He's not very graceful...he can walk without sliding all over the floor now, but unfortunately he has not been able to achieve that when he runs.

As I write this, he's sitting at my feet looking hopefully up at me.

It's 11:00 am right now.

Time for a biscuit as usual.

Funny, but when I read this, I sort of remembered what the fifteen year old me was like. Thought I'd forgotten, but in essentials, not much has changed. 


The Annual Recap.

1. What did you do in 2011 that you'd never done before?

i) Reached my 20's. (It feels so WEIRD.)
ii) Got my first paycheck. 
iii) Started using a cycle (goodbye, autos!) 
iv) At one point, I became something close to a pothead and even had my own drug dealer (a lady who owns a beauty parlour). That's over now though and I'm never repeating it again. 
v) Started something I've told only one person about, but it feels pretty special.
vi) Cooked a proper (and edible) meal.
vii) Dyed my hair. 
viii) A back arch. 
x) Started watching polo. Next year, I might play. 
xi) A couple of other things which I can't mention here.

2. Did you keep your new years resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

Didn't keep my new years resolutions (surprise, surprise), but I am, as ever, undaunted by my own perpetual uselessness and I have made a couple for next year. 

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?


4. Did anyone close to you die?


5. What countries did you visit?


6. What would you like to have in 2012 that you lacked in 2011?

The usual inner peace (it just slips further away every year), and more travel, and an iphone that actually works.

7. What date from 2011 will remain etched upon your memory and why?

Nothing really. It was a pretty forgettable year.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Probably passing Hindi. 

9. What was your biggest failure?

Not getting a first division end of second year. IT WILL BE RECTIFIED. 

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

I've suffered a lot of injury since getting my cycle. I also battled through illness and emerged more or less unscathed, but in possession of an inhaler. FML. 

11. Whose behaviour merited celebration?

A, for battling a lot of set backs and attaching the prefix Captain to his name. And A.O., for being happy and content which in itself is a huge achievement. 

12. Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed?

I can't say here.

13. Where did most of your money go?

Costa Coffee, probably. :/ 

14. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

Planned holidays which always fell through at the last moment thanks to landslides and other disasters. My internship which is just the most hilarious story ever but I can't talk about it here. 

15. What song will always remind you of 2011?

This Year by the Mountain Goats (because it goes like this: I WILL MAKE IT THROUGH THIS YEAR IF IT KILLS ME).

16. Compared to this time last year, are you happier or sadder?

I'm not sad, but I was a lot happier this time last year. Oh well, highs and lows, they come and go. 

17. What do you wish you'd done more of?

I wish I'd worked harder, travelled more, and been more careful with my possessions. 

18. What do you wish you'd done less of?

Drunk texting. 

19. How will you be spending Christmas?

I'm going to eat a lot and wear a Christmas hat, and I'm going to spend it with family and friends, giving presents, and being happy. I might even ho-ho all day. And I'm going to bribe my friends with mulled wine and mince pies, trick them into coming over, and force them to play Christmas Articulate. 

20. Did you fall in love in 2011?

Haha. No. 

21. How many one night stands?


22. What was your favourite TV programme?

I watch them all on my laptop, and the only one I follow on a regular basis is How I Met Your Mother. I really like The IT Crowd though, and Black Books. 

23. What was the best book you read?


24. What was your greatest musical discovery?

Phish, I don't know where they've been all my life either. And I've realised that when I'm feeling all heartbroken and sorry for myself, I can always count on a certain trio to pull me out: Madonna, Adele, aaaaaand Leonard Cohen. 

25. What did you want and get?

The trouble was - and is - that I didn't, and don't, know what I want. 

26. What did you want and not get?

See above. 

27. What was your favourite film of this year?


28. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

I drank too much champagne, I made the mistake of letting my thirteen year old cousin into my party, I made the bigger mistake of introducing him to Vikram who fed him all sorts of dubious substances, and I turned 20. 

29. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

I think I just needed to get my act together this year, and I didn't. So that, and also maybe new shoes. 

30. What kept you sane?

Mawii, Mawii, Mawii. And Friend tried.

31. Who was the worst new person you met?

Didn't meet anyone particularly disastrous. 

32. Who was the best new person you met?

Shoi. :)

33. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learnt in 2011.

The most important: make the most of something good while it lasts, because it won't last always. And also (Mawii, this one is for you), good friends and hysterical laughter are irreplaceable. 

34. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.

As usual, no. 

PS I JUST RE POSTED THIS SEVEN DIFFERENT TIMES TO MAKE THE GAPS EVEN BUT THEY JUST WON'T GET EVEN NO MATTER WHAT I DO. And I'm sure there are sticklers out there who are cringing over this like I am, but sorry, there is nothing I can bloody do. This bloody blogspot. I'll move to tumblr. 


You think it will be easy. It isnt man.