Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Prince's Diaries

Posted by Varun | Tuesday, July 31, 2007 | Category: , | 2 comments

I am in the land of Queen Victoria and a place which I always dreamt of coming to. Have you heard the title of my post somewhere …Yes, you have… The title’s inspired by a movie called ‘Princess Diaries’ where a small town middle class girls wake’s up one morning only to find out that she is the next princess of a Kingdom. The journey so far has been ‘a dream come true’ for me too and since am in the land of the Queen I feel no less than a Prince…

I plan to write one day at a time and will update the same post every day… So keep watching this space for more action.

21st July 2007

I had finished the entire packing last night itself which enabled me to get up as and when I wanted without any hurry. My flight (Virgin Atlantic) was at 1.35 pm and I had to reach the airport by 10.30 am. Bhava (Jiju) readily agreed to drop me off at the airport. He might have not realized this, but the moment he agreed to drop me, all my tensions of getting to the airport vanished in thin air. Because I knew I was in safe hands and I would have no trouble what so ever… Thanks Bhava (One with the orange T-shirt).

Chandan and Mimi, undoubtedly two of my best friends were there with me at the airport to see me off. I had assumed that these two would accompany me to the airport without even asking them whether they were free. Would have been disappointed if either one of them had not turned out that day. Luckily, it was my day and everything was going my way… Thanks guys. Whenever I accompanied someone to the International airport the only question that came to my mind was ‘Will I ever be the one who’ll be going into the airport instead of going home after waving good bye?’ Here I was, all set to get inside the Chatrapati Shivaji International Airport. I was on the verge of realizing a dream.

We reached the airport at around 10.05 am. Clicked few snaps and waved good bye to Bhava. After Jiju left we had to wait for my team mate, ex- team lead and above all a friend who was supposed to travel along with me till London. He came to the airport at around 10.20 am with his wife, a cute little 10 month old kid and his in-laws. The moment I saw his MIL giving him instructions to keep his passport and visa safe, I told Chandan that it was good that I didn’t have my parents in India to give me instructions and suggestions. But I was just kidding. I badly missed them. I would have loved to enter the flight, my first ever flight outside India waving good byes to my parents. They would be so happy to see me getting inside that flight. I know for a fact that both of them would have missed me that day. I missed you too… Really missed you….

By the time we entered the airport it was 10.35 am. Got in the queue for baggage screening first then for the luggage check-in. It was around 11.15 am by the time these things were sorted out and I could meet my friends again. Waved them good bye and came through for the immigration check. The immigration officer stamped my visa without even asking a single question. The ‘masoom chehra’ must have done the trick :)

Since it was printed in the ticket that we’ll not be served lunch we had to have something before boarding the flight. I had my first subway sandwich that day. It was as though the sandwich was welcoming me to UK. It was good. Not bad actually. After having our continental lunch we went through the security check-in only to find out that the flight’s delayed by 20 min. Meanwhile I had called almost everyone on my phone book and informed them by trip to UK…
The flight started boarding at around 1.45, business class people getting the first preference.

The flight took off at 2.05 IST (30 min delay). My dream finally got its wings…
The in-flight experience and service was brilliant. It was an Airbus 340 with 2-4-2 seats. I had an aisle seat. The seats were comfortable and all the TV screens were working. I ended up watching 2 movies along the way. ‘Bridge to Terabatia’ and ‘Zodiac’ (Very good movies). Kept myself busy with a book ‘Marley and Me’ when I was not watching the television… Tried to sleep for a while but the excitement kept me awake the entire journey… The Zune kept me great company when I was not busy watching TV or reading a book. The food served was excellent too. It was authentic Indian food.

The Virgin Atlantic finally landed at 7.30 pm (GMT). By the time I could complete the immigration and collect my luggage it was 9.30 pm (GMT). The black Taxi welcomed me at the Heathrow with both hands wide open. The driver happily escorted me home (PG) for a whopping 3100 Rupees. Common… it was my first day here… I am bound to convert currencies…

It was one looooong day…Thud… What was that!!!??? It was me hitting the bed… It was 11:30 pm (GMT)…

Friday, July 27, 2007

Munnu and Me

Posted by Varun | Friday, July 27, 2007 | Category: | 6 comments

This post is dedicated to one of the best friends I ever had…The title of this post is inspired by the book called ‘Marley and Me’. All dog lovers and people who’ve raised dogs any time in their lives must read this book.

Even before writing the first line my eyes have become moist. Just the feeling that my beloved dog (This will be the first and last time in the entire post that I would be referring to Munnu as a dog) it as is no longer with me makes me sad. But that is how cruel life can be sometimes. I was watching a movie last night. A movie called ‘Eight Below’ (Recommended). It’s about eight sleigh dogs. After reading the book I had made up my mind that I’ll be writing something about Munnu but watching this movie made me to get up and start writing. So here I am…

My Munnu

Munnu – The name has absolutely no meaning. If I remember correctly, it was the first word that Chaiti (My sis) uttered when she saw the cute little fellow. The cutie was completely white with a little brownish tinge here and there. The only peculiar thing about the color was that both his ears were brown. I was playing cricket with one of my friend whose name also happens to be Varun that day when we noticed two kids throwing something in a ditch nearby. Curiosity led us to that ditch. Curiosity kills the cat but it saved the life of the little fellow in my case. If we would not have saved him that day he would have died in day or two. We brought him home with no second thoughts only to be discouraged by my mom not to keep him with us. Like an obedient son I agreed but not before feeding the little guy some milk and trying to feed him some biscuits. He was so small he could not balance himself on the 4 little feet of his. After feeding him I left him in the portico thinking that he’ll be gone by the next morning. But it was not so. He did not go anywhere. He had himself in a corner where we had stacked up some bricks. One brick on his head and he would be no more. He was so little. The thought of this made my mom’s heart melt and rest is history.

The little fellow immediately became the center of attraction. He loved this attention. Just like any baby would. As soon as he would realize that you are no longer interested in him he would do something or the other to catch your eye. It was very difficult initially to feed him. He just could not drink or eat anything from his bowl. He did not know how. It was an empty syringe that came to the rescue. I would fill that syringe completely with milk and empty it in his mouth.

He was one quick leaner. It was not long before he started eating his own food. Like his owner he ate selected food only. Only what he liked. I have improved to some extent now. The 2 yr stint in Mumbai has made me better in this matter.

He always had that naughty gleam in his eyes. He was always eying something or the other. He used to sleep in the portico on a bed made especially for him. During the rains (It was his first), I pestered my mom to let him inside the house. So there he was inside the house in the verandah very happy to have escaped the rain. The next morning was not a good morning for me. He had torn all possible socks he could find that night, out of which 90% of them were my dad’s :). My dad now wouldn’t mind sparing 100 pairs more if there are any chances of my Munnu coming back to tear them.
My mom used to run a school. Not just teach. We owned that school. Munnu soon became the pet of not just one but many kids who would come to the school. He was pampered and fed by almost all the kids. He would snatch lunch boxes from the kids but I don’t remember a single kid complaining about this to their parents. This is just how much the kids loved him.

Bathing Munnu was one huge task. The sound of his leash would send him running all around the house. He hated water…. When he was young a small tub was his bath tub. As he grew older, the tub converted to bath room then later into open space outside our house where we used a big hose pipe to give him his weekly bath.

I have many many and many fond memories with this fellow but I would not bore you guys with all these stuff. It’ll remain mine and only mine.

I can keep writing non-stop about him. But that was not I was here for. I had to apologize to him. I know this sounds crazy but I had to…

He must have missed me terribly when I left for Mumbai. My mom and dad were with him for one more year but after they left for Bangalore he did not have anyone he could call his master. He became lonely and the skin allergies got the better of him. I could meet him only twice in the last 2 years. The first meeting was lovely but the second meeting was gruesome. The skin allergy I was talking about was all over him and the worst part is he had surrendered to his fate. He was just not making any attempt to come out of it. He just did not have any motivation left in him to come back. The day I saw him this way I knew that the inevitable was near. But what I could not afford was a stay in Mandya… I had only few days of leave left before I could fly back to Mumbai to the stupid work I do.

The only regret that I have is that I was not with my beloved during his last days or should I say last few years. I know for a fact that if I would have been there with him, he would still be with me

I’m really sorry Munnu, I really am.

Lots of love and best wishes,
Your friend

The post looks more or less like a jigsaw. Please bear with me for that. The emotions just took over…