Wednesday, October 23, 2013

'Life is good'

Internet is full of pictures that make us go 'awwww' and 'cho chweet'. Many like seeing photographs of actors and many more love to see babies' pictures. And there are many like me who can't resist photographs of animals. The pictures of cute doggies, cats, elephants, tigers, lions and every other animal on the planet make us feel I-want-them-all. And in my case, if I waste so much of time on the Internet, it is because I keep seeing some doggie picture and say 'so sweet' some million times.

Few sites post theme photographs of dogs. For instance, recently I laughed till my belly hurt when I saw pictures of dogs with human-like expressions. And I was disturbed by photographer Martin Usborne's pictures of 'Dog in Cars'. Those pictures can shake even a stone-hearted person. So, when I was scrolling my Facebook page, drooling over all the doggie pictures, this random thought occurred to me. How would it be if I created an album of some quirky pictures of my pet dog, my angel, my furry-friend, Calvin! How cool would it be to show-off some dainty pictures of Calvin wearing myriad of expressions! So, this blog is dedicated to my bestestest ever companion Calvin and to all animal lovers, who would love to destress seeing my cuddle-bag's pictures! 

My baby brother is 10-years-old. But he has conveniently forgotten that fact. And so, he chooses to show that puppy face and bulbous eyes quite often. We couldn't afford to take plenty of pictures of Calvin, when he was a puppy (as in in the real sense). But these days, I leave no stone unturned to capture the melange of expressions of my blessing. 

The baby potato aka Calvin always looks cute. However he looks cuter when he puts up an act to taste human food. So, I have photographed some of those moments, when Calvin fixed his big eyes on our food. He doesn't throw tantrums or he doesn't bark when he wants to relish our food. The bubble-boy just sits in front of us, keeps seeing our food, drools buckets and chooses to look pitiful. So, when our friends and relatives visit us and find Calvin acting like an Oscar winner, they advise us not to starve him. But everybody doesn't appreciate the fact that this baby-admirer is greedy. He downs his bowl of Pedigree first before he shows us that deplorable face asking for dosai and idli. All the pictures that I have posted here were taken when his mammoth-tummy was full! Whenever I shared all these delicacies with him, he just didn't use words to say that 'Life is good'. But he licked me generously to thank me and tell me how much he loved these foods! So scroll down and bask in his cuteness!

The orange colour piece that you see is thattai, which is Calvin's favourite snack and he has been strictly forbidden from savouring it. But once in a while, I feed him. (Shh! Nobody knows!)

Rava laddu is my husband's favourite sweet. But now you know, who else likes it too. Often, we call Calvin rava laddu. That's one of our terms of endearment. And he enjoys that! Totally! 

I read somewhere that Labradors dream of Bananas. Calvin loves those too. But we frequenly buy apples at home. And our Laddu swallows one or two pieces hurriedly when no one is looking. Yes, sometimes he steals if it's his favourite bite. Bad habit! I will take the onus of reforming him! :)

My brother seems to know how to take care of himself. He chooses to relish a lot of healthy foods and Sundal is one of his favourites. He prefers it when it's less oily. But he doesn't mind anyway! he he he!

Another picture of Calvin waiting for my nod. Apples! He can't resist!

If you ever thought that children and animals won't like to have medicines, think again! You are now seeing the picture of a canine that loves tablets. But those have to be drenched in honey. Calvin knows his routine quite well. After he munches a bowl of senior pedigree, he walks right to the kitchen to threaten my mother to give him his daily medicines! Quite a disciplinarian, it seems!

So if he can see the crow in my neigbour's terrace or the baby-lizard on the ceiling, that's because Carrot is one of his favourite vegetables. There was a vegetable vendor, who used to visit our house daily just to feed treats to this four-legged silly fellow. And his favourite treat is this orange colour veggie!

When it comes to vegetables, this lazybones like chewing potatoes, carrots, beans and onions. This picture was captured when he couldn't take his eyes off the beans that my mother was chopping!

And finally, he loves to pamper his taste buds by relishing chappathi, dosai and idli once in a while. There was a time, when my mother meticulously prepared oil-less dosai for her boy. But we have restricted him these days. So he steals a bite or two from me!

As you have scrolled down so much, I thought I will give you some complimentary pictures also on the theme 'Life is good'

My baby-brother is not annoyingly naughty. But once in a while, he shows his mischievous side too. He had to wear this cone of shame when he scratched his ears vehemently and we had to treat him for some ear infection. He completely detested this whole idea of wearing this cone and we all teased him a lot too. Doesn't he look like a speaker? Like the ones that go baaaaan during aadi maasam!

Although I love to dress him up, this Rasagulla doesn't co-operate at all. Look at his chagrined face when I tried to make him look a pirate or something!

But he loves to do this. He whiles away all the languorous evenings by chilling on my parents' bed. But nobody minds that anyway. He doesn't have any deadlines, right!

And he does this, when he warms our bed too much!

Bathing is one activity that he despises the most. I drag him to the bathroom and give him a nice message. But his brain still doesn't seem to recognise this nifty routine. However when he wants to play in water during summer, he goes in of his own accord and refuses to come out. We even threatened him to lock him up once in the bathroom. But he didn't give in at all!

And yes, he plays too - mostly, when we are not around. The LHS picture was taken when he tried to be nice to the soft toy since we were around. The RHS photo was taken when we weren't watching and so he decided to tear it up.

Finally, this picture is a killer. That's Calvin watching a weekend flick. Didn't I tell you that he thinks he is not a dog, did I? In his mind, he is a human too. But he is not egoistic. So he doesn't carry any weight around him and he doesn't hold grudges. He might be possessive. He might expect you to be all his. But even if you breach his rules and disappoint him, he forgives you in a blink of an eye. He prepares himself to love you all over again. And that's precisely what makes him special. His attitude towards life is something that teaches tonnes of lessons!

I hope that you liked my Bamboosa's pictures and I will post more as and when he strikes pretty poses! :) Cheerio!

Monday, October 21, 2013

A Tiger for Malgudi

A Tiger for MalgudiA Tiger for Malgudi by R.K. Narayan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Just when I was whimpering about my inability to read more books this year, something pushed me to start reading 'A Tiger for Malgudi', which I bought in last year's annual book exhibition. After almost a year of hibernation in my wardrobe, the tiger Raja chose to befriend me. :)

I'm a big fan of R.K. Narayan and who wouldn't like the poignant stories of 'Malgudi Days'. 'A Tiger for Malgudi' is the second book that I read of R.K. Narayan and I must say that he didn't cheat me. He has now made me ask for more of him. The ecstasy and the big-sigh moment that I experienced while reading 'Malgudi Days', grew upon me when I read 'A Tiger for Malgudi' too. I love animals and philosophy and this book gave me the pleasure of learning more about both in around 170 pages.

One might think that I have overrated this book. But I couldn't give anything less than five for this marvellous tale that was gripping and insightful at the same time. And you have to forgive me, because at the end of the day, I'm an animal lover. Any book that's got animal in it and if it's a touching and beautiful story, it will certainly be given high rating by me. It's a word of caution to you!

Even if you aren't an animal lover, give it a shot for this has so much philosophy to offer. Lose yourself in the thought-provoking dialogues that are written in the simplest form, which, in my opinion, can only be penned by R.K. Narayan.

On a rainy day, I finished reading this book at work. And on the same day I realised that this book did some inexplicable magic to the soul and mind! It could have been the rain that played with the mind! But I think it was just the word of R.K.Narayan that piqued my emotions and made me feel better.

And finally, I'm even more thankful to the book for I was suffering from readers' block for around six months and 'A Tiger for Malgudi' came as the best cure. I closed the book and I found it hard to realise that I don't live along with Raja and the Master in the woods. I have a life that I have to carry on and there is a wicked world that needs my existence. I refuse to claim a piece of my heart that I left with Raja and the Master! Sigh! If I couldn't forget Attila, the dog that appeared in 'Malgudi Days', I can't stop thinking of Raja, the tiger, the protagonist of 'A Tiger for Malgudi'.

The book has myriad of brilliant dialogues. But I would love to quote this one, which represents my mindset too. "Man in his smugness never imagines for a moment that other creatures may also possess ego, values, outlook, and the ability to communicate, though they may be incapable of audibe speech. Man assumes he is all-important, that all else in creation exists only for his sport, amusement, comfort, or nourishment."

'A Tiger for Malgudi' has it all to season your brain and soul!

View all my reviews

Sunday, October 20, 2013

This is a hairy issue

We live in a world, where almost everything is marketed well. From food to fairness creams, many commodities are palmed off to us and let’s not put the blame on ad agencies, which make such ridiculous advertisements. But let the mindless buyers take the onus of becoming victims willfully. I’m not a careful buyer. But I have never fallen for fairness cream or soap that promises to make me look beautiful, for I completely appreciate that beauty is beyond what one sees. If those absurd advertisements made by some nincompoops annoyed me to a great degree, of late, an obnoxious question that is posed by many of my folks transport me to hell in no time. And the question is, “Don’t you wax your hands?” Or sometimes, people choose to ask bluntly, “Don’t you remove the hair above your upper lip?” Why would these questions irk me? Yes, this blog is going to be quite a rant.

Since the time I began to understand my body and mind, I have always been a tomboy. Although I studied in an all-girls school, I preferred hanging out with men and unknowingly I began to dress up like men too. I visit beauty salons once in a couple of months to get a haircut and maybe three times a year to trim my eyebrows and wax my arms. The habit of trimming the eyebrows and waxing the arms caught on when a friend pushed me to give it a try during schooling and I had to continue doing it because I began to believe that I look bad when I don’t doll up. And that illogical belief is what that I try hard to give up. Even if I think that I look okay and decide not to do all those things, there are people around me who ask some vexing questions, which make me feel awkward. Finally, I end up at the entrance of a parlour. Few questions that I regularly encounter are, “Why don’t you trim your eyebrows? Why don’t you groom yourself at least for your husband? Eek! Why is your hand so hairy?” Once, I lost my cool when a colleague, who tried to banter said, “Deepika, at the end of the day, we are all brothers. Because, we all have moustache!” I laughed along with him awkwardly. But when I was tired of my own laughter, I had to give it a thought. His remark made me believe that many men think women look less feminine when they have facial hair and when they refuse to do all that waxing drama. And a gynecologist, whom I had to meet to understand more about PCOD, added insult to injury. She asked me, “You don’t remove the hair above your upper lip, is it?” and she looked at my face for around 30 seconds. Although I understood that she was a narrow-minded gynecologist, my heart couldn’t buy my point and her question shrunk me for a while. And I did a bit of Googling and spoke with a few good-hearted friends, who explained that a woman, who has PCOD would naturally develop excess facial hair and it can be controlled with few lifestyle changes. The gynecologist gave me a long list of tests that I had to do. But the woman didn’t elaborate about the new sort of biological change I was going through. Thanks to Google, we get to put up with such silly doctors too!

I would like to marshal few questions to all the men and women, who are reading this blog now. I’m not trying to be preachy here. But these questions are absolutely genuine. “Why should a woman compulsorily doll herself up? Why should she remove facial hair or clean up her armpit and so what if it’s dark? Doesn’t she still deserve to be respected if she chooses to live with all that hair? Why does the society refuse to believe that it’s her personal choice? Will a man ever be disrespected if he chooses to grow beard?” Forgive me please, if my questions are nauseating. But won’t you agree with me if I believe that these questions make absolute sense? But I have found my answers - the answers that determine my actions.

I still stand in front of the mirror. I think of the guy, who passed that caustic remark about me. I laugh at his insensitivity and untactfulness. I see all that hair and the acne on my face. I pat myself for not becoming a prey to those cosmetic products. I pray for more courage and sense to not to brood over such futile things. I prop myself up to face those questions again. I prepare myself to discriminate between what is real beauty and what is believed as beauty. I brace myself to live in this world that’s enslaved by vanity and I wish for a world where a person is respected before being judged. And I tell myself that this is the real ‘me’ after all!

Monday, October 14, 2013

‘We shall get there someday'

There was a time when I always carried a book in my bag. There was always a book by my side on the bed. I took secret breaks during work hours to read a couple of pages. I willfully chose to travel on bus to steal some more time to read. Sama despised me for I sat in the restroom for hours. Amma thought that she had given birth to a genius. Krithika believed that I was a snob. Appa reckoned that I would go places. Thanks to the books that made me look like an intellectual. It made me earn respect, offered a world that I could effortlessly escape into, drove me to realise that I was not alone in this wicked planet, connected me with new friends, gave me more words to write and cleansed my brain. Books were an integral part of my life. Yes, they ‘were’!

Reading was not a fascinating hobby for me, till I completed school. But a couple of years later, I slowly began to read a few fictions. Then the addiction gradually grew on me. I began to read a bit more. For the last three or four years, on an average, I managed to read 15 to 20 books every year. I used to wait for the annual book exhibition like how I would happily wait to buy the best clothes for Deepavali. Sama reserved a part of our salaries to buy books and very fittingly, he said, “It’s not an expense. It’s an investment!” When we visited Express Avenue or Citi Centre to watch movies, we started quite early to hang out in Odyssey or Landmark for a while. Visiting Landmark was a monthly ritual. Seeing a huge room full of books was ecstatic. When friends wanted to gift for my special days, I shamelessly asked for books or gift vouchers to buy more books. Getting ready to work was so excruciating when I was engrossed in a book.  Spamming Facebook feeds with quotes from my favourite books was one of my hobbies. The wait to receive books through Fipkart was painfully sweet. Books, books and books! Books were synonymous for ‘Good life’.

If I were asked to identify myself, I would say that I’m a bookworm. I found immense pleasure in keeping my head buried in a book. But life is a cruel-master, isn’t it? It chose to malnourish the bookworm in me. It gave me a better job and ruthlessly took away one of the simplest joys, reading. The change in my occupation cast a shadow on the only good habit that I had. My focus was on getting a hang of the new role that I had taken and put the blame on my poor time management and stress management skills, it resulted in sacrificing one of the finest pleasures of life. If I have to confess barefacedly, I have managed to read only four or five books this year. And we are already in October. I am so red-faced that I have stopped myself from logging into ‘Goodreads’. 

The new job has given the biggest opportunity of writing every day. But I work for six days a week. The sixth day seems to be a time-robber. But every beautiful thing that we earn in life has got its dirty side too. The dark side of my new job is that it has looted my quality ‘me’ time. Although life seems to be on-track, the heart thinks that life has lost its sheen. While the brain is celebrating life’s course, the heart whisperingly reminds that this celebration is transient and the eternal pleasure lies in gathering knowledge. 

I wake up every day with a decision that I will start reading today. But the day flees. I crash into the bed with a heavy heart for not reviving my lovely relationship with books and I curse myself for not keeping up my words. I pity myself for not being able to cosset my soul. I repeat the cycle every single day and deep down the heart, the thirst to read is intensified. While I whimper to Sama about my inability to wield the wand, the budding psychologist deems that my problem is conscience incompetence. I agree with him as I understand only a wee bit and wonder about what holds me from taking a dive. I think harder to get some profound thought and realise that I am walking a tightrope. I am trying to give my best to both worlds – professional and personal. The loss that I have had this year is justified if I presume that I have managed to settle in quite decently in my new job. Is this how life works? Yes, life is not a bed of roses. I get it!

I worry about all the time that I have lost this year. I think of all the books that I have missed to embrace. I question myself about when I would compensate for all the quality time that I have wasted. I log into Facebook. I scroll, scroll and scroll mindlessly till I find this beautiful quote of A.A. Milne, who is one of my favourite authors. Who doesn’t like Winnie The Pooh?

I read the quote. I reread the quote. I sigh. I smile. I feel light. ‘We shall get there someday. Rivers know this.’

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Let’s become pen pals all over again

In the times of Facebook and Twitter, almost everybody is a writer. We seem to have understood the importance of expressing ourselves. We have begun to develop a fondness for translating our thoughts. While we frequently strive to master the art of weaving words and cleansing the mind, we also seem to have forgotten the simple and authentic tools that we used when we were kids. Pen and paper have taken a back seat. They have made way for social media. I understand that its practically impossible to courier your status messages to folks if those are hand-written.  But on the other side, in my opinion, we dearly miss the pleasure of putting our thoughts to paper. We miss reading and re-reading our loved ones’ letters. We miss the surprise that we enjoy when we find an old letter unexpectedly while cleaning the closet. We miss laughing at the silly spelling and grammatical errors that our friends make. We miss smelling the scent of papers. And this realisation hit me when a friend couriered a 10-line hand-written letter to me, when all that I expected from him was just a book. As I opened the book, the letter that was put in a neat envelope slipped out. I was taken aback to see a lovely hand-written letter. Although it was a short one, I basked in the happiness of reading a letter after ages. But don’t I experience the same kind of ecstasy when someone sends a nice email? Don’t I feel special when someone posts a Facebook status about me? Yes, I do! But the sort of contentment that I enjoy when I hold the paper, lose myself in someone else’s words and preserve it safely for future reading is invaluable. It is a magical experience. And it occurred to me that social media is gradually taking away that priceless treasure.

When my husband and I were experiencing roughest time of our lives, I wrote a four-page letter to him, although I had a computer and printer at home. I wrote, stroke off and rewrote. And the process was repeated. But when I placed the last period, I knew that I had told all that I wanted to. It was a cathartic experience. And when my husband read the letter, we realised that the gap lied between us was effortlessly bridged by the simple letter that I wrote. But unfortunately, that was the last letter that I wrote to him. After that, I began preferring email to paper and quite honestly, email doesn’t come any close to writing a letter. It’s been almost seven years since I wrote that letter. But my husband still reads it once in a while and indulges in banters. He quizzes if I am still mad about him and I ask him to replace ‘about’ with ‘at’    A letter gives us quite a few golden opportunities. It helps us to relive our best experience and it also aids in purging out those memories that we try hard to forget.

In this journey called life, we learn some of our best lessons from unexpected sources. I was inspired to start writing letters again by my seven-year-old nephew Shravan. For our birthdays and wedding anniversaries, the little boy surprises us with hand-made greeting cards. Those modern-art sorts of paintings and illegible handwriting of Shravan convey so much that even an articulate person can’t. My pet nephew also rekindled the spirit in me. Thanks to my favourite boy! I have stopped buying greeting cards. I have started to spend at least two minutes to write a tiny letter to my loved ones to wish them on their special days. Yes, I’m guilty of reducing the sales of Archies’ cards.  But there is nothing more special than writing a touching note all by myself to give a sneak peek in to my heart.

I used to be afraid of making grammatical errors. I dreaded the idea of writing a long letter without making any mistakes. But the more I have started to write, I feel liberated. Social media does a great job in pronouncing our feelings. However that inexplicable feeling that I get when I see the excitement of my loved ones when they read my letter, is so beautiful. It is one sort of an addiction – a healthy addiction. It makes me want to write more. But where do I go for so many people and special days? I wish I could write at least one letter a day. If you haven’t received a letter in a long time (besides the so-called friendly letter that you get from your banks), email me your address. I would love to write to you too!  Let’s become pen pals all over again!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Who’s behind that bommai?

A night of torrential rains hasn’t deterred the determination of the doll makers nor the festive spirit in Mylapore, the cultural hub of Chennai. It’s business as usual at the Mada Streets, which are thronged by patrons choosing the best dolls for their golu. Amidst the incessant honk of vehicles, calls of vendors and raised voices of bargaining customers, we talk to the doll makers who live on the streets for around 20 days to sell their bommais (dolls) that decorate many houses during Navarathri.

Almost every doll seller, who has set up a stall on Mada Street, has been in the business of making and selling dolls for around four generations. Jagadheeshwari, who hails from Panruti, a town in Kadalur district, visits Chennai with her family every Navarathri season to sell the dolls that her family makes throughout the year. “My father-in-law was an expert at making dolls and all of us learnt the art from him. Although he made them, using clay, we make them, using plaster of Paris, which is what the customers prefer,” says Jagadheeshwari before she is interrupted by an inquisitive kid, who wants to buy Chotta Bheem. She politely says that it is not available and assures him that she would make it for him next year. “These kinds of customers are the ones who keep us going. The more they ask for different kinds of dolls, the more innovative we can get,” she says. Jagadheeshwari promptly updates her to-do list with the young customer’s request. “A customer wanted a grahapravesam set. Another customer has placed an order for Vishnu’s vishwaroopam,” she laughs, “Not Kamal Haasan’s Vishwaroopam!”

Kumar, who has a stall next to Jagadheeshwari’s, tries to be tactful with the customer, who tries to bargain unreasonably. While he refuses to sell the dolls to the patron, Kumar tells us, “These dolls are the result of a year of hard work. Some customers come with the mindset to negotiate illogically. I wish that they would understand the kind of massive efforts that we put into making these dolls.” The sellers set up the dolls on the roads a week before Navarathri begins and the sale goes on after a couple of days of golu. “If we deny the customer their price, the dolls are left unsold till the end of the festival, and eventually, we are forced to sell at unreasonable prices to make ends meet,” Kumar says.

Kumar and Jagadheeshwari, who are not from Chennai, seem to have completed their school education. But the next vendor we meet is a mechanical engineer. Anand Babu forayed into the business of selling golu bommai for his doting mother. “I have completed my B.E. and taken a break from my job-hunt to help my mother, who has been selling dolls since her grandfather’s time,” says Anand. The family visits Punroti and Kanchipuram to order and buy dolls. “The makers have increased the cost so much and because of which, the prices have gone up a lot. This year’s business isn’t going well,” says Anand.

The doll sellers concur on the sharp fall in profits from year to year. “Many people have changed their traditional practices and working people like to keep three or five small steps of golu. In spite of the decrease in sale, we would not want to give up our family business,” says Anand. Every doll maker manages other petty businesses during the rest of the year and some export to the USA too.

The doll makers are undoubtedly out-of-the-box thinkers and constantly strive to create new dolls. But the makers reveal that the demand for traditional dolls like Chettiar Bommai, Marapachi Bommai, Dasavatharam and Kalyana Set is still high. “This year Mysore Dussehra, Kumbh Mela Rishi and Sakkarathazhvar are in demand. Sometimes, to meet customers’ requests, we source dolls from Mumbai and Kolkata too. Some customers come back year after year without fail and it’s important to keep them happy. Our CM Jayalalithaa used to visit our stall when she was young,” reveals Ashok Kumar, another doll seller.

Doll making is a constantly evolving process. If makers moved from clay to plaster of Paris, now they try to be inventive to entice their customers. Anand thinks that education plays a vital role too in understanding customers’ minds. “A lady, who works in an IT firm, wanted to place an order for a ‘Facebook Pillaiyar’ — a figure of the Lord Ganesha with a computer on his lap. Maybe, my mother wouldn’t have been able to visualise it. But thanks to the exposure that I have had, I can precisely deliver  what that customer wanted,” says Anand, as he gathers feedback from customers to create a better offering of dolls next year.

(The story was originally published in Deccan Chronicle)

Friday, October 4, 2013

Inji's road of rusk to freedom

Chapter 1:
Inji, a stray dog, whom we feed quite regularly was marooned in a locked house in our street. We couldn't find her a couple of days and she managed to make some whiny noise to garner our attention. For the first two days, we thought that she was willfully staying there since nobody lives in that house. But only after I found her in the same place for two days, we realised that she is stuck there. We tried contacting the owner to get the key. But nobody seemed to have his number. Then with the help of a few construction workers in the street, we tried to lift her out. But she tried to shoo us away by growling. Eventually, I phoned Blue Cross this morning. Without even paying heed to my complaint, that lady snapped at me with a curt reply. She told that the Blue Cross team will not enter a locked house. So, should the animal be let to die? I didn't want to argue with her further. So, I called up Mr. Dawn Williams, the GM of Blue Cross. He was so sweet, listened to me completely and suggested a couple of ways to rescue the animal. But every method ended in vain because Inji was naturally timid, so, she wouldn't cooperate and top of all these, she seemed to be pregnant. I phoned Mr. Williams again and he promised to send a couple of boys. But my mind was so full of the dog that's incapable to find its way out. Poor thing! I waited for a call from Mr. Williams.

Chapter 2:
As soon as my husband returned from work, I pestered him to figure out a way to rescue Inji. Yes, I have immense belief in his presence of mind. :) So both of us clung to the compound wall for some time, before he decided that the policy 'Patience is a virtue' doesn't hold good all times. Hence my significant other chose to break open the garage door of the house and much to our chagrin, terrified Inji hid in some corner of the abandoned building. If breaking into the house was a tiring task, getting the timid dog out of the house was brain-draining. Inji seemed to have ensconced in a stinky bathroom. We managed to lure her by showing a pack of rusks and believe us if I say that we had to leave a track of rusks from the ill-scented toilet to the road, to lead her out. The dog took almost half an hour when she finished eating all the rusks on her way and eventually ended up reaching the road. Phew! I am now a happy dog-mama and thanks to everybody, who prayed for her. And million thanks to my husband, who always manages to make the most critical decision. :) To liberate the animal from distress, we trespassed. But, who cares when the animal is happy and free! I would have been happier if Blue Cross showed little more involvement. No complaints! Nothing at all! All is well! :)