Monday, September 19, 2011

My cat's routine

My cat is a year old and has a fixed sort of routine, implying that it has a greater system and discpline than me !

It sleeps by 10pm (in the wash basin in the basement in hot summer ;  and on the sofa on the first floor in spring and fall;  and with us in bed in winter)
It wakes about twice a night, sits on my chest and rubs it's face into my neck for about 10 minutes and then goes away. Sometimes it falls asleep while rubbing it's face in my neck! Apparently many cats do this.
It wakes in the morning and comes mewing, trying to wake me so that I take it to the backyard where it watches out for squirrels, birds (starlings,woodpeckers and finches) and butterflies. It chews on the grass and tries to chase butterflies and wasps.(It got it's paw stung by a wasp once when it tried to catch one and it's more wary of wasps now!)
After this 15 minute walk in the back yard (on a leash, with me.....I am afraid it will run off or worse still, walk on/ eat the racoon shit in the garden) we go in .....and then it rushes around with such a burst of energy, it is amazing ! It acts berserk, running around, wanting me to chase it! It runs from one room to another, jumping on and off the sofa, hiding under the dining table, taking flying leaps from one place to another. If I have time, I chase it until it is tired and stops.
As I wake late on weekends, and do  not walk it in the garden,  it whines a bit and then settles itself in the bathroom window, looking out at the passing vehicles.
 I have seen this puss, sometimes trying to entertain itself, by pushing a granite ball, back and forth with it's paws, all by itself!
It eats on and off a few times a day; it poops(once a day) drinks it's water a few times a day and goes to sleep by 9 or 10 am. It sleeps the entire day until we get back home.
When I return from work, I  barely have time to  take off my outdoor shoes when it starts mewing at  expecting me to take it out to the back-yard immediatly !
We go through the same morning routine outside. It sometimes sits on a rock, basking in the evening sun. It sometimes, rolls on my neighbour's soft lawn. It likes to chew on dried twigs; I do not know why. I read a book, while it explores the back-yard. Often it does not want to return inside and whines or bites my hand or sits tight or rolls and refuses to get up....when it is time to go inside. Then I have to swoop down and carry it in!
When we come in, it wants to play again...I should either chase it or throw a ball at chases the ball and stops(does not fetch it like a dog).
 It loves to play i.e. chasing a ball or  a stick; trying to catch a thread shaken in front of it........It also loves to be chased and it loves to jump into boxes and bags lying around the house and hiding in thrusts itself into small brown paperbags, thinking, we cannot see it ! When in bed, it sometimes creeps under the bedsheet and bites our legs. It seems to love closed places and to be hidden. I try to make small spaces  for it such as a pillow placed on a sofa where it can go between the pillow and the sofa; I arrange books in piles and it likes to hide in the middle of the pile; it loves to be chased into the basement where it hides in the various empty boxes lying around. You only have to pretend to walk away, for it to come out and seek your attention again! This cat initiates play by running hard in your presence or by rubbing against your legs and running!
This cat is very specific with what it wants to do with whom; it wants me to chase it but it wants to chase my husband; it sits on me and pushes it's face into my neck when I am sleeping but it bites my husband's legs almost every night, in order to wake him or in play. It never sits on his chest and rub his face or bite my legs to get me to play.
The only variations in it's routine are:
 when it seems to be a bit sleepy/lethargic in summer and a lot more active in winter;
 it seems to be more on it's own in summer i.e. in the basement and more with us in winter;
Once in a while it vomits  (grass;  and some stuff, which I have been told is a hairball but does not look like a hair ball to me!)

This cat has certainly made me a bit more discplined than I would have been without it. Now, thanks to this cat, I have to walk it daily twice; Thanks to this cat, I have to be careful, not to throw things around the house, which it is likely to swallow. This cat has also made me  more cheerful and less grumpy. I cheerfully give up reading even in the middle of an exciting crime fiction if this cat wants me to play with it...........this is something I would not do for any person I think!

October 2011: The temperatures really fell this week and I did not walk this cat for the last two days. And is it ANNOYED! My poor cat is not yet feeling the chill like me and wants to go out....I do not want to as it is rainy and cold. I keep telling my cat, 'No', but it just does not get it. I did take it out in the rain for a few minutes, when it did not stop whining. After it got a few raindrops, it came in and finally stopped whining!
It is going to be tough in winter I think.....the cat wanting to go out and me refusing to take it! Today morning, it did not whine much, but was sitting in a sort of tight, huddled way, as if it was trying to keep warm. It did run about a bit and I gave it wants me to play with it by chasing, as a substitute for not taking it out. The poor thing is also feeling sad as I have just shut the bathroom window, it's perch for looking out at cars..........the windows glass is frosted and it can no longer look out. That window will remain shut till June of next year to keep the cold out and my poor cat will be with little visual stimulation! I hope I can fix something interesting for it to do and play, this winter..... October to June i.e. eight long months!

December 2011: More news of my cat
This cat's latest interest is cotton buds! I throw and it jumps after the cotton bud and attacks it like it were a rat( the cotton tip probably  makes it think that it is an animal with fur). I love to watch it chase the cotton bud......I throw it from the bed on which the cat & I are sitting on...then, the  cat  takes a flying leap from the bed  and skids  for a short distance before finally stopping and attacking the bud! I can watch this  leap and skid a hundred times and not get tired!
The other objects it loves to chase after include table tennis balls, cod-liver oil capsules, any small object like hairbands, small roundish objects that roll like peanuts, pomogranete least, these are the things I have thrown and it has chased.  I am not sure if I mentioned it earlier but it loves to place these things(it's playthings) in it's water mug and I have to periodically remove them! Right now, it's water mug is filled with cotton buds and one cod-liver oil capsule. Previously it was putting my hairbands ino it's water mug.
I have three dishes filled with water, so that  it can drink from one and store it's toys in the other dishes. But it insists on drinking from the mug it uses for storing it's toys!
Another thing I have discovered is that it loves to attack my finger when I insert it from a small crack in the box it is sitting in.(I was chasing this cat round the house and it jumped into a large cardboard box....then I tore a small opening in the box and put my finger in and wiggled. It pounced on my finger the moment it spotted it while I withdrew my finger for safety).

Sometimes I think that this cat not only  gives me a lot of funbut it is less trouble than kids. So maybe, it was wise of us to not have kids but own a cat instead!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Is it Sickening Sycophancy and Grovelling Humility or is it merely Poor Language Skills of Indian Film Stars?

One of the most irritating things to watch on Kannada television is interviews of people in the television or movie industry. The obsequious flattery of the interviewer toward a person in the film/television industry especially if the person is a famous 'star' is to say the least, 'sickening' .  
Some of the things I really cannot stand are:
(1)Use of the word  'Sir', either before or after the name of the personality. "Ramu sir; you acted very well. I really enjoyed your acting Ramu Sir". Of all the obsequious behaviours, I think the use of the word Sir, irks me the most. I want to slap the interviewer each time he/she uses the word is about 100 times in a half hour interview!
(2) Often, the interviewee's skills are national or international or even local standards. Yet, the interviewee is never challenged during the interview. The interview is one of hundred percent flattery!
(3)There is of course no depth in the interview and one never gets the feeling of having heard or learnt something worthwhile.
(4)Now most interviews and programs on Kannada television have 25-50% or more of English words in them. It seems that the Kannada language has not evolved to accomodate today's ideas  and therefore people  are unable to express their thoughts in Kannada often intersperse their talks with English words and phrases.
It is ironical when the interviewee happens to be a 'Kannada' actor or film director or whoever and is unable to express his ideas in Kannada..... especially when these so called fighters for Kannada themselves cannot express their ideas in Kannada without using English words in their talks.
I  also find it hard to accept their half English and half Kannada conversations  when these folks   are constantly blocking the screening of other language films and serials in Karnataka.

(5)Several big shots in the  Kannada (and maybe the entire movie industry in India)Movie and television industry behave like megalomaniacs. I can accept poor acting and poor direction and poor everything else. What I cannot accept is their lack of talent coupled with their insufferable arrogance and despotic behaviour with the people lower down the ladder. They resent any criticism to boot!
If one reads the newspapers reviews of Kannada movies, one will see that the movies with the 'powerful' folks in it, will get a 'good' review, even if the movie is of pretty poor quality. The reviewer will go to any extent to find something good to say about the movie. The reviewers do not feel safe to call a spade a spade in Karnataka.
Apart from the megalomania of these film and televison stars who will not tolerate any criticism, we also have the absolute "hero-worship" of some or several people. I do not know whether it is sycophancy which makes them talk in such a manner or is it simply poor language skills?  I am convinced it is sycophancy and not poor language skills, as I do not see such fawning flattery anywhere outside the film and television world in India (except Indian Politics!...Indian politicians will take anything to newer  and worse-r depths!)
In India, you will see one megalomaniac film personality obsequiously bowing to another bigger personality! However he/she expects the same bowing and scraping from a lesser personality towards him/herself!

I do know that humility is a virtue in Indian culture; that showing respect to 'elders' is part of the Indian or Hindu tradition..........but humility and showing respect in Kannada film & television and Indian political fields is taken to the extreme extent of ass-kissing!(pardon my language).
I have not seen a single interview where the interviewee has been confronted about some particular piece of poor acting or direction or whatever. I have never seen any interviewee tell that they goofed up and will try not to do so again.
The interviews are such a farce, they are not even funny.
It is as if the Kannada film and televison personality is strongly averse to objectivity, truth, any critical analysis of their work, any reccomendations for improvement.

Here are 2 excerpts from 2 interviews of a Hindi actress and a Kannada actor I happened to find on the internet. I have highlighted in red, the sentences which I found most ridiculous, but which is repeated in various ways in various interviews of film folks. In fact, it is the sentences in red which made me write this piece. On Canadian television too (Omni...Hindi programs) I see the same obsequious behaviours of Indian film stars.

".....It was one of my dreams to work in a Yash Raj film. I'm terrified at the thought of working with SRK. I have watched him at an event and am dumbfounded by his energy. The shooting of our film is yet to begin and I wonder how I will manage to act with him......."
 Katrina Kif on September 6th 2011to Sonil Dedhia in an interview( movies)

".....I forgot that he(Devraj) was my father, but could not forget the fact that I was performing in front of a big actor. I was shivering....."
Prajwal Devraj  on August 10th, 2011 to  S.Shyam Prasad in an interview (Bangalore Mirror)

I know the two actors mean to express their humility or they probably mean to flatter SRK and Devraj. But is it necessary to show 'respect' by telling the world you are 'afraid'?

Generally I admire and respect the humility of most people coming from the east(Westerners seem to have a kind of  easy confidence or lesser humility  in comparision) But such words as " I am terrified at the thought of working with him" or "I was shivering..."  coming from the mouths of people from a egoistic filmworld, sounds so fake!

I do not know when the film goer in India finally stops his hero-worship;
I do not know when the Kannada film and television personalities will wake up and face reality....that they are lacking in quality and have a long way to go...
Until this happens, I will be fighting with my parents and siblings in India, trying to tell them not to watch television.........they will continue to watch and also defend the quality of Kannada cinema and serials....while I smash my head against a rock in frustration(literal translation of a Kannada phrase...Nanna  tale nanu che-chi-kolla-beku)

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Physical health and mood states and Philosophical beliefs:

Physical health and mood states and Philosophical beliefs:

I am not sure if anyone has ever done a study linking physical health to the philosophical beliefs of a person; I discovered from my own  recent experience, that they can be strongly related!
I have come across several research work linking mood states to physical health , but none on physical health and philosophy.
I recently had a severe blood loss and was feeling extremely weak for more than two weeks. I did all that I read on the internet to fix it (except visit the doctor……….I am currently in a “Doctors-are-useless”, frame of mind) i.e. I took iron tablets, ate meat such as beef, ate iron rich food such as dhals & eggs(I dont think eggs and dhals are all that rich in iron) and  did not strain myself with physical work.
I lay on my bed, weakly, with thoughts going around in my head randomly. Somehow, I got to thinking about nihilism. And that Nihilistic  Philosophy seemed so perfectly logical !
 I tried to read a bit about other philosophies too but it was Nihilism which seemed to make perfect sense to me, at that point in time, when I was lying weak in bed!
Nihilism has been in my thoughts on and off, my entire life, ever since I discovered it while studying in college. It has attracted me, most when I am depressed, feeling hopeless or feeling physically sick.

Now, my question is, what was the state of physical health of the founders and followers of Nihilism? Did a physical checkup find that they were low in energy or blood sugar or something vital?
I am convinced that if the founders of Nihilism are given psychological tests, many are bound to score high on depression and other scales of mental illness. But it is not just mental illness or a mood disorder which can make a person think nihilistically. After my blood loss experience, I think an extreme bout of physical ill health can contribute to Nihilistic  thoughts.  What do you think?

 Of course, I have come across several sick people, who were stoic, cheerful and real gems... they were wonderful souls, all through their illness….trying their best to not be a  burden to others, trying to get better soon, trying to do as much as they can without adopting the ‘sick role’.

There are several research studies linking good physical health to good mood states and so many other positive things.

 I would like to also know, if there are any Nihilists in the world, who have excellent physical health, excellent mental health (i.e. they are cheerful; not schizophrenic; well adjusted in the world; have resilience in the face of difficulties; are honest and get along with people, etc) and are Nihilists, i.e. who do not believe in the meaningfulness of things or life. I would like to meet one if such a one exists, and ask him or her, “what makes you tick?”

Lack of scientific knowledge leading to social problems in incident

…………….My stream of thoughts go their meandering way till they reach my village folks fights and court cases!


This summer, as usual, we spent some weekends, driving around, soaking up the sun, enjoying the cool breeze(the  ac  in the car does not work, so we have to keep the windows open!) and stopping to take photos of anything which caught our fancy.
And ever since I have travelled  across  Canada and the US, the barns and silos  on the farms have caught my attention. I love the red barns in their various conditions…..falling down, new, old, semi-wrecked or totally wrecked. I have been photographing them and also reading about them on the internet. (…mostly on Wikipedia  which is  my latest GURU and probably will remain my Guru of Gurus, till I die !)
…When I read about how the cattle feed are stored in these barns and silos, read about the poisonous gases formed in the silos with the tons of feed in it and also read about the spontaneous fires in silos, I thought back of what my dad had told me recently.

My dad had told me about a huge fight between two neighbours in my village in India. The haystacks of one family had been burnt completely one night; this family had immediately suspected their ‘enemy’ i.e. his neighbour/relative with whom this family had a long feud.  The family whose hay-stack had burnt down, attacked the other family and accused them of setting their hay-stack on  fire. The other family, were furious and vehemently denied it;  the fight became violent and the head of the house of the accused family had to flee police arrest.
My dad knows both families and got a chance to talk to the man who fled from arrest. The man vehemently denied setting the fire and had proof that he and his family were no where near the hay-stacks when it burnt down .
In the light of this scientific knowledge from the internet, it is so easy to prove that the fire was not caused by a person but by spontaneous heating and combustion.
But who is to tell the family who lost a year’s worth of cattle feed in the fire, who are presently are seething  with rage? Even if one tried to explain, they are in no mood to listen. This fire is the last straw in a life-long series of fights over so many petty issues between the two families. Their belief that their ‘enemy’ set fire to their hay-stack is a culmination of so many factors…the long drawn enemity, lack of knowledge of science, lack of education, lack of trust, past memories of past ‘mischiefs’, etc. 
So many such incidents happen in Indian villages every year. I hear so many of them, though I am not a villager and have limited information about the goings on in my village.  Imagine, the full extent of such events happening daily in the millions of villages in India!
Unless, villagers have access to scientific education, which is of practical use to them and highly relevant to their lives and work, these 'social' problems in India will continue.
Due to lack of scientific knowledge, the number of avoidable tragedies I am seeing in Indian villages is phenomenal. The superstitions are another set of beliefs which prevent my villagers from progressing.
In my next blog entry, I will try to write about the tragedies in my village  caused  by  illiteracy, poor access to scientific information and presence of superstitions. I will be writing only what I have observed. I am sure there is a lot more problems out there, which I am not aware of as I am not living in a village and not privy to all that happens there.