Say No to Crackers!

The crackers emit the worst kind of gases and increase air pollution by 30 per cent. The toxic air is not only dangerous for those suffering from pulmonary diseases, but it also causes breathing problems in others.

40 per cent of those who suffer injuries during Diwali are children below the age of 14, and it is mostly boys in the age group of 10 to 14.

Here’s a quick guide on how to help animals in Diwali.

To help drive the message – Say no to crackers, here are some of my canine friends lending their voice of support:

#noisefree Diwali
Say No to Crackers – #NoiseFree Diwali ~Image courtesy Krutika

What good are crackers if they hurt your best friend? This Diwali pledge to go #NoiseFree ~Image courtesy Krutika


noise pollution free Diwali
From headphones to cotton cloths, any measure that would help to have a Noise pollution free Diwali. ~Image courtesy Tanuja


Happy Diwali dogs

The rise in air-pollutants during Diwali leads to a spike in respiratory diseases whilst the noise causes annoyance to the old and animals alike. This Diwali, let’s make it a happy celebration, encompassing all! ~Image courtesy Surbhi

Here’s wishing everyone a happy and prosperous Diwali!

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The other side of Kasol – India’s drug capital

Kasol crush, kasol drugs - dogwithblog
Beyond hikes, the tourists tread Himachal Pradesh (particularly Kasol) in heaps owing to the green crush making it the unofficial drug capital of India.

“That is part of the beauty of all literature. You discover that your longings are universal longings, that you’re not lonely and isolated from anyone. You belong.”
― F. Scott Fitzgerald

Patient as pregnancy, the bumpy ride from Manali to Manikaran is punctuated by the gurgle of Parvati River and calls of the wild.  Somewhere along these bends before Manikaran, placed on a stretch so easy to ignore that you can go past the little bridge not noticing what lies on the periphery, lies Kasol. Belonging to no cult or cipher, Kasol doesn’t wants to be found. But then, this little piece of heaven is lush with that hard to ignore Cannabis waft. Skunk, Red Hair, Early Girl, White Widow, flower power, Morning California etc. aren’t names of my brethren but common concoctions of drugs around here. I wished to find the other side of Kasol – India’s drug capital and I guess I did.

It was in one of these wanderings that this dog hitchhiked for Kasol trekking. Directions, I ceased asking, but I still had no answers.  The rest of the life paused on either side of Parvati valley. And it was only here that the life moved.

kasol trekking
Kasol, a backpacker’s delight, offers great trekking options.

Hills are often romanticized to be these sleepy places where life moves in sepia toned stillness. Out here it reverbs under the surface even at the dead of the night. And I looked at the moon wondering what it would be like in the hinterlands we call metropolis. Kind of puts things into perspective.

Kasol is everything that the adjectives associated with it proclaim it to be – backpacker’s paradise, the drug capital of the country, Little Israel etc.  For a hamlet that has no school post 10th standard, the billboards in Hebrew come as a surprise. With a settler population, jazzy restaurants and liquor shops open till late night, Kasol seems like a magical valley juxtaposed on an otherwise familiar Himalayan landscape.

Kasol restaurants
One of the jazzy restaurants in Kasol.

There are some I meet running from life. Then there are those who believe they are running at it. Kasol is for neither of them but for those who patiently observe the world from the fringes. It is for those who yearn to break free from the nexus of careers, cars and congregation. Those eyes who can’t stare at the computer screens any longer. Meanwhile, the world outside this radius takes turn from oblivion to orchestra, whilst these observers rubbing, snorting and puffing grass enjoy the show.

Kasol dog
As with any other trek in Himalayas, you would never walk alone. Friendly dogs almost always tag along as guides.

And they wander freely as Wordsworth’s cloud. If only, for a while.

Soon their parole would end and they would return to their cells. The valley meanwhile would turn to welcome its new guests. Another band on their quest to locate the land of cannabis.

~Image courtesy Vaibhav Bhardwaj.

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Red Dog cast

Movie Review | Red Dog

At the entrance to the Australian mining town of Dampier, a bronze statue stands tall in honour of the legendary Red Dog who acquired a cult status in the region (quite like Greyfriar’s Bobby in Scotland) for bringing the community together when such a notion hadn’t existed in the mine town.

Red Dog Statue Dampier Australia
Red Dog Statue (The Pilbara Wanderer) – at Dampier, Australia celebrates the life and times of the most famous Australian dog.

In the late 1990s, one tourist to the town happened to be Louis de Bernières (English author of Captain Corelli’s Mandolin) who adapted the story of Red Dog into a famous children’s book and the inspiration behind the movie Red Dog.

Red Dog quotes
The world is a funny place, no? Sometimes you pick your dog. Sometimes your dog picks you.

Imagine a dog so independent and yet overtly sentimental with a strong sense of rights to stop a car and get a lift; to hitchhike through the great continent in search of his dead master. Red Dog supposedly was also given a bank account by the Bank of New South Wales, which is said to have used him as a mascot and sales tool with the slogan “If Red banks at the Wales, then you can too”.

Red Dog cast  Josh Lucas, Rachael Taylor and Koko
‘You need to have a home to be homesick, mate!’ A still from Red Dog starring Josh Lucas, Rachael Taylor and Koko, the dog.

The movie Red Dog (2011) rolls out in set pieces like chapters of the book, each episode celebrating the life and times of the Red Dog. The plot showcases miners reminiscing their tales about the stray that changed their lives for good. From the lonely Italian worker Vanno to the suicidal Jocko, all were changed for better by Red Dog. But it’s the Red Dog’s relationship with John (American Josh Lucas) and Nancy (Rachael Taylor) that steals the scenes without effort.

Red Dog cast
We are all running away from a story we left behind. It’s always worth to find someone worth staying for.

Red Dog, the movie has the structure and schema resembling the template of a great family film and yet nothing seems pre-ordained. Backed by great performance by the ensemble cast and a stellar cinematography, the odyssey lends the movie a deep connect with the great Australian wilderness.

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Yudhisthira’s dog – Tale from Mahabharat

Lost to translations and god men, epics have often been misconstrued at the hands of perpetrators. It comes as a no brainer, however, that all the pious texts in essence speak of the same human values.  Once in a while, we also come across tales concocting humans and animals in a benign light. That for me is the best that there’s to religions.

Mahabharat - Pandava dog story
Yudhisthira’s dog – Tale from Mahabharat. ~Image sourced from Internet.

The Indian Pariah Dog, considered by scientists to be the first truly domesticated dog features in the great Indian epic Mahabharat. The closing chapter narrates the tale of King Yudhisthira and his brothers (The Pandavas) making a pilgrimage to their final resting place. Our in-house expert, his highness Chunnu present Yudhisthira’s dog – Tale from Mahabharat.

The Pandavas were firm in their resolve to renounce their Kingdom and began the ascent of a mountain as part of their final journey. Yudhisthira led the way followed by Bheema, Arjuna, Nakula, Sahadeva and Draupadi. A dog also accompanied them through their journey.

The first to fall along the way was Draupadi (Yajnaseni).

“Why did she die first, Yudhisthira?” asked Bheema. “Was she not virtuous, possessing a good heart?”

Yudhisthira replied without looking back. “That is true, but she was more attached to Arjuna. That was her failing.”

The next to falter and collapse was Sahadeva.

“What was his failing, O Yudhisthira?” cried Bheema

Yudhisthira continued walking without looking back, and replied: “Pride in his intelligence was his failing.”

Next fell Nakula.

“What wrong did he do, O Yudhisthira?” wailed Bheema

Yudhisthira spoke, without looking back: “He admired his own good looks. That was his failing.”

Arjuna collapsed soon after.

“What wrong did Arjuna do, O Yudhisthira?” cried Bheema, overcome with grief.

Yudhisthira was unmoved and kept walking: “He was brilliant but conceited and over confident. That was his failing.”

Bheema fell thereafter, unable to bear the sorrow of seeing his brothers die.

Yudhisthira spoke while walking on: “Bheema was boastful about his strength and ate in excess. That was his failing”

And now only Yudhisthira and the dog were left, continuing the journey together.

And finally, Indra descended in his chariot. He praised the extraordinary qualities of Yudhisthira and invited him into the chariot to ascend to heaven.

“The dog must come with me,” said Yudhisthira

“That is not possible,” said Indra. “All cannot attain heaven. The dog is old and thin and has no value.”

“In that case, I do not seek heaven, “replied Yudhisthira. “The dog was my faithful companion and I cannot abandon it. It sought my help and gave me unconditional love. The pleasures of heaven will mean nothing to me in comparison to its grief. It has done nothing to deserve abandonment and had none of the weaknesses of my wife and brothers. If it does not deserve to go to heaven, then neither do I.”
And so he turned back.

“Stop!” cried Indra. “None have the qualities that you possess, O Yudhisthira! The dog is Dharma, from whom you have descended!”

And indeed, the dog had transformed into the God of Dharma and blessed Yudhisthira for his complete lack of selfishness and dedication to righteousness in all circumstances.

And thus rose Yudhisthira to heaven in the chariot of Indra.

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Dog v/s Arnab Goswami

Transcript of Arnab Goswami’s famous interview (aptly titled Dog v/s Arnab Goswami in popular media coverage) with the renowned scholar and author Dr. Chunnu Dev Murthy who has just released his best seller – The Idiot I live with.

Dog's interview with Arnab Goswami
Chunnu takes on prominent TV journalist Arnab Goswami in a prime-time debate

Dr. Chunnu Dev Murthy was born a few years ago in the city of Mysore, India. In the short space of a couple of years, he acquired two Ph.Ds from MIT and Stanford and developed a reputation as an artist, painter, management consultant and professor. His latest book, “The Idiot I live with” has been on the bestseller list for months now. He was interviewed by Arnab Goswami, a prominent TV journalist.

AG: Dr Murthy, where do you get your inspiration from? The nation wants to know!

Dr CDM: The Idiot I live with.

AG: That’s the book yes, a curious title. But where do you get the inspiration from. The nation wants to know!

Dr CDM: Tell the nation I don’t care. I have already given you my answer. If you ask me again, I shall lift my leg and present you with a cocktail of uric acid.

AG: What is your book about? The nation wants to know!

Dr CDM: If they are that curious, they should pay me. It’s about the fool I live with who sponsors my education, lifestyle, food, boarding, lodging, internet and medical expenses. I explain that the human race is clearly hurtling towards extinction because The Idiot is such an amazing vacuum head. As are most humans.

AG: You’re calling me a vacuum head?? I demand an apology!

Dr CDM: Take this dog biscuit and shut up!

AG: Thanks. (Munching) So you say we’re heading towards extinction.

Dr CDM: Yes. No intelligence. No compassion. 100% arrogance. A huge superiority complex. Wars. Constant yelling and shouting. Sounds familiar? I’ve done the mathematical modeling. If even 2% of people are like this idiot who’s posted this article, the infection will spread and you’ll be gone in 30 years. I discuss music, anthropology, biochemistry, tick powder, vets and poetry.

AG: That’s serious. What will happen then? The nation wants to know!

Dr CDM: TELL THE NATION TO GET LOST! We shall be taking over and will put whoever’s left in shelters.

AG: Where can I get your book from? The nation wants to know!

Dr. CDM: There is no doubt, listening to you, vacuum head, that my prophecy will come true. Anyway, my book was published by Penguin and can be purchased for Rs 1000/- from flipkart. Here’s some uric acid. Bye.

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The world as the dogs sees it.