I’m Only One Person. What Can I Change?

Snip20151003_1 Yesterday I was in the Euthanasia lab.
21 dogs were on the list.

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After a dog is tranquilized it is unable to move, but i can feel death coming. It can see humans around it drawing up the syringe with the blue-juice, finding its cephalic vein. The injected poison burns the dog as it enters their blood stream and almost immediately the dog stops breathing.

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In those few seconds before and during the injection process is my chance of petting their head, looking into their eyes and make sure I am the last person they see. The person who killed them and apologized to them on the behalf of humans. The person who mentioned this black and tan Doberman, Speed who supposedly would watch out for them in heaven.
I tug at their ear, hold their paw as there eyes turn glassy and their tongues loll out of their mouths.
Yesterday- they kept coming and they kept coming. We made some last minute calls and got 4 of them off the list but what was more important was that 17 dogs died- and I killed them.
At one point as I pet a dog that was being put down for being “human aggressive”, the vet tech asked me if I’d been bitten by a dog yet.
“No, I haven’t. In my 9 years in rescue, cruelty and animal control, not once.” I eased the loop off the brown pit-bull on the end of a catch pole.
My supervisor who was just boasting about how much of an expert he was claimed, “It’s just a matter of time before you get bit, Inder.”
Thats right. I might get bitten, but never because I failed to read the body language of a dog.

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When friends and family tried to cheer me up late last night, they reminded me that I wasn’t a cause of their death. But the fact is today there thousands  more dogs on the list- all across the country.
SO WHAT CAN ONE PERSON DO?
We keep saving one or two dogs here and there but thats akin to plucking apples to kill an apple tree.
Today I got a police call, aggressive pitiful at large. Got out of the yard and the owners were out of town.
The neighbors told me that he had charged them several times and today broke through the fence. The police officers stayed 20 feet away with their guns drawn.
I put a leash around my arm and sat on the driveway.
“Aren’t you going to use your pole?” The female officer lowered her weapon.
“Naah, let me try it my way first.” I peeled open a bag of treats and tossed one at the dog.
He looked at me and I looked away; feigning disinterest. Then I asked someone 50 feet away a question and then looked at the dog, appeared interested.
I sensed the gears in his head turning. Should I, shouldn’t I?
He walked towards me, then circled me and picked up the treat.
In the next minute he was eating out of my hand and in another minute he was my long lost friend.

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Then he dropped and rolled over.

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From then on my soothing voice turned to say the most sarcastic comment within earshot of the police. “Are you the puppy, everyone here was calling aggressive?” I rubbed his ear and he purred in pure joy.
The police had now holstered their weapons and took turns petting this big-papi.
The neighbors came out to thank me. They said they were ready to hear shots and see bloodshed today.
SO IF I AM JUST ONE PERSON – WHAT DO I DO.
Well, you fix the root cause.
And what is the root cause? – Lack of education. Lack of knowledge.
So we show them.
We educate them.
We don’t talk- we do.
We teach the kids COMPASSION
We educate against breed specific STEREOTYPING.
We show the citizens by example.
We educate kids how to read a dogs body language and prevent bites.

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We are either a part of the problem or a part of the solution.
This is what we do to change.
Or else, much like I was yesterday; we are all killing them, in our own way.

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A Tale of Two Shirts

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      Eres un diablito, Luis. Un nino el diablo.” My grandfather’s bony fingers rapped my head. “How many times have I told you not to chew gum. Spit is out, en este momento.”
     Phoooey. It flew in the air, headed for the yellow plastic bin.
     It missed.
      Whaack. He wrung his hands together. “Go pick it up. Don’t they teach you to not litter in school.”
“–But Abuelo everyone else–” I covered the back of my head and shrunk.
       Pain seared through my fingers.
      My brother jumped in between us. “That green bus will go to Guadalajara, Abuelo.” He flicked his wrist behind his back, urging me to go pick up the gum.
       “Guadalajara?” My grandfather leaned on his walking stick.

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       “To our boarding school, Abuelo.” My brother draped a shawl over Abuelo’s shoulders.
       “Yes, I forgot. Yes. Let us go.” He took a few painful steps towards the bus. “Your mom and dad were so good at taking care of you. I can’t even control just your brother.”
        I jumped onto the aluminum steps of the bus. “El dictador, but you love me.”
       “El diablito. Surely the devil.” He coughed out.
       The bus lurched and stalled and sputtered forward and he began telling the story of our mother and father. How they met and how they glowed when my brother was born. His bony callused hands patted my brother’s head. “Mi pichón, go to sleep.” He hummed a phlegmy tune.
      “Look Abuelo, he’s drooling on your shawl.” I nudged.
       He encompassed me in his frail arms. “Let your brother sleep.”
The smell of jasmine made me cringe. “Uuuugh Abuelo, you used Abuela’s parfum again? Your bottle is in the right hand cabinet.”
      “I forget, Mi Gauchito.” He squinted his eyes to reach some hazy corner of his brain.
      “I’m a gaucho not a gauchito.” I pouted. “I’m big enough to take care of you.” I splayed all five fingers of my right hand and two on my left hand.
       He clasped all my fingers and kissed them. His bristly chin and long grey moustache ticked my hands. “The only thing I never forget for a moment in my life are your ages, mi Corazon. Seven and Ten.” He looked out into the sunset and sighed.
      Click click click. The bus conductor snapped his ticket cutters. “Tickets please?”
      “Three tickets for…” he lost eyes stared into mine.
       “Guajjara.” I managed.
       “OK Three for Guadalajara. That would be eighty one pesos.”
        He stuck his arthritic fingers into his shirt pocket. “Madre de Dios!” he looked around.
      “Is there a problem, Señor?” The conductor held Abuelo’s shoulder.
      “I forgot to bring money.” He patted his shirt pocket.
       “Maybe you dropped it.” The conductor bent down and looked around the seat. I put my head under the seat and ran my fingers through some dust bunnies. I retrieved an orange colored half sucked piece of candy covered with lint. “Abuelo, can I eat–”
        He held his head in his hands. His woolen monkey cap was partially off his bald head. “My brain. Oh my brain. I forget such simple things. How will I ever show you the path, my boys?” He sniffed.
       My brother stuck his hand into his pocket and held out three coins. “Don’t cry Abuelo, I have three Pesos.”
      “And I have orange candy,” I wiped it off my shirt and offered it to the conductor.
      The conductor sat down next to him. “Don’t worry about it, Señor. You don’t have to pay.” Abuelo lifted his face. The conductor’s eyes lit up. “I know you. You’re that famous contractor. My Papi worked for you for thirty years.” He touched Abuelo’s knee. “What happened to you? You’re the millionaire that employed half of our–”
       Tears had pooled by the rim of Abuelo’s thick glasses. “These are my assets now.” He ruffled our hair with each hand. “Other than that my brain is so weak that I keep forgetting to do things, to carry things.”
       I took the slimy piece of candy out of my mouth and held it in a pinch. “He’s my dictador abuelo. The doctor says he’s got –umm — err…”
       “–He’s fine,” my brother hugged my grandfather. “I don’t think he forgets. I think he remembers too much.”
       I chuckled and put the candy back in my mouth.
       His vice like grip clasped my cheeks. My lips protruded out like a fish. He stuck his gritty finger in my mouth, hooked it and flicked out the candy.
       I reached out for the glistening orange candy lying on the bus floor.
      Whacccck.
       I stumbled and fell, held my cheek with one hand and the candy in the other. “Daddy had taught me about the three second rule.”
      “Out of all he taught you, this is what you remember?”
       “At least I don’t forget to bring money.”
        Soc. My brothers small fist made contact with my shoulder.
        Abuelo pinched the bridge of his nose under his glasses.
        My brother buried his head in Abuelos chest. “He’s a silly boy, Abuelo. Don’t mind him. You don’t forget. You never forget anything about us. You remember our birthdays, our school fees and the parent teacher meetings.” He twirled the topmost button of Abuelo’s spotless white shirt. “You just have a lot to remember.” He twisted the button round and round. “You just remember too much because you care too much.”
         Abuelo’s ivory colored button broke off. His white shirt’s opened up.
My brother peeled back his shirt and looked up at him with brown saucer like eyes. “Look Abuelo, I told you that you remember too much. Here’s your money.”
         Beneath his shirt was another identical white button down shirt.

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SUCH IS THE BALLAD OF MY LOVE

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A rose, a generous heart or a bracelet,
The question is; what’s in my wallet?
To be the only one that comes between her and her Calvin’s do I have to be wealthy?
Or did I just waste a tenner at the corner of Happy and Healthy?
I bought balloons, ribbed for her pleasure she will like, I bet
My chin is smooth, the best a woman can get.
I smoke a cigarette; it’s a quick picker-upper.
I nervously toe a mile to her house to get a camel post supper.
She opens the door and swoons, Manly, but I like it too.
I rip open my shirt, Madam, what can brown do for you?
You positively absolutely have to be here overnight. She gives my hair a twirl.
Surely I croon. My easy, breezy, beautiful, covergirl.
She touches my fly, Can you take a licking and keep on ticking? She asks
Yes, Yes, Can you hear me now?…Good That’s my task.
Her dress falls to the floor, You’re now free to move about the country.
I unzip. Help I’ve fallen and I can’t get up. My penis says to me.
Come on big boy, Do it. Just do it. She starts to parrot.
Big boy? But my five dollar footlong still a baby carrot.
She gives me a blue pill, Father tested, Mother approved.
Suddenly I’m lovin’ it. It just moved.
Then it keeps going and going and going. All along.
I think I’ll still be ready when the moment is right, come and gone.
My Ballad of Love doesn’t give me wings, if passion is a factor,
For erections lasting longer than four hours, you should consult a doctor.

The A,B,C’s of L. O. V. E

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Three eight year old boys A, B and C are walking back from school when they chance upon a mangy stray dog. A digs a few rocks out of his shorts and flings one at the dog. Boy B recedes behind a tree and keeps a close watch on the dog. Boy C plants himself firmly between boy A and the dog, ensuring that the dog is not hit anymore.
Which of the 3 boys from the scenario defines you? A hypothetical question, you say? Maybe it doesn’t jog your memory enough. Okay, read on;
Boy A goes home and his mom is indifferent to him. She’s busy arguing with his father or planning a kitty party.
Boy B goes home to a mother that is the quiet contemplative type. She’s a housewife concerned about her family’s well-being. Worried about her son having all he needs to do well in school.
Boy C goes home to find his mother feeding a cow or teaching the servant’s six- year-old child how to read and write.
Does either of these scenarios sound familiar? Too general, you claim? Well, read on;
Boy A’s path in life is as follows. From seeking fun in hurting others he becomes a bully at school. He then becomes an eve-teaser in college. He ends up getting into a few fights, always on the verge of getting in trouble, or worse; arrested. He gets married and has a good chance of being a wife-beater.
Boy B is the classic case of someone that does what’s expected of him. The “also ran” in life. The one who observes everything, does nothing and is educated enough to talk about it at a party. He gets married, has kids and watches out for them like his mom did for him. He will complain about ills in society and his country but he won’t do a thing about it.
And then there is boy C. He has learnt compassion from his mother. Love and care for animals and other humans has been nurtured in his heart. He will grow up to encompass everything. The environment, animal abuse, sex workers, oppressed classes, geriatric care; everything will be of concern to him. He will do something about each and everything. He will fill his life with causes those are beyond himself.
Now does the picture become clearer?
Here is the simple truth. Most of us fall under the category B. Always afraid that our B child doesn’t become a category A kid. All we have to do is make him a category C child. That will make a generation of category C children.
Most of us ask what one person can do for this world or to change our country. Well here’s the answer for you. Encourage your child to be a type C child. Learning about compassion early in life builds empathy and moral character, reduces violence and builds a sense of empowerment and responsibility. Society as a whole benefits when its members are more caring toward each other and the animal those live among us.
Studies have shown that kids those abuse animals are five times more likely to commit violent crimes against people and four times more likely to commit theft and three times more likely to do drugs than kids who don’t. In fact the FBI uses violent crimes against animals to profile violent criminals.
Hence A is not equal to B and B is not equal to C. So there you have it- Hence proved.
Q.E.D – Quad Erat Demonstrandum.

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THE VALENTINE’S DAY CONUNDRUM- BOLLYWOOD STYLE

THE VALENTINE’S DAY CONUNDRUM– BOLLYWOOD STYLE

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           I learnt all my romantic moves or lack of them from Bollywood movies. Because the pudding defines the proof; my being single is proof that the Bollywood romance formulas are foul pudding.

          I’m an engineer. To my logical brain, If A=B and B=C then A should equal C- always.

           So Bollywood taught me there seven ways to woo a woman.

1)      If you love here follow her to the ends of the earth;

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The hero chases the heroine from London to Punjab, from Gujarat to Italy.  So I showed up to my girlfriends door in Switzerland and for the second time I got the response- What on earth are you doing here?

2)      Save her from a bunch of thugs;

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This has to work right? The brawny hero bangs up an un-imaginable number of goons. I saved my prospective girlfriend from an eve-teaser in a bus once. Well, I got arrested, refused to pay a bribe- went to court. Offered three months pocket money to a grossly incompetent and comical lawyer- and never saw the girl again.

3)      Use a furry friend;

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A cute dog (for some reason a Pomeranian) carrying a rose between its teeth and wearing a bow around its neck. The heroine carries the dog and sings a song, twirling amongst flying ribbons and balloons. My Doberman scared the crap out of every girl he approached. He was the gentlest dog but all he could carry was his reputation. Not only did he not find me a girlfriend, he never found one for himself. He was feared amongst all the strays and neighborhood dogs.

4)      Let her go;

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Sacrifice. That one must work. The hero reunites the heroine with a previous lover. Just in time the heroine realizes how important sacrifice is in the grand scheme of things and returns to the hero. I let my girlfriend go. And she left- darnit Bollywood. Then I followed her to the end of the earth and we know how that story turned out in point number 1 above.

5)      Have your mom be you wingman;

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The hero’s mom has the ability to explain away her son’s worse characteristics to the heroine. “Yes he is a serial killer, but he can touch his nose with his tongue.” Lo and behold the heroine melts. My mom was an expert in scaring away women I was almost engaged to. “Are you sure you want to marry Inder? His last girlfriend was…”

6)      Ignore her completely;

Now go figure this one. The hero completely ignores the heroine- and she still falls for him. In the harsh reality of things- every hot chick has fifteen guys wooing her. Here is a ratio to explain my point. If you turn over any rock lying on the ground there are 3 men found under it and one guy will be sitting on that rock. My last hope was the questionably attractive girl that was ignoring all these guys- seemed like a slam dunk. Five dates and five hundred Rupees later I found out that she was gay.

7)       Get her wet (noooooo literally- in the rain);

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Well if it starts raining in Indian movies the hero and heroine’s fate is sealed. Song first, wet clothes next…  Dry them by a fireplace… Kiss coming… Birds will fly out of the trees; they must… no sexual act can happen without birds flying out of trees. Some sobs and “I gave you my virginity’’ dialogues later- marriage happens. I got one woman wet once.  A hospital visit and a fight with bone-chilling fever later- I was still single.

 

                I am an engineer but if All of A is B it doesn’t mean all of B is A. Hence proven- Q.E.D

 

© Inderpal Sandhu and inderpalsandhu.wordpress.com, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Inderpal Sandhu and inderpalsandhu.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

THE KISS CULTURE – The only culture I know is agriculture

-Inderpal Sandhu

         I’m sure if the band ‘KISS’ had played in 80’s India, they would’ve moderated their name down to ‘HUG’.  That’s the culture in which I outgrew my boyhood. Having grown up in boarding schools, I’ve learnt most everything from Bollywood movies; friendship, respecting parents, singing songs, whistling through life and romancing.

         When the hero and heroine were about to kiss in Indian movies the camera would cut to a shot of two flowers touching each other and we knew a kiss has taken place. Alternately the heroine lifting her leg in the air confirmed that the hero has successfully planted his lips on hers. I would stop chewing the popcorn in my mouth, my jaw would drop. I couldn’t risk blinking or I’d miss it. And God forbid, if the camera showed birds fly out of trees, my pre-teen mind had to imagine that a carnal sin had taken place. The heroine was no longer a virgin. Ohhhh Noooooo.              

         A few years later, un-kissed by a soul (barring a rare shining moment of glory that my mother deemed was kiss-worthy) I was pushed into the world of dating. My father’s friend’s bumbling sixteen-year-old daughter seemed like an easy-enough start.

“You can have all my Sidney Sheldon novels.” I slid the stack toward her.

She threw her arms over my shoulder. “You’re such a sweetheart.”

The smell of Listerine lingered between us. Inder, that’s one strong mouthwash. Either she’s giving you the ‘go ahead and kiss’ signal or she has serious oral health issues because that mouthwash is one pH away from being classified as an acid. Come on man, your friends asked you to lookout for clear hints. Slam dunk– I closed my eyes and opened my mouth slightly, cocking my head to my right I leaned in.

Her body stiffened. She arched away. “What are you doing?”

“I’m umm…err…uh… nothing. I was just… I thought–”

She struggled out of my arms. “I knew it. My friends say all boys want the same thing.”

I punched my open fist when she walked away. What’s this ‘same thing’ that girls keep on talking about? Kissing is the biggest deal. Six months of exchanging gifts and notes and holding hands. When’s the right time for moving on to the mouth to mouth handshake?

Ten years, several girlfriends, many pull-backs and an occasional slap later, I had taught myself to just ask first. To kiss or not to kiss- that, my friend, is the question.

At age 24, I immigrated to the US. My first date here was a fellow-intern.  After failing miserably within my own community I was now venturing into cross cultural dating.

I downed the fifth refill of diet soda and suppressed the thirteenth burp. “Why do they keep refilling my glass?

She leveled her palm and waived. “–Because you keep finishing it. You stop- they stop.”

Duh.

            She held a cookie in her hands and used her thumbs to crack it open. She pulled out a small piece of paper from a secret compartment within. “Man who scratches ass should not bite fingernails.” She read aloud the profound wisdom in the paper. “What did your fortune cookie say?”

Gulp. “Mine didn’t have anything in it.” I picked up another one. No wonder that cookie tasted so darn horrible. Chinese restaurants in India do not have these–

“–Well what does this one say?” She chuckled.

I pulled out the paper. Fuckgoshdarnit. I held it up in two fingers for her. Passionate kiss like spider’s web, soon lead to undoing of fly.

She guffawed and winked.

Wow. I mean wow. “Girls here are easy.” My Indian roommates had preached earlier that day. “Just make sure you take protection with you.”

“It’s the first date, guys.” I’d stated.

“Yeah, but it’s best to be prepared. If she gives you a lead in, invites you in for coffee, talks about making out or ahem ahem…. chitty-chitty, bang-bang… you know.”

I had run into the Walgreens just before picking her up and purchased a packet of ‘To Maximize Her Pleasure’. The best place to hide them was under the passenger seat because she might open the glove box for any reason.

The waiter nudging me with the check brought my thoughts back to the date. What? 4378 There goes 5 post tax internship hours. “Per November’s Cosmo, if the bill is more than 40 bucks, you have a 33.3 % chance of getting laid.” My software engineer roommate had clarified while he primped my tie.

I pulled back her chair and draped her jacket over her delicate shoulders. The indicators were clear as day.

“You’re such a gentleman.” She crooned.

          Fuck. There go 50 dollars down the toilet.

I opened the passenger door to my hooptie and adjusted the second seat-cover over her seat so that her dress wouldn’t get torn by the multiple springs poking through the foam.

When I spun on my heel she was breathing down my throat. “Thank you for the date, Inder.” Her silver polished nail traced the side of my mouth and slid off my chin.

          Listerine? Darnit. I stared deep into her eyes. “Would you like to kiss now?”

She straightened her head. “What? Why would you ask me that?”

I tried putting my arm around her back but she put her palm on my chest. “I thought it’s better to ask–”

“That’s such a momentum killer, Inder.” She straightened her elbow.

“No No…we have momentum.” I reached out for her waist.

We drove silently for a few minutes. You almost had her, you bumbling moron. If only you could’ve kept your pie-hole shut for three more seconds–

She placed her sweaty palm on mine. “I understand the cultural differences, Inder. Kissing and sex is such a big step for–.”

        No No it’s not. How do you think we became the second most populous country in the world. It’s just that–

Her voice became crisper “–Your society is very conservative. In the US it is acceptable for people who are dating to be intimate.”

I turned to face her. Her eyes became wider. She clasped my hand. A tinge of red light fell on her face. My instincts made me hit the brakes as hard as I could.

Her head almost hit the dashboard. She lurched back.

“Phew, that was close.” She straightened back up. “Hey what is that–?” She pointed to something between her feet.

I looked over. Her immaculately painted toes were inches away from a small box. It said in bold letters. Ribbed, for her pleasure.

© Inderpal Sandhu and inderpalsandhu.wordpress.com, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Inderpal Sandhu and inderpalsandhu.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.