In India, is innocence only found in villages?


From the time I started to read books and watch movies by Indian authors in my childhood, I have noticed that the innocent victim in the story has to be from a village. Village always has a villain – but just one guy, or just one family. Rest are all good guys. The villager then gets to go to the big city in search of better prospects – and guess what, it is the exact opposite in the City. There is only one good guy there in the city, or one family, or one group of friends. Every one else in the city is out to get the innocent guy. It makes me ask – How do you people in the city sleep at night?

I feel like screaming from the roof – who are you literary giants trying to kid here? Isn’t this a clear indication of widespread lack of imagination and creativity on your part?

In earlier books and movies, the villain had to be a landlord or business man. If you are rich, you must be bad. Then some creativity apparently kicked in – the rich villain had to originate from India, but earned his money from abroad. And he has to constantly be drinking whiskey, and smoking and womanizing.  He also has to ill treat his parents, wife and in-laws. He usually has a big dog that sits by his side.

Really? is that how the average dude who returns to India behaves?

Then came the craze with Europe and America – the average story being – young Joe argues with dad over a silly issue, and leaves for Europe. Next thing – he is driving around in a red convertible, wearing Armani suits and meets a beautiful woman. And then they return to India to complete the story.

One thing this story line does is give a real bad impression to people in India who have not traveled abroad. This makes them believe that if they somehow find a way to land in a western country, life is a bed of roses, and riches are yours for the asking. To further damage the reputation of Indians living abroad,  these movies invariably have dance sequences in railway stations and downtown areas. These actors and actresses must have really thick skin.

I readily admit that a few movies and books that follow this theme have some merit – but they are an exception. But the majority do not belong in the merit list – which makes me believe, are we that gullible?

I have a strong urge to bitch about the umpteen “crying woman” series that come on regional TV, but I have to get back to start my day.

If you have read till here – thanks for listening, and sorry for venting on you. Next time, stop at the first sign of trouble and turn on your heels.

One breed or many breeds?


I am the guy who used to tell others “There are just two types of dogs – German Shepherds, and those who want to be German Shepherds”. And for the last few years, I don’t have a German Shepherd – not one. Instead, I have a Golden Retriever and now a one year old labrador male.  These two breeds are totally different from shepherds, and also somewhat different to each other.  And guess what –  I love them and think they are also great dogs to have, as long as I recognize they are unique and dissimilar to shepherds.

At the height of my craze for German shepherds – I knew pedigrees of  hundreds of dogs, and had videos of every big show that happened in the GSD world. I had way more dogs than I should have had.  I knew most top breeders – and knew all top dogs, and up coming stars. I also spent a large part of my disposable income in doing all this. And I totally understood how little I knew even with that kind of commitment.

For a variety of reasons, I bought a Golden and then a Lab . Thanks to the experience in Shepherds – I don’t worry at all any more if my dogs don’t end up as succesful show dogs .  They can still stay home and play and cuddle with us if they don’t make a career in show ring.  However, I still only buy pups which are of show potential, and that too from breeders I like, and blood lines i like.  I think it is a great investment even if the dog turns out not so good in looks when he matures – and so far I have had no regrets.

It is kind of funny when you get into a new breed. Despite not being a newbie to purebred dogs, and despite handling and winning with a variety of breeds for friends – I have to start similar to a newbie all over again. To begin with, I buy books and videos and research internet. But that is just a small step. Unless I see several good dogs at different ages , I cannot appreciate the breed at all. So I go out and get introduced to breeders and handlers.  It is not really a slow process – there is a lot of stuff that you know from other breeds that can be applied to your new breed. 

However, I learned the hard way that this can be awkward too in some cases.  I did not like the movement in a lot of goldens I saw at the national show in Malibu,CA a few years ago. So I got in touch with a judge over email, and asked him. After a few back and forth emails – I got it. I didn’t like some goldens because I was expecting them to move like German Shepherds. The scary part was that I was actually liking a few who did move the way I liked, and hence my “eye” was developing an appreciation for a wrong type of Goldens.  

Life is a bit more easier with labs – since I have owned and shown labs when I was in school, and hence have a decent foundation. But I don’t know them like I know shepherds – which means I still need lots of time invested to learn, and find some mentors to guide me when I get stuck on something. Thankfully – as with Goldens, the lab people are also a friendly crowd. I have met very few who wouldn’t answer my questions – however silly they are.  Another advantage was that I worked in UK before, and they have some great labs. So I have some exposure to good dogs. Couple of trips more to Potomac, and I will have enough to have my basics covered.

I don’t think I will ever become a “breeder” – due to the lack of time and inability to suffer like my many friends who do breed. It is not for a part timer like me – I would much rather make use of the work put in by the dedicated folks who put their hearts and souls into it, by buying from them. A good part of my education in dogs will remain incomplete since I don’t breed – maybe I will try it at retirement. Maybe not. Most probably not. But then again – if I can buy a dog that is not a German Shepherd, I suppose I can breed too someday.

It makes me wonder – when I get my next dog, what breed will he be? Will I buy a German Shepherd, a Golden or a Lab? Or will I buy something else – I also like Irish Setters, Dobes and Boxers. I don’t quite know.  A good dog of any large breed gives me goose bumps.  Maybe next time, I should buy a dog that fits Arizona climate – so may be a Saluki? If I am buying a Saluki – I need to hire a skinny handler. I cannot even imagine what ringsiders will say if I walk into a ring with a Saluki with its 3 ribs showing !