Dear Mr. Kejriwal

Dear Mr. Arvind Kejriwal,

I write this letter while you and some others are busy in back room maneuvering to have a tie-up with my party i.e. The Indian National Congress.

I do not know what my party’s Central and State Leadership is going to decide on this tie-up but what certainly I do now know is that you are no different from the others you so vehemently criticized from the grounds of Ram Leela Maidan and can henceforth take no moral high ground on the basis of principles, ethics for being a party with a difference.

In not so distant past you had painted the entire political class with one stroke of brush as Corrupt, inept, inefficient, unprincipled etc and garnered these anti-establishment votes to a spectacular win in Delhi Assembly. A model you tried so hard to replicate pan-India but failed with most of your candidate forfeiting their deposits in Lok Sabha and Assembly Elections barring a few exceptions.

I was never a fan of your kind of politics because you offered the people of India Utopia when you yourself knew there was none. One by one people started leaving or were made to leave the movement that Anna Hazare had started and whose fruits you were the only one left to devour and relish.

From swearing on your children never to have a tie-up with the Congress to actually doing it and now bending over backwards to accommodate them is not surprising to those who have watched you closely. Let the truth be told you are a Delhi Centric Party with an influence over 7 Lok Sabha Seats and 70 Assembly Seats, other than that it is just an exception.

During the heydays of the Lokpal Movement I was made to feel guilty about being a Congressman by your fans and now when I see your antics I feel sorry for them.

I just hope my party leadership listens to Ex. CM Shiela Dixit ji who successfully led the state for a record three terms and hope you too focus on your core competence i.e. Delhi and not spread yourself too thin !!

Regards,

A Congressman

SHAADI MUBARAQ

Ambani-family-at-Akash-Ambani-wedding

प्रिय नीता भाभी,

सर्वप्रथम आकाश बाबू और श्लोक बिटिया की शादी की बहुत-बहुत मुबारकबाद !!

दो दिन से नवदम्पति की फोटो देख-देख कर मलाल हो रहा है की काश इनकी शादी में आ के उस फूलों वाली फोटो वाल के आगे अपनी तस्वीर खिंचवा पाता, पर यह हो न सका !!

खैर आपके परिवार की दो शादियाँ छोटे से अंतराल में सम्पन्न हुई. एक की वैभवता तो उदयपुर वासी होने के नाते करीब से देखी और अब यह वाली सोशल मीडिया के माध्यम से.

वैसे पहले वाली जैसे चर्चे इस बार नहीं!! ना ही इस बार बादशाह, शहेंशाह और भाई को बैकग्राउंड में नाचते हुए देखा, ना ही इस बार पुरुस्गारी / मेहमाननवाज़ी करते दिखे और ना ही इस बार आपके नृत्यकला और मुद्राओं को देखने का मौका मिला.

वैसे कुछ सवाल जिज्ञासा वश मेरे मन में उठ रहे हैं जैसे की :

  1. यह जो सेलेब्रिटी आप बुलाते हैं यह फ्री में आते और परफॉर्म करते हैं या कुछ मेहनताना लेते हैं ??
  2. अपनी संतानों की शादियाँ कराते हुए जो ख़ुशी आपके चेहरे पर दिखती है वह शायद हर माँ के चेहरे पर दिखती है, लेकिन कई बार ऐसा मुझे क्यूँ लगता है की they all dwarf in ur shadow, क्या आपको भी यह लगता है?
  3. घर घर माटी चूल्हे वाली कहावत तो आपने सुनी होगी, क्या आपके यहाँ भी फूफा / मौसा / देवरानी / ननद का रूठना मनाना शादी में चलता रहता है ?
  4. क्या आप डिज़ाइनरज़ मुख्यतः सब्यसाची को पाबंद नहीं कर सकते आपकी शादी में पहने हुए कपड़ों का सेल्फ-प्रमोशन करने का, बहुत ज्यादा इन-योर-फेस टाइप लगता है मुझे ?
  5. हमारे यहाँ बहु से सबसे पहले लापसी बनवाते हैं, आपके यहाँ क्या बनवाते हैं ?
  6. क्या नव-दम्पति पर अपनी दादीजी को सोने की सीडी चडाने का प्रेशर है ?

खैर सानू की ? आपकी शादी, आपका घराना, आपका धन मुझे क्या ??

अभी आप से इज़ाज़त लूँगा क्यूंकि अभी-अभी मेरी शरीक-ऐ-हयात (बीवी) ने आकाश बाबु के फेरों का सात मिनट का विडियो व्हाट्सएप पर भेजा है जिसको तुरंत देखना अति आवश्यक है.

सासू माँ को अनेकों बधाइयाँ,

आपके परिवार की हर शादी को बारीकी से देखता एक भारतीय

PS : पिछली बार जब ईशा बाई सा की उदयपुर में शादी हुई थी तो एक मेरी FB पोस्ट पर टिका-टिपण्णी से उखड़े एक जानकार को अन-फ्रेंड करना पड़ा था. आशा है की इस बार ऐसा नहीं करना पड़ेगा.

War

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My heart goes out to our Brave hearts – Our Soldiers who lost their lives for our country. More than 40 soldiers were martyred by the dastardly act of terrorist organisation that is sheltered / promoted and trained by our neighbour – Pakistan.

It is time we must all stand behind our Government for it to take whatever steps necessary to give a befitting reply. The government has definitely acted swiftly by withdrawing the Most Favoured Nations Status granted to Pakistan, security to separatists and killing the mastermind of this act.

rama sea.jpgThere is this famous doha of Tulsidas ji in Ramcharitra Manas-

बिनय न मानत जलधि जड़, गए तीन दिन बीत।

बोले राम सकोप तब, भय बिन होय न प्रीत।।

This incident happens when Lord Rama after requesting and waiting for the 3 days for Lord of the Sea – Varuna to make way for Him and His army to reach Lanka does not relent and then He threatens to use his arrows forcing Lord Varun to finally relent. To put my point across there can be no peace without fear and this has to put forward in no uncertain terms to Pakistan that we have defeated them in wars earlier and can do the same again if need be.

There has been an outpouring of emotions and rightly so – from rage to grief to sadness. In times like these it is difficult not to vent out emotions but this clarion call for war is baffling, it has to be thought over and then waged. I am sure that our armed forces are fully capable to give it back to Pakistan but this jingoism is certainly uncalled for.

हम अमन चाहते हैं, मगर ज़ुल्म के ख़िलाफ़,

गर जंग लाज़मी है, तो फिर जंग ही सही …

But let this call be taken by the highest echelons of our Military, but not on TV News Shout Matches, not thru Self Promotion on Social Media, not by having one to prove their patriotism and most certainly not via making videos on Tictoc app !!

Gully Boy

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A story of a slum dweller who refuses to give up on his dreams in spite of all his hardships with a little push from his mother, his over possessive girlfriend, his questionable neighbourhood friends and a Tiger Mentor – This is Gully Boy for you when the sum total of all this adds up into a perfect weekend watch.

I have a confession here that I am tone deaf, do not understand English Songs and only Baba Sehgal comes to my mind when I think of Rap but this film has already made me read about the artists involved in its music, for the film’s music genre is something that no filmmaker has tried exploring and that also so brilliantly.

There are 4 major stand outs apart from the music for me :

  1. Ranveer Singh – As the underdog who refuses to give up on his dreams, this is like never before Ranveer Singh. downloadThe last movie he portrayed such a calm character was in the boring film Lootera. He is shy, non-confident but with the fire simmering within and his eyes speaking volumes. With a shade darker of his skin and bereft of any flamboyance he is the perfect Gully Boy.
  1. Alia Bhat – She portrays the possessive Girlfriend who has no inhibitions fights for and with her man. 3gtnlsno_alia-bhattinstagram_625x300_05_January_19Belonging to a conservative Muslim family but who has her own ambitions, desires and dreams which she isn’t ready to give up for anyone. Like someone recently said that she is truly the Meryl Streep of India. She slays it with her performance.
  1. Mumbai – This is a film that shows where actually Mumbai lives and how it commutes. Living in the slums travelling in the locals, the BEST Buses, sweating it out to survive in this City of Dreams. Some living after suffocating dreams, while others living to make their dreams a reality. imagesOne can actually smell the garbage, the sweat, the hot and humid Mumbai. The Mumbai lingo is pitch perfect.
  1. Zoya Akhtar – She is the perfect example of parents passing on their genes to the kids. All her three previous films have been different and brilliant. If nepotism gives us filmmakers like her and I am all for that. Long Live Nepotism !! More Power and Glory to you.

 

My verdict is very easy on this one – There can’t be anything better to do this weekend than catch up on Gully Boy unless you are going to go one a date with the leading pair of this film. You can select any one according to your preferences for Iove is gender neutral.However considering this scenario is highly unlikely considering their current relationship status : GO WATCH IT !!

Memories

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A few days back while on cycling on the banks of Lake Pichhola, amidst the trash that some of us throw so carelessly were photographs. A close inspection revealed they wern’t mere photographs but indeed wedding albums – torn and thrown in the lake. Still lying there, not yet swept away by the water to the depth of the lake bed.

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There were happy faces of elated parents, siblings and friends on the wedding rituals of their loved ones. The memories carefully stored in glossy albums in plastic cover- Photographs that were posed for, smiled for and fussed over, lying here now unclaimed, unloved and grieved over.

The relationships that may have once been investigated, checked over now all that covered with moss of broken dreams and unfulfilled desires.

How does one recover? How does one forget?

When things get thrown away, do we also necessarily empty out what once lived within?

How long before these photographs becomes part of the soil??

Or like the non-degradable plastic covered albums these memories continue to live with us forever??

Who to judge, who to questions and what to remorse??

And this reminded me so much of the famous lines of the Ghazal sung by Late Jagjit Singh:

तेरे ख़त आज मैं गंगा में बहा आया हूँ ,

आग बहते हुये पानी में लगा आया हूँ ………

UNDERMINING INSTITUTIONS

There is a famous Latin phrase “Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?” which means “Who will guard the guards themselves?”

The last few days are nothing but playing out of this above phrase in the premium investigation agency of India i.e. The CBI. As the CBI files FIR against its own and the head of the Bureau asked to go on leave. All this is as some leaders like to say ‘happening for the first time in 70 years’.

The moot question that needs to be asked is it just this one off case or there is a pattern in all of this. Is there a pattern to undermine Institutions, to scuttle divergent idea or for that matter to push an agenda through their own man??

Some examples over the tenure of the current dispensation of the BJP led Central Government happen to reinforce the above view:

  • 330px-Raghuram_Rajan,_IMF_69MS040421048l.jpgRBI – The post of RBI Governor is usually overboard and beyond politicking however in the case of Raghuram Rajan with an increase personal attack by the maverick BJP MP Subramanium Swamy, he choose to vacate the post rather than face the usual Mr. Swamy’s unsubstantiated charges. The Central Government didn’t come out in support of him or reign in their MP to undermine the office of the Governor of Reserve Bank India.
  • Niti Aayog – One of the most vociferous supporter of Shri Narendra Modi ji before he became the PM in 2014 download.jpgwas Mr. Arvind Pangaria – Economist and Professor at University of Colombia. He was well rewarded and aptly appointed as the Vice-Chairman of Niti Aayog in 2015. A tenure that is usually concurrent with the Central Government. However in just two years he chooses to resign from this post to go back to teaching. A person of his stature and knowledge could have been put to better use to drive the engine of Indian Economic Growth but the nation lost out on that due to as some reports are to be believed due to differences with the Finance Minister.
  • Supreme Court – Never before in the history of Independent India have the sitting senior most Judges of the download (1)Supreme Court of India has held a press conference to air their dissatisfaction with the functioning and interference in the working of the courts. To quote Justice Chelameswar “The administration of the Supreme Court is not in order. Many things that are less than desirable have happened in the last few months. Unless this institution is preserved, democracy will not survive in this country.”
  • FTII – download (2)The premier institute in India for film and Television was saddled with a Chairman whose minor claim to fame was being part of the Epic Mahabharat TV Serial and major claim was that he is card carrying member of BJP. The students went on strike, film fraternity objected to his appointment but again who can protest against a brute majoritanism?

These are just few examples for I am sure there are more that quietly die down never surfacing on the forefront. Are these the promised ‘अच्छे दिन’ that the people of India voted for in 2014 ?

Political Worker

One lazy Sunday afternoon when moving an eyelid is also a herculean task, my father informs me of an impending visit by a hotshot astrologer / politician claiming to be close to the mighty and powerful from a northern state. Grudgingly I muster all my energy and move away from my weekend of Netflix Binge.

This gentleman arrives with his entourage with all the necessary peripherals i.e. wearing Starched Linen (bcoz linen is the new Khaadi) Kurta-Pyjama, carrying 2 Mobile Phones and couple of hanger-ons !! A few minutes in the conversation I realised his clout was definitely overstated and he was what is called in the corporate jargon – A midlevel employee, someone who draws power from the fact that the CEO knows his name and this very achievement is used to keep the subordinates in their place i.e. tiny cubicles!!

Having had a brief experience as a karyakarta of my party, I can sometimes easily find out the nature of a person in terms of their politics. I have realised the political workers can be somewhat be broadly classifies in set of categories across the party lines. Each has their own unique characteristics. To name a few:

  • The Believers – The Believers are the true upholders of the party ideology. They implicitly believedownload in the principles of the party and its leaders. They are never hankering for party posts or draw personal advantage from the above beliefs. For them being in power or not is immaterial as long as the party is true to its cause. This is a category any party should be proud to have but sadly they are the most neglected ones only remembered during the elections.

 

  • The Dissidents – The whole existence of Dissidents is derived from the fact they oppose a powerful download (1)individual from their own party with tooth and nail. They are usually in minority in their party but that’s what gives them visibility, acceptance and media space. They may not have any worthwhile accomplishments of their own but their own stature is only fed on the criticism of the other.

 

  • The Followers – The followers is what every Leader/Neta wants to acquire. Party ideology be downloaddamned!! They have complete faith, trust and confidence in their leader whichever side he chooses to be in. They are similar to the believers in a sense that like them they are always standing with their leaders. There is however a downside of having them, they sometimes cloud the reason of their leader and also takes them away from the reality.

 

  • The Fence Sitters – This category belongs to individuals who want to be close to power. They have no ideology and no loyalties. download (2)They can suck-up to whoever is calling the shots. Considering the fleeting nature of politics they can switch loyalties in a blink of an eye with no remorse or guilt. They are perfect in playing the subservient role and can give a true follower a run for his money and make the Neta even question The Followers. They are the most dangerous one cause you don’t know when they switch to the other side and show their true colours.

 

  • The Professional – Politics now days for some are no more about service and this category symbolises this download (1)perfectly. For them politics is another profession they have chosen to be to earn their livelihood. Their politics is about the advancement of their business and are usually in an industry that is highly dependent of government liaison or interference. They sometimes have to suffer from being close to a political party but the profits earned during the good times help them glide over these hiccups.

To get back to the beginning, over a cup of चाय (u can say चाय-पे-चर्चा) we discussed politics, wrote off some people and then he left our place with big promises of putting a positive word for me to the higher ups. I just hope I don’t have to use his influence but like Mr. Bond said ‘Never say Never Again’, I am thinking of soon forwarding him फूल-पत्ती, चाय-कप वाला Good Morning message !!

A JOURNEY TO REMEMBER

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आज दिनांक 31.7.2018 को हम सब आधुनिक राजस्थान के निर्माता एवं पूर्व मुख्यमंत्री स्व. मोहनलाल जी सुखाड़िया की 102 वीं जयंती मना रहे हैं और इस से बेहतर और क्या दिन हो सकता है जब उनकी धर्मपत्नी एवं पूर्व सांसद स्व. इन्दुबालाजी सुखाड़िया के योगदान को भी याद करें.

इंग्लिश के एक मशहूर कहावत है की – ‘Behind every successful man there is a woman’ यानी एक सफल पुरुष के पीछे हमेशा एक महिला का हाथ होता है और यही बात स्व. मोहनलाल जी सुखाड़िया पर भी लागू होती है. उनके व्यक्तित्व, उनके कार्य, उनके स्वाभाव और उनके राजनैतिक सफ़र के बारे में बहुत कुछ सुना, देखा और पढ़ा गया है. लेकिन कई अनछुए पहलों ऐसे है जो सुखाड़िया जी के संघर्षों में उनकी भार्या के योगदान को समझने का मौका देती हैं.

सन 1942  पर गांधीजी का “करो या मरो” का नारा और जेल भरो आन्दोलन अपने चरमोत्कर्ष पर था. सुखाड़िया जी के विवाह को मात्र 3 वर्ष ही हुए थे. तब उनकी 3 माह की एक बच्ची थी. एक दिन अचानक रात को 1 बजे पुलिस जा धमकी , घर की तलाशी ली गयी. श्रीमती  सुखाड़िया ने उन्हें तिलक लगाकर नारियल देते हुए हँसते-हँसते विदा किया. सुखाड़िया जी को इसवाल जेल में बंद कर दिया गया. अन्य राजनैतिक कार्यकर्ताओं की भांति चंदाश्रित श्रीमती सुखाड़िया को पसंद नहीं था. वे उदयपुर दिल्ली गेट स्तिथ पाठशाला में अध्यापिका बन अपनी आर्थिक आवश्यकताओं के समाधान का माध्यम स्वयं ही खोज लिया.unnamed (3)

तब सुखाड़िया जी को पथ विचलित करने के लिए तत्कालीन पुलिस अधीक्षक सुन्दरलाल त्रिवेदी ने सहानुभूति का नाटक रचा और इन्दुबाला जी को कहा की इतने कम वेतन में कैसे काम चलेगा ? स्तिथि विकट है उन्हें सुखाड़िया जी को समझाना चाहिए , शायद सारी उम्र जेल में कट जाए या राष्ट्रद्रोह के अपराध में फांसी हो जाए. उन्होनें पुलिस की सलाह मान ली लेकिन शर्त राखी की वे अपने पति से अकेले में बात करेंगी.

जब वह उनसे मिली तो सुखाड़िया जी ने पूछा “ तुम क्या चाहती हो? क्या तुम भी सरकार के सामने समर्पित होने को कहती हो?” वह क्षण ऐतिहासिक था, बड़ी सहजता से उन्होनें कहा “आप मेरी औए बेबी की चिंता न करें. मेरे मोह में पड़ कर विचलित हो गए तो इससे बड़ी पमानजनक पीड़ा मेरे लिए और कुछ नहीं होगी. मैं आपसे सिर्फ यह कहने आई हूँ की यदि फांसी पर भी झुलना पड़े तो भूल जाना, लेकिन पथ से डिगना मत.” सुखाड़िया जी गर्व से अभिभूत हो उठे, इन्दुबाला जी उनके इरादों को और पुख्ता कर आयीं थी.

घर की चौहद्दी के अन्दर मुख्यमंत्री स्व. इन्दुबाला जी बनकर ही रहती थी. उनका कठोर शासन सुखाड़िया जी को शिरोधार्य करना पड़ता था. जब सुखाड़िया जी ने स्वेच्छा से मुख्यमंत्री पद से त्यागपत्र दिया तो कई राजनैतिक मित्र, कांग्रेसी विधायक आदि उनको समझाने के लिए आये की वे त्यागपत्र ना दें. तब इन्दुबाला जी द्रढ़ हो गयीं की त्यागपत्र किसी हालत में लौटाया ना जाये. तब सुखाड़िया जी ने चुपके से मुस्कराकर यही कहा की इसने तो साक्षात रणचंडी का रूप धारण कर लिया है.

इस किस्से को याद करते हुए राजस्थान प्रदेश कांग्रेस की अध्यक्षा स्व. लक्ष्मी कुमारी जी चुण्डावत कहा था की रूप जो भी धारण कर लिया हो इन्दुबाला जी ने यदि सुखाड़िया जी ने किसी प्रकार के भी प्रभाव में न आकर त्यागपत्र न लौटाया, तो इसका एक मात्र श्रेय इन्दुबाला जी को ही था !!

पूर्व सांसद, मंत्री एवं किसान नेता स्व. कुम्भाराम जी आर्य ने उनके योगदान को याद करते हुए कहा था “सुखाड़िया सहनशील, कुशल राजनीतिज्ञ थे. उनकी धर्मपत्नी इन गुणों को पोषण और रक्षण देनेवाली धर्मपत्नी रहीं. सुखाड़िया की कीर्ति में बहिन इन्दुबाला का हाथ कम नहीं रहा.”

मृत्यू के कुछ ही समय जब वरिष्ठ पत्रकार बी एल पानगडिया ने सुखाड़िया जी से पूछा की उनके दीर्घ सार्वजनिक जीवन में सर्वश्रेष्ठ घडी कौन से थी. तब सुखाड़िया जी ने बताया की शादी के बाद जब पहली बार नाथद्वारा आये और वहां के युवकों ने “मोहन भैय्या जिंदाबाद” के नारे लगाते हुए जिस तरह नव वर-वधु का स्वागत किया था वोह उनके जीवन का सर्वश्रेष्ठ पल था.

स्वयं सुखाड़िया जी ने इस घटना का निम्न शब्दों में वर्णन किया है :- “आज में सोचता हूँ की मुख्यमंत्री के रूप में भी मेरा ऐसा भव्य और अपूर्व उत्साहपूर्ण जुलुस नहीं निकला. इस जुलुस ने मुझे भावी जीवन के संघर्ष में आगे बढने की प्रेरणा दी. मेरे इर्द-गिर्द सशक्त नौजवानों की अपूर्व भीड़ थी, इस घटना के बाद में मैंने फिर कभी पीछे मुड़ कर नहीं देखा.”

General Elections 2019

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Immediately after the stupendous success of the BJP led coalition in the 2014 Lok Sabha Elections and the dismail performance of Congress, I happened to be at a social gathering. Knowing perfectly well where my political loyalties lay a dear friend walked up to me and said “अब तो हिंदूं की सरकार आ गयी, अब अपने हिसाब से सब कर सकेंगे!”

What left me surprised was not that there was a Hindu Sarkar in place but the latter part of his statement. I did ask him what he was it that the previous governments had prevented him from doing?? He was definitely at a loss of words but was so sure that NDA was all set to empower the Hindus to take on the might of others!! BTW I was having this discussion with a professionally qualified supposedly well read individual.

4 years hence I have come to realise this supposedly well read group of people so vehemently putting across their point of views are PHD holders from the ‘Whatsapp University’; as Ravish Kumar so aptly defines it. Most news channels and newspaper are also feeding such phobia and false ideas about supposedly appeasement of minorities by the opposition parties.

What is the minority appeasement that they talk about?? Facts disprove any beneficial treatment meted out to the Muslims as has been pointed out by the Sachar Committee. Muslims were around 13.4% of the total population as per 2001 Census. However there were only 1.3% of them in the total number of students in all the IIM courses and only 3.3% in IITs. The presence of Muslims was found to be only 3% in the IAS, 1.8% in the IFS and 4% in the IPS. Share of Muslims in employment in various departments is abysmally low at all levels. In no state does the representation of Muslims in the government departments match their population share.

However one thing is for certain they is a mass who now represent a major vote bank that no political party wants to offend. So we have parties playing the supposedly ‘Soft Hinduvta’ and prefer not to be seen to close to the minorities especially the Muslims. We have the Prime Minister of our Country wearing all sorts of headgear but not The Skull Cap. I agree this is just symbolism but why this avoidance with symbols of Islam only??

India is sixth largest economy in the world and having a second largest population of Muslim after Indonesia. No party can afford to be just catering to one section of society and not be the voice of its minorities and in this case the Muslims of India.

The run up to 2019 we are once again seeing the rise of Hindu Identity well I too am proud of my Hindu Identity but my religion teaches me inclusion and not exclusion. There is no either-or for me but rather cohabitation with all the religion that make up India.

We can speculate on the results of 2019 Lok Sabha however what is non-negotiable in this mad rush in the ‘first past the post’ system is our duty to stand up and be the one for its weakest members and that is what the President of Indian National Congress Shri Rahul Gandhi recently said during one of his interactions.

LAILA

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LAILA

 

LAILA

11.8.2017 – 06.07.2018

The love affair which lasted for just 329 Days!!

329 days of supercharged, hyper and stubborn Laila!!

One of the reasons that my daughter got over her fear of dog!!

The only one with unhindered entry to our entire home!!

She was the David to the Goliath i.e. Candy and took her on with all her might!!

The Bird Hunter, Insect Eater and the Ball Snatcher!!

A reluctant toilet trainee and blessing the entire house with her poop/piss!!

The content for my Instagram stories!!

The only dog that was shown affection by both my mother and wife; well they aren’t too dog friendly!!

5 days of suffering, the drips, the needles and the misery!!

The end that saddened our hearts and devastated the kids!!

Yes, She was Laila – our Beagle !!