I used to love dogs. Now I can't stand them. There are so many feral dogs in Goa that no one really knows what to do with them. Every morning on the beach, they roam in packs, then sit and wait on the shore for a target.
There is one dog in particular (is it just me or does it resemble Stephen King's fictional 'Cujo'?) who comes for me every time, snarling and foaming at the mouth, his incisors just millimetres away from my calf.
I scream 'Chello!" (means GO AWAY in Hindi or some approximation of that) and it stands resolute, its matted black/brown/white coat flea-bitten and scabby. I want to smash it in the head with a rock (cover your ears all you animal lovers and judge me not - I used to be one of you). This anger comes from being terrified of being bitten. Not afraid of the pain - but the necessary injections in the stomach which would have to follow were I to be bitten by a beastly cur.
The family of black churlish crows who live in the tree beside our house are also pissing me off as of late. They are so bloody loud, sometimes the din makes even thinking impossible. And cheeky?!
The other day I had painstakingly prepared my afternoon snack (Nutella on two tiny squares of semi-fresh toast if you must know) and came outside, put my little plastic green plate on the ledge and reached back inside the door for my cup of chai (Indian tea).
In the seconds I had my back turned, one of the crows came and deftly flew away with a whole square of toast, mocking me as it hacked its way through the chocolate deliciousness just yards away under the tree...staring at me in defiance with its nasty little beady eyes. Urghh.
I suppose I shouldn't eat the stuff anyway. But when you're far from home, and in need of a chocolate fix, it's surprising how creative you can get with local groceries and foodstuffs.
I mean, the last time I ate Nutella was probably over fifteen years ago when the husband and I were backpacking through Israel and dinner could be had on the cheap by procuring a small portion of Nutella and some freshly baked bread.
Back onto the subject of food, we've recently gotten into Thali's again. Thali's are traditional Indian meals usually served on a large circular steel plate and comprised of at least five or so tiny portions of savoury/sweet foods. There is always rice, usually a chapati, some potato dish, a bean or vegetable dish, a bit of yoghurt and then some totally random sweet thing for 'afters'. The idea is that you dump the rice in the middle, and using your RIGHT hand (always the right - Indians are disgusted to discover someone eating with their 'toilet'-wiping left hand) you messily scoop us the various foodstuffs into your mouth before declaring your meal over by pouring water over your sauce-stained hands at the end.
The boys of course hate Thali's, though Egg did exhibit a heartbreaking attempt at swallowing some of it down whole with great gulps of water, looking pained as he did so, and croaking at the end of it, "Does this mean I get my allowance Dada?"
The boys get their allowance each night (well, Egg always does - Dumpie not so much) as part of their bedtime ritual. The husband sits on the bed with both boys and assesses the days events to see if they indeed 'earned' their paltry 5 and 2 Rupee handouts respectively.
Poor Dumpie is always getting into trouble. He winds the husband up to no end and subsequently it's a rare event for the handing over of metal coins to occur in that direction. If Dumpie is upset about this, he certainly doesn't let on too much though, for, as he told me last night, "Me can get Eggie's money in jar and take it."
He's got a point. Dumpie is incredibly good at nicking stuff and has proven to be a most excellent fibber - even at the tender age of three.
The other day at Kindergarten pickup, when handed the now familiar plastic bag containing his previous outfit, he tried to tell me that he HADN'T done a poo-poo in his pants and that the lady had just changed him because he was hot. Yeah, whatever Dumps.
When Dumpie and his little friend were at the babysitters for an hour on Monday, we received a phone call saying that the little girl was eating the rice lunch but that Dumpie was refusing to touch it because (and I quote), "My Mama say me no eat in other peoples house". (I have said no such thing.) I got on the phone.
"Dumpie, it's Mama. Why are you not eating?"
"Me no like."
Dumpie, if you eat your lunch like a good boy, Mama will buy you an ice-cream cone when I come and pick you up, okay?"
(Silence as he thinks about it...)
In the end the flustered lady was ordered by Dumps to make pancakes, which she did, but because they were honey pancakes and not lemon sugar ones (his preference), he merely nibbled a few bits and apparently binned the rest.
I've just had a brainwave. Maybe I should take Dumpie out to the beach with me on my morning runs. He can pelt the stray dogs with rocks and keep them off my back. I will happily hand over some Rupees for the protection, and Dumpie won't have to worry about pissing Dada off everyday and not getting his allowance.
It's a win-win situation I reckon.