Tuesday, October 12

A respite for me from Mordor's onslaught

Yesterday I wrote: "Lately I have been throwing tantrums on this blog; that these arise from despair about the awful state of the war and the American union makes them no less petulant. The only cure I can find for my wretched mood is to think of fellow bloggers and readers who have been there for me, in one way or another, during my years of blogging. So instead of sitting out this week in a sulk as I'd planned, I will make gifts."

The first gift, titled Finish the Dance, was for an Indian named Rajeev Srinivasan, author of the Shadow Warrior blog, and Dr. Madhu, an American of Indian ancestry, who tends to neglect her own blog so much in favor of bravely commenting and posting at various milblogs (which are an overwhelmingly male bastion) that frankly I can't remember the name of her blog.

These are two brilliant and admirably scrappy people, although I think Madhu's nerves have been stretched as thin as mine by the inane U.S. approach to dealing with Pakistan. I've considered it an honor that they've taken a great liking to my writings and promoted them whenever they could.

However, I got a little carried away and worked a tribute to Christopher Columbus into the new version of Finish the Dance, which I first published on this blog in April 2005, and published again in the summer of 2008 as a way to shore my flagging spirits when it was clear the two choices for U.S. president were both awful.

On a second read I decided that despite Columbus's strong connection with India (until his dying day he insisted his explorations had landed him on Indian soil) he should have his own post, and the Bharata Natyam tale was better standing on its own.

The second gift, an essay I titled Waking the Watchmen, is for Dave Schuler of The Glittering Eye and Uppity of Uppity Woman blog.

Dave was the first American blogger to discover my writings and promote them on the American blogosphere, in early 2005, and although we've never met I consider him a dear friend and mentor. He is a person of great integrity. Yet it is Dave's stories of his life as a member of a Samoyed dog pack that are the reason for the gift.

Dogs are very large in Dave's legend, and I think that a special relationship with dogs goes back through his family tree. I can never remember the story correctly but one of Dave's relatives, who was recognized as a saint by the Christian church, went off to a cave to pray and mediate for years -- I think maybe this was in Switzerland. His only companion was a St. Bernard dog. Or maybe it was a bear. Or maybe it was both.

Anyhow, many a time over the years, when following the Iraq war threatened my sanity, I recovered my balance by going to The Glittering Eye and looking at pictures of the Schuler Samoyeds and reading up on their lives. The famous Samoyed smile is no joke; they're not angels or (as a woman I once knew insisted) a superior race of beings from another planet, but if Samoyeds ran human affairs everyone would be happy and it would be the same even for their dogs.

Samoyeds are working dogs -- they need to be piled up with responsibility -- but they're so good-natured they make wonderful companions not only for humans but also for other kinds of dogs, although 'companion' doesn't quite cover it. Samoyeds are herding dogs, you understand, which is why Dave and his wife are members of a pack rather than dog owners LOL.

Uppity's strategy last year to keep me on the blogosphere, after I'd thrown in the towel, is the reason she's receiving the same gift. She didn't mess around with rational arguments. She set her dog on me.

I didn't know she had a dog until then. I thought Uppity was only a cat person; her blog is stuffed with pictures of her cats. But she sent me picture after picture of the most soulful dog I'd ever seen gazing mournfully at the camera and pleading with "Auntie Pundita" to please not leave.

I had to swear an oath to Uppity not to post pictures of that dog because it's quite famous in certain circles. But if you could see the dog you'd understand why it was easier to stay on the blogosphere than to keep saying no. It was either that or block Uppity's emails.

The first installment of Waking the Watchmen, which introduces my encounter with a particularly nasty form of evil, doesn't make clear why I consider it an appropriate gift for two bloggers whose love for their canine companions has been an inspiration to me and many other people. By the end of the tale I hope the connection will be evident.



Anonymous said...

Yeah, that UW dog is something else. It could easily get a Fillet Mignon from a hungry person just by looking at them for two minutes.

Pundita said...

Chuckle. Maybe even 90 seconds.