Sunday, January 24, 2010

List 5: My Biggest Fears

This is always a category that seems to make people nervous especially when it forces one to reflect deeply within, making yourself vulnerable.  Also, going to a place you may not want to go is even more scary than attempting to avoid it at all costs.  Hopefully, this blog will allow people to learn not to be afraid of life, of others, but more importantly of yourselves.  Although an old cliche,"You have nothing to fear but fear itself," is a powerful metaphor.  Without realizing it, one can control the fear within.  What other choice do we have?; otherwise fear will choose to consume us without hesitation.

Although I will  be talking about my fears, thus far in life, I have taken every effort to ensure that these fears don't become a reality.  Who knows, maybe that's the one good thing that can come from know your fears, acknowledge them, and be motivated to ensure they don't survive in the depths of your mind's existence.

My biggest fear is being alone.  Although many people may welcome aloneness, I resent this fear more than anything.  I love people, social embraces, welcoming and warm friendships, my family, etc.  Put me in any social situation and I will find a way to make it work, no matter how awkward.  I enjoy talking to others and sharing knowledge, viewpoints, and personal philosophies or goals.  I love to hear about how people have overcome obstacles in their life, and what gives them strength to continue.

Being around people, especially those I love brings me a sense of comfort, joy, safety, and an ability to believe in myself the way others believe in me.  People can serve as positive reinforcement, and are there to remind you of all the good you possess, encourage your strengths, and be real and truthful when it counts.  Being around those I love makes me feel complete.  Thus, it's no surprise why I would hate to be alone in life.  Being alone would make me feel unloved, inadequate, unworthy, and more important, unacceptable.  These are adjectives I use as forms of contempt as they are all the opposite of what I believe people to truly be.

Second fear would be not being physically or mindfully healthy.  Everyone goes through aches and pains, but not being able to have full use of your limbs, you are infected with an incurable disease, or you have some sort of mental health illness, can leave one feeling helpless, but even worse, hopeless.  A sense of hopelessness is the most self-defeating cognitive distortion one can own.  Not having the ability to see, hear or walk again can be devastating, i'm sure.  Imagine not being able to see the wonders mother nature has to offer us, or not being able to hear the tranquil and serene sounds of Mozart.  I can't even begin to imagine what it would be like to feel like you're trapped in your own mind filled with disembaraging thoughts, and feel like you can't escape, or worse, that you don't know who you are anymore.

Life has a grip on our sense of identity and inner solace, each combating to let loose and be the first to not surrender.  I can't even imagine losing sight of what once was so real and precious, reachable and attainable, only to give it all up or at least adapt accordingly to the ails of life's insensitivities.

Third fear is not having anything more interesting to say.  What I love perhaps equally as people is talking.  The ability to tell a story of day's events, trips taken, baking wonders or blunders, or even recalling the news, is a wonder in and of itself.  Life has a way of continuously forcing us to converse and use our words.  One might even argue that's what life is, a series of things, events, people, and places that we were meant to encounter, discover, appreciate, and then converse about so that what we know, what we have learned can be passed on for others to embrace so they may continue the path of personal discovery....a so called enlightenment of truth, presence, and more importantly, being.   Imagine what it would be like to be in the midst of people daily and all you can say is, "How are you?" How is/was your day?"  How uneventful, for the most part.  How mundane, day after day.  How would anyone ever get to know who you are?  Perhaps for many of us, that is the point.  However, I see nothing exciting in that.  We can learn a lot about ourselves simply by the encounters we share, the people we meet, the day-to-day "mundane" (ie. going to the grocery store, laundromat, daycare, picking up the kids from school, etc..)  Although one may think these things are trivial and routine, you'd be surprised of what can happen to you, even just standing at the bus stop.

Let's see.... in my university days, just standing at the bus stop is where I met all sorts of interesting people with interesting stories to tell.  I was given a bouquet of flowers from a complete stranger (albeit, I think it was a dare); I was practically proposed to (albeit from someone who I think wanted to enter the country on a visa); and I was given the opportunity to possibly volunteer/work in the police force in exchange for a date (not by a police officer).  While  I was on a plane, I was even propositioned for a business deal, although that never came to fruition.  As you can see, just the day-to-day can even liven up our lives and make for interesting conversational pieces if you just allow yourself to  be open to and embrace whatever comes your way.  Allow yourself to acknowledge opportunities and embark upon possibilities, and NEVER dismiss anything that could potentially be of worth/value.  Believe me, the day my life stops becoming interesting enough to share is the day I lose my voice forever; and even then, I would find a way to continue my story.

Finally, my fourth biggest fear is the ability to find myself NOT caring.  I like to think of myself as a caring individual with a zest for life and a passion to help others, especially in need.  I hate to see people who are less fortunate scraping the bottom of garbage bins just to find leftover scraps of food.  I hate to see people dishevelled and inappropriately dressed for inclement weather because they can't afford to dress warmly, or even dress at all.  I used to volunteer quite a bit when I was younger for all sorts of causes; however, since I became a full fledged societal working member, I have neglected my drive to help those less fortunate.  The likely excuse......TIME.  Sometimes because of the nature of my work as a Child and Youth Counsellor, I often tell myself that my job is where I devote my sense of caring.  There are many days that I often wish I could be doing more, or at least something different.  Teaching those who feel helpless to be able to help themselves is rewarding in its own way, but sometimes I wish I could be doing more for those in need.  Like what, you ask?  Good question!  That's part of my problem and is what I struggle with daily.  What more can I do and for whom?  If we look at the devastating destruction in Haiti for example, there have been so many  lives lost.  There are more frightened souls lingering the streets, begging and fighting for survival, food, shelter, etc.  It's so sad to see how one nation is suffering, and mother nature has made sure of that.  There is so much loss and grief in the world that it's easy to just dismiss it, or say that it doesn't matter because it doesn't effect you personally, but to someone these things do matter.  Part of what makes us human beings is our ability to love, to be altruistic, empathic, and to suffer.  Imagine what life would be like if we travelled our life's path without anyone to care for or to be cared for.  Life would be a pretty lonely and desperate place.  What keeps me going is knowing that I can contribute to help those suffering and that I have the ability to give in order to be able to make someone smile, laugh, feel free or happy, even for a moment.  The great thing about paying it forward is that that moment can be a day, a week, a month, a year, a lifetime for someone else, and that's what makes it all worth it.

The day I wake up and say to myself, "I just don't care anymore," is the day I have lost my own will for happiness and the desire to be the person I want to be.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

List 4: Places I've Lived

For many people, this may actually be an interesting topic to write about; for me, not overly exciting as I've only lived within the borders of Ontario.  I was born in Toronto, and lived there until I was 4years old.  I don't have much recollection at all about the very first house I lived in except for the very plain white walls, the not so eye-pleasing floor carpet that was dark in color and I believe floral in print, and the blue Challenger my dad used to drive at the time.

When I moved from Toronto to Mississauga, I was 4yrs. old and have lived there all my life until the last year and a half when I got married and moved again.  We had a bigger house in Mississauga, however, by today's standards, it's quite small in comparison to 2000+ square homes being built.  I lived in a semi-detach home with 5 levels...too many stairs to care for, that's for sure.  With two brothers growing up along side of me, that house seemed even smaller on most days.  Despite its lack of physical appeal; although I must say, my parents did a great job renovating as much as they could, both the interior and exterior, I have a lot of great memories from living there.

Having lived in the heart of downtown Mississauga, there was some appeal to having a great shopping mall nearby, a big central library, a rejuvenated city hall, and the naturistic and quaint views of the Lakeshore, in Port Credit.  Elementary school was within walking distance, high school about 10min by car.  What else could you ask for?

All of my life's stories and quirky personality traits came from living in what used to be a very small city at first, of only a few thousand people, to what has now become a city populated at just over 800,000, if not more.  When I moved to Mississauga, or as I like to call it, "Soggytown," there was nothing but lots of uncultivated land and people had more of an appreciation for nature.  Although there are some spots still allowed to keep their reprieve as being serene, much of all the land space is now being filled with new town homes, condos, and high rise buildings.   Soggytown has lost some of its "natural" appeal to the brigade of capitalism, but on the whole it's still one of the more cultured suburb destinations.  We have a huge Living Arts Centre, which showcases much local and international talent, as well as offers a multitude of courses in the arts.  Multiculturalism is very much embraced in the city.  The area surrounding City Hall is now undergoing huge renovations to start the building of a new multi-complex that's going to be filled with quaint little shops, cafes, and a new outdoor skating rink; bringing to life the heart of downtown Mississauga....can't wait!!

As for the present, my current town of residence is Richmond Hill.  Another suburban locale, but definately a busier feel than Mississauga.  I still am perplexed as to why R.H is noted as a town rather than a city.  It's certainly one of, if not the fastest growing regions in York.  The atmosphere is more city-like than it is town-like.  I enjoy R.H for many reasons: one, there are many conveniences situated around where I live, including many schools, public parks, a strip plaza, the big Richmond Green Park, a "town centre" with many stores and restaurants, a cemetary, a fire department, and of course, your local Starbucks (within walking distance).   I also live near popular intersections that are quite busy for the city; although not quite within walking distance, but in my car, just a short few minutes away I find myself near Yonge Street, the heart of downtown R.H.  The town and surrounding area is noted for its historical contributions.  We have a local arts theatre (which I have yet to see a show at, but am looking forward to it), a central library, an observatory, museums, etc..  Also, 10 minutes away, further east, we have historic unionville; another quaint town within a bigger town that seems encapsulated in its own village with many small shops, restaurants, and a fire hall convereted into a fudge and candy factory.....mmmm....the aroma from there is enough to leave your mouth watering, literally.  There's nothing like the smell of fresh, home-made waffles and fudge as you walk by.

Aside from the traditional city feel, there's also a lot of areas within R.H and surrounding area that are deidcated to natural habitats, and make for some of the best hikes and walks within the town.  There are many wild animals to look at and appreciate; many farms with amazing jams, spreads, wines and orchards for picking all kinds of crops.  There's also many carnivals/festivals that are hosted during the summer and winter months, alongside national holidays, especially Canada Day.

No  matter your interests, your passion, your love for anything tasteful and delicious, Richmond Hill has the ability to enlighten and heighten all your senses as there's something for everyone to enjoy.  After all, Richmond Hill is home to the first ever Harvey's restaurant.  I hope you can find the time to check it out and discover for yourself the many smells, sights, sounds and tastes that Richmond Hill has to offer.  There's no shortage of multi-culturalism.   Richmond Hill is  a town that has historically been around for hundreds of years and continues to grow and develop into a natural wonder of civilization.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

List 3: My Favorite Movies

This is always a hard category to answer as there have been soo many movies I have seen, and soo many movies I have enjoyed.  The beauty of it all is that my interests in films are quite varied and versatile.  I don't believe that one should be partial to any particular genre of film, or any other artistic expression, for that matter; it is the quality and substance of a film or art form that makes it truly appreciable.

Movies are an expression of the director's vision.  What we appreciate about a movie is a matter of what we envision and believe the movie represents for us, or in us, as a source of relation.  Movies are made to attach meaning for the viewer so that the viewer comes away being affected; of being able to relate to the story told.  The fortunate thing in all of us, is that our lives depict more than one genre of film. We create drama, fiction, fantasy, comedy, and reality in our everyday lives.  These crepits are what make us who we are, with our own stories to tell.  The fact that we can come away from a film with some sort of peace, dismay, or even a tear, means that we have been touched in some way; that perhaps our reality makes more sense to us now, or perhaps it leaves us asking more questions.  Either way, a great film always appeals to our senses and our emotions.

 My list of great films include the following:

Sci-fi/fantasy: Star Wars, The Princess Bride, and The Chronicles of Narnia
Romantic comedies: When Harry Met Sally, Love Actually, P.S. I love you, 10 Things I Hate About You, Bridget Jone's Diary, Pretty Woman
Action: Independence Day, Gran Torino, Top Gun, Scarface, the Godfather series, Gladiator, Pulp Fiction, Goodfellas, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, Enter the Dragon, Matrix
Foreign: Il Postino, Slumdog Millionaire, and Life is Beautiful. 
Drama: Precious, Taken, Titanic, Monster, A Beautiful Mind, City of God, A Few Good Men, Schindler's List, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Shawshank Redemption, Reality Bites
Animation: Aladdin, Finding Nemo, Shrek, Beauty and The Beast, Pocohontas, The Little Mermaid, and Up.  

Hope you enjoyed the list.  Please feel free to tell me about your favorite movies.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

List 2: My Closest Friends

Although I have many friends, the list asks for my closest friends. I apologize in advance for those whose names I haven't mentioned, and without risk of offending anyone, my closest friends are the following people: Pia, Myrtle, Tracy, Maretta, Natty, and Judy.  There are many positive and wonderful things I can say about each of these women in my life; I would take up many pages to do so, believe me.   However, as to not undermine their importance in my life, I will spend time talking about each person with the utmost respect and humility I regard for them.  By the end of this blog, I hope you can come to appreciate my closest friends as much as I do.

Pia, I have known her since high school.  She was one of my bridesmaids at my wedding.  We have been through many trying and fun-filled times together.  She has always been a rock in my life, and will forever be stuck to me like glue.  Pia, has always been a loyal and faithful friend, who I admire for so many reasons, but mainly for her honesty.  No matter how daunting the truth may be, Pia will always tell you like she sees it.  An eye for shopping is one of her strong suits.  She never holds back on telling me what looks good and what doesn't.  I love her for it!  Because of her, I have learned to be a better shopper, and a more put together person all around.  Pia loves to be in control, as do I, and likes to take charge, as do I, most of the time.  Having a presence that makes a statement of, "Look at me; I'm bold and I'm confident" can only increase your chances of success.  Pia has taught me that no matter how bad a situation can be, if you not only look your best, but feel your best, than nothing else matters.  Pia is a source of strength and great presence in my life.  She inspires me to be the best that I know I can be.  No matter how tough things may get, she always tries to see the light at the end of the tunnel.  Her perseverance and her strength, her loyalty and honesty, her kindness and zest for life are her most endearing qualities.  Thanks Pia for being you!

Myrtle, I have known since grade 6.  She was my maid of honor at my wedding.  Myrtle has always been the most kind and gentle person, who always seeks to find the good in people, and do what she can to help others.  She is also a  very honest and caring person; always making sure of how I am doing.  Albeit I have had some rough days in my life but Myrtle has always been there to see me through.  She has inspired me to nurture my creative side.  She has taught me to look deep within and search for meaning through what inspires me.  She has a love for travel, photography, reading, music-- all things creative and artistic.  It was through her eyes that I began to discover the true beauty that the world has to offer by opening up my own eyes.  My passion to be creative has been my driving force to express the person I am and have come to appreciate by reinforcing what life has to offer in its purist form.  For this, I will always be grateful to Myrtle.

Tracy, I have known since grade 5.  I was her maid of honor at her wedding.  She has been the reason and logic in my life.  She has always acted on logic and all that is rational.  She has an honesty and integrity about her that I have always been impressed by.  She always knows exactly what to say to make everything that seems dismal in life at the time, better, and she does it without judgement.  She always knows, to some degree, what I am thinking and what I want to do in a particular situation, even before I do sometimes.  She is my voice and reason, and she does it well.

After university Tray moved to the U.S.  She always seemed to be moving quite a bit.  I used to joke about her moving, saying that if she continued the way she did, I'd eventually visit all 50 states.  Tray and I would catch up when we could, although her living in the U.S. made it difficult at times.  She still lives in the U.S. today with her husband Kevin, and 2 beautiful daughters, Evie and Allison.  There are many days I wish we were much closer in proximity, as I often miss her matter-of-fact personality and her sense of humor.  We keep in touch via telephone and email these days.  I wish we could spend more time together.  Hopefully, one day she and her family will move back to the city.

Maretta, I have known her since university.  There are only good things to say about Maretta. She is a wonderful human being with a sense of honor and integrity that is befitting for royalty.  Maretta is a very kind, generous, intelligent, honest, loyal, funny, and quite creative individual.  She may even be considered a "jack-of-all-trades," if you wish.  Maretta, is a wonderful cook, baker, and very handy with any tool.  She and her husband Lee have single-handedly renovated their entire apartment.  She was even so kind as to make me a couple of pinatas, one for my bachelorette party, the other for my wedding.  Maretta's ability to take simple, everyday objects, and transform them into a piece of art is truly amazing to me.  Her passion to create has truly been an inspiration.  More so, her versatility to do many great things comes purely from her heart, and this is what makes Maretta a remarkable person.  To me, Maretta is a true human being, someone who can make any task enjoyable and seem effortless.

Natty, I have also known since university.  Natty and I have often discussed and wondered how we are friends despite having very little in common.  When I first met Natty, she wasn't much of a people person.  She preferred isolation to people.  She always loved projects, especially science projects.  Natty studied biology, law, and is now doing her PHd in astrophysics.  Natty loves the solar system, the planets, the stars, etc..  which is the furthest thing from my mind.  Sure, the stars can be quite interesting, but I work in the social service field.  My concern is the feelings and behavior of people.

Natty was an introvert and I refused to let that get in the way of our friendship.  I was determined to let Natty visit the "other side;" allow Natty to express and feel emotions, and therefore learn to love people.  Every time we got together, I would always give Natty a hug, and just for a few seconds.  Natty was determined to stay on the "dark" side, as she always would do what she could to run the other way.  I even tried to just hold her arm when in public, and even that was enough to scare her away, hiding behind our friends.  I kept at it, for 4 years at least, until our university days were done.  My persistence finally paid off.  I was proud the day that Natty and I once again came together, and as I was in the midst of hugging all my other friends hello, much to my splendid surprise, Natty came and asked me for a hug.  That was the day that Natty and I shared a bond that would not break us apart.  To this day, Natty enjoys the company of familiar people, and is a delight to be around.  Natty is a smart individual whose variety of interests characterizes her as a renaissance woman.  She has a sense of humor that is unique to her understanding of the world, mainly fueled also by logic and reason.  She often loves the opposite of what others may enjoy and finds pleasure in the simplest of things.  She truly is a unique individual with great potential to change the history of the universe as we know it!

Judy, I have known for most of my life, however, we grew the closest when I was starting university.  Judy and I are more like family, as our relatives are related; however, we are not blood relatives.  I won't even try to explain the relation as I still get confused myself as to who is related to whom through a second marriage, etc.  All I know is that this connection dates back to both our grand-parents and the generation before them.  Judy is an amazing person in her own right.  She also has had some struggles along life's journey but has managed to get through by her own volition and strength.  Like myself, Judy is the oldest of 3 children, and being firs-born, there is a tendency to take charge and be the person everyone relies on for answers when things go awry.  Judy has been not only like a sister to her now adult siblings, but also like a second  mom.  Judy is the type of person who perseveres because, like any good mom, that's what has to be done.  You deal with what life throws your way, accept it, and move on.  Judy does that quite admirably.  Judy is also someone who is motivated by logic and reason, and for some that's a lot safer and easier to do than allowing your emotions to get in the way of practicality.  Judy has always been a practical person, a realist.  She is a delight to be around.  She is quite funny, with a quirky sense of humour.  She loves to be loud, as do most Europeans, and she connects with people very easily, even if she's just met them for the first time.  She is an intelligent, kind, and caring person who loves many things that I do, especially reading and the outdoors.  Our love for nature has led us on many interesting hikes together.  We love natural foods, home-cooked foods, and of course, our mouth has never let us astray from our "sweet tooth."  Judy has so much knowledge to share with the world, and her ideas and passion of research are often interesting to listen to.  She has opened my eyes to many things in life, from religion to diet to overall general health, to the wilderness, and more importantly, to how great a mom she will be someday.  Judy is not only a teacher in the classroom, but a teacher of life's lessons, and for that, I am truly grateful.

Well, that's it for this blog.  I hope you have learned a bit about the women in my life that are my closest friends.  I know I have learned so much from each of them, and part of what makes me the person I am has been inspired by the many things that make my friends who they are.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Intro to blog: List number 1

After much thought of what I would actually want to write about on my blog, I had this interesting idea inspired by a creative Christmas present I received from my friend, Pia.  She gave me this book, called Listography, namely, a book that describes your life in lists.  Each page is captioned by a new subject heading that entails various aspects of one's life.  For those of you who know me, I'm very detailed and organized, and thus a book about making lists is more of an excuse to further perpetuate my "Monica" (from "Friends") characteristics.  The anal in me will now be broadcasted for all to see.

As this project manifests, I hope you will learn, not only about who I am, which is also what I hope to discover further, but also about who you are and who you want to be.

Let this be a journey of discovery and let it begin with me, right now.

List 1: Pets you've had and their names

The only pets I've ever had growing up were cats.  My very first cat that I can remember was a female, named Cindy.  She was long and natural in color, with shades of brown and white.  She had a cute pink nose which stood out against the more natural colors of her skin.  I don't really remember what happened to her, except that she died.  Many years later, we had another cat, thanks to my brother Anthony, who just brought one home one day as his friend had a litter full.  My dad was not that impressed with him as he didn't like the idea of pets in the house.  My mom, on the other hand, loves everyone and everything, except for dust and dirt.  She loved our new cat.  We all thought long and hard about what we would name her, but since it was Anthony's cat, he got to win the name pick.  Of course, nothing my brother ever does is really conventional.  Even though it was a female cat, he decided to give her a male name; and not a cool sounding pet name, but an unconventional Indian name.  He loved the name, Rajeev.  That is what we named her.  When asked why he would pick such a name, my brother replied, "some kid in my class is named Rajeev, and I think it's cool."

Rajeev went on to have kittens, but only 2.  My brother continued with his name streak, and named the others, Rojny, and Gurrinder.  He had this fascination with Indian names.  I apologize if the spelling is incorrect.  We kept the two little ones for a while, but it was evident that they were not as well-behvaed as their mother.  It appeared that one was sick as it kept slamming into the walls, and banging it's head.  The other appeared to have a bit of a temper.  He didn't like anyone getting too close before the claws came out.  My dad, being a bit temperamental himself, decided he had enough of the two cats.

This is where the story unfolds and may be sensitive for some viewers, viewer discretion is advised!
One Saturday night my parents had a wedding to attend, and before they left, my dad had a good talk with my other brother, Frank.  He told Frank to take the cats for a drive and place them in a nearby abandoned field, about 15-20minutes from home.  Frank didn't like these two cats either.  Frank remembered that cats had a good sense of direction, and would often find their way back home if strayed. Frank decided to take the highway, stating, "let them find their way home, now."  As Frank was driving the cats to their new home, he nearly got killed himself.  Of course, my brother, as smart as he is, is not always the most organized or planned person in the world.  He placed the cats in his car without having them placed in a box where they couldn't get loose.   The cats were simply let loose to their own devices in the back seat.  Frank wasn't expecting them to climb up the passenger seat and right into his lap, or worse yet, crawl towards the break pedal.  As Frank was driving along the highway, this tractor trailer was coming onto the on-ramp and didn't see my brother in his blindspot.  My brother honked his horn and tried slamming his breaks, but to no avail at first, as one of the cats was blocking his way.  Frank tried to kick the cat out of the way, which he did, and managed to evoke shreeks of dismay.  Frank slammed on the breaks again and swerved out of harm's way.  Frank was not impressed, and needless to say he blamed his near death experience all  on the cats, of course.  Frank finally reached his destination point.

While coming out of the car, Frank was calling the cats' names in the hopes that they would join him outside.  The cats were too smart, and figured out something wasn't quite right, because they refused to answer his call.    
As Frank looked back, he saw that the cats were scared and didn't want to exit the vehicle.  They began to meow and run around the front seat.  Frank's repeated cat-calling efforts had failed him.  For a brief moment, he almost had a glimpse of dignity in him and thought of getting back into the car, returning home.  But he thought more about what my dad would do to him if he hadn't let these cats go.  Frank approached the car and gently grabbed the cats in his arms, albeit not without a cat fight ensuing.  Frank got scratched; that should have taught him!  He managed to let the cats go, roam free into the wild.  As Frank got back into his car, the cats returned, meowing, begging him to let them back in.  Without hesitation and without looking back, Frank closed the car door behind him and left.

Before my parents returned from the wedding, my brothers were both asleep.  I, however, was at work, working the night shift.  My dad had gone to bed, but my mom noticed that the cats weren't around.  She went outside on the balcony door, calling out their names.  The only one in eye sight was Rajeev.  My mom spent almost 30 minutes calling out for the cats, and to no avail.  A little worried, she attempted to rouse my father and told him that the cats weren't answering to her call.  My dad half asleep had told my mother not to worry, and to go to bed.  My mom, embracing her maternal instincts, would not give up.  She shook my dad again and again, and he told her to talk to my brother.  She went downstairs into my brother's room and began to wake him up.  Frank, also half asleep, told her not to worry and to go to bed.  My mom was insistent and would not let up.  She continued to harass my brother and demanded to know where the cats were.  Finally, my brother, angered by the disruption in his sleep, blurted out, "Try Mavis ma;  try Mavis."

My mom, horrified of the thought, shouted out to him, "Oh no you didn't!"  Frank replied, "Oh yes I did."
Mom asked why he would do such a thing, and my brother replied, "It was dad's idea.  Dad told me to get rid of the cats when you went to the wedding."

Flabergasted at the thought, my mom thumped up the stairs, back to her room, woke up my dad and yelled at him for who knows how long.  I heard it was a while.  Early the next morning, my mom woke my brother up and made him drive her to the spot where he dropped off the cats.  For over an hour, they began to call the cats one by one, and to no avail.  The cats did not return.

My brother and my mom returned home.  Frank was quiet, and mom was very pissed off; although she was never the type to use any foul language.  As a consequence for not being able to return the cats, my mom was so upset with my brother that she did not cook for him for a whole week.  He was left to his own devices.

To this day, Rajeev remains the only long-standing pet in the household.