Doggie’s Day Out.  

We took Apple to the beach last evening.
If you’ve ever met Apple you’d know this project would make us very brave people or very foolish. We’d find out which soon enough.

Apple is a very feisty un-canine-like canine. He hates car rides & is terrified of water.

Sachin had taken him once & after Apple threw up in the car all the way to the beach & back, he swore he wouldn’t take him again until they were both good & ready for it.

So there we were heading to the beach, doggie in the back seat bridled & leashed, armed with water, bowl, towels & biscuits…. Apple’s paraphernalia.

To our surprise, he loved the car ride! He stuck his head out the window, letting the wind flap his ears, goofy grin on his face.

Things had changed!

So far so good!

Everybody was at the beach. It looked like the whole city had decided to spend an evening at Tannir Bavi.

Well, it was a Sunday evening, for crying out loud, what did we expect?

My, he’d never seen so many people in his life before. Apple always assumed that people were put on this earth to play with him. (When the doorbell at home rang, he’d be first at the door, waiting to see who it was, eager to start a game with the hapless soul).

And here the possibilities were endless! He galloped here, there & everywhere, daddy hanging on to his leash, looking much like he was jet-skiing.

He loved children. He barked his head off at them and scared the living daylights off them. He hoped they’d come & play with him, blissfully unaware that what they saw was this great, big, clumsy, dog with large, shiny white teeth, tail wagging frantically, making a great deal of noise.

He loved the sand. He flopped down every couple of minutes, tongue hanging out & a look of ecstasy on his face.

And then we decided to introduce him to the joys of soaking in the warm, frothy waters of the Arabian Sea.
He didn’t want to. He was terrified. He resisted. He protested. Loud & clear for everyone to hear. 

We thought that maybe if I waded in the water, he’d see how much fun it was & join me.

Did he? Oh, no! When the waves crashed around my legs, he thought the sea was attacking me & decided he had to save me. He barked, growled, drew his lips back in a snarl & attacked the waves, pawing furiously at the water. He bit at them, trying to frighten them away. He drank a good bit of salty sea water – much to his surprise. Every time the waves retreated, he thought he’d succeeded in scaring them away, until the next wave crashed. And then he’d start all over again.

By now, a few dozen people had gathered around to watch the proceedings, some of them recording our adventure on their cell phones for posterity.

We’d had enough by then.

After some more jet-skiing on the sands, we headed back to the car, with no further mishap.

A couple of more visits and he’d surely be ready for the beach.

But next time, a secluded one perhaps. And on a weekday.

Linderhof & Neuschwanstein.

Ludwig II was called the Mad King of Bavaria for a good reason. He abhorred people. Period.
He disliked governance, politics and everything that came with Kingliness (clearly not the money & other previliges however) and withdrew from this mundane world, losing himself in art, music, literature & Richard Wagner. Yep, gay he was.

Ludwig ascended the throne at the age of 18, and soon after went on a castle-building spree. He had designed his castles himself & had sketched plans for atleast a dozen to be built across Germany. Oh, and he financed the building of his houses like everybody else does – he borrowed money from the banks.


Linderhof lies up in the hills near this fairy-tale village called Oberammergau. It was built on the lines of Palais Versailles, although much much smaller. In fact, it’s the smallest of his castles, but not lacking in opulence in any way. There’s this hall, the acoustics of which were planned by the King himself. On the walls are scenes from Wagner’s operas. The composer would perform here for his audience of one.

Linderhof was designed for solitude. Even the dining table was designed for one. The table would be laid out in the kitchen below & would rise to the dining room where the King would eat alone without pesky servants hovering over him.

In the village of Schwanngau, up in the mountains, is Ludwig’s childhood home, Hohenschwangau. Right across the village, also up in the alpine hills, (what’s it with building castles on mountain tops, what’s wrong with ground level) he built his flight of fancy, the castle of Neuschwanstein, complete with turrets and towers. Although why he needed a new castle right across the street is beyond comprehension. But then Ludwig was kooky so…….

Neuschwanstein is picture perfect. It had snowed when we visited, so all that snow simply added to the fairy-tale picturesqueness. Years later, another dreamer, Walt Disney, would draw inspiration & go on to build his own Cinderella castles. Thankfully not up on a hill, but in the middle of his Magic Kingdoms.

Sadly, Ludwig spent only 172 nights in his dream castle.
Ludwig spent all his time in a fantasy world, ignoring the threats of aggression from the neighbouring kingdoms & blissfully unaware of the problems of a changing world around him. 23 years after he became King, the Bavarians, tired of his extravagances & his eccentricities, had him certified insane. (Yes, it took them that long to realise he was unhinged).

The very next day, he was found dead in a lake, along with the same shrink who declared him mad. It’s never been clear if it was murder or suicide.

Ludwig never had visitors over if he could help it. He instructed his heirs to dismantle all his castles after his death as he couldn’t bear the thought of strangers walking through the rooms.

Six weeks after his death, his castles were thrown open to a paying public. They came in droves, still do, and Neuschwanstein -the most popular- averages atleast 6,000 every single day in the summer!

Poor Mad King Ludwig II of Bavaria must be turning over in his grave.