Photobucket had recently changed their policy and now all the images from my 650+ blog posts are disabled. I am slowly editing them by moving my images to my own server at AWS, but it will take time. In case there is a particular old post you want to see the images of, kindly drop me a mail at and I'll keep that at a high priority. Thank you.

Wednesday, August 23, 2023

Chp 888. And then we were five

I had mentioned earlier what life is like for a single dad these days. You know, being a dog dad. 

I never planned for any of this to happen. I was very much content with my one dog. But before I realised what was happening, I became a dad of five beloved dogs.

I realised I haven't written anything about my dogs at all on my blog. The thing about blogging is that it's not just about entertaining readers, but it also serves as a nostalgic time machine when you come back years later to read about your experiences.

Every now and then, I would go through some of my old posts during our Mumbai start-up days, like Hello Gaddafi (our new Persian), Hello Saddam (our new Beagle), Gaddafi vs Saddam (funny encounters), RIP Gaddafi (the sad demise), Every dog has its day (the night I ate Saddam's dinner by mistake and got sick), Hello & goodbye Castro (our new Lab, who left us again shortly) and, Hello Cheech & Chong (our new Persians).

Likewise, I had documented Dobby's journey to my farm very well, but I haven't really updated my blog again since then, especially about my other new doggos. And so, I'll be doing that from now on.

Say hello to my five children.

I'll introduce them all to you one by one in the next few posts. Right now I just want to point out one thing I've learnt - There is a huge difference between owning a solitary dog, and owning a pack of dogs, lolz.

Suppose you need just one "x", x being the time and energy you can spare, to look after one dog, then mathematically speaking, for five dogs, you will need 5x, right? Wrong. Oh so wrong. The x goes exponential. You will need at least 100x. :D

Back when it was just Dobby and me here at my farm, life was bliss. Dobby would spend his days right outside my farmhouse, sunbathing, enjoying the moment, and filled with joie de vivre.

It was indeed a life-changing experience for Dobby, especially after Lalani had saved him from the streets of Dehradun, nurtured him back to life and sent him all the way to my farm in Mizoram (do read his fascinating journey series).

Dobby would run into the farmhouse whenever he wanted to play (usually happened around 3-5 in the evening) and my work be damned, he would demand that I play with him, and so I had to drop everything I was doing and the two of us would be running all over our farm playing "fetch". 

And even inside the farmhouse, be it bathing or sleeping, we always did things together. We braved the harsh cold Neihbawih winter together, like a picture-perfect Hallmark movie poster.

He would always walk right by my side whenever I roamed around the farm and never left my sight, even when I was busy doing farm chores like weed cutting or ploughing.

But that became a bit of a problem when I had to walk down to the foot of the hill to the nearest settlement to buy my weekly supplies, as he would follow me there as well. And so on those long treks, I had to put him on a leash.

Then came my two new puppies - Robin and Tiger. Dobby was super jealous and possessive. He didn't allow them to get anywhere near me, and they learned where to draw the line. Tiger, unfortunately, passed away due to parvovirus, and Dobby became a role model dad for Robin. Robin would follow Dobby wherever he went and started doing whatever he did.

Do read the story of Robin and Tiger when I post it next. Having Robin around relieved me to a certain extent as Dobby had finally found a new playmate.

Then came Jojo and Tom. I'll explain how I got them in their individual post as well. Dobby didn't allow them to get near me either. Suddenly Dobby transformed from being a dad (and big boss) of one, to that of three. The four of them started venturing further and further away from my farmhouse, though they still stayed within the confines of our farm.

Finally came Kimchi. His story is another drama-filled one, do read it when it's published. So with five high-spirited and energetic dogs suddenly in my possession, my life completely turned upside down. And they were no longer playing and chasing each other inside my farm, they started entering my neighbours' farms!

Yup, that's a pack mentality right there.

All it took was just one of the dogs to curiously run inside a neighbouring farm, and the others would run behind him, no longer afraid, like an invading Mongolian horde, scurrying and scampering everywhere into foreign territory, much to the horror of the farmers working in the adjoining farms!

As the saying goes, there's strength in numbers.

But meanwhile, I could see the nuisance and havoc they were creating on other farms. Yikes indeed.

And so I spent a lot of money buying hundreds of bamboo poles, angle rods, steel meshes and wires. I hired many workers for many weeks to completely fence our farm boundary. 

But the naughty dogs just simply dug below or squeezed through or found the next hole. Such a headache.

I even had to put steel meshes on our farm gate to prevent them from squeezing through or wriggling under it to run outside.

The look on Dobby's face in the above photo is priceless, lolz. He's thinking, "Why you gotta do this man?" :D

There were many reasons why I had to resort to all this.

First of all, they were destroying the crops of neighbouring farms. Secondly, the Neihbawih Welfare Association announced that fines would be imposed if dogs were found wandering outside their respective farms. Thirdly, I get anxiety attacks if I don't see them on my farm because there's a sizeable number of people who eat dog meat. And fourthly, they got ensnared many times in fox traps!

Fortunately for me, my neighbouring farmers were very kind and they would release my dogs from their traps, but if they wanted, they could do anything they wanted since it was inside their farm. Here's a photo of Robin I took when he was missing for a couple of hours and I frantically looked for him everywhere, screaming his bloody name, and then I heard his cries coming from my neighbour Pu Hawla's farm (former Mizoram CM). I ran inside his farm through the thick-grown forest and finally found him ensnared like this.

Finally, I had no other option but to completely fence up just my farmhouse vicinity, so that they could no longer wander far.

They became a prisoner of sorts. :D

They no longer had the freedom to run wherever they wanted, even within my farm. They were confined to just my farmhouse vicinity. I did feel bad about it, but then again, they brought this to themselves. Had they been obedient, none of this would have happened.

Compare the two images below and see the contrast in their freedom of movement.

But at the same time, they still had quite a large area at their disposal. There was enough space for them to run and play and do all their shenanigans.

The most important outcome was that I finally found my peace of mind again and could breathe once more. :)

And that's the story of them becoming five. Hope you like this post.

I had so many dear friends and family members from the city, asking me if I could look after their dog at my farm too. They do trust me, knowing the extent I would go to make sure they are happy. I really would love to take on more children too, but being out here at my farm all alone and with my heavy work schedule at Ronin Labs, I really can't. My hands are completely full with these five. 

Sadly, I had to decline.

I do hope you visit again when I update really interesting stories about the origin of the other dogs. Until then, take care, and hope to see you again. Cheers.

Friday, August 18, 2023

Chp 887. Back to Imgur again, lolz.

So after 2 months of hosting my blog post images at Google Drive as I mentioned in my post "Starting afresh... Again", I am now back to hosting them on Imgur again :D

To keep this post interesting for everyone, let me be as brief and specific as I can.

If you want to put images on your blog post, you need to host your images somewhere. As of today, the default is your Google Photos account. However, back then in the year 2004, there was no such thing as that, and so we had to host our blog images on a third-party website.

I was using Photobucket to host my blog images, even becoming a premium member to handle more bandwidth usage, paying $9.99 per month. We had a great relationship for 14 years but in 2017, they suddenly got greedy and increased the annual premium membership fee to $399.99. Anyone not paying that ridiculous amount could no longer host images.

I couldn't afford that, especially since I had deactivated all ads on my blog and was no longer earning anything from my writing. I wanted to give my readers a great and seamless experience of no ad interruptions when they read my posts (which was kinda ironic since my entire career had been in the advertisement industry). And so it was time to say goodbye to Photobucket.

I moved to AWS to host my blog images. That went well for some time. At AWS, I was charged based on monthly bandwidth usage. On a normal month when I had average traffic, my monthly bill would be around $3, but if I had a couple of "hit" posts in that month, my bill would jump to $10. I was kinda okay with that, but then one of my posts in 2020 during CoVid went super viral and I ended up with a humongous monthly bill of $100. Holy hellll.

I moved out of AWS immediately.

I then started using Imgur, the world's number one image-sharing website to host my blog images. I love Imgur. It's practically free, and I faced absolutely no issues with it for 3 years.

However, considering it is a private company that was also recently acquired, who knows, it could go the Photobucket way suddenly one fine day and screw me all over again. And so I thought, if a Corporation is going to screw me again, might as well be a Corporation that is already screwing me, naw? Kinda makes sense, in a dystopian way.

I was already paying Google an annual fee of ₹1,300 for the additional 100GB, why not make use of that? And so 2 months ago, I decided to move to Google to host my blog images.

But then comes the question. Where in Google exactly? There is Google Photos, and there is Google Drive. Now let me give you a very quick info and differences about these two products.

Google Photos is the default location where you can upload your blog images. It is also where all your phone pics get backed up. It is the ideal place to store and share your images.

HOWEVER, there is a small issue for me here. Google Photos does not allow you to create sub-folders. Meaning, you cannot create folders within a folder. So that means I have to dump all my blog images into one big folder, creating chaos and mayhem in the long run when I have 100+ more blog posts.

Google Drive, on the other hand, allows you to create sub-folders. Yayyy. I can neatly put the images of each blog post into their individual folders, creating order and sanity once again.

HOWEVER, you cannot directly embed your images from Google Drive. Aaarrgh. Labnol has a very nice solution, where you can insert the link of your Google Drive image and generate an embed-able link! Yayyy again.

That was working really well for me.

Yeah of course I had to go through additional multiple steps to generate the links, and this became quite an arduous task especially if my particular blog post happens to be image-heavy. But the effort of being organised is going to be worth it in the long run.

I finally found my match.

So why am I going back to Imgur now?

Because after using this method for 2 months, I just found out that images on my recent blog posts were starting to disappear!

It was then that I found out the embed-able links generated EXPIRE! Yup. They freaking expire. They have an expiry date! So no matter how organised my image folders are on Google Drive, it doesn't actually matter because the links are not permanent! Aaaargghh.

That is why, with my head held down and my tail between my legs, I will continue using Imgur to host all my blog images again. 

Sure, there will come a day when they will suddenly change their business model and hike up the charge. I will be ready for that and try not to be very disappointed about it anymore. But until that day comes, cheers everyone, here's to Imgur and hope I continue entertaining you with my blog updates.