I just love dogs! No matter big or small, puppy or grown I really like them all. Mom however never liked dogs or cats or any other pets. Whenever we kids brought up the idea of owning a puppy Mom would say, "It's me or an animal! You pick!" Of course we picked Mom :)
When I left for college, while my brother grew up, he once brought home a kitten for one rupee thirty five paise from his friend. This was the cutest kitten in the whole wide world and Amma fell for it! For one holiday when I returned home I was surprised to see this kitten running around. Delight - my brother, quickly filled me in with the news of how we got it in the first place.
Having never been close to animals, at first I was reluctant to get familiar with this kitten but Delight slowly introduced me to first touching it when it was not looking, then touching it when it was looking, next holding it when it was not looking, then holding it when it was looking and finally to cuddle and muddle and everything else that goes with growing a kitten. Within days or maybe it was hours, I got quite fond of this new addition to our family! I don't think we ever named him but Delight called him 'Manjal' as it was yellow in color; Amma called him 'Royal Beauty' because he looked royal; Papa called him 'Poose'; Akka didn't bother with any name calling as such :) I just called him 'Meeyow' or anything else that came to my mind. It was my assumption that pussy cats did not respond to names - even to this day I have my doubts about this one.
A couple of visits later, when I arrived home once, I was shocked to see a different kind of furry friend - a puppy! I just couldn't believe my eyes! How come Mom agreed for a dog?! Got even more surprised when I got to know it was Mom who in the first place got the puppy home!! What?! Yes, true! How this happened? Well, Mom had her own reasoning...
Mom noticed that every day when Delight got back from school his adored kitten would just lie around majestically while Delight ran to it to pet him. So Mom thought how different a dog would be?! It would run out and receive Delight and will entertain him more! She happened to share this insight with her fellow staff and one Auntie right away said her dog had just yielded some puppies and there was only one male puppy for which there was a huge demand, but if Mom wanted it she could have it! That was it; Puppy was home! Few days later I arrived from college.
Good thing Delight had not named it yet, as otherwise I would have been very disappointed. This little guy looked grey in color and so we named him Ashy! Ashy was an instant hit! We spent sleepless hours feeding him, watching his every move, loving him all over again enjoying his puppy barks, even volunteering to clean after his morning duties and what not?!
Ashy grew up big and was loved by all except by my Grandma who didn't agree on the idea of letting dogs climb on our beds - not even the least bit!! But slowly Ashy won her heart too. What happened was one day Grandma yelled at Ashy and the next day coincidentally Ashy fell ill. Grandma felt very sorry and prayed for him telling him repeatedly she would never yell at him again and he should recover soon.
By the by Ashy recovered! I was back in college and one evening I received a letter from Mom! I was not expecting any letters from home as Mom often called me at the hostel and why now letter? I started reading the letter and towards the end of it, Mom had mentioned one line of how Ashy is no more!! It came as a blow and I was in tears! When Mom called later she explained it had happened a few weeks ago and Ashy had left home to roam around in the streets while Animal Control caught him. They went begging and pleading to the animal patrol to release him but alas they had already euthanized our beloved Ashy! That was a very sad incident. Mom was affected worse as Ashy had become her favorite by then.
Even before that somehow the cat had been out of sight. Now that Ashy too was gone, Mom went back to her original rule of, "No more pets!" not so much because she didn't like them, but because we all got so attached to these beings and get so upset when something happens to them and Mom was keen on not letting that happen to us again.
But eventually after a year or so, one Sunday afternoon one local man brought this very adorable snow white Pomeranian puppy - hardly 30 days old and was saying he is looking to sell it and wanted to see if we would buy it. Why did he approach us?! It turns out it was Delight's idea. Who can resist a doll like puppy with the whitest fur and the cutest eyes? Mom and Papa said okay and then they hesitated to spend Rs.500 on it. I had a collection of five rupee coins and when we counted them it was exactly Rs.500 and so we begged and pleaded to keep him. Then Papa decided to pay for it himself and Snowy was home!
It was my idea to name him Snowy because it was the name of a dog in my then favorite cartoon book - Tin Tin! It is a long story how we got two more puppies to raise alongside Snowy - Whitey and Tiny. It is ironic how Tiny turned out to be the biggest dog ever! He was huge, tall and handsome :) had horse like strong legs and was always hungry and stealing eggs, coconuts, fried fish, you name it. Whitey was the poorest of all - it was a stray dog and female and not much attractive to look at. We just kept her because Delight wouldn't allow us to send her away...
Then it was time for my marriage! On the very first conversation with Israel I brought up the subject of owning a dog and to my utter shock he responded, "No!" Whoever said guys are nice to girls in their first date?! Okay, it wasn't a real date; it was only a phone conversation but still... how can he say no to a simple request from such a lovely girl (ahem) after all?! But then that's what makes Israel unique!
Even to this day, whenever we come across cute furry doll like dogs, my begging and pleading continues and Israel's answer remains firm, "No!"
Question to the readers: Why the title "A Dog's Tale"? Who is the "Dog" I am talking about?