As a child I was an ardent dog lover but keeping pets at home was a strict no-no. I would bring home puppies from the neighbors’ house play with them in the courtyard and then return them again. Incidentally we had some new tenants coming in and my joy knew no bounds when I heard that they had a cute Pomeranian dog. I grew very close to this dog called Richie I would cuddle it before I went to school and again after I came back from school, I also took it for evening walks.
Soon I had become their official dog groomer. I tried hard to train it but it was one scared ludicrous dog always wanting to be cuddled and fed. The untiring trainer in me insisted and shoved it with sticks to make it sit when I wanted it to sit or stand when I said stand. Fetch was like calculus to the dog, it never once was enthusiastic about fetch for which it often bore my brunt. The neighboring dogs had outdone Richie so he had to succumb to peer pressure and somehow learn the skills. Next I wanted to take it out for a stroll unchained and train it to walk by my side obediently but the damn thing would eye all the street bitches and drool over them breaking the regimen and I had to start shouting the dog language which I thought it understood all over again. One awkward evening he mustered the guts to flirt with the bitches turning a deaf ear to my instructions, he ran amidst the street divas happily, even before I could take hold of it he was attacked by the street ‘Dog-Romeos’ in a typical filmy fashion. I chased all of them frenziedly I quickly chained the furry flirt and tried to pull him along but to my shock he leapt towards me attempting to attack me I quickly managed to grab my dog training wand and ran as fast as I could saving myself from him but still holding his chain as I could not let go of him. I got him back home tied him inside the gate and managed to escape out of the gate just like one of those Sharukh Khan ads where he traps a dog inside the car. I was still coming to terms with the sudden treachery by Richie and wondered if it was some kind of RWSI(Repeated work stress injury)but he was all bruised and had to be taken to a vet. For all my adventures I got a piece of curt advice and Richie got an injection after which both of us despised each other. I became very rude and often woofed at it and he gave back to me snarling frantically. My canine woes did not end there. A few days later I was bitten by a big dog when I visited a friend and had to get pricked several times. By now I had started hating the whole dog community and had also developed some unexplained fears about them. I grew with this fear but as time passed I soon forgot all my dog encounters. Years passed and I lived in peace.
It was summer time I had just got married. As it is customary to go to the in laws house after marriage even though we didn’t have to stay there we had to travel to a place called Siliguri in West Bengal near the foot hills of Gangtok where my father in law was posted. It was a long train journey and amidst this arduous journey we opened up many a discussions and one such discussion revealed a clandestine affair that struck me numb it was as if all those fantasies about marriage had derailed leaving me pale white. They had another family member who was left behind in their neighbor’s home waiting to receive us. She was my hubby’s first love and it was a DOG. Oh my! how did I miss out on this topic before I consented! Even as I fretted with fear we reached the serene defense area away from the commotions of civil life. We got down from the jeep and were asked to wait outside till my mom in law got the Aarti ready for the Vadhu Griha Pravesh ritual that is normally performed before the bride’s entry into the groom’s house in Indian culture.
Neighbors had gathered to wish and welcome us, few senior colleagues accompanied with their very elite stylish wives had dropped by to greet us and also help my mom in law do the ritual then suddenly came the white monster leaping towards us fiercely and I couldn’t help the reflex action in me I ran for my life totally clue less on the wide never ending lanes. I ran like P.T.Usha even as the overly dressed aunties looked perplexedly if it was some kind of ‘arranged marriage ke side effects’ until my hubby caught pace with us and nabbed the four legged rogue. Actually the dog was very ecstatic that it had met its master after a long time and just wanted to pay the doggish greetings which led to the marathon.
Remember, among the defense personnel the dog or whatever pet they have is more important than you and is most of the times an envied possession and a happening hot topic among the AWWA circles and parties. You better learn not to call a dog a ‘DOG’ and try to address those disgusting devils by their names else you will be dog marshaled. But my in laws were understanding or probably didn’t want their ‘nayi bahu’ to display more skills so they humbly tied the dog.
It was finally ritual time the nasty dog was tied up but barked like crazy twitching the chain violently as if it would break free anytime and do my job of kicking the rice bowl so before the furry devil could embarrass me more it was action time and I quickly managed to gracefully kick the bowl of rice as everyone looked at me as if I had perfectly passed the Armed forces’ physical test under their grinning faces. I was truly embarrassed and bent my head the typical Indian bride style to avoid any more sarcastic grins, wondering if it was Ritchie’s curse to rob me of my grace when I needed it the most.
MY SINCERE THANKS TO JACK FOR THIS CUSTOMISED CARTOON