Not a Dog’s Life..

It was Friday and i was returning home, happy that the weekend was prolonged as Monday too was a holiday on account of Children’s Day (14th November). I had an unusually leisurely walk back home that evening. Thanks to our PM, due to demonetization, did not have much cash in hand to splurge during weekend. Had no programme or any social commitment as well. I thought it would be a very peaceful weekend and the distressing week gone by would be forgotten fast. Not all our wishes come true though. Those three days were even more emotionally draining.

My kid was enjoying his Diwali vacation, its hilarious to find that he wakes up as early as 5.30 in the morning during vacations to go for what he calls “morning walk” with a bat and ball in his hand with all his friends. like Papa like Son, i say to myself. I too did exactly the same in my school vacations, so i had no reasons to complain. That Saturday morning though,  he came back, and he did not come alone, he had a coterie of his friends with him and a tiny little puppy with him. I was half asleep, it was around 6.30 am. He showed the puppy to his mom and started requesting her that we should pet this tiny cute little puppy. She was firm and said no, he asked me, i in my half sleep said ok and turned other side to sleep. He jumped in ecstasy and took the puppy and his gang on my other house on the floor above.  It was 9 p, by now, i woke up and after daily chores, i went upstairs to see what was going on. The puppy was really cute one, it was hardly a couple of months old, she had long fur, the kids like a dog experts, in a bid to convince me further to pet the puppy, told me that it was a cross breed. I did not understand all that they said, but, i liked the cute doggie and thought, that we could tend it. I was bit emotional, i liked the innocence on the face of the puppy, it was unlike many other puppies that i have seen, it was very silent.

From what i understood from the kids the puppy had a belt around its neck, which meant that it was abandoned by somebody. May be the puppy was in a state of shock due to this. Luckily for me a veterinarian resides in our building, the kids had taken the puppy to her to get her examined and she too gave the injections and some medicines and said the puppy was clean and fit.  She gave a list of do’s and don’ts and suggested that we must feed the doggy baby food Cerelac, so the same was brought. I tried to convince my wife to pet the puppy,  but she was stubborn. She is a very practical person and i as my friend once called an ’emotional fool’. I forgot that i had to look after my bedridden mother and it would not have been possible to tend a dog when my asthmatic mother was struggling in her winter of life. I was caught in a sentimental quandary, just like my kid. On the one hand my kid was after me to keep the doggy on the other hand i too had to be practical. Like every incident in my life, I tried to find out a middle way out, I thought, let me give a try to somehow create a space for that puppy. Anyways, i had one more house, the only question was how to train the doggie to answer nature’s call. I surfed net to find eating habits and patterns of dogs. I found that after about half an hour of having food dogs need to relieve themselves. Unfortunately, i took the doggie to the lavatory, but, the sparkling tiles and clean ambiance confused the pup and it would never relieve itself in the lavatory. It would somehow find chance to escape from me and rush to kitchen and relieve itself somewhere in the corners.  It was simply not possible for me to rush the puppy every time out of the building in some open space.  Now, this created more frictions and the temper of my wife kept rising.  I told my kid, it won’t be possible to tend the puppy. But, i wanted to ensure that the puppy should not rot like an abandoned dog. He should get some owner. The kids went on hunting spree, the used their phones and whatsapp and found three four friends who could look after the puppy.  The puppy found two new owner that evening, but, the puppy wont stay there. It would bark and bite, the new owner to just return back the puppy. That Saturday the puppy stayed happily with us. It was habituated to stay with humans, the innocent puppy would come and sleep in between us. Every time the kids took the dog away, it somehow understood that it was being thrown out, its face could tell me that it was feeling the pain. Twice when it was brought back, it would look deep into my eyes, as if, it questioned me, what wrong have i done that you throw me out like this. The dog was unaware of the harsh reality of this ‘practical’ world. I would cuddle the puppy, kiss it and say sorry to the poor fellow. Love is so encompassing, it transcends the boundaries, its language is universal, even animals understand the feeling. I felt that i could so easily communicate with the pup and it too did. The next day was Sunday, the pup had created much of mess in the house, it played with papers, tore few books and chewed my laptop cable. I was unable to face the crossfire, on the one hand our normal lives were disturbed, with my wife unable to adjust with the new guest, she could not understand the feelings of her kid and her husband. She understood that the dad and the kid would play around with the dog for few days and then she would be the one who would have to look after it after i go to office and the kid to school. She won’t budge anyways.

On Sunday night, it became difficult, now the doggie was with us for two straight  days, we were already emotionally attached with it, i or my kid had never done any kind of work at house like cleaning or sweeping. But we were happily cleaning the dog, That Sunday night we three, myself, my kid and the doggie went to other other house to sleep. The doggie had one more bad habit, it would sleep at around 10 pm and complete its quota of sleep by 1 am. Afterwards, it would expect us to stay awake with us. Straight two nights now, Saturday and Sunday night myself and my kid happily stayed awake with the puppy. I was not realizing that it wont be possible when i join office and my kid school. My kid had thought that the dog was now with us forever.  It was not really feasible, a bit of practical person in me started telling me. I had however, decided, come what may, i shall ensure that the dog is not abandoned on the street again. It must have a house of its home. That Monday morning, it was Children’s day. My kid and his friends again scouted for sources and soon found that one kid residing in one bungalow some distance away was willing to take the pup. This time the parents of the kid was first asked whether they would take care of the dog, they readily agreed, they had one pup already and were happy to accept ours. I was sad and happy, sad for  the pup was gone, happy that it would lead a much much better life than at my place, that it had a place of its own, a friend to play with. Never before in personal life with humans i was in so emotional turbulence with anybody, i must admit, for with humans, i believe, the love is conditional with a factor of greed involved. Selfless love is a rarity in humans. My love for that dog, whom i did not know a few days ago and that dog’s involvement in us was complete and total and beyond the realms of human yardsticks.

We returned back, i knew my kid was more hurt than i was. I sat down and took my kid near me, curled his hair and said sorry to him, i said to him that i know how much he needed that doggie, but, we were helpless, tears rolled on his cheek, he wept that afternoon, he did not weep like a small boy, he did not shout or throw tantrums, he kept his head own and wept silently, however, he could not hide his tears for long. I felt down, my wife hugged him and said sorry.

Next day we inquired, the pup was settling in the new house. I felt happy.

Its now a week, the loss of that pup is still hurting in some corners of my heart. Thankfully, i had shot quite a few photos and videos of the doggie which provides me some kind of solace.

No a dog’s life is not so easy..

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Flight Downwards

Right from my childhood days, I was an animal lover, I loved pets and had tried my hand in tending all kinds of pet animals. I had a dog, whose accidental death some twenty five years ago, still makes me feel low. We had cats, tried to pet a tortoise, though unsuccessfully, had been maintaining an aquarium since 1995. Like a failed smoker, trying to quit his smoking habits, every time the fish die, i resolve to stop bringing new fishes and dispose off the tank, for the amount of time involved in maintaining the tank. I succeed in my effort, but only for few weeks and i end up buying new fishes again. The shopkeeper grinningly said last time that this was a hobby that you cannot leave halfway.

So last week when a pair of pigeons, made the empty flowerpot near my window, their home, I was not going to shoo them away. My wife and kid too did not have any objection for these unlawful trespassers  Their unique sound sometimes irritated though.

One fine morning my wife broke out the good news, she said that the new residents were going to be parents. The female dove had laid an egg. I did not react much though. My kid and wife were visibly happy though. As days passed by the mother would sit over the egg all round the day, the father would do the job of bringing in food for the mother. Sometimes, I would see, that mother fly away for food, water etc and the father would do the job of the mother. How, nature has taught these animals to tend for, to care for their loved ones!!  Sometimes, to make their job a bit easy, i would throw pieces of bread near the flower pot so that they could eat it. But as i would go to do the noble deed, the pigeon would try to bit my hand thinking that i was going to hurt her.

Then on one another morning, my wife again broke the good news that the pigeon had broke open the shell of the egg and a baby pigeon was born!! Wow how happy we all were to see the new entrant in our extended neighborhood   It was soft, it had hairs all over and in no way looked like a pigeon. It was very weak and was all the day through covered under the wings of dutiful parents.

The pigeon was now about 10-15 days old and was looking quite healthy. The mother would now leave it alone for sometime and go away in hunt of food, water. It would carry back some portion of it for the baby though. The pigeon now was trying to use its wings. It was trying to explore the big world outside the flowerpot. The small flowerpot, which was of no use to us, was its home, its birthplace.

That Wednesday, on 24th of October, it was a closed holiday for us, being a Dassehra, our festival of Shimolanghan, where, during olden ages, the farmers would sharpen their swords and join the armies and set out for expeditions, on this very day.  I had no expedition to carry, so i was laying on the bed, anyways it was just around 7.00 am in the morning, and almost in a haste, my wife ran from the kitchen and came to me and woke me up and told me to run down on the ground floor, the baby pigeon had fell down!!!  It tried to fly that day,  may be it was too much confident, may be it was too early for him to make such a daring attempt, the flight from second floor flower pot into the high skies only ended the poor soul crash landing into the hard concrete floor. I ran down, to help the poor bird, but, it was not such a good scene to witness, the bird was almost breathing its last breath by the time i reached, very hardly did it moved his neck, i sat down, tried to pick it up to see that its body was almost dead, and had no hopes of surviving. My wife was watching all the scene from the window.  I shook my head in pessimism, she understood, i walked back to my house, it was a very bad start to the festival that morning.  The parents of the dove were restless that day, at around 8.00 am both the pigeons almost entered my living room, it sat on the window grills and looked at me with hope, as if they were urging me to do something, they were perhaps hoping against the hope, but, by now, the little bird had already left them and flew miles and miles away from them, never to return back. I almost muttered to them, sorry guys, there is nothing much left to do. The birds flew away. Again went near that flowerpot.  That whole the both the pigeons made many strange sounds.  That morning we all were sad. I felt very bad, to say the least.

How may times, do we see dead birds, animals, lying on the streets, never did i feel that sort of closeness, that i felt with this little Bird. May be because, i witnessed its birth, a kind of unknown relation, a bonding had developed.  No,  I did not even ever touch it, fed it, but still it managed to become part of our family.  The next day,  I removed the flower pot from the place, so that the pigeons, may not repeat their earlier mistake again.

Four five days have passed, but, the incident has hurt me deeply, today, after grueling day’s chores, i returned from Pune and slept, but suddenly, I happened to remember the poor little bird and i almost lost my sleep, only to end up scribbling this piece of article.

RIP the unnamed little dove, god bless your soul.