Friday, April 17, 2009

Chp 3

The First Summer
Yelping for more milk, Chinoo would push his mom Sonia till she relented and fed him and his other five siblings for another round of feeding. Enjoying his new found status-as the leader and that of a demanding dog, he got his way by pleading and coaxing with barks, growls, whimpers and a sad look in his eyes which he had perfected to the t. This was Chinoo.

At two months he was taken for his first walk, he loved it, smelled everything, barked at everyone and kept trying to run free without realising that he had a collar round his neck to restrain him. After a couple of walks it finally dawned on him that he was expected to walk within the limits of the length of the leash held close to his collar. My sister would unhook the leash on walks in the garden to let him roam free. And enjoy his moment of free space – he ran in circles, jumping, pushing, catching anything and everything but was back when called out to.

He would push his wet nose into every ones hand, face and clothes - demanding their attention, smelling their clothes, trying to remember every scent and how each one smelt. A naughty dog and most of the time a dog who loved to be in his corner and listen to everyone talk, watch TV and take him out for a pee. Now that was what he wanted everyone in the family (that is each individual and no one was spared) to do diligently. He enjoyed these short walks every hour - just his way of demanding attention.

During this summer vacation all the kids - nieces and nephews that had come down for a visit - would jump to volunteer - to clean, feed and take him for walks. A single yelp got the attention he needed. He loved to now sit in anybody's lap who sat crossed legged. He jumped into it, sniffed and shuffled around and made space for himself and would curl up into a ball and sleep.

He was cute, sweet, and cuddly. A terror to the street dogs, cats and anyone that showed any sign of fear. If children playing near the house entered his territory too were greeted with his growls that would make them jump aside. Any balls that entering the house (his territory) would belong to him out right and rarely did he give it back, it was only after he fell asleep that anyone in the house had the guts to take the ball and return it to the kids. His corner was a collection centre of all the balls that came his way and he picked them while walking or when he was in the garden or from kids playing close to him.

The end of vacation was a sad time for him for all the kids had to go back to school and he was left with the two eldest nephews who stayed in Mumbai caused they worked here. He was depressed for sometime but pepped up when he realised that they would be back in some months for more vacation and shorter visits were going to be a regular.

He found a true friend and love in my sister, and gave her his whole and sole attention. He would be joyous when she was around and would move into his corner the moment she left for work.

Well it was that this moment you can say that he had already formed his likes and dislikes, which he expressed very well with his barks and growls. He had the entire neighbourhood under his control - no human - weather it was the garbage collector, washer man, milkman, visitors to the neighbourhood went unnoticed and each faced the barks and growls. His favourite trick was to sit quietly behind the door, his parking space in fact and wait quietly till the person or anybody came close or walked past and his shadow fell in the doorway - he jumped out barking with his tail waging in a friendly way at the same time. He scared some, made others laugh nervously and some had taken to the habit of calling out to him before passing so he would know who was coming through.

My sister watched him grow and loved him as a son/daughter that she had never had. She could watch him play for hours, smell flowers, run after butterflies, birds, cats…anything that moved. Run like he would never feel the freedom again - he could do top speed of over 50 miles/hour, my sister would hold a stop watch as he ran a 100metres in under 10 seconds, and ran round and round the garden. But a single shout from my sister and he was back at her side, panting with a smile almost a mile long.

Days and months went by and my sister’s niece’s wedding was close and they would go out regularly to do shopping for jewellery, clothes, and vessels - the dowry that would be going with the niece. Chinoo would watch excitedly knowing that something was happening – and felt that there was an adventure lurking behind these comings and goings, shopping, phone calls, people visiting he awaited with baited breath for his part in all this…