|Photo Courtesy: Google images|
And so Sanjay bhaiya brought the puppy along, carefully perched on his left hand while manoeuvring his bike with the right hand. As soon as he entered our street, commotion broke out. While the elderly unclejis and auntyjis sitting outside their houses were mildly curious, the kids, every single one of them, were ecstatic.
‘Puppy, puppy!’ there was an excited chorus from the kids playing a random self-made game that was instantly and unceremoniously abandoned, with everyone making a beeline for Sanjay bhaiya’s house. Within seconds, the puppy was in some kid’s hands, being lovingly cuddled and muddled. And then soon enough, he was changing hands, followed by more cuddling and muddling.
In between all that excitement and free flow of hugs and cuddles, there were questions galore. ‘Bhaiya, will you adopt this puppy?’ ‘Bhaiya, what breed is he?’ ‘Bhaiya, will you keep him home?’ ‘Bhaiya, does he bite?’ ‘Bhaiya, WILL he bite?’ ‘Bhaiya, is he hungry?’ ‘Bhaiya, what is his name?’ and the most important question of them all – ‘Bhaiya, will aunty ALLOW you to keep him home?’ Well, this indeed was the most important question, since Sanjay bhaiya’s mother’s aversion to dogs was well known to all and sundry living on the street.
‘Bhaiya, keep him please. We’ll all take care of him.’ There was another chorus from the kids of our street. Someone got some milk, a small packet of biscuit materialised, there was a discarded plastic bowl too, and so before Sanjay bhaiya’s mother could come out of the house to discover what the commotion was all about, the puppy was done with the milk and was happily settled on a rag, nibbling on the biscuits he had been offered.
With auntiji out of the house, now was the litmus test that was to decide the puppy’s fate – was he going to become an esteemed citizen of our street or was he going to be packed off right back to the dangerous busy road he came from. Tense moments followed while auntyji stood there, staring down at the puppy, that, oblivious to everything else but the sudden strike of good fortune, was busy lazily nibbling at the biscuits. He looked relaxed but his eyes, light gray in colour and tear strained, had a lost look in them and stood out against his white and beige fur. And probably that was what momentarily melted auntiji’s heart as she declared – ‘Let him be here for the night, it’s too late now. In the morning we will see what has to be done.’
So the crisis stood averted, at least for the time being. And from the look of it, it seemed that everyone was planning to go all out to win auntiji over when the next morning came. But for now, it was all about the exhilaration of having the puppy around, and that brought them all to the next important question – ‘Bhaiya, what should we call him?’
‘Let’s call him Sammy!’ pat came the suggestion from little Rohan. ‘No, no, that’s so boring! Bhaiya, let’s call him Scooby!’ some other kid suggested. ‘But Scooby is boring too! Let’s call him Buzo, short and sweet!’ this one came from Alisha. And so the names kept coming for almost half an hour – ranging from as whacky as Scissors and Hungry to as lame as Johnny, Sheru and Tommy. But despite much deliberation on the most beautiful and unique name for the puppy, no consensus was reached, resulting in the naming ceremony getting postponed to the next day.
Apt, we all thought. Tomorrow, the kids will win aunty over and the puppy would get to stay here and not just that, he will get a name too - a new lease of life for him, and exciting times for the kids, for they will have a new toy to play with. With these happy thoughts, the puppy’s bed was made in Sanjay bhaiya’s veranda, a couple of rags neatly laid down with enough milk and water in small bowls to take care of him if he went hungry in the night. ‘Good night puppy!’ was the final chorus as the kids went off for the night, each making up their mind about the name they wanted for the cute little puppy. Tomorrow was a big day.
Now tomorrow has come, albeit a little too soon for the puppy. He was discovered dead in the morning, crushed under another neighbour’s car. Everyone’s in shock, even the indifferent aunties and uncles and the sundry household helps. But the perpetrator, he has no remorse, none at all. The unapologetic moron says he is not accountable for every stray dog and its litter that crowd the street. ‘Whoever got him along, should have taken care of him, I am not going to look under my car every time I start it, to see if there’s a dog sitting there!’ that his sarcastic and final take on the incident.
So the weak and timid puppy is dead now. Who knows, probably he would have survived the harsh and dangerous busy road where he was first discovered; maybe he would have survived the ruthless stray dogs too. But he could not survive the ruthless humans, he died and he died nameless.