We moved to our newly built house in the month of October. The next month passed in a whirlwind preparing for the upcoming half-yearly exams in December.
One late December afternoon, the day our exams got over, I was dozing off catching up with all the lost sleep. Under the warmth of the quilt on that cold day having not the least inkling or sense of time and space, I could have passed off as nearly dead.
A sudden heart-splitting scream rung into my face breaking my deep stupor.
Next, I let out an ear-splitting, nerve wrecking screech at the sight of a black monstrous face thrusted into my own. It took me a minute to see clearly the black monster was actually a little puppy held in my brother’s hands with innocent glowing eyes. Was I happy? Yes, I was! If it hadn’t been the puppy, the situation would have called for another one of the numerous battles of our homely Haldighati.
The scream and the screech traveled far and wide, rattling the walls of the house causing Mummy to come running into my room with a forever ready template plan to direct her wrath at both of us. With a fourth character, a canine, in the picture, she had to act fast, alter her template, remove me from it and unfurl her fury on her not-so-raja-beta-of-the-moment. Immediately, he was sentenced to take the puppy and leave it exactly at the spot in the colony from where he had picked it up.
Within the next half-an-hour or so, the puppy went away, negotiations took place between the little boy (my brother) and Mummy and the puppy was brought back home with a condition it will not stay in the portion of the house where we, the humans, lived instead he will be put up in the under-construction rear portion of the house.
That night must have been one of the longest nights in our lives and a tough one. Jackie (we named him so) was left alone in the cold and dark amid the construction material. His whimpers left us restless and guilt-stricken. We had separated the little baby from his mother and had failed him by leaving him alone in the cold night.
As the day dawned the next morning, Jackie was once again brought inside the house. A cardboard box was lined with jute sacks filled with sawdust in order to keep him warm. He was fed with milk and warmth of his new family, placed inside the box and was given a toy to play with. It was Road Riper, the vehicle of He-Man.
This was his homecoming. We had got our pet dog.
Papa did not contribute to any of the fuss which happened the previous day. He was on our side.
A pet dog he wasn’t just meant to be because he became our sibling, our younger brother. He seldom behaved like a dog. For my Dadi, he was a goat who loved eating carrots. (When do goats eat carrots?) He had a sweet tooth like none of us. Gajar ka halwa or any sort of laddoos, he could gobble up in seconds. We loved him even though he was not the pet dog of our dreams who would run to our command “Jackie choo” in order to fetch back a ball or stick thrown for the purpose. We tried teaching him a lot this one doggie duty but he wasn’t a dog in his head, I guess. To give him credit, he used to run after it and catch hold of it. But, that was it. Afterward, he kept it securely in his custody growling at us everytime we went near him to take the item back.
He was like, “Ab jo main ne ye ball/stick/flying disc pakad li hai to main vapas dene wala nahin hun. Ab is ko chahe main pakad kar baitha rahun ya phir is par susu kar dun, meri marzi.”
In the end, we just gave up – only training him, not loving him any less.
He stayed with us for 4 years. He died in a road accident leaving us with a lifetime of stories.
Linking this post with Monday Musings hosted by Corinne Rodrigues