Thursday, April 30, 2009
Before Elsa came into our lives, we three were quite indifferent to the existence of dogs. We neither loved them, nor did anything to harm them. After Elsa, our perception and sentiments underwent an overhaul. We fell in love with dogs, all kinds, big small, pets and pariah.
In Kalina, a bitch gave birth to three extremely cute puppies, two females and one male in the woods behind my house. Our neighbors’ daughter started taking care of them, but as you know how things like this go, after couple of weeks, when the pups started growing up, the mother (our neighbor that is) became rather impatient, and started discouraging the daughter from engaging the dogs too much.The daughter soon lost interest. The puppies would often stray into our back yard, and I would love playing with them. Elsa of course did not like them at all. She had an aversion to the folks from the canine family, all of them unfortunately.
Laali, Kaali and Faltu,I really don’t know who came up with the names, though my mother did have a knack for keeping uncanny and rather inane names.
Laali was a really beautiful bitch, a good looking one, she had very soft features and her coat was a yielding reddish brown. She was everyone’s darling, everyone of course comprised a small number of people.
Kaali was a black colored bitch and my favorite. She wasn’t very friendly, very wary of humans and always seemed troubled.
When she was a puppy, she’d been hit by a stick, luckily even though it was a bad hit, she survived and was perfectly fine within days. But I surmise she developed a sense of doubt and fear coupled with the realization that she was dependent on humans, so I presume this always kept her anxious and apprehensive. It took me a long time to befriend her; she would only come to me and my mother.
I think the regular feeding of the puppies started after Kaali was injured, she was suffering right in my backyard, and she was extremely cute.
Faltu, this bugger was a dirty brown, brusque fellow, extremely sociable and I think he spent a major part of his life trying to convince my family and couple of others to adopt him. I wish we had, Elsa of course would have been furious.
All three never grew too big, they were miniatures and I guess it increased their cute factor.
In matter of months, my family became the primary caretakers of the puppies. And the 4 years that we did, were extremely eventful, joyous and quite crazy.
It would be quite a task in containing Elsa, if she was out venturing in the garden, and the puppies would stray in too. She would bark wildly, chase them, and our entire garden would echo of frantic yelps and incessant barks. Elsa would chase them all over the garden, uprooting flower beds, trampling the vegetable beds. My mother use to occasionally leave out red chilies, raw mangoes and spices to dry out in the sun, they used to be placed on a bed sheet on the ground, and Elsa would run over them, ruining it all. But Elsa never hurt Laali, Kaali and Faltu.
And even though the chases often got difficult to handle, I remember we use to never be angry, it would always end in laughter, hugging all the dogs, providing them reassurance and solace. Like little children fighting in a park and parents getting involved. The analogy here is definitely open to debate. But that is how it was for me when I was kid.
I often replay the chases in my mind, the puppies would be playing in our back garden, I had a huge garden, well maintained and cared for. Suddenly Elsa would come out of nowhere, all of us would get mobilized, Munnu bhaiya,our gardener , my father if he was around, other helpers and me , running all over the garden, yelling out Elsa’s name with my mother rooted at a spot, not moving a muscle giving a running commentary, oh she’s gone there, chase her chase her, someone just pick up Kaali , Laali’s stuck in the hedge, get her, Is that Faltu running behind Elsa, get him get him, he’s such a silly dog and so on and so forth. The meal after these particular chases were indeed entertaining with each of us relating a different part, and Elsa sitting either at my feet or on the sofa, aware that we were discussing her exploits.