He looked up at her every now and then. She barely noticed him. Or so he thought. He stole glances, hoping she’d smile just for him. But then he’d look away the moment their eyes met. And curse himself mentally the next second for not having held his gaze. “Woof,” he said, soft enough to have reached no one beyond his tail’s reach. But she heard him! She turned and walked towards him. Picking him up from his litter of nine, she held him up and close, rubbing her nose into his face. “I want this one, Daddy!” she called out, rushing over to the other end of the store, holding him in her plump seven year old arms, her red and white cotton frock rubbing against his two month old skin.
‘Man’s best friend’ they called him. She would be his, though. He knew it already.
In dedication to all dogs I've said hi to! You're the unconditional love people claim doesn't exist.
Polo, hope you are resting in peace. You were my first.
Flipping through old pictures, often brings back those breathtaking moments which make you what you are. Here's one of mine :
I was 16 and scared of dogs. I had been sent to interview Maneka Sorcar, a magician herself and the daughter of one of the best magicians in India and a very respected figure in the lanes and by-lanes of Calcutta, P.C. Sorcar Jr. Their house is placed in one of those narrow alleys of Calcutta which contributes to the city’s old world charm.
Having made an appointment for 1 o’ clock in the afternoon I had reached their doorstep by 12:55 p.m. sharp. I thought it would be more impressive to make an early entry. So I rang the bell and was let in. I was asked to proceed to the first floor and the minute I put my foot on the first stair, I heard a bark. Mind you, for me it was like a sharp and loud roar! The housekeeper saw me jump (almost) and assured me that it was a friendly pet somewhere at the back of the house. More than the pet being friendly, it being somewhere at the back of the house reassured me! I made my way up the stairs and waited in the designated room for Maneka. I was in awe of their beautiful house and also the fact that I was in the house of magicians! C’mon, I was aware of and in love with Harry Potter’s world!
After a short while, Maneka came in for the interview. She was nothing like the pictures I had seen of her on the Internet! She was so much more lovely to look at and less sorceress type. Halfway through the questions, she probably had to go out to attend a call or something (some parts of the meeting have fudged up in my brains). So, I sat reading my running notes and adding bits and pieces here and there, when all of a sudden I heard a growl behind me. I turned to see a HUGE dog standing in the doorway, blocking the only exit. The first floor grilled window didn’t count. And when I say huge, I mean it was as tall as a sitting me. I don’t know where I got the strength, but I just sat still. Not paralytic or shocked-still, more like maybe-it-won’t-bother-me-if-I-stay-still. And you know what it did? It came towards me and started LICKING my hands. I should have freaked out, screamed, run away or maybe fainted, but you know what I did? I smiled. Of course I was still wary of the dog, but there was something mesmerizing about the moment! Okay, reads cliched but I can’t give you anything better. My hands and feet both had been licked by now. And behind the huge one, I noticed there was a smaller dog wagging its tail and looking up at me with such enchantingly innocent eyes, as if trying to settle my adrenalin-pumped blood. While I kept gazing at the little one, fascinated, the other one started inching itself closer to my face. Now, I was uncomfortable! And that’s when Maneka, oblivious of my fear but acutely aware of my discomfort walked in the room and gently took the dogs away from me. The rest of the interview sailed through with the dogs making themselves comfortable on the floor, near her feet, sometimes near mine. And I didn’t mind at all.
Before leaving, I couldn’t resist requesting Maneka to click a picture of mine with her adorable and friendly pets! This is one of the best clicks :
And, I swear, that day onwards, I haven’t been afraid of dogs. Every time I see a dog licking, I think of Polo and wagging tails remind me of Puchi. That was an exceptionally incredible and extremely rare afternoon and nothing less. Magic does exist. Period.