Thursday, July 19, 2012


Let me get back to my dog tales. You see, every time we lost a pet dog to death, we'd make an unspoken vow that we would save ourselves from further heartache by simply not adopting another. Major's traumatic death hammered this in ever more clearly. My mother, particularly, couldn't even bear the thought of having another dog after she lost him. Her silence and sorrow boomed throughout the house, a warning that the three-letter word should no longer be discussed.

September 1999 turned into October 1999. Just one month had passed since we lost Major. And we continued to miss him...our hearts as gloomy as the monsoon sky outside. But, October was soon drawing to a close. Cloudy skies began to give way to the glint of the smiling sun. The transition was metaphorical because it was about to happen in our home too.

RAY OF SUNSHINE: Cara, at three months
Wrapped in one of mom's old white blouse with black spots was Cara...a Dalmatian! It was mom's surprise for us as we returned home from school one mundane afternoon. I'd earlier thought Dalmatians were just figments of Dodie Smith's imagination. Clearly, they weren't!

Later that evening, mom confessed to us that she wasn't excited to have Cara. She had accepted her out of compassion - and also because she looked adorable, swathed with soft cloths in a cane basket, red ribbon round her neck. Cara, she told us, was the runt of a litter of 13 Dalmatian puppies. Since her mother began rejecting her and no one was willing to buy her, the owner thought it best to hand over the fragile life to us. "Amusing," I thought, because till then, Major was the only dog we had bought...the rest had been given to us gratis.

As a three-weeks-old pup, Cara didn't look one bit like the Dalmatians I'd seen in Smith's novel. Yes, she was nose, sealed ears and all,...but fully white with light liver coloured patches instead of spots. To my sister and I, she seemed like an exquisite breed that we knew nothing about. So, we took to Volume D of our World Book Encyclopedia to educate ourselves. Later, in the dictionary, we came across a glossary of names. I chose Cara, because I liked the way it sounded (apparently it means 'friend'). My sister chose Candita, which means white/pure. As we couldn't come to a consensus, we named our cherubic pup:


Incidentally, Cara was unknowingly bestowed the honour of being the first dog to take on our family surname.

Wednesday, July 04, 2012


While watching re-runs of Bollywood actor Aamir Khan's show, Satyamev Jayate (Sanskrit for 'Truth Alone Conquers'), I came across a poignant statement made by Harish Iyer, a victim of child abuse. If you aren't familiar with his story, I'd suggest you watch the following clip in its entirety:

On the other hand, if you are aware of his case, just watch between 8:01 and 8.54.

For those of you who don't understand Hindi, I will try my hand at translating what Harish said in those few seconds. It moved me to tears and it will you too!

"If anyone has helped me, it was not a human dog helped me. I had a German shepherd, Jimmy. When I would return home after being abused, I don't know how he used to know that something bad had happened to me. When I would return home, he would pull and take me away to the bedroom and, jumping on to his bed, he would to flay his paws and signal me to come and sit next to him. I used to go on talking, go on talking, go on talking, and when I used to cry, he would lick my tears. He has drunk my every the true sense of the word. And that gave me strength."