Thursday, March 19, 2009

When Budi asked for second helping

Budi has said before that he loves eating mutton stew with onion. But is it possible to satisfy every demand of children?

Baba is a foodie, though age and health concerns have forced him to start liking vegetarian food, which now a days he eats without grumbling. But he wants to see Budi eating his lunch with relish and buys mutton atleast twice in a month. I often argue with Baba, blaming him for spoiling Budi and I have my reasons for saying that. After Budi returns home from his early morning walk with Baba, I take him out for his second round. On the way we meet dogs of different breeds, St. Barnard, Great Dane, Labrodors ,Pomerians, Golden retriever, Pugs and Spitzs. If I see their tails wagging, I make it a point to bring them face to face. The tails never lie. They sniff each other making friendly overtures. While they are busy knowing each other, we ask for their names, exchange information about their vets, age, sex, food habits etc. I have found that most of them are vegetarian. The reason could be that the owners themselves are vegetarians. As I was saying, I often argue with Baba that why should Budi not love vegetarian food? I give him things like rice with mashed potatoes and butter, or Rajma beans cooked like mutton, but sadly Budi just sniffs the food and walks away, with Baba looking as crestfallen as Budi.

This does not mean that the food is wasted. If Budi knows how to pressurize us, we also have learnt to pay him back in his own coins. In the evening when Baba or I bring out our walking shoes, Budi knows it is time for his evening walk, he runs to his plate and polishes off his food, knowing full well that he will not be taken out unless he eats.

Last Sunday Baba had been to the Mall, especially for buying Budi's mutton.. Today, I took out the mutton from the deep fridge and put it on the kitchen ledge. After a while I saw Budi standing beside me on his hind legs holding the ledge with his front paws, craning his neck towards the mutton bowl. After that he camped himself outside the kitchen door - watching my every move.

It was lunch time. His plate was laid with his favourit dish. Budi polished off everything at one go. Then he came upto me and stood beside me holding my waist, but he could not reach my face. Then he started jumping like a langoor - as high as my face. I was puzzled, what was he upto? I looked at Baba with a question mark.

Baba said, "he is saying something, can't you understand ?”
“what!!”
“He wants second helping”
“Oh really!! Sure”..

It was a pleasure watching Budi eat.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Boo’s Antics


Budi wants constant attention. He becomes depressed if ignored, which leads to craziness which is manifested in varied ways.

I enjoy reading morning paper with a cup of tea…all of a sudden Budi deals a hard slap on to the paper with his front paws, bringing it down, or causing a wedge - rendering it impossible for me to hold it in front of the eyes. But Budi is happy as he can see my face and I his antics.

When my reading session is too lengthy, Budi stealthily removes one of my slippers from my feet and then starts a frenzied running around the house, tossing it in the air and then catching it and bolting like a consummate hunter. The session continues till he is tired enough and then he puts the slipper down and takes a rest. But slightest movement on my part alerts him again and there is another round of frenzied running around from room to room in circles. In the end, when I am sure that he has forgotten it, I have to look around every nook and cranny of the house for my lost slipper. If I am lucky, I would find it on my bed over the bedcover or his hiding place—a narrow tunnel under my bed, between the wall and the bedbox…

Budi is too nosy. One can not do anything without Budi supervising the whole operation. If you want to arrange the mess in the wardrobe, Budi will lodge himself into the depth of the shelf, with only two eyes flashing from the darkness like two jewels, or if you open the lid of the bedbox for retrieving some extra wrappings, pillows or bolsters, Budi will leap inside, knowing full well that you won’t have the heart to shut him down inside. After all he is the pet of the house. If you are alone God save you, for you may be standing for eternity holding the heavy lid shouting for help, until someone lures him out with a piece of mutton bone (the real one, not synthetic which come from Bangkok)

If you are watching TV, he will bring one of his ‘poo poos’ or squeaky toys placing it on your lap, which means you play with him the ‘throwing and fetching’ game. Experience makes you wiser and you try to throw it as far as possible for some peace for however short, it may be.

Crafty as Budi is, still he is like a gush of fresh air, filling the house with youthful energy. Scold him, show him the cane, pet him or smooch him, but you can’t ignore him

Monday, July 14, 2008

Budi in deep thoughts



My infatuation for pretty girls was my undoing. We lived in that flat for another two months, but I was virtually under house arrest. In the day time the front door was kept shut, only to be opened in the evening, when we came out on the balcony. But I was not totally free. My leash was put on my neck to restrain me if I tried to sneak out again.

I missed Juthimala. She lived in the flat above us. Every time she passed through our balcony, she peeped through the window. Getting her scent I would come running, that was all. She was the only person outside family who touched me without any fear. She also tickled me under my arms and behind my ears. Who would not fall for such pleasure, so I did respond too, for which my name was linked with her and everyone started calling her Budimala. Am I sounding filmy?

Babididi planned weekend outings for me to compensate for my house captivity. I remember the time when we all went to the Lodi Park. I was let loose there in the open fields. I raced to my hearts content and we played hide n seek. When we were hungry Chotudidi gave us an ice-cream treat. I was so exhausted that day that I collapsed on the bed after we returned home. When everyone was enjoying evening tea with samosas (my favourite), I didn’t have the energy to get up and claim my share.

Though some people call me ill mannered but in my defense I would say that I behave quite normally with people who ignore my presence. I take it as a complement, in other words, respect for another living being, rather than having a bias that we are a menace. And I have something to be proud of myself, when my presence becomes indispensable for escorting my didis to the airport, when they have to catch a midnight flight. I feel so proud when I see myself not only the watch guard of the house but also the bodyguard.

I remember the times, when I had escorted Chotudidi to the airport with the whole family. It was a midnight flight to Bangkok. I was aghast when everyone returned back to the taxi leaving Chotudi alone with her bag and baggage. I was aghast thinking who will take care of her and was inconsolable throughout the journey back home. But I have started understanding those things now and become emotionally strong too. Now I enjoy the night scenes, with tall buildings glittering with colorful lights, vizzing past on both sides of the road. I gape in wonder.

My ordeal ended when we shifted to our new house. Quite in a mess still, smelling of paints, lime, varnish, turpentine, floor polishing stuff but still my sweet home.

Here are some pictures of those days…

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Budi’s Crushes



Back to my puppy days, when we lived in a rented apartment on the second floor. The owners of the building lived in the first floor with their two daughters.

I had strong likes and dislikes. My favorites were female species, whether human or animal, provided they had feminine qualities of beauty and softness. I did not like the stocky dark woman, who came for cleaning the house and would express my displeasure by creating a hungama, in spite of her best efforts to woo me. But I became the butt of jokes when I took instant liking for the washerwoman, who used to come twice in a week to do the laundry. I would run up to her and cling to her sari until she would pick me up in her lap giggling indulgently. While she washed clothes, I would be hanging around her splashing in the water.

As I took Baba out for walks, I sometimes, saw the two young girls of the landlords. I was eager to make acquaintance with them but sadly they never responded to my flirtatious looks.

One evening, as Runudi returned home after office, I sneaked out from the gap under the front door, climbed down the staircase and reached the first floor balcony. The younger daughter was sitting on the rocking chair reading something. I stood up on my hind legs, placing my paws on her knees. This alarmed the girl. As she saw me she let out a fearsome shrike, as if she had seen a ghost .Her mother, the landlady of the house came running to see what was happening. The girl started crying with fear - I had done no harm to her. Her mother looked at me threateningly to which I answered her back with loud barking. It all happened in a few seconds. Hearing the din downstairs, Runudi came running, grabbing me with both hands, she looked apologetically at the landlady, brought me back home shutting the door with a loud bang. I could sense it was going to be the end of my days of free movement.

That day when Babididi returned home from office she was summoned by the landlady. Babididi in the last two years had nurtured very cordial relationship with the landlords - it all went up in smoke. The landlady gave her a piece of her mind - how dare that brat living in my own house shout at me! Atrocious!! Insulting!! She won’t endure it anymore and the flat should be vacated.

Not that it troubled us very much as our own house was almost ready for moving in but it surely strained the relationship - all because of my infatuation for pretty girls. Any takers?

Sunday, June 1, 2008

That Black Friday I want to Forget



I strongly refute the accusations that I create a 'ruckuss'! Are you trying to imply that I am intolerant and jealous of my other friends? Yes, I bark a lot – but that is only to assert my seniority. When we came to live in our new house, I was the only dog who went out for a stroll with Baba. Now I think its become a style statement to own a dog. I have many friends – Alsatians, Labradors and even Rottweilers. They were pups when they first came here – but now they have grown thrice my size. But their imposing size does not really matter – I am their childhood friend. And I mean it. Have you not seen – how we embrace when we meet each other during our walks? Our parents still laugh and wonder at our friendships! And Chotu didi, have you not seen the puppies who come running to me under the watchful eyes of their mothers. They know I love them – they just sense it. So, I am not the ill mannered brat that you describe me to be.

I admit that it is not as if I am friends with every dog in the neighborhood. I could never establish a rapport with Sunny. Every time he passed our house, I created a ruckuss and he paid me back in the same coin. But I think, it was a healthy verbal duel – very much enjoyed by our neighbours. Sunny died last year – he was quite old. I miss him. I miss our barking duels.

So what I am saying is that I love to make friends – now if humans don't understand our language, that is not our fault, is it? But there are bad experiences too – like what happened on 16th May.

On that day, when I was returning home with Baba from our evening walk, an Alsatian appeared from nowhere and attacked me. With my survival instincts, I slipped out of my collar leaving the leash in Baba's hands and ran towards our house. When I reached our gate, I looked back to see that Baba was hitting at the dog with my leash, trying to stop him from chasing me. Then the owner of the dog came out and dragged him into the house. Never before had I been attacked like this! I was traumatized by this incident for at least two days – I did not even take my evening meal of milk and roti. Next morning when I did not wake up Baba, Ma suspected something was wrong with me. She found me crouching in a dark corner of the bathroom. I was put under close scrutiny and a gaping hole was found in my chest – I had been bitten by that dog. My vet was consulted. As I had been given my yearly shot of vaccines, the vet assured us that there was no cause for worry. But Baba gave me a course of penicillin anyway for – extra precaution and some powders for healing the wound – and for some days after I went around with a purple tongue (I licked on my wound which was coated with this powder which made my tongue go purple)

Later we learnt that the Alsatian was a visitor to our neighbourhood – a visitor from Vazirabad in Pakistan. I am sad – we could not be friends. Then I could have proudly told my sisters – who seem to have friends from all over the world – that I too have friends – from across the border….

Monday, May 19, 2008

Budi’s Confessions



Those days! I would be rampaging around the small flat on the second floor, always up to some mischief or other. After Babi didi and Runu didi left for office, I would be left alone with Baba and Ma. So as long as they were there I wanted to tease them as much as I could - hiding their socks under the bed or peeling off their rubber bands from their hair or going near the emersion rod, where bathing water was getting heated in plastic buckets (It was strictly forbidden for me to go near it). They would all be shouting at me. Poor Ma - she would be in the kitchen preparing breakfast and filling their tiffin dabbas. In this melee, Baba while reading his newspaper would intermittently chide Ma for wasting his money on that costly book, which she did not read.

Ma had taken up the challenge of teaching me toilet habits and spent hours with me in the toilet. She had succeeded in her mission and had taken up the new challenge of making me a retriever. She would be giving me commands all day - “Budu, go fetch my slippers, or Budu, pick up the newspaper from the landing” and I would be running her errands. But then, Babi didi entered her domain - taking me under her benevolent wings and upsetting Ma’s plans, as Ma believed that there could not be two teachers at the same time.

Babi didi would enter the house in the evening with her bag full of tempting things. She would take out a mini bar of chocolate and dangle it over my head, making me jump higher and higher to grab it, till the whole house gathered around us to watch the spectacular show of my acrobatics. In the end Babi didi would let me have it but the damage was done to my good name, as the sobriquet “Jumping Jack and Monkey Boy” got attached to my name. As if that was not enough! The next day Baba would burst the bomb shell that my poop came out wrapped in chocolate paper. Oh! What a shame, in my excitement I had eaten the chocolate with the wrapper.

At other times Babi didi brought for me squeaking toys - of all size, shape and character. There was this duck family…a mother duck and her three bite size babies, and all of them squeaked. Inquisitive as I am, I would mouth each baby duck one by one and rampage around the house from room to room. Ma would comment “Oh! what sweet music Budu is creating”. Soon the music would stop, I had found out the secret of their voice. In utter dismay I would make some forced attempts to make them squeak again but they would not make any sound anymore. Then I would go to Babi didi looking miserable and make her promise to buy me more toys.

Some days Babi didi would enter the house with balloons. Obviously they were for me. But instead of giving them to me, she would start tossing them into the air. Then Runu didi, Chotu didi and even Ma would join in playing volleyball, tossing from one corner to the other with much haa haa and hoo hoo. I would be sprinting in the centre like that jackal of the sour grapes. At last it came into my possession but before I could feel it, I would hear a loud bang, leaving me dazed. Babi didi would promise to buy me better quality balloons next time.

But the most bizarre thing happened in the night. After dinner she would grab me and take me to mother, asking her to put me to sleep by thumping my body while singing a lullaby. Ma would make excuses that she had long forgotten them. But Babi didi always had a way to get what she wanted. At last Ma would sing a filmy song by Kishore Kumar, something like this…
Munna bada pyara,
Mummy ka dulara, Koi kahe chand, koi Ankh ka tara.


It would take me some time to understand what was happening with me. Do we need thumping for going to sleep? Moreover, how could I go to sleep when others were awake? Even if I was just a puppy then, I still saw myself as the watchman of the house. I could not submit to Babi didi’s utopian ideas. I would wiggle out of Ma’s hands with a high jump on the floor and then run helter skelter to the front room - Babi didi chasing me, raising an alarm.

Babi didi always had an infinite stamina. She used to work on the computer till late at night (sometimes early hours of the morning) while I sat on the floor facing her - my eyes heavy with sleep. And she rewarded me for keeping her company by sharing her midnight snack – CHOCOLATES…

Friday, May 9, 2008

Budi the Prankster




Baba while introducing me to others has a favourite line “Ami Budi ke pushinee, Budi amake pusheche”. He wants to say that he is not Budi’s master, but that Budi is his master. If you look at him with a question mark, he would explain...

“Budi decides how much sleep is good for my health. At the crack of dawn, he emerges from his den, jumps on the bed, sniffs me all over my body with his wet nose and then pulls my hand from the shoulder joint. If I turn on the other side to avoid him, presto, he would be there jumping across my body, pawing my face, making it impossible for me to linger in the bed. I have to give him assurance -uthchi re baba uthchi.

It is walking time and Budi is ready to take me out. Out on the road, I merely have the leash in my hand - its Budi who leads me and I just have to follow him.

Back home, we both wait for the newspaper. Everyone knows how irritated and restless I feel on the days the newspaper does not come because of a holiday in the office. I want to unroll the paper first, for its crisp feeling and smell of the newsprint. Thak! the paper hits the balcony floor. We both run to catch it. Budi wins. I am sixty plus, no match for Budi's agility. He runs away with it, making me chase him pleading -Budi, good boy, give it to me.

My pleadings fall on deaf ears. He disappears under the far corner of the bed. I fall pray to his blackmailing tactics. I throw a piece of chocolate, an ├ęclair, a salami or a cocktail sausage - whichever is available at that moment, on the floor. Budi comes out stealthily to take it. That is my moment. I make a dash to retrieve the news paper but alas it has lost its crispness with teeth marks here and there. This is the price I have to pay for adopting the tile khocchor"

Friday, May 2, 2008

Budi Goes Shopping

One day Baba announced that I was grown enough to accompany him for morning walks. And I needed a leash. Next Sunday we all went shopping at Khan Market. The shop was full of attractive items. Ma’s eyes caught some training literature. It seems she had planned great things for me so she picked up a fat book with a glossy cover for teaching me some nice things. After a lot of searching and arguments a red colour velvet neck band was selected. It had a bell and a loop for attaching the leash. Babi didi bought some toys, which I would chew, as I was cutting my milk teeth. I was in Runu didi’s lap and saw many pretty girls eyeing me covetously, dashing smiles at me. I discovered that I liked girls better than boys (My infatuation for girls landed me in such embarrassing situations afterwards).

I started going out with Baba for walks. As I walked the bell tinkled. Once in a while, when Ma’s vegetable stock was exhausted, she would come along with us. We would walk to the fair price vegetable outlet. I waited outside the shop with Baba who would alight his cigarette while Ma selected veggies and fruits. While on our way back home, Baba would engage a Rikshaw. I would perch on Ma’s lap, enjoying the ride very much - wishing the journey never to end. And feeling the happiest babe in the world!

After reading a few pages of that book, Ma gave it up - drawing a final curtain on my formal education. As a result, I became the most spoilt, mischievous and self willed little brat. The list of complaints against me kept on growing, drawing comparison with Rajadada, so gentle was he and here I was a “Tile Khocchhor” (as said by Baba and translated as scoundrel in English). But it was not an abuse, rather a term of endearment - I am quite sure about that. You would have to read about my deeds and doings to decide how you would like to call me.

Friday, February 29, 2008

My First Social Visit

After the days of my confinement were over, Babi didi planned a social visit for me. One sunday she gave me a good bath, brushed my hair, took a rikshaw and started on her journey with my toys, my pee mop and me in her lap. I noticed people staring and laughing at her strange bag and baggage.

We reached a house. I was introduced to a big motherly looking thing called Kiyara. It was love at first sight for her. She adopted me as her son and overwhelmed me with her affection. There was a little boy in that house with whom I played hide'n seek, but our fetching game would not proceed smoothly as I would become too possessive about my loot and refused to part with it. When I smelled food, I abandoned my play. As Baba has said I am a glutton, I came running to eat, but Babi didi dissappointed me by not letting me eat my fill, lest I spoil her reputation as well as mine.

When I was six months old, one day I noticed great excitement in the house. Ma was cooking special meal for the evening and Babididi as usual was busy dusting, changing bed linen and creating confusion with her hectic activity. At about four in the afternoon a taxi stopped in front of our house. Runudidi shouted "Chotu eshegache" and ran down to recieve her. Then they came up dragging a heavy suitcase. So this was Chotudidi, who had been dodging me all these days. I decided to take my revenge. But Chotu didi was laughing deliriously. As soon as she settled down, I pounced upon her and within minutes she was devasted, all her hair was out of her long chutiva, hanging in front of her face, but she kept on laughing and laughing.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Budi gets his vaccines

5th January, 2005

A new phase of my life started. I have mixed feelings about this period as I faced a lot of red eyes at the same time love and cuddling which confused and overwhelmed me. On top of everything I was kept in confinement, my fault was that I was not yet three month’s old and not fit for outings. During this period Ma put me into rigorous training so that I form bathroom habits. My pee was soaked with news paper and put in the bathroom. All my activities were spied upon. Every time I felt like peeing and tried to squat on the floor an alarm was raised and I was bodily lifted, half way through my natural act and shut up in the bathroom which seemed ages to me. I was so much unnerved by the whole drama that I decided to learn what was taught to me. It happened for my good as I got lots of toys, balloons and petting in reward.

At last the “D” day arrived. A taxi was called Baba and Ma took me to a clinic. It was full of dogs of every size, breed and age. Some were as big as lambs and some had slack muscles - looking old and sick. Another one who was in labour pain was being given anesthesia for an emergency operation. I was the smallest, cutest and healthiest creature there. Come to take only my vaccination! The vet gave me a reassuring smile as if saying - don’t be afraid baby, I will push it in very gently. Baba was holding me tightly, I submitted myself to my fate, what else could I do.

My ID card was made and I officially became Budi Dutta.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Budi United With Family

January 5th, 2005

Life was moving pretty fast. I was only two month’s old, separated from my three siblings and my natural mother. The house where I was received was a nice one, absolutely clutter less. Just as I was leaving my mark on the floor expressing my approval (read soosoo) Baba announced that taxi had come. Ma picked me up in her lap and started climbing down the staircase. Baba handed over the keys of the house to a stranger, picked up the luggage and followed us. Soon we were traveling to some destination, about which I had no idea. I could sense Ma looking relieved, as if some heavy weight was off her shoulders. My sixth sense was telling me that they were going to enter a new phase of their lives, with a new addition, which was me.

We reached Delhi. Babi didi had come to receive us at the station. After handing over the piece of luggage to Baba, when Ma finally appeared at the door with me in her lap, Babi didi looked suspiciously at Ma, she had been in touch with Ma till the end and I had been no where in the picture. It took Ma some time to convince her that I was a new member of the family, acquired legitimately, not kidnapped. Babi didi still was not fully convinced. She must have transmitted the news to Runu didi, for Runu didi entered the house after some time, looking in all direction. All this while, I was hiding behind Baba who was having a nap after lunch. As I got a new scent - I peeped from Baba’s back, our eyes met. She let out a scream “how cute!” with a big smile. At last Babi didi smiled too. Thus I came to know my new family.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Budi Comes Home

From Budi's Diary, 5th Jan 2005

Ma calls me reincarnation of Raja, who occupied 37/G from the inception of that house till the end, leaving behind a void, which I filled up at the very last moment when they were going to bid good bye to Jamshedpur for all time, picking up the threads, where Raja had left it.

Ma believes that my coming was providence, a divine intervention, as I came against all odds. She had a sickly mobile, which she had kept on charge with twelve rupees talking time left to its credit. The taxi had been ordered, luggage packed, neighbours bidden good bye, and in that final hour the phone rang. Ma thought that it was from one of her daughters, but no! It was a male voice.

“Did you want to have a pup?”

“But who told you so?”

“Dr. Mahato, your vet”

“But we are leaving Jamshedpur, we have to catch the 1’o clock train in the afternoon. It is already noon now”

“I am coming, just wait 10 minutes for me”

"Where will you come from?”

“Sakchi”

“How can you reach in 10 minutes?”

“Leave that to me”

I came by scooter, held tightly by the pillion rider. I was scared and extremely anxious about what game fate was going to play with me but my fears were allayed, when Baba dashed a benevolent smile at me and ma cuddled me up in her lap, which felt cozy and warm. I knew that I was in safe hands.