Monday, December 3, 2007

To his dog, every man is Napoleon

KParthasarathi Monday, December 03, 2007
My grand father had a fondness for pets. Being a big land owner, his house in the village was very spacious with large vacant space filled with coconut, mango, neem, guava and jack fruit trees. As a chit I have visited his house once and have seen a dog, a monkey, a deer, a peacock and couple of parrots. I had a fascination for the monkey and would sit and watch its pranks endlessly. In the hall, he had a long swing where he would lie down after lunch. There was no electricity those days. There was a punkah over the swing with a rope hanging down. It was the job of the monkey to keep pulling the rope for the punkah to oscillate. My grand pa carried a small cane in his hand and he would be constantly moving it to keep the animal on its job. The moment he dozed off and the cane stopped moving, the monkey would climb up the rope to sit on the punkah.After a few minutes when grandpa woke up from the slumber and the cane started moving, the monkey started pulling the rope. It was a pleasure to watch the monkey playing hide and seek waiting eagerly for grandpa to doze.
He had taught the parrots to utter some words but I could never understand what they said. They were more interested in the maize corns that I fed them with than talking.. The spotted deer was beautiful to look at but it never allowed me to touch its velvety skin .All the time it pranced about erratically running from one end to the other. I have seen the peacock in its colourful plume fully spread only once for a fleeting moment. The moment it saw me watching, it folded up
The starving dog he found one day became my grandpa’s dearest pet. A country dog answering to the name Caesar was a mixture of black and white. It expressed its affection for the old man by its vigorous wagging of its tail. Very sharp and intelligent it provided constant company to him who stayed alone with servants. He had lost his wife early in life. It always accompanied him in the early mornings when he combined his constitutional with a quick survey of the fields under cultivation. He virtually doted upon it and would not visit his children as he was averse to leaving it behind under the care of his servants.
One morning when he was making the rounds, he had the urge to answer the call of nature. He saw a circular shrub about five feet in diameter with a single opening. He had relieved himself earlier in this place. As he was sitting there that day ,a king cobra slithered silently to the opening and stood still spreading its hood with its eyes fixed on my grandpa. He froze in fright. The opening was narrow and even the slightest movement would make the cobra attack him with certainty. He quickly recovered himself and let out a soft whistle. Out of nowhere Caesar came running and it did not take a second for it to size up the situation. It sprang on the cobra and holding it in its mouth dragged it away. Grandpa ran home with his heart pounding fast due to fear. He sat on the bench in the front porch recovering from the shock. He sent the servants to look for the dog. A short while later the dog came home limping and lied down at the feet of grandpa. Bitten by the snake several times during its fight, it breathed its last very soon keeping its melancholy gaze fixed on its master all the time. Fiercely loyal it had remained faithful to its end. Grand pa did not recover from his grief for a very long time. There was a sense of guilt and remorse that he was in a way responsible for its death. He gave away all his pets and never had a dog subsequently.

1 comment:

  1. 'Beautiful', in one word. You have depicted very well the love that can exist between a person and his/her pet.The love that animals give us is totally selfless.