Losing him left an unbearable ache in my sixteen year old heart. I vowed never to have another one again. He had been a perfect bundle of joy, all white and fluffy and cuddly and had been with us for only a month. Yet when I lost him just like that one evening, my heart broke. He was only three months old at the time and I had been all set for a long association with him. I tossed and turned the whole night and the next day found my eyes wandering here and there hoping to see him come bounding to me. But, it was not to be. Danny was gone and forever. No more pets, I decided.

Yet, when years later, my brother came home with a pup and I espied her cute face nestled in his arms, I was smitten. When he put her down, she opened her bright dark eyes and wagged her cute little tail with a white tip (she was brown, the offspring of a pure bred Alsatian mom who had a romp in the grass with one of the local Romeos when the Master wasn’t looking), I just lost my heart to her. I looked at her wistfully, wanting her to be mine. But she was his, a ‘one master dog’ or so I was told by my brother. Of course he being younger to me by a good five years, I could have whacked him one on the head and yanked her away saying, ‘She is mine!!’ But little ladies don’t do that sort of thing, especially when they know for sure they may be whacked harder in return elder or not.

A week down the line my wish came true. There was my brother standing at the door to my room with Simi, for that was her name, so named at the benefactor’s (the very same one who hadn’t been looking when his pure bred girl went on a caper), insistence, asking me if I would take care of her for a couple of weeks, as he was going to be too busy preparing for some test that was coming up. I literally jumped at the chance. And that was it. Simi became mine. My brother did not come back to claim her even after his tests were over. Perhaps he did not want the responsibility or thought I was taking better care of her. Whatever the reason, when a month had elapsed I relaxed sure in the knowledge that he was not going to take her away from me. And that’s how unmarried though I was, I came to have my first ‘molee’ (daughter).

We had such good times together, my molee and I. As soon as I reached the street that led to my house at Vellayambalam, my feet picked up speed of their own volition. Simi was waiting for me and my heart just soared at the thought of her laughing face and thumping tail. There were those other times too. Like when she chewed up my removable braces, gently easing them off my hand while I stood talking to my sister, after brushing my teeth. Imagine how sheepish I felt telling the dentist about it while he looked at the mangled braces in astonishment! Then there was the time she thought it would be easier for me to read the Eve’s Weekly (one of the popular women’s magazines of the time) if the pages were torn up into tiny bits. When I walked out of the house, there she was sitting placidly with a little heap in front of her, having shredded the magazine uniformly into two by one inch pieces. She looked at me proudly thumping her tail, ‘Aren’t I a good dog??’ She tried to do the same to the daily letters from my husband (for by then I had gotten married) but I used to catch her in the nick of time for the simple reason that I used to check for letters, like about a hundred times during the time the postman was expected. And yeah, the moron that he was (the postman not my husband), he delighted in throwing it on the ground and walking away!!

I had to leave Simi behind when I moved away to be with my husband. Mother used to say she perked up each time she was told, ‘Ninte Amma varunnundu innu!’ (Your mom is coming today) or when she called out ‘Shaileyyyy’ as if I was somewhere in the vicinity. She (the dog, not my mother) is one of those who has had the rare privilege of biting me apart from (Ok I know this is the umpteenth time I am repeating it. But don’t forget there might be new readers who are unaware of the fact that I have a biting sis!) my sis and also the other dog, Chinchu.

Years later, when the little Martians (or monkeys, usually referred to as ‘sons’ in normal parlance) started their clamor for a dog as pet, I put my foot, the dainty one, down with all the strength my five foot frame could muster and in a voice that belied the same pint sized frame said, ‘NO!’ Apart from the heartache involved I was more concerned with the fact that I would be adding to my already full roster..

“Please please….” pleaded the little Martians, then 7 and 13. “We’ll help you!!!”

I merely rolled my eyes at the theatrics. But ultimately the pleas got to me. After all who can resist (Oh no not the entreaties of the little Martians, I can resist them alright! Haven’t I told you I am different, not your usual Bollywood/Ekta Kapoor- style typical Indian Mom whose heart melts faster than ummmm… ice cream in the desert?? Sheesh, I know that’s a stupid analogy, but till I find a cool enough one, this stays) the thought of having a cuddly little bundle at home wagging its tail nineteen to the dozen, following you around with adoring eyes?? I couldn’t. So pretending to fall for the pleas of the little Martians, I did my martyr act and gave a perfectly rehearsed reluctant nod for bringing home a pup.

To be continued……