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Our household right now consists of one Early Bird, one Night Owl and one Dog. Everyone knows who the Dog is. And no prizes for guessing who the Night Owl is. That leaves the Early Bird who by the powers of deduction cannot be anyone other than the L & M. That having been settled, let me tell you that this had not always been the case. In fact the Night Owl had been an Early Bird herself once upon a time, till the Creative Bug bit her and she was compelled to look to late nights for some peace and quiet to let the creative juices flow freely. Early Bird, by the way, had always been one (the early morning PT in the Army sort of makes you one for life), and somewhere along the way he became the Complete Early Bird by going to bed early as well.

So, the nights find the the Night Owl still tapping away on the keyboard while the Early Bird is all cozy in bed, and gently snoring. The Dog meanwhile, wanting to remain connected to both, stretches itself between the cot and chair and also snores, making it a duet with the Early Bird. The Dog, in addition to snoring, makes tiny yelping sounds and waves its paws around during sleep, and I have on good authority, Enid Blyton, no less, that dogs do so because they dream of chasing rabbits. Don’t ask me where and when the Dog has met rabbits in its two months short of three years of age. It hasn’t. Not that I know of. May be rabbit chase is hardwired into its brain or something. Only Enid Blyton knows.

Anyways, all this is is highly entertaining to the Night Owl. In between her fits of typing, she chuckles soundlessly watching the dog, and sometimes clicks a few pictures of the funny poses and faces the Dog makes, and posts them on Facebook for good measure. She also tickles the Dog, and if in a really cheeky mood, the Night Owl whispers that there are cats about, making the Dog jump up, and stare at her groggily before going back to sleep.

All this is to show you how deeply in sleep The Dog actually is when the Night Owl decides to call it a day, or so the Dog has us all believe, for look what happens next. When the Night Owl is done with making her fingers tap-dance, picks up her Kindle to read a few pages, for she is one who cannot sleep without reading something, and walks to her side of the bed, the Dog does not move a muscle, not even a tiny twitch of the eyebrow can you see. So deeply in sleep is the Dog.

Ten minutes into her reading, the Night Owl jumps out of her skin. The silent night’s silence has just been broken rather harshly by someone expressing annoyance in no uncertain terms. That someone is the someone lying next to the Night Owl, in short, the Early Bird, who she had assumed was fast asleep. She sits up in bed, ready to get to the bottom of affairs.

What do you think greets her eyes?

The Dog is sitting on the other side of the bed, right in front of the Early Bird’s face with a butter-wouldn’t-melt-in-my-mouth expression. The Night Owl knows better. Butter does melt in the Dog’s mouth. From the Early Bird’s mutterings of indignation, the Night Owl gathers that the Dog has just gone and kissed (or licked) him right on his nose. What a nice nose Daddee.

Night Owl glares at the Dog. What a good girl I am, says the look on the Dog’s face. I love Daddee. Night Owl tries not to giggle and gives the Dog a stern look. I didn’t do nothing, says the Dog’s expression. And to show it has done nothing, the Dog lifts one paw and keeps it right next to the Early Bird’s face. Disgusted over lost sleep, the Early Bird grumbles and walks to the bathroom. Night Owl walks purposefully to the Dog and informs that it cannot wake up Daddee. Besides, isn’t Momma awake, why go and pester Daddee?! The Dog looks mournfully at Night Owl. You either stay on my side of the bed or go out of the room. Night Owl is firm. (Early Bird mutters something about spoilt dogs not letting people sleep). Dog think things over in its doggie head and opts to go out. Fine, says Night Owl and closes the bedroom door after her, for fear that the Dog might return and start the drama all over.

Next day, as soon as the Night Owl has shut down her laptop, switched off the overhead lamp, switched on her reading lamp and is cozily in bed, reading, the Dog which till then had been Sleeping the Sleep of the Dead, stealthily moves to the Early Bird’s side of the bed and plants another wet, slobbery kiss on his nose. Early Bird is livid. I get no sleep around this house, he mutters and threatens to go sleep in the guest room. Night Owl sighs, gets up, and shows the Dog the door.

Next day, ditto.

What the Night Owl cannot understand is, why the Dog cannot walk out of the door on its own if it wants to, as the door is anyway open. And why must the Dog go to the Early Bird who is asleep and who is not up for slobbery kisses from dogs, when the Night Owl is very much awake and is all for as many slobbery kisses as are available?! May be the Dog thinks it is no fun waking people already awake or kissing those who love being kissed. Or, let me see, methinks the Dog is jealous when the Night Owl climbs into bed, and is trying to tell the Early Bird, ‘Leave her. Come and sleep on the floor, with me!”

©Shail Mohan 2014

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