Following my friends’ puffery regarding my work in self-deprecating humour; I bring to you an unexaggerated instance from my childhood wherein through a series of unfortunate events, I became the reason for the exit of my newly acquired pet from my life. The scene is once again set in Calcutta and my 3-year-old version is lazing around, like most 3-year-olds, and is greeted by a small yelp, coming from a pug pup.
The mango tree which grew in the corner of the house was decked with juicy and delicious mangoes and any passerby would, in typical Calcutta fashion, attempt to throw a stone at the fruits in often comical tries to appropriate one for themselves. Most of my time was spent waddling around my home and staring at the tree as it was large and my toddler self-felt it best to hence give it most of my attention. One such afternoon when I was partaking in the aforementioned activity, I heard a small yelp or bark and since I had not yet acquired the knowledge to recognize the noise, I diverted my gaze to a tiny, grey creature that fit perfectly in my father’s palm. The snug and comfortable animal had the most beautiful eyes and breathed softly with fluttering nostrils. His gaze fell upon me, someone closer to his size than any other people in the vicinity, and in a matter peculiar to dogs, began wagging his tail whilst a tiny smile crept up onto his face. I was visibly excited too and clapped while letting out a short series of laughs. “We are going to call him Nemo” said my father with my mother now entering the scene too. “Nehmoh?” I repeated, trying desperately to match the word uttered by my father. “Yes!” replied my mother, giggling at my strange pronunciation. My sister, scared of dogs at the time, ran into the room and was unaware of the latest addition to the people living in the house. Upon seeing Nemo, she jumped up onto the couch and stayed in the same position for the next few minutes which invoked bouts of laughter and tail wagging from the others present in the room.
Nemo and I were quite inseparable for the short duration that he stayed at our place for, we were always found together and made life a nuisance for the others. All of my wrong-doings were blamed on Nemo and I’ve considerably overused similar excuses in recent times too. Nemo had an ever jovial outlook, even after my failed attempts to ride him around the house like a horse, the attempts were not so much failed but rather were my parents urging me to consider Nemo’s well-being as I was quite noticeably overweight. It didn’t matter to Nemo though; he was up for just about anything and was extremely playful and in most cases, he didn’t realise what he was doing per se.
One day, I was in an uncharacteristically off mood, and for reasons that my present self could never even fathom explaining; bit Nemo’s tail. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t making a sudden foray into cannibalism, but was just playing around. Nemo, in an extremely innocent manner, responded by pulling down my shorts just as my parents made an appearance in the room. In those days, I did not take the time to wear undergarments, therefore my mother was understandably shocked at the events which had taken place and she voiced her opinions by letting out a tremendous shriek which was accompanied by expressions befitting an Indian soap actress. I did not realise the gravity of the situation and just sat expressionless with Nemo by my side, needless to say, my parents were greatly concerned with the existence or possibility of existence of any future generations. A few swift phone calls followed after my well-being was checked and Nemo was sent back to the dog breeder where we acquired him from and there was a sigh of relief breathed in our household. The silver lining to the whole circumstance would be that at least I became a loyal ‘Jockey’ customer after that…