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The Cow And The Dog
|by Ananya S Guha|
This is a story about a cow and a dog who were habitants of my house in Shillong way back in the 60s.
"My Family and Other Animals"
The dog came to my house uninvited one summer's day against the backdrop of Shillong's wrathful monsoons. "A Pekinese" said one of my brothers. Then he corrected himself: "A Sidney Silky". My knowledge about the breed of dogs was abyssmal as I knew only about Alsatians who dangerously lurked around the precincts of the school, and to a less extent Daschunds who I found very cute and could be seen in some of the homes in Shillong.
Anyway, the breed remained indeterminate till the intruder settled comfortably in our house, not without the initial intransigence. That was understandable as he seemed to be missing his owners, but why in the first place he left the house was a mystery. However, the conundrum was sorted out when one fine day the master appeared. They were migrating to Australia and they had left our visitor with some relatives for him to get a foretaste of his change in environs. But our 'little master' was not in any mood to adapt to newer circumstances and ethos; hence this bravado. He walked out of his new hosts and entered our house demurely.
So, will we be willing to keep him for good? We agreed and he stayed with us. Robin as we called him had a hirsute body with the face almost covered up except for two peering eyes which was transformed into some kind of sadness whenever he did not get something he wanted.
One day after the winter holidays just as school had re-opened I came home for lunch. Robin ostensibly was lying in the garden bathing in sunshine as he always did. But that particular day he followed my father to the road whining as my father drove away in his car. Robin lay supine on the lawns. He was run over by a bus.
At the back of our house was a shed where we sheltered cows and domesticated them. The results of such domestication were my mother's fabulous preparations of sweets which we could partake of everyday, not to speak of home made butter. One such breed was a pretty huge thing, elegant to look at and with a body dappled with streaks of brown in an otherwise white texture. He was fondly called "Moondi" apparently because of his rather prominent head. One bitterly cold winter morning at the crack of dawn I got the news, "Moondi" was dead. I went to pay obeisance to him, his huge torso lay on the floor of the shed and to perform the last rites it had to be literally dragged out.
The cow and the dog were never antitheses; they were an integral part of my life, my ambience and my world. The world of a ten to eleven year old, fabled with stories, fairy tales and myths.
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