I have come to this conclusion that I need a pet. Well, most people my age just have kids…but I can’t name my kid ‘Rocky’…so, a dog it has to be. But before you make any judgments, I must tell you that I cannot be called a dog person. I’ll show you a dog person…they have dogs at home, they bring dogs from the street, they lobby against the kill-the-dogs campaigns and their eyes get moist when they see these animals. I, on the other hand avoid people who have dogs, don’t go to their houses, lobby for let-the-dogs-live-as-long-as-they-don’t-come-into-my-house campaigns and the moistness in my eyes is usually repressed fear. Those are still true for me, but just like after moving to Los Angeles, one doesn’t gawk at gay men; after moving to USA, one cannot stay away from dogs.
I have dogs all around me now…cute ones, big shaggy ones. And I am taken back in time. Cut to Circa 1996. I was in Tenth grade and I disliked boys of all shapes and sizes. But I kept this information largely to myself because I knew I would have no takers in a co-ed school. Like a Mani Ratnam movie, my mind hops from the past to the present and weaves a tale of odd similarities. I remember a classmate very casually shaking hands with me as we agreed on a bet. He turned and walked away. The smile plastered on my face turned to horror. I looked down at my hand and ran back in to wash it. My girl friend still has laugh lines from her rotgl act that day. Today in the elevator of a beautiful apartment complex in Hollywood, a chihuahua comes and licks my feet and I bend to pet it (actually, I was trying to get it away from my leg). As soon as the owner gets off, I run back to my apartment and wash my leg. So, my line of though is that if I outgrew boy-phobia, then dogs are just harmless creatures.
In fact, I think dogs back in India were kinda my friends. After 1992, that is. That is the year I started reading Reader’s Digest. There was an article that said that dogs can smell our fear and that when we come near a dog, we should cloak our fear and they wont follow us. Till 1992, all dogs followed me. After that day, every time I would see a dog, I would imagine petting it and playing with it. No dog ever bothered me then. When I got home late at night, they would walk me home from the station quietly.
Moreover, it is difficult to live in Hollywood and hate dogs because the big fierce ones don’t live here. Those need front yards and back yards, all of which is not there in Hollywood apartments. They also need large suburban stretches of side walk where they can pee and poop and still have green grass. In Hollywood, we have the cute, bark-less, hair-less, flea-less dogs that have jewels, shirts and tote bags in which they fit fully. They are usually made to walk only for the pee-poop custom, which is carried out religiously every evening by the owners. Do not ever walk on the side walks because they are the public urinals for dogs. Where do people walk you ask? Well, people don’t walk. They drive 😉
Note: Edited for humaneness after the sad passing away of a very special dog