I used to be a dog person. Not any longer. It took a few fateful seconds to turn me from a dog lover to someone who abhors canines in any shape or form.
It was the third day of my internship at Hindustan Times and I was filled with journalistic fervor, ready to carve my own niche in the enthralling field of print journalism. Armed with a mighty pen (mightier than the sword!) and a gallant spiral-bound notebook, I went out in the field prowling the city for a scoop. My prey? A young struggling musician whom I was to interview for a story on young struggling musicians. I rode my humble ’98 dented-painted metallic-silver 125cc Activa up till Hahnemann chauraha where I was received by the musician himself who was riding a metallic-silver Activa of his own, albeit of a slightly younger vintage (what’s with nouveau professionals and Activas?). He led me through a maze of streets to his home. Once inside I brandished my pen and got down to business. We were done in half an hour. My notebook now proudly sporting a dozen pages of fanatical scribbling, parts of which were soon to contribute to a nice little page three feature. We shook hands and I made to leave. But I had barely reached the porch when, I saw a dog, a Pomeranian, bounding towards me, teeth bared. I froze where I was, stock still.
“He won’t bite” said our musician even as the feral beast sunk its canines into my leg.
“Bad dog! Bad Gucci!” came the musician’s ineffective reprimand. But ‘Gucci’ had already lunged for another go. This time, I was quicker; I dashed towards the gate, spun around and shut it after me. Gucci barked viciously behind the barrier, I suppose having tasted human flesh (said to be better than chicken) he had probably turned man-eater.
“Don’t worry he’s vaccinated” said the musician, quite embarrassed. “Bad Gucci!” he said again, rather feebly. He looked apologetic (as he should be, he was the one who let the bloody creature out). “Come inside, you must wash the wound with some water” he said. “What? No way!” I exclaimed. There wasn’t a chance in hell I was going to enter that house ever again. “There’s a tap outside” he said from inside the gate, having understood my sentiment. I could hear the dog growl as he was dragged back inside the room whence he came. I poured some water on the wound, shouted a ‘bye-bye, see you around!’ and hurried back home on my Activa, glad to be alive.
“Injured in the line of action, eh?” my rather insensitive dad joked when I told him about my ordeal once I’d returned home. He’s a colonel in the army.
“Bichaara bachha” mom crooned.
“I’m very concerned about the dog” said the doctor, a week later when I went to get my second shot. (Neutralization of dog bites requires multiple shots over the course of multiple days.)
“The dog?” I said, perplexed.
“The dog.” said the doc gravely “Is he alive?”
Of course he’s alive, I thought, why won’t the bugger be alive? He’s the one who gored me, wasn’t the other was round.
“I ask because he might have died due to rabies, which would mean more syringes for you” The doctor said, almost as if he’d read my thoughts.
I wasn’t particularly fond of syringes. Who is?
“I’ll ask the owner right away doc” I said, my fingers crossed.
“Why would my Gucci be dead?” said an offended dog owner/ musician when I called him.
“Well he deserves to be” I said, hanging up, relieved and disappointed in equal measure.
Three shots and a month later, I’m a changed man. (No, I’ve not started howling at the moon or eating my chicken bones…not yet.) I’m a changed man because now I loathe the dogs that I once used to pet and pet the cats that I once used to loathe. Well, that’s how it’s going to be for the rest of my life. I’m now a die-hard cat person, courtesy of Gucci, that terrorist of a dog.