About Me

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Mumbai, India
I'm a landrace dog fancier, birder and amateur arachnologist. I'm also a wildlife conservationist working in the tiger reserves of central India with Satpuda Foundation. Founder of the INDog Project (www.indog.co.in) and the INDog Club. I worked with urban free-ranging dogs of Mumbai for 14 years.

This blog is for aboriginal breed enthusiasts. It is part of the INDog Project www.indog.co.in. Only INDogs (Indian Pariah) and INDog-mix mongrels are featured here. The two are NOT the same, do please read the text on the right to understand the difference. Our aim: to create awareness about the primitive natural breed called the Indian Pariah Dog/INDog. I sometimes feature other landrace breeds too.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

A letter from Bakalu

Dear friends,

I am writing this letter just to pass the longest and darkest night I have ever known. I haven’t seen much of life, but I have experienced five eventful years in this beautiful world. I forgot to introduce myself. I am “Bakalu,” a five-year old Pariah dog. Our neighbours used to call me “Desi Kutta” as I was picked up from the street. My family is not very big. Gau (Great grandpa), Ma, Babi (my human sister) and Bono, my elder brother, a pedigreed labrador. We were very happy in our small house “Babui basa” (Birds Nest) in Kolkata, surrounded by a small garden with lots of plants.

Everything was going fine (barring the scoldings I often used to get from Ma for being mischievous), till Gau fell sick last month and Babi took him to the hospital.

Gau never came back.

Ma told us Gau has gone to heaven.

Where’s heaven? Once or twice we have all gone for holidays. Once to a place where Babi bought a new apartment, and once to a place called “Puri.” It's full of water. There was a big lake they called “sea.” But we have never been to heaven. Ma says nobody returns from heaven. Then why does anybody go there?

Everybody at the house was sad. Specially Bono. He was not very well and was under treatment for cough and cold. He had to take lots of medicines daily. Even then, he was getting weaker by the day. Couldn’t play with me, couldn’t run, couldn’t climb stairs, his belly was getting larger and larger just like a balloon. We all became worried. He was taken to so many doctors. But no medicine was working.

One day Babi took him to a big doctor who could see through his body, and they found a lump, a tumour, they called it carcinoma. I don’t know what it means but for some reason Ma and Babi cried a lot. I often used to cut my legs while running after the lizards in the garden or get my stomach upset by taking eating something I found in the backyard. They only scolded me and I had to take some bitter medicine, that’s all. Nobody ever cried over it.

Now Bono is lying in his bed. We all are sitting around him. Everybody is so silent. I don’t know what they are waiting for, it’s very boring. I am so sleepy…

Oh, is it morning already?

Where is everybody? Ma is there, sleeping. Woof Woof! No, Bakalu, Ma is sleeping. Don’t make any noise; she has been given an injection. Babi scolds me. Where is Bono then? I am not allowed to go into the garden. I run frantically up to the terrace from where the garden can be seen. Oh, I can see our gardener coming up with another man. They are digging a big hole below the Bakul tree. My God! There’s Bono lying inside it. What they are doing with him?

Bono was buried in the garden just beneath the Bakul tree and a bed of white stone was put over him, with his name written on it. When I asked Babi where he had gone, she told me that he has gone to look after Gau and will never come back to us again.

So now it’s just us.

Bakalu

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Jayasree/Babi: This was Bakalu’s version of his beloved brother’s loss. What he will never know is that Bono could have lived a few more years if his tumour had been detected earlier and operated in time. What a tragedy that even senior vets went on treating him for cough and cold instead of diagnosing the real problem. How long will this trial-and-error method continue, and how many Bonos will pay for it?


Jayasree Singh