The Indian Dog

The other night when I was driving back home, I went past an aberration by the platform on the road. Curiosity had the better of me and I pulled over to revisit the aberration, God not again, it was what I was hoping it wasn’t. A majestic mongrel, size of a nourished calf, pale white with black patches was lying dead in a fissure by the road. yet again to nobody’s botheration.

Yet another driver runs over yet another mongrel, unscathed for its corpse to mutilate to a carpet with eflux of time on the same road or to be gracefully cleared along with neighbourhood trash the next morning– pretty much remains the exit route of every second stray on road.

They eat from overflowing trashbins and tea kiosk spill overs on luckier days. While most fraternize with fellow strays, some enjoy the patronage of benevolent security guards. They sleep on roadsides as torrid as the climate maybe, with parked vehicle for roofs on kinder days. While these kind faced creatures are undeniably adorable,notwithstanding their pollution-hit withering fur, more often than not their litter go through the same cycle as them.

The irony involved is intriguing, given the fact that the self confessed “dog lovers” exist in the same ecosystem as these orphaned mongrels.

It’s just that the ark of their multi-ethnic “dog love” that encompasses several breeds from the popular pugs,German-Shepard,Labradors,rottweilers to the niche Huskeys seems to eternally be short of space  and resources for the indigenous breed of mongrels, thanks to the overbearing prejudice from western-european nepotism.

Let’s assume a hypothetical scenario,where Indian households adopt foreign origin children from breeding place that lets them choose from a multi-ethnic(Non-Indian) pool of babies born out of artificial insemination due to spiked up demand for white skin & blondes, courtesy  recently concluded IPL tournaments and hollywood blocknusters that have held the Indian imagination at sway. Meanwhile, there seems to be a northwards surge in the indigenous population of orphans & urchins with the number of orphanages remaining constant.

What would you call the above- altruism or ethnic husbandry?  It’s less of an act of benevolence and more of another new found hobby of the creme de la creme suffering from money.

I would date the founding stone of this misplaced virtue way back to the release of Marley & Me, for no pet movie had portrayed the concept in such an accessible way till then. It was not dramatic, with over-the-top emotional set pieces, but it showed how a family came of age along with the growth of their Labrador, Marley. The coolness quotient came from the fact that, Marley, was not a martyr or an attention seeking lackadaisical bag of fur, but an unruly beast which was as flawed as dogs get, yet so endearing.

Instead of taking the film figuratively, we took it quite literally. So instead of taking to the habit of loving dogs and having them for pets, we got enamored by the fantasy of  “cute” golden labradors tearing through our home appliances, while the mongrels continued to rot in platforms and pet cares with no takers right outside our homes.

Why is it that after Titanic alone, all of us as love-struck as we were, went for Indian women with ethnic names and not for Victorian blondes named after flowers? So we do know to board the Pan Indian cruise , when smitten by a western sensibility.

There is no denying the fact that there are some genuine pet lovers , who do their bit by taking a mongrel or a cat under their wings. There are these places like Blue Cross which take care of abandoned pets, but even they are populated to the hilt and can’t expand, not with their modestly filled coffers.

But these odd cases wouldn’t go on to make a collective conscience for the nation as a whole, which still shops for pets to embellish their manicured lawns. For we can’t be called “Clean” country on the basis of a Swach Bharat gig outside Salman Khan’s house on the eve of his birthday.

Thanks to the gargantuan wave of globalisation sweeping us of our feet,  we have Louie Vittons in places where Batas were and KFCs outnumbering Gangotrees. So, egalitarianism in a consumer goods industry seems like a misplaced ideal to have, as the preference seems to be on the basis of competence and ongoing trends, with less dynamic brands(indigenous or not) dying a natural death.

But the concept of adoption is a way more responsible process than just buying a satchel or a sofa to go along with the carpet’s texture. It involves the choice to make between allocation of resources to a every increasing population of mongrels, that are longing for love and attention as much as for food and shelter, over imported ones that are artificially bred to cater to the whims and fancies of a rather shallow population that’s yearning for a pug from a mobile commercial.


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