Thursday, February 25, 2010

In Search of an Identity

After Rishi's demise, the vacuum was too much to bear.  I was considering picking up two healthy stray pups I used to see on my morning walk, at which time I noticed this fellow seeking refuge at the office compound.  The security people had given shelter and taken care of him, but he was seen as a nuisance particularly during peak hours when he was running around here and there, posing risk to himself and annoyance to commuters.  I quickly decided to adopt him and took him home.  The ride home itself is a separate story.  He is too small compared to the Labrador we earlier had and so we christened him 'Chotu'.  He has now been with us for more than three months and has adapted himself very well at home, earning the love of all my family members.  Look how at ease he feels in my house!

I have all along been thinking he must be a cross-breed. Recently I happened to be watching a movie 'Crismon Tide' in which the Captain of the Navy submarine USS Alabama has a pet dog named Bear that resembles Chotu to the core, except the tail - Bear's is only a little curly at the tip, whereas Chotu's is fully coiled. I ran a quick check through the Net and could land on his identity - the Russel Terrier Shorty! See the pictures below, particularly the tail! Not that I mind the pedigree much, but somehow I am happy that Chotu does seem to be an original, good breed after all!

I understand Russel Terriers are very good hunters and good pets requiring some activity, but they do not tolerate naughty behaviour. So, allowing them near children, particularly naughty and hyperactive children beow 6 years, is not advised.

So the next time you visit me at home, be sure that he will be there ready to greet you with all respect as long as you behave well!

ADDENDUM: I stand corrected. My son browsed the web more thoroughly and found that Chotu resembles more of Shiba-Inu than Jack Russel Terrier Shorty. While the similarity is over 95% , the one difference I could make out is Chotu seems shorter than a normal Shiba Inu, but my family disagrees.  Irrespective of the breed, there is no doubt that he unites the family and provides a good relief for us from boredom.

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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Walk Talk

Do you think your city (or your town or village) is hot, noisy and polluted with vehicle smoke and dust? I think it is cool, clean and quiet.

Do you see people ignoring and by-passing you in a hurry? I see people who either greet me or acknowledge as I greet them.

Do you see the day as very tiring, sapping all energy out of you? I see it as refreshing, ready to pack more energy in me.

Do you wish to just reach home, slump in the couch and doze off in front of the blaring idiot box? I expect to take on another day as it unfolds.

Can you guess what makes the difference? The time of the day and the activity I am doing. Because, I am on my morning walk.

I am not sure how many of us get to see the dawn. At 5.30 am, as I set out, the air is fresh and cool. I reach the main road in 5 minutes, and I can swear it is not the same as you see it just hours later – it is so empty, clean and quiet! The sidewalks are free for you to amble at any speed that is comfortable to you, you won’t get delayed by slow-moving crowd or bump into oncoming crowd as at other times of the day. As I walk towards East, I can see the darkness of the night sky paling away into a silver blue, and getting a pink tint as the sun emerges from below the horizon. Soon, the entire Eastern sky turns a vivid pink-orange, and it is all the more beautiful if you have clouds dispersed around the horizon. Artist Nature’s painting at this moment is very brilliant and I enjoy this the most during my morning walk.

Slowly, the bustle begins, as in the next few minutes the day brightens enough to see who is doing what. Milkmen on bicycles and mopeds criss-cross to deliver the milk packets. Paperboys launch newspapers and magazines with a perfect aim and force to reach beyond the gates and into the porticos, or even the first-floor balconies. Birds wake up and start chirping. Dogs and pups come out of slumber from underneath the parked vehicles on the road. Children pedal their bicycles towards their tuition centres. IT professionals from nooks and corners gather at bus-stops (poor people, though rich, they leave this early and return only in time to sleep).

All this in just about 30 minutes. As I reach home, my dog is waiting for me, vigorously wagging his coiled tail and reaching out his front paws as if to shake my hands. I clip the chain to his collar and take him out. We take another 15 minutes’ walk, this time at a leisurely pace and with enough stops for my dog to relieve himself. And greet Patta, Jackie, Nancy and many Blackies, Brownies, Whities, Biggies and Smallies en route.

When I return home, my breathing is more relaxed than it was at the end of my brisk walk. Both my mind and body are ready to start the long day – I commute 25 km every day to work and another 25 back.

I forgot to tell you, the latest attraction for the last two days is seeing the sun rise right in the centre at the end of our narrow street. As the sun is moving North (it’s Uttarayan now), this scenery will quickly vanish - we can again get to see this only by August.