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The Dog, Not the Bird!
by Ananya S Guha
Since he was a little boy Rajat loved dogs and especially puppies. He wanted to rear one.

'Mama' Rajat said 'Can we have a puppy? He will be a part of the house. Moreover dogs are also needed to guard the house'. He told his father the same thing. His elder sister Rita laughed. 'Now you should concentrate on studies. You are already in high school'.

Rajat sighed.

He was now ten years old. His parents were just biding time.

'Grow up a little more, then we will give you one.You will have to take care of him or her. This is a responsibility. Dogs are like human beings. They display emotions.' This came from his father. But Rajat loved animals, especially dogs.

One day as Rajat was sitting lazily on the steps of his house he saw something scurrying in, scrambling under the main gate of his house. It was winter holidays, no school and the sun was playing around languidly. Was he dreaming, a little thing wriggled into the gate and came to the main entrance of the house. It was hirsute, so hairy that you could barely see its face and eyes.

Rajat pinched himself. Was he dreaming? Wake up he thought. No it was true. The creature scuttled across and stood just near the steps where Rajat was seated. Rajat fondled the dog, patted it. He stuck out his lips in a lolling manner. Must be hungry Rajat thought. He tip toed stealthily into the kitchen and got some milk and fish bones. The dog lapped up everything.

But what should I do? Rajat thought. Should I tell Mummy and Daddy? But suppose they take away the dog and report the case to the Police.

That night Rajat smuggled the petite thing into his bed room. He snuggled on the mat inside Rajat's room and slept peacefully. In the meantime Rajat brought some more milk and fish bones. The guest seemed to relish it.

Next morning Rajat heard a commotion. The Mehtas had come. Did you see a dog? they asked Rajat's father. It has run out of the house. 'You see' Mr Mehta said: 'We are migrating to Australia, and we had requested a family friend to keep it. But the dog ran away from their house. Since we are neighbours we thought it might have come to your house'. On hearing the mention of a dog, Rajat's father's intuitive senses quickened. 'Rajat' he called out : 'Seen any dog anywhere ?'.  'Oh yes dad' Rajat said 'Last evening I saw one entering the house and I sheltered it for the night' Rajat said truthfully.

The Mehras started taking the dog away. But it refused to budge. It just stayed put on the mat in Rajat's room. The creature was stubborn and refused to yield. Any attempt to take it away was resisted by pathetic whimpers, so sad, that one did not have the heart to carry it away. 'OK' Mr Mehta said. ' I think since we are going away and migrating to Australia, if you agree you can keep it'.

Rajat's parents nodded reluctantly. Rajat was elated.

He named the dog 'Robin' as, like a bird it flew into his house one winter's afternoon...
 
18-Feb-2013
 
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