Rina's Dog - Short Story
I look at Moti from my window and feel sorry for him. How can I not feel sorry for a dog that thinks he is a bitch? That’s it, a bitch.
Moti thinks he is a bitch. Well, can you imagine that? That’s because Moti’s mother Kuthi had brought up him very protectively not allowing him to mix with other dogs. Moti became so effeminate that he started peeing like a bitch. He won’t raise his leg to pee like other dogs. Honest. He would squat on his hind legs like bitches do. Imagine a dog doing that. And, he wants other dogs to mate him. Now, that’s hilarious.
The whole problem of Moti thinking he is a bitch arose because Kuthi was very protective of him. How can he not realize he is not a bitch and do bitch-like things? He blindly imitates Kuthi. Now that Kuthi has a new litter she has no time for Moti. To compound matters for Moti, Kuthi treats him with disgust nowadays, and snarls at him when he comes near.
Moti is distraught and I can see loneliness in his eyes. He doesn’t eat. I feed him biscuits everyday but he is so depressed he doesn’t even eat. How sad.
“Rina what are you doing?” My mother calls out from the kitchen when I am feeding Moti. Mother doesn’t like dogs or bitches and would have nothing to do with the species. She doesn’t want dogs around her house and doesn’t like me playing with them.
“I am just feeding Moti,” I shouted out to her.
“You come back here right this moment.”
“But why, he is so feeble he will die if he is not fed.” I am stubborn and defend my friend Moti.
“If he is feeble let him die. I won’t have you touching that dog again,” she said appearing at the door of our house.
“But I like him no? He will die if I don’t feed him. Kuthi doesn’t care for him anymore.”
“That’s their problem. Who are you to solve dogs’ and bitches’ problems? Come inside right now.”
I go into the house downcast. I know Moti will die if I won’t feed him but mother doesn’t understand. Ma is like a dictator. She likes to dominate all the time. Sometimes she doesn’t speak to me for weeks when I disobey her. She is very unreasonable.
She thinks I get pimples because I touch dogs. What crap. Teenagers get pimples all the time. Look at my neighbor Simmi, her face is full of pimples, the size of small, small grapes. But I like Simmi. She and I play “house” wearing saris as our mothers do.
I see Moti dying everyday from my bedroom window. I want to go out and feed him but I cannot. Mother will be furious. Even father doesn’t like canines. Between them there is a strong anti-canine lobby at home. I wanted to make Moti my pet. But, no luck. So I can only watch Moti’s agony, as he lies curled near Kuthi and her litter, wanting to cuddle up to his mother but shying away from approaching.
I call out to Moti as I go to school.
“Moti, Moti, come here.”
But he refuses to come. He only looks at with me with sad eyes. He is so confused about his gender; he doesn’t know whom to trust, as Kuthi has almost disowned him. Poor dog. A dog’s life must be terrible without a house or parents one can trust.
Kuthi is a vile bitch. Today I saw her bare her fangs and snarl at Moti. I threw a stone at her. That drove her away. I think she is ruthless. She must really be a wolf. Because near the place where I live in Panvel there is a forest. She must have lived with wolves in the jungles of the Western Ghats. I saw the ferocity of a wolf in her snarl.
Yesterday I saw some dogs biting Moti. Poor Moti was yelping with pain. Kuthi was nearby and didn’t even go to help her son. When will Moti realize he has to grow up and be a dog in his dog’s world? When will he realize that he has to pee with one leg raised and not squatting on hind legs like a bitch? I think that that bitch Kuthi hasn’t toilet trained him. Her fault. She has been too protective of him suckling him even after he was grown up and making him totally dependent on her.
I went and picked him up and petted him. I had to immediately release him as I heard my mother’s voice as she came walking to the door of our house.
“Rina, baby, where were you?” she asked.
“Here I am, playing.”
“You touched that dog again?”
“I know you did. Look at your hands. I can see the cur’s fur on it.”
“No that’s just some sand.”
“Sand?” Ma fumed. “Go wash your hands before you enter my house.”
My house? Since when is it her house?
“Ma, don’t be so protective or I will become like Moti.”
I don’t think she understands. Kuthi denied Moti his life. She was overprotective and denied Moti the right to live his life. He doesn’t even know if he is a dog or bitch. So naive. I hope my mother wouldn’t make me too depend on her, now that I am grown up and all. I hope she realizes that I have to learn about life on my own.
I don’t want to be like Moti. I want to be independent, and my own person.
I went and sat at the table to eat.
“I told you to wash your hands,” Ma said.
“My hands aren’t dirty,” I said wiping my hands on my frock.
“If you don’t wash your hands I won’t give you the rasgullas I made.”
“Oh,” I controlled myself, “No, I don’t want. I am not hungry.”
I know I can come back, open the refrigerator and help myself anytime.
“What happened? You don’t like rasgullas anymore?”
“I like, but, not today. I am not in the mood.”
“Stop bothering me all the time, Ma. You know Moti is dying and all you can think of is making rasgullas for me to eat. He is dying out there,” I shot back.
Ma looked at me shocked.
I think the message got through. She didn’t talk to me for an entire week after that. Well, I needed the break. I am growing up. I am a young woman now. My friend Simmi tells me I did the right thing. She is a young woman, too, and we play “house” and talk as if we are grown ups.
As for Moti, the confused dog, he died a few days later. Poor dog. Simmi and I gave him a proper burial in the empty yard at the back of our house.
(This was an attempt to get into the mind of a teenager who loved a dog that thought he actually was a bitch.)