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   My dog, Bolshoi the Boxer, was saying: "I should have been in Red Square... (August 22, 1991)

My dog, Bolshoi the Boxer, was saying: "I should have been in Red Square, Moscow, at the moment and not sitting here in your drawing-room. These are historical times for us."

I said: "Be happy where you are, you would have been run over by a tank if you were in the Red Square. In any case, where do you get this ‘us' from, what have developments in the Soviet Union got to do with you?"

"Every time you say this," Bolshoi said. "You know very well my Russian connections, there is my name to prove it."

"What name – Bolshoi!" I said. "I gave you that name and it has got nothing to do with Russia. It is like fond but misguided Indian parents calling their child Misha after that Moscow Olympic bear."

"I am not a beat, I am a dog," Bolshoi said. "And you, as an outsider, and an Indian at that, will never understand how we Russians feel about freedom, now that we have got a breath of the free air. The Russain people will fight all the tanks and the Red Army to retain their freedom."

"The tanks and the Red Army were with the Russian people…that is how much you know," I said. "And, for your information, we Indians know a lot more about freedom than Russians do, or Pakistan do, or Bangladehis, or anybody else for that metter, except Americans and Australians."

"You have never fought tanks in the Kremlin," Bolshoi said.

"We don't have to, we are a democracy," I said, "We don't have any coups, we have elections, except in Punjab, Kashmir and Assam. But what am I discussing all this with you for, you are as much an Indian as I am. That is if dogs have any nationality at all."

"In the Soviet Union they don," Bolshoi said. "You must have hard of those Russian dogs who pull sledges in the snow as wild wolves chase them. Then, one by one, they are loosened from the saddle and the wolves slow down to feet on them, until one single dog remains who pulls the sledges into town."

"I knew it was wrong to let you see the video," I said. "You are confussing things. Horses pull sledges in Russia, what you are referring to are Canadian huskies."

"Same thing," Bolshoi said. "And you are only displaying you prejudice the Russians. If you were in Russia just now, you would have been arrested with Yanayev and his gange of eight or you would have field to Libya or Iraq."

 
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