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   It may now be told. (June 22, 1997)

It was on a monsoon morning like we have been having these days. The skies were dark and grey and it was raining cats and dogs. Among the dogs that came to earth was Bolshoi the Boxer.While the other cats and dogs fell in the compound, and on the road outside, Bolshoi fell on the verandah, in a red plastic bucket that had been kept there to collect the rain water. He was young then, and small, and, like all puppies, quite nice. It is when puppies grow into dogs that they turn ugly.My sons, Darryl and Derek, wanted to keep him. The wife said we could not take just any dog that came in with the rains into the house. I was rather indifferent to the whole thing. I told my sons that if they wanted to keep a dog, they may keep him, but they would have to look after him. I disliked keeping a dog and then not looking after him. In that respect, I am like Mrs. Gandhi (Maneka). Of course, at that time we did not know that Bolshoi could talk. Otherwise, our respective attitudes on keeping him would have been quite different. Not that he could talk much in those days, he was still very young and learning, like babies learning to talk.The first thing we had to do was to explain to the neighbours, relations, friends, where we had got the dog from. To say that he had descended, with thousands of other cats and dogs, from the skies, would not do. People who kept things that came in with the rains were considered as mean and cheap.

So we had to make up a story. I thought we should say he had walked in from a neighbouring country, such as Bangladesh. But the wife said not Bangladesh. We will then have to spend Rs. 5,000 to buy him a bogus ration card and still run the risk of his being pushed out to Muzzafarpur or somewhere. America also was out. It is surprising how many people are anti-American. Almost everybody except those who stand in visa queues outside the US consulate, at Breach Candy, daily.It was finally decided to let the world think he was from Russia, a Russian dog. The name was chosen by Bolshoi himself. "A Russian dog, then I will be known as Bolshoi the Boxer," he announced.I should have put my foot down at that moment. No such fancy name that you can put your nose up and air over everybody for the rest of your life, I should have told him. But in life, we often miss the moment of decision when it comes.So, Bolshoi the Boxer it has become and he is a Russian dog. At least, he has convinced himself about this. I have often told him that with the rains he has come and with the rains he will go. But he pretends not to hear me.Now my great fear these days, when it is once again raining cats and dogs, is that a cat may fall on my verandah.

 
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