THE FIRST TIME I came to India was 30 years ago in 1978, and with a very few exceptions the only dogs here were street dogs – often in a very poor state and living off what they could forage. Very few people kept pets. There were also very few cats 30 years back, and that hasn’t changed.
But in modern day India a lot of people keep dogs as pets. Every morning, after the hoopoo bird has given me my early morning call, I go out on the balcony of the centre of laundry excellence and watch the proud owners of their pooches giving them an early morning walk.
Some of the guys walking their dogs also carry a big stick. This, I think, isn’t because they are going to beat their dogs or because they’re worried about early morning raiders – the streets of Bangalore so far seem very safe to me.
No, my suspicion is the sticks are there to ward off the street dogs.
After all, if your healthy and fit Alsatian is in heat, the last thing you want is for it to have a chance encounter with a street dog and you’re left with a litter.
Gazing from the balcony of the office, I’ve seen this time and last a dog with all the appearance of being pregnant or of just having a litter. She has to make do with what’s to forage on the street or in the wastelands off the streets.
The contrasts could not be greater. I have never owned a dog as a pet, but have feelings for all mammals. How do you distinguish between rich Dogdom and poor Dogdom?
Oh, and the cats. A very rare sighting is a cat in Bengaluru or anywhere else I’ve been in India in recent years. The ones that survive have to be canny. Not many seem to survive. Go figure.
There was a big Yahoo party down at the Oberoi tonight. Heck! Why not? ♦