Ramendra Kumar recalls how their third child Aryan who is a ‘guppy’ – a grown up puppy, went through a harrowing time and sent the family into a spin.
During the emergency a movie called Kissa Kursi Ka, was in the news for the wrong reasons. What I am going to share with you is a different kind of kissa – Kissa Gutli Ka – for all the right reasons!
Our third child is called Aryan and he is a ‘guppy’ – a grown up puppy. I hate calling canines, dogs – it is such a pejorative word: Kutte, kaminey main tera khoon peejaoonga, tujhe kutte ke maut maaroonga….
Well, Aryan is a lab – all black and drop dead handsome. He is three and half with loads of attitude and chunks of chutzpah. With his sis and bro having flown the nest, he is the chocolate ice cream of my eye and jalebi of his mom’s. I take him for a ride in our car a couple of times each day and he takes his mumma for one almost every hour.
Till the 29th of September he was his usual goonda self, jumping on me and licking and biting with the relish which he normally reserves for a bone.
On 30th it was Dussehra and I woke up to the sounds of him puking. At first, Madhavi my smarter half and I thought it was just an aberration. But when Aryan notched up a score of 13 vomits, we started getting worried. He was put on a saline drip – a task which required the strength and skill of mumma, papa, trainer and trainee intern. Searching for a vein on his paw was by itself like spotting a laugh line on my smarter half’s face after she has caught me flirting. Along with the saline Aryan was subjected to a host of injections, capsules and tablets.
What got us hugely anxious was his refusal to eat. Like all labs, Aryan has always been OMNIVOROUS! He lives to eat and his sanctum sanctorum are his mumma’s lap (when she has something remotely edible in her hands) and the kitchen, not necessarily in that order. When he, by far the biggest glutton in the family, started running away from food it was time to get seriously worried. It was like Madhavi refusing to go on a shopping binge.
On the 5th of October, I was to leave for Srinagar to attend a Children’s Literature Festival. I had really been looking forward to the experience. Naturally, I cancelled the trip. How could I possibly go to Jannat and tell stories to kids when my own child was going through hell.
We were in consultation with two local vets and an X-ray was advised. Getting him on top of the X-Ray table and turning him to one side was almost the physical equivalent of convincing my mother-in-law to speak in favour of inter-caste marriages. A couple of enemas were next on the cards. By the time the adventurous four had completed the task, I for one felt I had been subjected to half a dozen of these rectum intrusions.
We tried force feeding Aryan using a combination of mumma’s endearments, papa’s imploring and a syringe or two. He refused, closing his mouth and turning his face.
We were now losing it. I consider myself a rationalist who doesn’t believe in Horoscopes and Vastu and stuff like that. But the situation was a desperate one calling for desperate measures. I told my housekeeper, “Aryan ki nazar utaaro.”
She gave me a strange look. Who has ever heard of a canine being affected by nazar. Anyways, she did my bidding. An hour later he was fed chicken soup which he drank with great reluctance.
Whether it was the nazar or the soup – there was a manthan inside his tummy. Soon he was running all over the place emptying his bowels.
Mumma followed him like an overgrown lamb following Mary noting the colour, consistency, condition, complexity and possibly the conundrum of the stool.
At one point during the ‘tour de garden’ she cried out triumphantly and we all rushed.
She pointed out to an object which I for one couldn’t identify.
“It is a mango kernel, a gutli. Aryan swallowed it and it got stuck somewhere in his stomach,” Madhavi declared.
‘Ek machhar admi ko hijda banadeta hai, ekgutli poore parivaar ko pagal banadeti hai,’ I mused.
Later my MIL asked me, “The season of mangoes was over in June and the kernel surfaced in October. What was Aryan doing with the gutli inside his tummy for three months?”
“He was just following you and his mumma. You make achaar with the fruit, he was making achaar with the gutli.”
She roared with laughter. The last time she had laughed so much at my response was 29 years ago when I told her I was a writer!
Today, I have finally gathered courage to smile about the dreadful episode. But just thinking about what our ‘baby’ went through for 264 hours makes my heart, mind and soul bleed. His resilience through all that agony, his blind faith and unconditional love is rare and seraphic.
More to Read from Ramendra Kumar
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