A few weeks ago, I read Gerald Durrell’s delightful book My family and other animals. It sent me down memory lane, 40 years back, when I had my initiation into the world of four-legged ones. From someone who never had a pet all her life, to one with six pets in the family, has been an interesting tale, retold many times over at family gatherings.
As a family that loved to travel, we took turns staying back and looking after my father-in-law’s dogs Sweety and Kalu, so others could travel. Eventually when they passed away and with my husband’s travelling job, we made a conscious decision to not keep another pet. However, life had other plans in store for us. Our arrival in Hyderabad from Delhi was met with the arrival of four kittens in our garage — talk about a welcome! Settling down to a quieter life in a new city, so unlike the socially active life in Delhi, was made easy by the time I got to spend around these cats. Shortly, an abandoned pup, Dhondu, was left at our doorstep by the neighbourhood presswala.
Over the next ten years, each of them imprinted themselves on our hearts, in ways that only an animal can. There was Dhondu who used to whoop delightedly as he put his chin on our knee at dinner time, Dopey, generally pernickety; but with a heart swelling over with a ‘sorry’, proffering a raised paw, to Munchy, who at ten, is still as frisky as a pup and has provided a patient friendship to my young granddaughter, who has embraced the warm and trusting world of animals ever since she could crawl.
Adrija, my granddaughter, has rescued and adopted three kittens — Kittoo, Grey and Minnie. There’s never a dull moment when the four of them are at play. A month ago, the latest addition, an abandoned pup, a mere few days old, found by a friend in a park, joined the pack — her name is Maya. Maya and Munchy are now inseparable. As I grow older, I find many reasons to smile, as I am surrounded by so much love and delight! Ours is the largest family in the colony… so what if six of them are four legged?