A festive atmosphere prevailed at Kotha Salipeta, located alongside the OP wing of the King George Hospital, on Thursday evening.

‘Happy Birthday to Rocky Babu’ mentioned huge posters hung alongside the stage erected on the main street leading to the colony. Foot-tapping numbers from old Chiranjeevi films were played to entertain the guests as they awaited the arrival of the cake. The posters drew curious glances from motorists passing by the road.

Wondering what it’s all about? It’s the birthday of Rocky Babu, a German Shepherd, owned by Mohd. Khasim. The pet dog turned six on Thursday and his master threw a birthday party to friends, relatives, and residents of nearby colonies. Children were excited as local youths decorated the dais with balloons and serial lights. A boy was overheard telling his friends: “Rocky is a male dog. He is very dangerous,” obviously frightened by the huge burly dog. Some of the women came in autorickshaws and Khasim was seen receiving the guests.

Rocky Babu’s birthday celebrations can far outdo the celebrations in an average middle class or lower middle class family. A 7-foot-long and 3-foot-wide cake, weighing 50-kg, was specially ordered and brought in a van from Siripuram, about 3-km away.

There were gifts for children and the guests shouted and clapped in glee as the huge cake was cut by Khasim and his family members after Rocky was formally made to touch it with his paw. Khasim’s daughter Asha Begum gave Rocky a piece of cake and so did the other family members. “I brought him (Rocky) when he was one month old from my friend Krishna. I trained him myself and he listens to me and my family members. We celebrated his birthday for two years at our home, but for the last three we have made it a community affair involving the local people, and this has doubled my joy,” Khasim said. You are spending so much on Rocky, don’t your family members object to it? “I distribute saris among the poor women to mark the birthday celebrations besides arranging a feast for the guests. It gives me immense satisfaction that I am helping someone in need and my family members also appreciate it,” he says.

“We don’t take away anything from here (from this world),” he concludes on a philosophical note.

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