My parents don’t have too many expectations from me. They only expect that I make a phone call home every Sunday. Last Sunday, I missed calling up my mother. Naturally, she was not too happy about it. I thought of penning something about my family.
I have two siblings but when my mother really needs out help, none of us around. Two years ago, my mother adopted a dog whom she named ‘Tipya.’ By the way, we would take offence if you call him a dog. He is an integral part of my family now and is my brother. I believe my mother loves Tipya a lot more than she loves me and my siblings. I am jealous of him.
My family is vegetarian and so is Tipya. It’s probably thanks to his dietary habits that he is alive today. Let me explain how. Tipya had a girlfriend called Rani. He had found her and brought her home so we could meet her. We did not like Rani much as she slept all day and was good for nothing.
Rani relished non-vegetarian food, something my mother did not fancy at all. She saw to it that Rani did not enter our house and stayed outdoors. Once, a neighbour sprayed pesticides on his farm to kill rats. Rani ate one of the dead rats near the farm and was poisoned by the same pesticide. She passed away but Tipya survived as he hadn’t eaten the rat. Of course, he was grief-stricken.
Tipya is very smart with handling temperaments of family members. Whenever my father is at home, Tipya sleeps in the farm behind our house. Once my father steps out, Tipya makes an entry and occupies the porch. No stranger dares to enter the house when Tipya is the sentry. He may not bite but he barks endlessly till all the neighbours gather.
Tipya can be very demanding. Every morning, he needs his breakfast early. If my mother is busy with chores and takes time to cook, he sits near the kitchen door and makes soft noises to attract her attention. There have been times when my mother has lost her temper and placed some milk in front of him to make him drink it and leave. But Tipya doesn’t touch it. He knows that there are two cats in the neighbourhood and they would soon come over for the milk. He loves fighting with them and guards the milk till my mother is done with her work. It is only when my mother pours the milk into a pot for him, does he finish it in a jiffy.
Recently, Tipya’s responsibilities have increased. He has to look after my nephew who is just two-years-old. The little one is extremely mischievous, he is always running away into our farm and in the rest of the village. It’s difficult to get him to sit at one spot. Our house (in Parbhani) is located near the farm so there’s always a fear of scorpions and snakes lurking around. Whenever my nephew steps out of the house, Tipya follows him. He guards my nephew and plays with him. But my nephew bullies Tipya and pulls his ears or tail, sometimes riding him as if the canine is a horse. Being an ‘uncle’ to the little one, Tipya never takes offence.