It was around 8:20. I was anxious. Mastu must be waiting outside. I waited for my parents to leave the dining hall and the moment they went, I rushed. He stood there glaring at me. His big eyes sparkled the moment he saw me coming towards him. Frantically wagging his tail, he licked his mussels while he stared at my hands. Today I didn’t have much for him. I saved one of mine chapattis with some ladyfinger. Mean while I put his food on floor, he kept looking at me patiently.
I often wonder if dogs could speak, one would have known their innermost deep secrets. “Mumma is hell mad at you. If she finds me giving you my share of food, I guess I’ll be sleeping here outside on sand besides you”. I think he smiled at my last phrase. Are they that good in understanding human language; or is it the emotion? “Don’t enter our garden again. She is obsessed with gardening and if anything happens to her plants consider yourself dead”. With the last word, he turned towards me breaking his ‘I’m- busy- eating’ mode and made a small tilt of head as if asking ‘Will she really?’
“Relax Mastu when I’ll be a big girl, I’ll make a room for you in my big room”. I spread my arms to its maximum limit. He seemed least interested about my imaginary new room. He was too quick in finishing his chapatti and started licking my hands, maybe asking for more. “Tomorrow if you wish to have a lavish full course meal, then instead of digging my mum’s garden, just guard it and make up for the mess you created today in the morning. Meanwhile I’ve to sop her to allow me to go for school picnic to wonderland.” I heard my mother in the kitchen. “Okay, I’ve to go back now before she finds me here with you.” Mastu has become plump. My mother’s magical hands proved its mettle even on a dog.
I dressed up for school with my new Winx Club water bottle hanging around my neck. Gardener was pruning our plants. I couldn’t find him anywhere near my home. “Bitiya raani iskool key liye tayaar bhi ho gayi!” On finding me frisking around with no reply, he enquired, “Mastu ko dhund rahi ho?” My gaze got fixed on him on hearing ‘Mastu’. “Kahan hai woh?” I further enquired. He waved with his fingers and pointed behind Neem tree. Oh no! He had dug a deep hole there yesterday morning; I hope he hasn’t done anything of that sort this time.
I was perplexed in thoughts when I found him lying under the tree. He looked sick. I could see miniature figures around him quivering on an old rug. When I went near them, I froze at the sight. “So many puppies!”I gasped. “Aapki Mastu mumma ban gaye hain”, explained the gardener. I stood there dumb, unable to decide on how to express my happiness of having so many little Mastus. Using my counting skills on those puppies and hurray I counted ten, error free. “Par Mastu mummy kaise ho sakti hai? Woh toh boy hai na?” My mother laughed overhearing me. “Mastu girl hai, isliye woh mummy hai.” Wow! My morning was full of happy surprises. Now we all had the reason of her digging my mother’s precious garden.
That was my first encounter with the joy of having babies; no matter of what species. Mastu is no longer amidst us but her successors always wait for me outside sharp at 8 PM.
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