Pets. Most of us have them. It might be a regular cat or a dog or it might be chattel of a dangerous kind like a reptile. Given the regular functions of a pet, even some humans are known to carry out the same. Some of these humans are called spouses. This does not imply that all spouses are pets neither are pets, spouses.  But it is a practice all the same.  A friend once told me she would gladly swap places with the pet of the house. Oddly love thy animal said no religious text ever.  Take care, yes. But love. Nope. Then what is this strange bond that binds interspecies?

My first pet, a dog named Remo, was gifted to me on my 3rd birthday. I don’t have any memory of him. Pictures suggest that we were close. My mother states to the contrary. Apparently Remo was often spotted hiding under the dining table to evade my tyranny. Remo didn’t stay my pet long. He gladly shifted to another home soon enough. He changed two households after that. I wonder whether he missed my benevolent monarchy then. My feelings at that point are unrecorded.

My second pet was a kitten we named Bilquis – An utterly boring feline in comparison to those owned by my friends. Maybe the fact that she was a few days old was the reason. Her mother left her in our balcony and we took her in from there. I was just beginning to get a sense of pet-ownership when her mother claimed her.  My brother scares me by saying that the cat who took her was probably going to eat her. Not a consoling thought. I had nightmares for some time.

Staney was my aunt’s dog. He stayed with us for a month. But in that one month I probably made the strongest connection with any animal I had come across including my brother. From the annoying bully at school to my best friends and our fights, I told him everything. He was the most patient listener I have ever come across with woofs in appropriate places. I wish I could keep him forever. He had to go back home eventually. But I am never going to forget him and I know neither will he.

So I had never had a pet successfully for over a month. I doubt any human would want to take up the opportunity either. So Toopie was born in a Bistro in Koramangala, Bangalore. I would name the bistro to those who ask me personally. He is purple, yellow, green and orange. He is the easiest pet. Only scary thought is if he breaks. He is made of clay you see. But I carry him with me wherever I go. He seems like a new chapter in my life.  He loves to travel, eat, listen to music and he thinks he needs to lose weight. I was recently asked whether he is a personification of me. All coloured on the outside and hollow inside. Maybe. But then aren’t we all glazed colourful turtles. Painted in colours of the visualiser and born with hollows which we fill with our experiences. Toopie isn’t hollow either. He has adventures and he might just share.



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