our best friend’s birthday

Mia turns five !!

Here is what i had written last year

If i had assumed that she is a “kind-hearted” soul, i was in for a major reality check when Laila came into our lives. Well, about all the barrel full of nonsense we had to put up after Laila entered the scene deserves an elaborate separate post.

Having said that, Mia remains a sweetheart & fabulous company !

mia, deadly

In Marathi we call her “Dhulechi porgi”, meaning the “little girl from Dhule”, she came to us from Dhule district.

From our pack of three, she is indeed the most intelligent, she always remains in the background, she doesn’t attract too much attention, she looks after herself beautifully & yes, she communicates as is her norm with her eyes, with her ears, with her tail & ssshhh in the night she always sleeps cushioned between me & partner every night !!

Mia…. love you !!


magic…6 years


IMG_6806 (2)

on one hand …

he pretends to be a cool dude

on the other hand he has a presence

his “presence” has the uncanny ability to bring people together

in the last one year he has become very talkative

yes, he does converse a lot to us about where this world is heading to

i live my life with him

so enjoyable

so intertwined

if i may ask for another 6 years more

Mr Magic ?

Thank you !!


Laila completes a year….


There has been many times in the last one year when i have thought, that i have made the usual mistake which i tend to do sometimes. i.e taking some rubbish decisions.

So, did i really make a mistake by inviting Laila into our home ?

If we rewind the question a wee bit…

Did i ever feel the same with Magic & Mia ?

No, not even once.

Then, why do such thoughts come about only vis-a vis Laila ?

Magic & Mia never had any serious behavioural issues, whereas Miss Laila came to us “armed & dangerous” !!


It is like adopting a child after having two children, its like adopting a girl child, even after having a daughter, its like bringing in a malnourished, abused child into a group of happy children or it’s also like trying to bring in another woman into the life a “settled couple”.

If one pictures the above situations in one’s head one can imagine the chaos, the tempers which flay, the arguments which can easily flare from these situations, to put it simply it does bring in an upheaval. So, it has not been an easy ride for the last one year.

On the other hand, after one year one can confidently say that the worst is behind us. The mal-nourishment she suffered in her earlier years isn’t revocable, may be the malnutrition has led to poor eye sight, malnutrition has led to weak bone composition… and of course the malnutrition is also one of the reasons behind her aggression.

A good diet has helped her to find a good balance & she is our most un-fussiest eater, 9 out of 10 times she will lick her bowl clean. Since she came to us she has survived Tick fever, she has gone through two periods, she has survived all the attention from the stud like Magic, she has survived utter disdain from Mia, she has survived a neck wrenching bite from Mia, she has survived an operation, she has survived some dirty stares & some strict handling from me.

After all that, now there is a sense of belonging, now she feels this is her home, now some serious & hilarious communications (btw she can dance) & chit-chat has started between her & us.

However a certain aggressive streak hasn’t yet weaned off in her. It may be a reflection of the abuse she had to go through. If it was one & a half years of abuse, then she needs two & a half years of unconditional love to come out of it.

Q) So, do thoughts of giving away Laila come to me now ?

Ans) No.

However difficult she has been for us, still i believe she has come to the right place & more importantly i feel i (we) made a right choice in bringing her home to us.

In a way it is a burden to have two “5 star dogs” in Magic & Mia & how does one make sense to the extent of dog abuse happening around us ? Laila kinds of balances these conflicts & she doesn’t allow us to cover ourselves in any cocoon of false comfort & constantly reminds us of the reality of what happens out there in the streets.

Many times i have thought about bringing in a “Trainer” for Laila, We have had nasty experiences (with Magic & Mia) where-in we have welcomed the so-called ‘professional trainer’ into our lives & we have experienced the most unprofessional service. So, why commit the same mistake again.

For me … it wasn’t a walk in the park to integrate Laila & i never thought it will be & it will never be.

So…be it.

Peace & Love

Keep Walking….

The monsoon season is on in full throttle, it is dark & gray for most of the days, its is difficult to walk all three of them, everything is wet, it isn’t possible to spend enough time outdoors, i cannot take them to the farm also, because the rains are four times heavier over there.

Having animals is a choice one makes & it is a conscious decision. Mia is the most level-headed dog one can ever find. Whereas Magic tends to get bossy or over excited. Laila, because she hasn’t yet shredded off her past can be a bit unpredictable. Magic has grown quite big & strong. I have given up things for him, because no one can walk him and one has never been able to find a person with whom i could share the daily chores. The sight of Magic only discourages any dog walker to even try out walking him for a couple of days. For Mia & Laila one can always find people to do the walking, plus they both are very low maintenance dogs. Whereas Magic is a very, very high maintenance dog, When we go out he has a compelling presence & he cannot be taken for granted even for a second.

Having said that, no matter how big they get, no matter how much they eat, no matter if they smell sometimes, no matter the aggression with other dogs, no matter how loud their bark is, no matter their innumerable attempts to chase down cats, they haven’t ruined my life. They have given me a whole new view of the meaning of life, and more importantly these guys are the only true grounded thing I know in this world. They are honest and don’t lie & they don’t cheat or back stab. If one had the finances & if one was staying full-time on the farm, i wouldn’t be averse to have a few more of these ilk. But i guess i am done for my lifetime.

Last year i had written this about our walks. Few things have remained the same, whereas what has changed doesn’t look any nicer. Early morning one finds more homeless people sleeping on the streets, one also witnesses the way people dispose garbage which is is disgusting to say the least, around 4.30 am on the river some hoteliers come in mini vans & dispose their really toxic waste in front of my eyes everyday & we have to walk over the filthy remnants which they leave on the pavement. We encounter more & more stray dogs, some very aggressive packs which sometimes surround & attack us, there are more abandoned dogs which we come across, tolerance levels while we cross the roads is at an abysmal low with loud honking so that their vehicle can prevent us from crossing, i have seen driver’s deliberately speeding into slush so that muck falls on us, today because we were avoiding the slush and came a bit towards the road a driver even told me he wouldn’t hesitate to drive his car over us, once even if one of our dogs was only peeing i have had people shouting & abusing me. In a way i can’t wait for October to come, for the rains to subside & we can be in our farm, so then we don’t have to encounter all these issues.

Until next time

Peace & love


Introducing Laila

One morning a little more than 3 months back I get a call from friend Ranjan. He asks me if I know of any Social Media forums for Caravan Hounds and he tells me that some students have rescued an abandoned Caravan Hound, he also added that she looks just like Magic, However she is in a bad shape due to dog bites and she has hundreds of ticks on her body. I said; Please, send me some snaps asap, I would like to have a look. The snaps came to me soon enough, I had a quick look at them and forwarded them to partner who was in another country…. asking her What do you think ? Partner is a silent supporter of animal rescue causes. She said let’s take her in for now & then see how it goes. Will M & M give her an entry ticket ? How will the new one react to M & M ? Will we the human companions actually be able to give the time to all three of them. Financially can we manage all the added expenses ? There were so many questions.


In the meantime I shared the snaps with a friend in our neighborhood, he is Nikhil and he is very knowledgeable about Caravan Hounds & Saluki’s. He said he had seen this dog a couple of times and once stopped his car and tried to catch her, however he couldn’t because packs of street dogs were chasing her. He also added that the dog looks “good” & needs to be rescued. Since that came from a known Hound expert, I took his word. He also said if managing three dogs is going to be difficult, he can definitely find a home for her. In the evening my friends called me back again to check out if I want to come and have a look at the dog. I said there is no need, just bring her to our home.

As soon as they reached I went down to receive them with M & M. Mia had a look at her & looked away, whereas Magic was very eager to go closer to this dog and smell her. She was shivering in fear and as Magic came closer to her she snapped at him.  I without any hesitation took the new one and she followed the smells and walked straight up to our door, had some water and within 5 minutes has collapsed into a deep slumber. In the meantime we were thinking what to call her, after some suggestions from son, nephew & partner we settled for “Laila”. Credits for this name goes to another Caravan Hound companion and friend Keshav, who also has a Laila.

During our first few walks it was easy to realize that even though Laila was very weak, she was a fighter. Surviving on the streets of India isn’t for the faint hearted. She was afraid, she was malnourished, She had bucket loads of muck & grime on her body, must have been sleeping in gutters. Ticks kept reappearing on her body everywhere. The Vet had a look at her and said she is malnourished and underweight, let her recover first then we can give her all the required vaccines. I thought of giving her a bath myself, but she was so dirty & mucky, I thought I wouldn’t be able to clean her properly. Actually it was not only the cleaning job, but one needed to get the ticks & fleas out of her. So I took her to our neighbourhood dog & cat Spa. Shona and her enthusiastic co-workers spend more than an hour in getting Laila clean. First time I saw the use of a vacuum cleaner on a dog, not only just to dry her, but also to remove the fleas/ticks. With all the parasites out her body, as we walked back home, one could see a marked change in her, there was a small spring in her step.

It took a while to establish some trust. The first couple of days when I tried to put a tablet down her throat she would growl and try to snap at me, from the third day she started to let me put her tablets down her throat.  She was having three full meals a day, then again suddenly she became weak & was refusing food. A visit to the Vet and a blood test confirmed that she was having “Tick Fever”. As she was recovering from Tick Fever she started her periods and a Cytology swab test told us the exact dates when she would be receptive and more importantly the days when we have to keep Magic separate. Also when she went to her heat cycle she became moody and temperamental especially with Magic & Mia. Mia just couldn’t stand the sight of Laila & Magic was quite frustrated that we kept him away from Laila, to add to the pandemonium Laila was having a go at both of them. Somehow we pulled through that difficult period.

When Laila came to us in early Oct 2016, in my mind I had given 3 months to see how everything will go. Would Laila be happy with us ? Magic & Mia came to us as pups, so we grew together with them, whereas Laila is an adult dog, would she be able to understand our communications with her and vice versa. Now that 3 months have passed, one can take an emotionally detached observations about all that has happened.

About Laila the general impression is that she is about a year and a half old. A few clues can be taken from her body postures and general behavior with other people and other animals

  1. She was kept tied up for long periods in a small enclosed space
  2. In her enclosed space there may have been a wall of around 4ft, where she would stand on her hind legs and manage to catch a glimpse of the outside world. I am saying that because she can stand up on her hind legs like a “Meerkat”, actually it is not natural for a hound to be able to balance on their two hind legs like Laila
  3. She was beaten up quite a bit by humans and her body language shows that she is scared of people. In a likelihood of any conflict; dogs with confidence do make themselves look taller and bigger & the tail will never go between their legs (Magic is an expert in this tactic), Laila was actually making herself smaller and lowering herself
  4. She was not given proper food & nutrition, actually she was starved and malnourished, so her growth as a pup got messed up & retarded.
  5. The reasons for indifferent looking tail : When she wanted food or if she wanted to do her toilet jobs, or if she was waiting for some human to come & take her out of her loneliness she was made to wait for long periods of time and while waiting she would assume the straight sitting position for long periods of time. Actually hounds find it very uncomfortable to sit straight for a long time, so they actually don’t sit on their hind legs for not more than a couple of minutes. The fact Laila was made to sit for long periods in waiting for some morsel of food can be seen from the unnatural shape of her tail
  6. In her frustrated state she must have bitten people a couple of times and that must be when her so-called human companions must have decided to abuse her more, however she must have got a chance to escape & she decided to run away
  7. She has lived & survived for a while on the streets. You can see her gravitating to any dustbins when we walk, which showed that she used to scavenge a lot for food
  8. She cannot tolerate any other dog (other than Magic & Mia), she can bite really nasty, which means she has had absolutely no socialization & also has had quite bitter experiences while living on the streets
  9. She doesn’t know what PLAY is, that she can run with us, poke us, nibble us, allow us to chase her, to fetch things, chase each other, talk/communicate with us humans. During her first couple of months if anyone of us decided to lie down next to her, she would get up and go away, looking very puzzled

If we put together the above in “human vocabulary” then Laila is a victim of Child Abuse.

After 3 months we can see that her journey to recovery has really begun. Her health has improved, she has become quite a strong dog, she responds beautifully to all four of us (her human companions), between Magic & Laila a lot of play has started to happen, between Laila & Mia there is much more tolerance, her body language has also improved dramatically, she stands up much more upright, even though she has started to trust humans more, she guards her territory like her own fortress, she runs like a wind, if a squirrel or a cat comes in her way, then one can see the eruption of the lightning speed which is so synonymous of sight hounds.

If we were restricted to the confines of our apartment, it would have been impossible to integrate an adult (hound) dog within our lives because of Magic & Mia. These two have a very close bonding and a terrific communication with each other. They are a strong team. Within the space limitation of an apartment with Laila’s entry, egos would have clashed & clashed very badly indeed. Right from the beginning I had noticed Laila enjoys the car drives, standing near the window and soaking in the chaos outside. She is always ready to go out, has a sense of adventure, has a maverick streak in her.So, going back & forth between our farm and our apartment in the city was not going to be a problem. More importantly, staying on the farm for extended periods really helped to thaw a lot of those ego clashes. Now every time we come back from our stay in the farm, we can see about 10% improvement in their relationships


Lets hope the trend continues


From dawn to dusk she is really active and keeps great vigil on every movement.

And if one assumes that she will be tired & collapse to sleep in the night, then she proves one wrong. There is no half measures from her, nor any sluggishness from her as she patrols her territory brilliantly. She has really taken the onus on herself as a working dog & is making her presence felt in a serious manner.


More later….

Peace & Love

Our best friend’s Birthday

Mia turns Four.


She is a real sweetheart, she is a happy where ever we are & be with us, she is really  “low maintenance” and no fuss about anything. Easy to walk with & she has quite a “chilled out” diva like persona. The only thing which poops her out is Fire crackers or any loud noise.

In her younger days she was a real character, she has mellowed quite rapidly in the last couple of years. Just see her playing in the slush in her first year, or the days when used to walk into our pantry in the night and pick up a Sweet Potato and think of the Mia now, they are exactly the opposites.

Here are some pics of her over the years


Yes, unfortunately she has put on some weight & she isn’t interested in running like before. However now with the advent of young Laila (will write about Laila in the next post) in our lives, Mia might hopefully get inspired to do her “Florence Griffith-Joyner” kinda runs.

She is an expert in communicating with her eyes. Every night she sleeps between partner & me, doesn’t move around or disturb us in her sleep. Some nights she even places her head on my arms and sleeps. When we whisper some sweet nothings to her she will listen intently and when we stop she will indicate that she wants to hear a little more.


Thank you Mia for being part of our lives.

Peace & luv

5 years !

Magic is five years.


I am sorry to say that this guy is a complete freak. I don’t like comparisons and i am not comparing him with any other dogs. However to my eye all other dogs seem normal whereas Magic seems like a freak dog. How many dogs does one notice doing “Trancing”. Yes, Magic is a “Trancer”, he has some favourite shrubs under which he can stand still for a good 5 to 10mts, feeling the leaves of the shrubs /small trees on his body or on top of his head. I know almost all the dogs in our neighbourhood and i can say Magic is the only Trancer. It’s as if he goes into a meditative state for those few minutes, other dogs sometimes come close to us thinking he is doing a pee or something and they like to check it it out, but then they they find him “Trancing” and they wait & wait to find out what he is doing and they end up looking completely puzzled.

He is high maintenance, also apart from me there there are only a couple of people who can walk with him. I don’t think anyone has kept a watch on me & my movements the way Magic does. Its almost like we breathe together or our heart beats are one. Physically he is in his prime, he is strong  like a horse and does not have an inch of fat on him. Almost every other day random people stop by and ask us about him & take pictures. Recently when we were out before dawn for our walk a police patrol jeep pulled up next to us and all the the cops had their heads out of the windows and their eyes popping out.

One of them asked  me…. What breed are these ?

I said these are Karawani’s  (aka: Caravan Hounds)

From which country are they from ?

I thought i would give them a lesson in history…….The famed Silk Route traversed the ancient civilisations of China, India, Persia, Arabia, Egypt, and onwards to Greece and Rome. Traders, who dealt in gold, silks, precious stones and spices, moved in caravans or in groups consisting of more than a hundred oxen carts, camels, horses, tents, and their own security contingents. They also had their own dogs accompanying them; these were usually hunting dogs or the Arabian and Afghan Hounds.

The inter-breeding of these produced ‘Karavani Hounds’, literally meaning “hounds accompanying traders’ caravans”, and later came to be known as ‘Caravan Hounds’.So, we see that the hound of the desert, now called Caravan Hound, had already made its way into the Indian sub-continent with these traders.

The fabled riches and magnificence of India soon attracted marauders from across the Hindu Kush. The Greeks, Persians, Turks and Moguls, at different times, invaded India. These invading armies were always accompanied by their hounds for reconnaissance and sighting of the enemy. They took as much pride in grooming their dogs as they did their horses. The Maratha Sardars, too, loved the hounds and trained them in mountain warfare.

In fact, these dogs were constant companions to Shivaji, and so, they were even buried next to his samadhi at Raighad Fort in Maharashtra. That is the reason these hounds came to be known as ‘Maratha Hounds’ as well.

With the advent of the British there was a decline in interest in these hounds,
because the British brought with them their own exotic breeds to India. It was Shrimant Rajesaheb Malojirao Ghorpade of Mudhol [1884-1937] who took up the challenge of reviving this breed. He noticed that local tribes around Mudhol, on the Deccan Plateau in North,
Karnataka, and surrounding areas nurtured these dogs and trained them for game hunting. He devised a programme of selective inbreeding and restored the hounds to their once royal glory.

In the early 1900s, the nobility in England loved hunting for sport and used Grey Hounds, a different breed, for the purpose. Raja Malojirao Ghorpade, on a visit to England, presented King George V a pair of hounds from his kennels in Mudhol. The king was delighted; he
christened them ‘Mudhol Hounds’.

So you see….i continued they belong very much here to our land, you may not find them in the city, however in the villages in Kolhapur, Satara, Sholapur, Latur there will be some of the best specimens of this breed

They looked as if they didn’t believe what i just said.

Magic is indeed a fabulous advert for Caravan Hounds. He has become an expert in communicating with us, the changing expressions and looks he gives us, the sounds he make to convey his needs, the nibbles he gives us in sharing his joy, the cuddles and a quick massage that he demands, he just adores partner and both our two boys like anything and his tail is like a whip when he showers us with his love and affection. The only disappointment i have for him is that he has not been able to satisfy his hormonal  urges, which he finds very frustrating.

Otherwise he is a gem, or shall i compare him to a diamond, because in having a diamond which is always brushing past beside me, means i do have to endure a lot cuts from the sharp edges… (read: there is no time for myself)


Peace & Love


Before we moved to Pune, we were in Delhi and Magic with his insane charisma had managed to get really nice people into our lives, who have now become our lifelong friends.

One of them was Ajay.

Whenever we had to go out of town, Ajay was always ready to look after Magic. Ajay also had a lovely dog….. She was one of Magic’s bestie named Loca. As a story this is interesting as well as extremely sad.

We met him only about 4 years back when Partner was walking Magic and they bumped into Loca. If there was any dog in this world who could make Magic run for his money, it was Loca. Unfazed by all his snipes and growls and to see it all as part of the game… they were just amazing together.


It was just the case where all the physics, chemistry & biology was just right. Their brilliant chemistry brought Ajay and his partner closer to us. They also became part of of our lives.

After we moved to Pune suddenly i realised  there can never be another Ajay. There is no one whom i know who would even offer or dare to keep Magic even for a day. I can’t imagine what i will do when i might have an emergency.

Apart from being a beautiful person & for being a friend of Magic, Ajay is (was) special in our lives.


One day he was killed and Ajay is no more with us.

bye brother… you are deeply missed & i hope to see you soon on the other side

Peace & love

rain fury

July, August & September are the most difficult months of the year to be a human companion to high-energy dogs. Due to the rains our normal schedule gets really disrupted.

In our very strange case/situation  where we live for a few days in the city and a few days in the farm I cannot take them with me to the farm with me due to the following reasons: 1) If we go to the farm there is no guarantee that we can come back, land slides are a real possibility anytime. 2) Due to strong winds and the rains, there will not be electricity for months together, so there is no way one can store the doggie “protein”. 3) Our vehicle will be parked 2 kms from the farm, in a 3000 mm rainfall area, imagine walking with two sight hounds, negotiating the rains, the slippery narrow walking tracks & aggressive native dogs to deal with. 4) Imagine the mess in our house when they run out and come running back in to sit on to the furniture.

On the other hand Magic & Mia have been coping with all this very well. When it is raining outside they are not interested, they are happy to be cuddled up inside the comforts of their blankets.


Or if there is a bit of sunlight for a few minutes they venture out to the balcony to catch the warmth.


The other issue is vis-a-vis food & tummy. When to give them food and more importantly to see that they do their toilet jobs everyday and not get constipated or do not nor get any stomach infections. Keeping their feet clean has been a challenge and also even if they stink a bit, there is no question of giving them a bath in this weather.


Since Magic is a physical & intellectual freak, its a challenge to keep him mentally stimulated and exercised. Mia, on the other hand is just a normal dog, like all of us normal people. Due to the rains we cannot do our pre-dawn walk, we can only go when there is a bit of sun, so that one gets an idea of the weather, the cloud cover and estimate the chances of a downpour & makes sure there is some shelter nearby, where one can quickly run for cover. Through our walks through the lanes and by-lanes in our residence during the last few months i’ve had some interesting encounters with other dog walkers in the area:

  1. The one’s who want you off the road, from 500 mtrs away they start waving to you to go over to the other side… if you are so put off by our sight, then why don’t you yourself go the other side ?
  2. Women walking with Rottweiler’s and struggling to hold the dog when the Rottweiler and Magic gets into a barking bout… its scary… not the Rottweiler ‘though, its the women !!
  3. A guy with a Great dane & he is in his own world while talking on the phone and the Great dane has zeroed in on Magic & the guy is oblivious of the danger which can unfold. I have had to shout at him in full marathi explicits to catch his attention and warn him to be careful .
  4. People who leave their pugs off leash and says to us, there is nothing to worry & at that very instant the Pug comes charging at us… Magic would rip apart the pug into 32 pieces in a second  !
  5. Another guy always keeps his Golden Retriever off leash and is talking on the phone and he has no idea that we are approaching… well, less said the better.
  6. Because of the puddles & muck we have to be a bit on the road, Drivers, instead of slowing down or waiting for a second, they would honk at us & flash head lights at us, and yell at us to get off the road…. middle finger up for them straight away.
  7. Once a Spaniel came charging at us, Magic & Mia could have inflicted some serious damage. In trying to prevent that from happening, i almost tripped over the spaniel. The person from whose house the spaniel came running out, confronts me You kicked my dog, i said no i was only trying to save it. There were many witnesses to that incident. I walked off saying Up yours..
  8. A guy with a German Shepherd,  both Magic’s and the German Shepherd’s eyes are locked in. I am trying to quickly move on, the guy with the German Shepherd is standing and allowing the German Shepherd to bark & growl, so i request him to walk on.Then he tells me : You don’t like other dogs ?  Wtf
  9.  Then there is a five star dog walker, a feisty Lhasa apso and a man, they come in a fancy car. the moment he sees us coming he runs back inside his car with the apso, then comes out again after we pass…. Wtf
  10. Then there a person with a Beagle, every morning they just drive him around in their car, instead of walking & exercising the Beagle. While they pass us, the Beagle with almost his whole body outside the car window keeps barking at us. Why can’t they roll up the window when they see us ? The end result being through out our walk Magic will have a go at every red car !!
  11. Do they bite ? its an usual question posed to me on a daily basis. My answer as always been Human beings bite more than dogs. I always get the most quizzical look ever… What do you mean they ask. I reply … just look around & see the inequality, this is how human beings bite each other, its worse than a dog bite. They walk away.
  12. Most of the street dogs are friends with Magic & Mia, there a few of them which literally jumps on him and he tolerates it all very quietly.
  13. There are some dogs which actually will be barking & growling at us and sometimes even makes a charge towards us, but Magic & Mia remains very quiet.


We do live in a society which is really cruel. What can one say about someone who throws a dog down from a terrace. The dog : Bhadra survived, here is a poem for him, written by Maryam Ala Amjadi

The white hands of the clock are crooked from stealing time
and the counting eyes of the keyholes can now fully mouth
the empty echo of slogans back to the windowed will of the walls
who could not believe the mind of their own ears
that in the violent tongue of human beings
“a dog’s life” merely means
unearthing the wretched bones of the bloody questions
that were long sown and thrown:
Just who owns the human body? Who do the humans own?

Objects of affection and subjects of warmth
Living ‘things’ that break and breathe
In this Love-forsaken world, they are rare
those who know the difference between

“belonging to”
and ‘belonging with’

Peace, love, Khudā Hāfiz.

keep walking

The best part of our walk in the morning is we get to know our neighbourhood so well. I am pretty sure i know much more of our neighbourhood than people who have been staying here for decades.

may 2016 002.JPG

Now that Magic has become much calmer our walks have also become really enjoyable. The other day i went to sleep at 2.30 am & was up & ready for my morning  date with M & M at 4.45 am. I really look forward to it. This is one of the hottest months of the year and the temperature during the mid-day is hovering around 40 deg C. Without doubts dawn is the best part of the day, its such a relief to have a quick shower & get out of our cemented apartments & feel the cool breeze on one’s face.

All the Security Guards in the apartment blocks which we cross will be fast asleep, most of the street dogs will be also asleep, the friendly one’s when they hear our foot steps do lift up their heads to see who is coming & when they know its us, they wag their tail & go back to sleep. The one’s who snarl at us, do try to get aggressive. Just because they come charging at us doesn’t mean they are bad dogs, i try to befriend them. Sometimes it does work, otherwise i whisper to Magic to ignore & we walk on.


Some mornings we come across gangs of Water Buffalo’s emerging from the dark, there is no way one can befriend them ! Best option is to quickly run for cover, jump over the meridian & go to the other side of the road. The thing about Buffalo’s is that if one starts running, then the whole gang starts to run, imagine the pandemonium i will have with Magic & Mia !

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Then we encounter a pack of stray pigs & if there are piglets then the mother piggy is sure to give us the charge…. again, the best option is to jump over the meridian & cross over to the other side of the road. We go past some affluent high rises with CCTV’s installed all over their walls & notice boards outside saying dogs shouldn’t poo here & if anyone is caught in the act will be fined etc, etc. Being an anti-social I feel very happy when M & M decide to poo right below these notice boards. The residents of this particular apartment block has a history of throwing out mountains of rubbish into an open area across the road. One can see old mattresses, old toilet commodes strewn in the open area opposite these blocks. The pigs are constantly rummaging at it, eating rotten stale food, the buffalo’s are swallowing the plastic bags & dying, cab drivers are defecating, rag pickers have already started their day searching through the rubbish in the hope to find some unbroken beer bottles.

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Then we reach a bridge, where the cool breeze makes one feel good. Some cab drivers would slow down seeing us & ask for directions, young people speeding away back to the comforts of their home after their eight hour night shifts, homeless people sleeping on the pavements, right under huge hoardings which are advertising  luxury apartments, some people gather in the mosque near the river for the early morning namaz. Earlier they were not happy to see Magic & Mia walking through their midst, now they are all our friends & we exchange Salaam Malaikums to each other. Usually on a Sunday morning the bridge is a popular spot for young people to come and chill & have a last smoke before they go back home after a night long party. Magic & Mia are usually the cynosure of eyes, with everyone wanting to know about them etc, etc.

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At the bridge when the sun is rising it is really beautiful, there will be a few selfie addicts clicking themselves…. i  cross them yearning for a “selfie free world”. The bridge unfortunately is a place where people throw out a lot of garbage, when i see them i think of the houses of a couple of friends which have absolutely nothing to throw away.Wet garbage is recycled into compost & very little dry garbage from their plastic free kitchens. Below the bridge one can see a few Coots swimming in the polluted water, Pond Herons & Painted Storks Standing still hoping to catch some fish….if there is any. The bridge is also a nice place to put on a nice song to listen depending on my mood it can be Niel Young, J.J.Cale, Mark Knopfler, Indian Ocean or Kishore Kumar…..

Then as we cross the bridge we come across some of the popular restaurants in Pune. None of these restaurants have water supply & the ubiquitous noisy water tankers would have started their rounds in supplying the priced H2O. On a weekend the side walks will be strewn with broken beer & alcohol bottles. Its really a heart in the mouth moments, scares the shit off me to imagine M or M having a bleeding paw. Sometimes i feel i should also walk barefoot like Magic & Mia and experience this horrible act by us humans.

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By now, early morning joggers, runners & cyclists will be out, so with the athletes who train in Army Sports Institute. The army personnel based in the Southern Command will also be out on the run in their full kit (its really heavy)….. their bosses will be observing them in the comfort of their jeeps. I shout out in my mind to the bosses…. hey you rascal, get out of your jeep & run with your men, that’s how you earn respect & discipline !

By now, it is time to turn back home, the people who wash cars will be heading to their different apartment blocks, the tea vendors would be setting up shop, news paper vendors will be busy inserting the various adverting fliers into the daily newspaper.  Near our house we have an open ground…. its time for Magic & Mia to do a bit of their concorde style take off & antelope style running… then we head home. As we enter home the first thing Magic & Mia does is to go & lick on the sleeping faces of partner & our son. By then their food will be ready & time for a hearty meal !

Peace, love, Khuda Hafiz