Book of Esther by Esther David

Book of Esther by Esther David

Author:Esther David
Language: eng
Format: epub
ISBN: 9789353052119
Publisher: Penguin Random House India Private Limited
Published: 2018-06-13T16:00:00+00:00


55

THE WALLS OF the house were covered with paintings, antiques and trophies from my father’s shikar days. A huge stuffed lion filled our house with his presence. I used the space between his legs as my special route to the bathroom. But before that, I had to push aside the great dane, Bruno, who had decided that the lion’s plaster pedestal was his bedroom. Bruno slept there all afternoon. In the evenings, he stretched his legs, stood on the veranda and like a prince, surveyed his kingdom. He behaved as though he was very ferocious—neck stretched out, waist pulled in under his chest wall, ramrod straight on his long sportsman legs, muscular front jaw jutting out under his small erect ears and large eyes. His pink butterfly nose was the most delicate part of his body. Except for Joshua, he did not care for anybody and suffered silently as Joshua tweaked his nose.

Bruno watched with a superior air as the other dogs nuzzled, howled, barked and mated. Often the kennels and corners of the house became maternity wards. My father and Moyuddin spent a large part of their time delivering pups and playing peacemakers to the innumerable dog fights.

Faiju had then just joined us and was being trained to look after the dogs. He cooked for them, fed them, washed their kennels, brushed them, cleaned their eyes and ears—in return for their thank you licks.

Our island of dogs had an all-pervading smell of food—of overflowing milk, and mincemeat boiling in huge cauldrons. The aromas mixed with the smell of placenta, blood and the special doggy-body smells. These merged with the ayurvedic canine medicines which Moyuddin made in the garden.

On certain days in winter, Naomi felt crowded in by the dogs. Their fur gave her an allergy, and she did not want any of them to come near her. Moyuddin and Faiju had a hard time keeping the dogs away from her. The cocker spaniels, gun dogs as they were called, had a free run of the house. Barking at imaginary noises, their hunting skills came to the fore in the games they played with the squirrels, who had learnt to dodge them. They were black, white, red or tan, with long curly-haired ears and the most endearing doleful eyes. The long-nosed, moody daschunds kept smelling every nook and corner for cockroaches and mice.

Our straight-limbed sheep dogs, sable, white or tricoloured, had alert ears and china-blue eyes, just like Elizabeth Taylor, the girl we saw in the Lassie Come Home films. Lassie films made me cry and I dreaded the day I would lose my own Lassie. She was always at the door, barking at the vendors who stopped there just to tease her. The fashionable dalmatians in black polka dots joined Lassie at the door. How could any kennel be without them? Matching them in terms of fashion, were the black poodles from Roopnagar. They were trimmed and brushed according to the Parisian fashion scene. Though of uncertain temper, they were the pride of Naomi Kennels.



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