We went for a walk today evening, ED and me…three dogs in tow, and clouds gathering overhead. Lightning flashed in the sky, cold clear winds breezed through our sweaters and the main topic of discussion was whether we should walk ahead or turn back and stay warm in our cozy nest. YD had been her usual smart self—she opened her laptop, put on her serious “I –am-working-do-not-ask-me-to-move” expression and didn’t look up when I called out to the dogs for the walk.
The five of us walked up to our favorite hillock near the golf course, and the doggies got on with their individual chores of chasing stones and sniffing at bushes.
Pepper was hanging around us, stone in mouth. Tinku-Tiger was not going to leave our sight for a second, as it was his job to escort all us women on our daily jaunts. But Biskit was nowhere to be seen. After a couple of hollering sessions, our white beauty came hurtling down the hill slope with a suitably penitent expression from her body language vocabulary.
We humans looked at the grey skies, the growling clouds and the trembling pine trees and decided to be sensible and return.On our way back, we thought of taking a forest path instead of the road. Just then, up came a whiff of that unmistakable smell of a rotting carcass, from somewhere inside the forest. ED and me immediately pulled the dogs back on the road and kept walking. Another little forest path could be seen ahead, and then again, just as we walked off the road, that same ghastly smell hit our noses. “Looks like the Big Cat has been hunting last night,” I told ED, “keep your eyes peeled for a dead cow or goat or some other animal”. We came back to the road and reached home, without sighting the remains of the kill. The dogs walked back smartly, without their leashes and I was feeling rather proud of my training skills.
ED sat down to play with Tinku Tiger and I climbed the stairs to enter home and give some water to our waiting doggies. And what do I smell while walking up? That same ghastly smell of a rotting carcass! I yelled for the guard and asked him to check if the smell was coming from the shaft of the elevator, or if there was a dead rat or pigeon stuck in a pipe or window or some such place. Madan, our guard, walked up hesitantly, sniffed gingerly and yes, he could smell that ghastly aroma too. This was getting a bit too much for my equanimity—how many dead animals had been dropped into my life, just when summer was starting! Did these carnivores HAVE to eat so much? And did these rodents and pigeons HAVE to choose today to leave their bodies behind?!
Meanwhile, Madan went down the stairs, sniffing like a police dog and then I could hear the relief in his voice when he shouted that there was no smell at that level. The dogs were still waiting for their drink of water , so I opened the front door and stopped in my tracks—That ghastly smell was coming from our flat as well!!!! This was the last straw for my exhausted nose and the olfactory nerve circuit. I was going to do something really nasty to all these stinking, smelly carcasses which had been strewn on my fragrant and clean path.
THE REST OF THIS STORY WILL BE TOLD BY YD, sitting quietly inside the house and working away on her laptop, and listening to her mother sniffing the air, hollering for the guard and getting ready to curse every carcass to some cosmic corner of annihilation. Note—ED is still sitting outside and playing with Tinku Tiger.
“So, Mom and sister are coming home with the dogs and I can hear Mom shouting for Madan-Bhaiya, (our guard) and asking him to come and sniff with her. He came hesitantly, sniffed even more hesitantly, and said, “yes madam, there is something dead around here. Maybe a rat?”.
Mom tells him to go down to the next level and he sniffs his way down and shouts up “Madam, there is no smell here!” . Meanwhile, Mom is coming towards the door, her hand is on the door-knob and I hear her muttering darkly, “uff!! That dead thing is inside the house! I can smell it at the door….good heavens, this is terrible and I have to…….BISKIT!!!!! YOU HAVE DONE IT AGAIN!”.
She yells for my sister, snaps the collar on zapped Biskit, pulls that dog down the stairs and sprints to the garden tap outside, shouting for shampoo, towels, water and what not. Everyone springs to life. Madan Bhaiya runs to the tap, and fills up ice-cold water in a cracked bucket. I run out with a big bottle of Aloe-Vera scented dog shampoo, my sister gets the towels and a bucket of hot water and Biskit is now in real hot water. “
Yes–that resident Diva, who looks as if she is made up of cream and candy and all things nice, has this dark and smelly side to her. It makes her roll in unmentionable things below innocent bushes, behind quiet pine trees and next to heaps and pits on the hill slopes. She smears herself with the muck, makes me sniff and shrivel and scream, and then I wonder how can I forget this bit of her, when she looks at me with her wide, innocent eyes and shiny ears?!
This, my dear readers, is just a gentle reminder that we all, in some way or the other, harbor some mischief or madness within us. That bit of mischief and madness cannot be buried completely under a heap of acquired good manners, nice behavior, soft and genteel conversation and other such Diva mannerisms. It is there and it will erupt when one least expects it….and what does one do when that happens—just clean up the mess and keep going!!
And smile…yes, smile at that resident madness which makes each of us unique.