Remembering Happy/Julie/Goldy


Happy has been missing for the last five days. It could be even six. Nobody knows where she is. For the last two years she has made our lane and the adjoining ones her home. Everybody knows her. As I have gone asking people usually dog walkers, security guards and temporary labourers about her, I have realised that she has been very popular and called by different names like Julie and Goldy. I smiled when I heard her being addressed as Julie and why not, just as the name sounds, she is a posh lady-like creature. 

Nobody seems to know where she is.  Everyone, i.e. the concerned ones, are speculating where she could be. Nobody has seen her being taken away by the animal NGO van (after all she was sterilized at birth) or the municipal authority (but then why would they only take her when rest of the strays are happily roaming about and in fact there are some new faces too?) or have seen her breathless body.

In the past, I have gotten to know about the fates that our lane strays have met eventually but I am yet to hear about Happy.

“I am sure she has gone to the moon, mummy?”  my daughter said as we walked last night from our lane to the other to feed another old stray. I smiled thinking how she had started to mix reality with fantasy to justify Happy’s vanishing act.  But only to realise a minute later that there was no fantasy involved in her newly developing logical mind.

“Do you know Lalita?” she asked.

“I don’t.”

“The dog who was sent to the moon by the scientists?”

“Wasn’t she called Laika?” I asked.

The daughter was least interested in arguing about the real name.

She continued:

“May be some scientists took Happy away too to send her to the moon.”

I looked at the moon.

“Maybe,” I said.

As I go to collect my daughter from the school bus stop daily I miss having Happy accompanying me. Her chasing small kids, cyclists and motorbikes away and at the same time wagging her tail endlessly was an amusing sight.I have never seen a dog wag its tail and bark at the same time before.

She has the most peculiar bark and just as my daughter has described in the poster below. She made some three missing posters hoping that somebody will tell us about Happy.



Over the last decade since I have seen many strays of our area come and go. I never had the courage to open my doors for them especially in times of rain and extreme heat as we share our building with two more neighbours. It was only about feeding them in the mornings and evenings. Of what they did the rest of the day was not my concern. Some times as I drive the car from the lane I see them looking for food in the garbage bins. After all, my one packet of biscuits for one dog a day is not going to keep their tummy filled for the rest of the day.

What have I learnt from Happy going missing? Nothing. Life goes on. Someday another dog will fill in Happy’s place. Perky, her mate, will have another mate. He will then not look at me with his pleading eyes asking me to search for Happy. Or perhaps he knows what happened to her as they were together most of the time. He looks at me helplessly knowing he will never be able to tell me the truth. .

I avoid reading articles that talk about the ill treatment meted to the strays in different parts of the city, country and abroad. I purposely avoid reading them as I feel utterly helpless. I remember my first job as a research assistant for an animal welfare organisation some 15 years ago. The founder, country’s most famed animal activist, said ” good for the pup!” when she was told that one of the strays that they had brought in her bungalow had passed away. I was fairly new then and didn’t know why she would say that. I thought she was being very mean. Now I know how wrong I was. This world is no place for strays.

I will wait for Happy and someday she will return. Older. Yet as pretty as ever. She would have stopped chasing motorbikes by then and would chide the younger dogs from doing what she did in her youth. 🙂



(Happy joining us to the park every evening)


(Happy enjoying the sand)


(Happy running with my daughter)


(Perky, Happy’s best mate)


(Happy enjoying the puddle)

Life’s Little Miseries

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Like my mum says, I am jinxed when it comes to maintaining a mobile phone. She reminds me how even before the era of the smartphones begun, my dainty red flip phone plopped into the cooker filled with water! So two years ago after my third smartphone conked off making me fret, it didn’t deter me from switching my brand loyalty and buying a sleeker and a prettier phone. And two days back, it went crashing on the floor bang on its face. The screen smashed with its epicentre being the top left corner.

After forcing myself to feel bad (I would have genuinely felt so if it had stopped functioning) I looked at the newly smashed screen. It looked beautiful. It was like a piece of an intricate art. The branches and off-shoots of a tree spreading from the top left all the way to the centre of the screen. I loved looking at it. And those little mists between the cracks looked like leaves. I touched it and felt proud somehow of owning it.

And then it made me think – of small daily tragedies that we encounter every single day of our lives. No, not the big ones. I will never belittle those big tragedies. Just the small ones, like my phone. It is a part of us. Little miseries. Be it your family or friend you talk to and it is usually about the cold war with the boss, the skirmishes with that pestilential colleague at work, the non-committed boyfriend, the indifferent husband, the snooty daughter-in-law, the absentee maid and the list goes on. The everyday sob stories. Yes, you do have happy stories too but they are only squeezed in-between the unhappy ones.

And then you have the thinkers, self-motivating authors and their ilk telling us how it is essential to keep negativity at bay! Well, if we do, then we will all be aloof! We are complaining every single day of our lives and we are enjoying it somehow. We have adapted ourselves to it: unhappy things that don’t make us unhappy any longer. It is just there.

I bet you will be taken to a shrink if you are found to be too happy happy. It is too good to be true. I recall how a usually happy friend of mine was recounting a few months ago about another friend of hers who was having a distressful married life. The only way to make her friend open up to her was by talking somewhat forcefully about her own married life…those little troubled bits. And that way the friend of hers poured her heart out. It is a give and take. You tell a sob story to get one (and plenty) in return and vice versa. And this way you remain in the social circle as well. I had once nothing to share about my in-laws like my other two friends since I had no in-laws! And it seemed as if I was as good as invisible for them till the end of the get-together. Perhaps, I should have started off talking about my issues as a single woman instead of just bobbing my head like a duck listening to their marital woos!

Life’s little miseries. Like my broken phone. They just start to look beautiful.

(image:  a dead butterfly clicked some months ago in Gurgaon)