6 Stories About Your Animal Friends

Banku to My Bhoothnath by Apurva Likhmania

“Banku bhaiya” is what we call him. He is irritating, playful, energetic, smelly, and most importantly very lovely and sweet. “Banku” doesn’t stay with us, but every time we meet him, we greet him with the name “Banku Bhaiya”. I still remember the day when I first brought him home; I literally kidnapped him from his owner. Surprisingly, he behaved very maturely. But that was the last time he behaved with maturity. After that day, he scratched the sofa, rubbed his butt on the floor, tore the pipes away, and didn’t allow me to go to the washroom. His jealousy of all those who would interact with me resembled that of a toxic partner. It has made him eat bitter gourd, pointed gourd, pickle etc.

The picture you see below is one of our first few meets. The happiness in his eyes is so adorable. Our friendship has grown strong over a period of time. And he also enjoys the time in the same manner. And once his quota of games is complete for the day, he requests that I drop him back home. The requests start with showing not being interested in games which later turns into barking and pulling at my hands, or finally sitting beside the door.

Overall he has made my life grateful and happy. He is and always will be “BANKU BHAIYA”

Precious Love by Rituparna Mukherjee

Yesterday I went to my mother’s, in what seemed after almost a month and a half. Although we check on each other everyday on the phone, almost a sacred, unspoken ritual between the two of us, my visits to her are seldom, if not rare. Perhaps that is because I am older, or that I remain busy with teaching, research, writing, translation, the works. My mum is a proud woman. She will never admit to missing me or my brother, who lives in Hyderabad, working in a multinational company. As you must have guessed by now, my parents are empty nesters, with a huge two-storied house and a rather unkempt garden. My father is a retired banker, a writer, a passionate idealist. He has his own world, of friends and writers. My mother has her pets. She has been a pet parent for as long as I can recall. My brother and I jokingly declare often that she has been a better mother to all the strays in our neighbourhood than to us, to which she would sardonically reply, “You are not as helpless as they are”. She was always very prompt to point out our privilege, which we accepted, sometimes begrudgingly, at other times with humility. I think, the steady progression of stray cats and dogs was always an event in the periphery of our lives, sometimes gaining centre-stage with accidents, diseases and sudden, painful deaths. It has made us more empathic to the needs of others, more perceptive, kinder. But most importantly, I have rarely seen my mother as happy as she is when she is with her stray pets surrounding her. I have found that it gives her life purpose and meaning, as her days fill out slowly taking care of them. I am grateful she has them, they have been better children to her I daresay, than us, who cannot be as unconditional and ever-present. 

Love is a Four-Legged Word by Baishali Kowshik (Animal Lover, Dog Parent and would love to be referred to as the “Crazy Dog Lady”.)

“Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole”

There is no doubt that dogs are the most loyal beings on earth. They are truly a man’s best friend with the power to love unconditionally. Meet my best friend, therapist and personal cheerleader- Mango. Mango is a handsome, brown-eyed Indie dog who makes everyone fall in love with him with his funny but adorable antics. (His parents, Oggy and Teddy were rescued at an early age from the street). He is the most pampered child in the house. My mother loves feeding him delicious home-cooked, animal-friendly meals while my grandparents love spending time with him under the sun and going out for evening walks together. He is my work-from-home buddy and my closest friend. Our lives would have been very boring without Mango.

Here are a few things that you need to know about Mango–

–          Loves taking naps. He is a lazy old fellow.

–          Starts his day by chasing squirrels and birds with his parents.

–          Hates taking baths. Saturdays are shower days and he absolutely hates it

–          His favourite thing in this whole world is to go out on a car ride. The front seat is always reserved for Mango

–          Wakes me up with his wet kisses and cuddles.

     Mango is definitely our little bundle of joy. Thank you for making our lives better and healthier.

Image provided by Baishali Kowshik

The Unwanted Housemates by Vaishali Portel

Already perspiring even before getting out of bed, the sun hitting my cheeks and my mom shouting at me for still not listening to her, even though it was a Sunday ( Sundays should be a ” free” day ofcourse); accompanied by the tick-ticks of the lizard, with whom I’m well accustomed to now (been 22 years already), Summers, along with the rain and the heat ( especially more due to climate change) brings an unwelcomed guest, the house lizard. Some may be phobic of it, but I assure you that I can peacefully fall asleep at night knowing that two to three lizards are roaming around hunting for their prey and crawling around the walls in my room, it might just as well fall on top of me someday, yike, which God forbid should happen.

Also, my mom superstitiously believes that the ticks of the lizard have something to do with what we are saying. If we make a statement and the lizard sounds its notorious ticking, it means that the statement made is correct or will happen, yes, something of that sort. And as I have been hearing this since my first summer, I also believed it until a certain age, and maybe I still do, only when I want to believe what I’m saying or want it to come true. Also, our home is surrounded by greenery, bamboo, Japanese cedar, bay leaf tree, small plants and flowers which bring along with it loads of tiny insects like beetles and bees and mantis and crickets and different noise-making ones and flying ones (I don’t know what they’re called); I would naturally get scared if they entered the rooms and therefore, every night, at least once, I would wake my mom or dad up and ask them to remove it and only then get back to sleep (such a task).
These small yet memorable things from childhood stay forever imprinted in our minds even if we are busy adulting now. Our subconscious does bring it out at times and it’s such a warm and wholesome feeling to go back to reminiscing these weird yet satisfying moments of life.

The Nuclear Cat by Shikha Dwivedi

England is quite notorious for its temperamental weather throughout the year. Enchanted by the glorious sunshine one spring evening, I decided to go on a post-dinner walk. I could only briefly enjoy the beauty of sunshine falling through the cherry blossoms before the sky was covered with dark grey clouds threatening to burst open. I was soon drenched to the bone, but decided to keep walking nevertheless. Anything was better than sitting alone in my flat with my dark thoughts.

It was during this storm that I first met the Nuclear Cat. It was a small ginger cat, very active and friendly. I was surprised to see it playing out in the rain, while no living beings were in sight. My first thought was that it had been abandoned there but then it seemed to be enjoying itself. After giving it a little stroke, I tried climbing the steps of the nuclear bunker–a now abandoned concrete structure built during the Cold War to provide shelter in the event of a nuclear war. However, the cat prevented me. It almost seemed to be guarding the bunker, and so, it was christened the Nuclear Cat.

I began visiting the Nuclear Cat every night. I gradually discovered that the cat had special relationships with other cats and foxes in the area. To me, it looked as if a new world opened up for cats once their owners went to sleep and they came out of their flaps. They communicated with each other in an eerie way, as if planning some secret mission. Although I went to stroke other cats occasionally, the Nuclear Cat always drew me. Unlike other cats, it would be out every night, in all weathers. As soon as it would see me, it would meow and try to find a perfect spot on the street to stretch on. I stroked its belly and it tried to catch hold of my fingers with its little paws. After a few minutes of stroke, it would completely ignore me and get back to its duty of patrolling around the nuclear bunker or picking up fights with other cats.

I continued visiting the Nuclear Cat every night as my father lay in the hospital fighting for his life. I went to see the Nuclear Cat when the doctors told my mother there was no hope. And I went to see the Nuclear Cat as soon as I returned to Cambridge, a month later, after losing a part of my soul forever. Committed to its work, the cat was stationed at the entrance of the nuclear bunker, waiting to be stroked.

Image provided by Shikha Dwivedi

Odd Joy by Vandana Likhmania

Many a cat has come and gone in the backyard of my parent’s apartment building. This one has stuck around longer than most. She comes unexpectedly at odd hours of the day, remains aloof, stays for short intervals, and leaves once we become aware of her presence. So we’re calling her Joy.

Sometimes she’ll come in at night and leave quietly at some point between darkness and light, leaving an obscure sign to tell us she has been. An overturned bucket, the remains of a chewed leaf, or poop right at the balcony door.

We, utter fools, lock the windows every night like a chore, even though Joy only comes when we don’t.

Guest Writer

Guest Writers occasionally contribute to the magazine

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