The Dog We Stole is the definitive biography of Her Majesty Begum Pathumma. This is the first episode of the series.
It was a Sunday evening in June. Sometime during the Covid Lockdown, evening tea had become our ritual. Work had grown between us like vegetation. Untended. It had spilled over beyond daylight, toppling dishes on the lunch table, climbing up the tall promise of evenings and extending its tendrils well into the crevices of the night. We barely saw each other. We slept at different times, ate separately and lived separate lives under one roof.
Once we realised that something needed to be done to save time from the transgressions of work, we set things in motion. First, both of us marked time on our calendars for tea. 4.30 pm was to be sacrosanct. Then we decided on the garden chairs and table in the balcony overlooking the raintree as the venue and cleaned it up. To make teatime more of an occasion, we began indulging in elaborate snacks. At 4.30 pm sharp, we would head out to our balcony with our mugs of tea and sundal or roasted peanuts or poha or upma and sit there talking about our day, judging people who were out and about, ignoring the pandemic.
She worked her way down to our cold hearts, warming them, sprouting the idea that we are the society we often accuse of being apathetic.
It was during one such teatime that we noticed a dog scurrying up and down our lane, as if in search of something. From our perch upon the branches of the grand old raintree, the dog seemed to be limping and scared. It’s tail in between its legs, its head hanging lower, it was looking back repeatedly with an unmistakable hurry in its steps. Like proper city people, we ignored it all through tea time. As you know, in the city, if you see something, it becomes your problem. As composed as we were about ignoring this dog, the tea we drank had other plans for us. She worked her way down to our cold hearts, warming them, sprouting the idea that we are the society we often accuse of being apathetic. And just like that, our sacrosanct tea time was unceremoniously cut short. Armed with the bravery that now coursed through our veins, we grabbed a supply of Marie biscuits and water and headed down for the rescue.
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Next Episode | E2: A Possessed Teenager