The Dog We Stole is the definitive biography of Her Majesty Begum Pathumma. Read earlier episodes of the series on the TDWS page.
It’s relatively easy to come to the realisation that one must apply oneself. But the actual process of applying oneself is pretty painful and unintuitive. But Pathu was determined to change. By day she took notes on Echo and by night, she practiced her lessons on the humans at dinner time.
When she felt her confidence ebb, she went back to the first exercise she had conducted on Echo. Without ever leaving the house, she had mapped their entire neighbourhood simply by observing 8 data points on Echo’s body. Each time he returned from a walk, Echo collapsed in a heap as if he had just run cross country. Country fellow! She would then proceed to meticulously collect data from all four of his paws, the length of his tail, the tip of his nose, his pee and poop holes. Sometimes, when he let her, she also parsed data from his ears. Additional data was collected from the human who went on the walk. On days when Indigo’s friendship felt like an impossible dream, this incredible feat of personal initiative gave Pathu the confidence to go on.
At dinner time, Pathu begins to sit on her mat without being asked. She waits her turn for dinner table scraps, even though they mostly never come. Once in a while, she practices her eyebrow flicks and is immediately rewarded by the humans. She is careful not to misuse her superpower. Not yet, at least. In the afternoons, she sits on her chair in the kitchen watching Akka wash dishes. When Akka drinks her coffee, Pathu moves closer and sits on the door mat. And soon enough, Akka sends a cucumber piece Pathu’s way.
The next time Indigo turns up, Pathu is prepared. She is not as good as Echo yet at containing her excitement. But when Indigo calls out her name, she brings her best wag. She wills her tail to wag vigorously, putting the latter half of her body at risk of detaching from the rest of her body. Once everyone is seated, Pathu brings out her secret trick.
She sits on her cane chair throne opposite Indigo and presents, the powerful sidelong glance filled with cynicism, hope, judgement and love.
“If this works”, Pathu tells herself, “I’ll make this my signature move”. Standing by her reflection on the glass-walled bookshelf, Pathu has practiced this look to perfection. Pathu has learned from her fieldnotes, that Echo does not have a signature look. She plans to capture this market. She sits on her cane chair throne opposite Indigo and presents, the powerful sidelong glance filled with cynicism, hope, judgement and love.
Indigo laughs out loud. “Did you see that?”. She asks the humans but Pathu knows that she has nailed the trick. In a flash, she is by Indigo’s side, ignoring the humans and their ‘down Pathus’. And before anyone can stop her, Pathu plants a big, wet, slurpy lick on Indigo’s face. Indigo’s laugh rings out again, music to Pathu’s ears. She says, “Pathu, you can kiss me on the mask as much as you want, I love it!”
And in that moment Pathu knows that she is well on her way to making Indigo her best friend!
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As we end this week, I have some news. With Episode 25 at the end of next week, I will be wrapping up this series. Thanks in advance to everyone for reading along.