TDWS | E25: Out In The Real World

A baby no more

The Dog We Stole is the definitive biography of Her Majesty Begum Pathumma. Read earlier episodes of the series on the TDWS page.

Annual work plans are so hopeful, aren’t they? They hide all the in-between months of sluggish hopelessness. While Pathu planned to take over the world as boss dog, the universe knew that she was going to be spayed. So did she in her heart of hearts. 

She has seen for herself how well we handle them both as adult humans. Skewed meal times, forgotten walks, delayed vet visits, lax grooming schedules. She knew that there was no way we could manage adding puppies to the mix.

As the night progressed, the rain grew heavier, pelting the streets with rubber bullets like a mob of plain clothed policemen.

Unknown to us, Pathu had gotten to the decision of sterilisation from a completely different angle. Pathu was born under the streets of bengaluru, quite literally in hell. It was a December evening in the city. Her mother, fully pregnant, had taken refuge in one of the storm water drains that surrounded the park, ready to deliver. The park would have offered a safer haven but her mother, with a belly full of babies, could not squeeze between the metal rods of the grilled compound wall to get in. In Bengaluru, parks behave strangely like some flowers, staying closed all day and all night, opening their gates barely for three hours at dawn and dusk. 

When she went into labour, it was raining outside. As the night progressed, the rain grew heavier, pelting the streets with rubber bullets like a mob of plain clothed policemen. A stream of water that had escaped the plastic blockade somewhere behind them, ran down the drain to her. She continued to lick her newborns clean, safe in the faith that Bengaluru rains were a blink and miss affair. Well, faith is not a scientific fact. Another five minutes in, her mother knew that she would have to leave the slowly filling drain.

Where could she go? She couldn’t think straight. Maybe to the store front where she slept occasionally? But that would be too cold for her babies. She needed somewhere dry. Maybe outside the ATM? But that was too far to venture with these infants. She would find a way as soon as she got them out of here. She had borne six little ones. She picked up two in her mouth and crept out, just as the all cleansing water god broke through the wall of plastic waste. 

Even as a puppy Pathu knew that she never wanted to have children. Not everyone is built to care for children. Most humans would count as examples. They make babies before they stop to think why. They were filling the planet up with two-legged dimwits who deny climate change and spread hate. 

She knew she wanted to get spayed as soon as it was possible. Pathu was happy when she met her minions because they looked like unstructured people who would definitely get her spayed. Also they didn’t have any children which was always a good sign. But then again, they had screwed up. No surprises there. But going on heat only strengthened Pathu’s conviction. She didn’t want to feel weird twice a year. It was her body after all. She would choose what it endured.

Pathu wanted me to clarify that she had nothing against children. She said and I quote, “I just didn’t want to have any come out of my body. Just like you say no to working with a bully or buying an unaffordable house on loan or marrying a person you barely know. Oh well, bad examples for humans I suppose.          

Infact, I’d be open to adoption, if it ever came up. There are so many orphaned pups in the world who would love a cosy home with well-mannered, subservient and cuddly humans. Instead of inbreeding dogs to create more bird-brained snouts with leaky guts and rotting ears, why not get yourself a smart and healthy Indian pariah like me?

You could send them to me and I’ll teach them a thing or two about the real world. Of course, they could add to their resumes with pride that they went to finishing school under the tutelage of Her Majesty Begum Pathumma.”

The End

Thank you for reading along on my first fiction series. This is series is soon going to become an ebook. I’ll keep you posted on that. Meanwhile, I plan to write another series as part of the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) starting on 1 Nov. Hope you will follow along on that series as well by subscribing below.

TDWS | E24: Pathu Has An Action Bias

Don’t just sit there, do something!

The Dog We Stole is the definitive biography of Her Majesty Begum Pathumma. Read earlier episodes of the series on the TDWS page.

As the new operations head, Pathu was going to make some tough decisions. Though the humans had veto as the majority stakeholders of this household, she was determined to make substantive changes. For one, she had to ensure a reliable revenue stream. Coding and communications were not real jobs and this wasn’t going to cut it! There weren’t enough treats coming through here. Neither were there enough outings. That simply had to change.

True to her role, Pathu has always had an action bias. Instead of labouring over something for epochs, she would, well, operationalise. Anything that needed fixing would be handled in subsequent versions. Perfection was a work in progress. She didn’t have to think much to realise the monetisable skills that she possessed.  

In the short term, she decided to turn her field notes on Echo into a pay-what-you-like ebook.  Though she had no faith in other beings, it showed the world that she believed in their goodness. Seeming altruistic always made you more money than being altruistic. She knew that her exhaustive research on the behavioural psychology of large hairy dogs was groundbreaking. Their lack of ambition and their inability to understand nuance, were only two of her incredible findings.

She would put her hard-won craft to good use with a workshop titled, ‘Puppy Eyes: The Art of Finding Your Own Signature Move’.

Why not publish as a paper in a leading humanities journal, you ask? Because they are all behind paywalls and as a free bleeding feminist, Pathu believes that it’s her moral responsibility to make sure that knowledge production is open and free for use. Humans, they like to think of themselves as intelligent but they have got all of it backwards! 

Within the end of the quarter, she planned to organise four workshops. She would put her hard-won craft to good use with a workshop titled, ‘Puppy Eyes: The Art of Finding Your Own Signature Move’. She would make her business species inclusive by extending her surveillance services to include clients from other species. Like the Shikra hawk on the neem tree across the street, that stares hard at something all afternoon. Pathu would provide a hawk-eyed solution to that problem. By the end of the next financial year, she would diversify. Dog humans were suckers for training. They love for their pups to pick up some ‘socialisation skills’ from older dogs. Since Echo couldn’t be bothered either way, Pathu would stake out this market. By then she would have built enough credentials to accept pups for apprenticeships.

Pathu sniggered as she thought of all the fun things she would teach the puppers. She would teach them ‘sit’, ‘stay’ and ‘come’ as diversion tactics. Once the humans were floored by their good behaviour, she would teach them to play rough, pee in inconspicuous spots that staggered the stench and the delicate art of making anything a chew toy. The ‘real learning’ would obviously be surveillance. Truth be told, it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. One needed to have a nose for these things.

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