Rekha has never liked animals. Or birds for that matter. Or fish. She would eat them, but to see them alive give her the creeps.
You probably ask, “If she was so allergic to animals, how come she married you?” Well, my answer is that before marriage I did behave like a human.
Though there were times when she called me a Dog. You got to give it to Rekha for being appropriate – she never addressed me as a dog in front of strangers & relatives. It was reserved for occasions when we were alone – especially, when we were in the bedroom.
“You are a dog. Can’t you understand a simple ‘No’?”
“Why you behaving like a street dog? I am your wife….behave like a gentleman.”
“How much money can your parents pay me if I get married to you?”
“How much money does your father have?”
“Do you have any younger sisters, if yes, is she pretty?”
“How many of your kins do we have to divide your father’s wealth with?”
As happens with most husbands, before marriage I didn’t asked the most important question: “Do you like animals in the house?”
I have always wanted to have pets at home. As a child our parents had trouble feeding the three of us – me and my two sisters – so they didn’t prefer pets. The moment I got a job and became independent, I wanted to get a pet but I had to travel every weekend to Madurai…which meant the pet had to be locked inside the house for two days. So no pet was possible, till I was alone.
The moment I got married, I decided to pursue by life long dream.
“Rekha, we should get a pet for the house.”
“Why Rajan? We just got married – I am your pet…and you are mine. Why do we need a third pet?” Rekha was as seductive as she could be. I fell for it and forgot pets for a year.
With time, we stopped being each other’s pets. That’s when I decided to ask Rekha again.
“Rekha, how about we bring a German Shepherd home?”
“What do you mean German Shepherd?” Rekha didn’t understand my question.
“Let me be straight…can a German Shepherd stay in our house? I responded in haste.
Rekha started blushing. This surprised me. But I waited for her to say something. After the blood had rushed down her face and down her neck…she regained composure and said: “Since reading Paulo Coelho’s Alchemist…I have always wanted to meet a travelling Shepherd. Now that we are short on love….a travelling Shepherd could mix things up.”
“This is a German Shepherd!” I shouted.
“Yeah yeah…. Paulo Coelho says all Shepherds are the same. So get him home. Let us have some fun,” Rekha said.
Before leaving I told Rekha that I shall be back in an hour with the German Shepherd. She looked excited and told me that she will prepare an extra room for him.
Guess, this was my hint – so she wanted a male dog.
I immediately went to a pet store and bought a male German Shepherd puppy. On the way I even decided to name him Paulo Coelho since my wife seemed to like the name so much.
I don’t know what hit me once I reached home. After 30 minutes of shouting at each other I learnt a few things: That Paulo Coelho was a philosophical writer who wrote a book called Alchemist in which a shepherd goes around cities loving women. And that Rekha was excited to host him in our house, hoping it would bring back some love in her life.
Needless to say, I had to return the puppy and get my money back.
After this incident, I never brought forth the topic of pets. It has been five years since. Whenever tempted, I would just go to the Facebook Game Farmville and tend to my pet.
In the last few months the urge for pets has cropped up again, thanks primarily to our daughter Rhea. She loves animals and birds and fish – just like her dad.
So, two months back I asked Rekha: “How about a pair of rabbits for Rhea?”
“Alive?” Rekha enquired without looking up from the Adrian Mole series book she was reading.
“Yes alive. It will be a jail-within-a-jail experience for the rabbits….for we will get a cage as well.”
Guess, Rekha didn’t like my sarcasm, but she continued to be polite.
“Rajan, we live in Gurgaon….and we only have AC in our bedroom. How will the rabbits survive in this heat?”
“You don’t need to worry about that – they already have hare conditioning!” I tried to joke. We Rajans rely on our jokes to get things done. And more often than not it helps.
“OK fine…let us say we do get one. How long do they live – what if they die after a year? Wouldn’t Rhea be devastated?” Rekha was looking for reasons to not have rabbits in the house.
“But Rekha, we can always tell the pet shop owner that we don’t want rabbits with gray hare!”
Rekha wasn’t amused by this as well. After an hour long discussion, which also included Rekha throwing the Adrian Mole book at me, we agreed that we won’t get rabbits in the house.
About a week back, I saw that Snapdeal.com had a great deal – a pair of Australian Zebra Finch birds for just Rs 350. Without consulting Rekha, I bought them for Rhea. Once all three of us – me and the two birds – reached home, I was confronted.
I might as well have brought home a pretty secretary. The cold war took a few days to subside. It has been a week since and both my daughter and wife like the birds now.
Someday, I hope to have a German Shepherd as well in my house….but for that I need my daughter to grow up a little so that she can hold back my wife when she throws herself at me with a knife in her hand.