A house full of pets...
Image source: www.dreamstime.com
We always had a house full of pets as long as I can remember. My earliest memories of living in Manas are filled with various sights and sounds of domestic animals and birds. There, due to the our huge residence grounds and the number of people to help us out, we had a couple of cows, a small herd of goats, two sheep, a pair of rabbits, a number of dogs, a fish tank, several colourful pigeons and budgerigars, and a coop full of chicken. Ducks and cats missed out on being with us since they did not find much favor with my father. We also had a family of barn owls living in our attic and, well, a few bee hives in our mango trees. Intermittently, if I dig my memories further, I am reminded of seeing a domesticated purple moorhen scuttling about in our yard, a deer fawn tied to a post, a few turtles and of course, the unfortunate little tiger cub.
If you think that the situation changed when we shifted from that big campus in a wildlife sanctuary to our ‘Taj Mahal’ in the crowded, congested city of Guwahati, then you are wrong. For, my father remained the same man who loved collecting animals and birds. At various points of time, our home in Guwahati had a big family of rabbits (living in proper burrows), two dogs, a hill mynah, a rose-ringed parakeet, the chicken that we had brought with us from Manas, two turtles, 3 fish tanks and a swarm of bees who had settled on the indigenous water-filter in our backyard. Also, instead of barn owls, we had spotted owlets living with us, along with a pair of old rat snakes that had been the original inhabitants of our land.
I am kidding you not.
I would like to think that it was because of my mom’s infinitude patience and love for these creatures herself that allowed Deta to bring them in our house. It is another story that he only contributed in gathering these animals and birds (mostly rescued) – the real, behind-the-scenes work was carried out by Ma. She was the head zoo keeper. My sister and I tried to support her in the feeding, bathing, walking and cleaning process. Although we had a maid, we did not assign her much work as she was quite a forgetful soul who would frequently end up keeping the bird cages open.
Out of all the pets we had, I am painfully attached to Pagla the parakeet, Lookie the hill mynah and our two lifelines – Lipsi and Danny – our dogs. Today, we don’t have a single pet in our home in Guwahati, after Benga, the flowerhorn, died a few months back. I feel extremely weird with a ‘something-is-missing’ feeling when I visit home now. It’s an empty home - no wagging tails and wet noses to welcome us, no bird-talk that my ears can pick out. And yet every corner, every square inch of our house is full of memories associated with our pets.
I hope to write about them some day. There are interesting stories behind each of them and how they landed up with us. I just wish I had enough time to sit quietly, go back to those days and then write. Till then, have a great weekend, y’all!