I have a new family member these days and I am showering all my maternal affection on him. I was never really a baby person or a pet person simply because I always felt that assuming hundred per cent responsibility for someone is too much of a sacrifice and that you have to be ready for it. But I have proved myself wrong. You don't need to assume responsibility. If you have the inclination, you have the time.

And so it was a chance meeting with Dylan (as in Die-Lan and not a mispronounced Bob Dylan mind you) while shopping with my five-year-old nephew, Mihir, that sealed his fate. And with a persistent young man who refused to leave the market without the puny week-old pup, I ended up buying Dylan. But when it was time for Mihir to leave Delhi, I realised I could no longer part with Dylan. After convincing Mihir that I would send Dylan to Shillong after a while, Dylan is now mine just for the asking. Looking back on that day, it's luck that we found him and even greater luck that he will stay here with me, for now at least.

It's a fuzzy feeling, and a little obssessive. I keep thinking about him at the workplace, at the market, everywhere. I wonder if he is lonely in the house, if he has hurt himself or whether I locked the house properly. I worry if he is warm enough. I can't wait to get home and feed him and play with him. I walk into a store and look at all the possible flavours of Cerelac and ask the shopkeeper to show me all of it.. and when he asks me how old my kid is, I say "well..er.. my dog is three-weeks old..," and I want the best for him. Good start, quips my sister.

It's not a difficult affair really. Except for the fact that he pees a little too often and I am often in my mopping gear, Dylan is so manageable. By the way, I just found out they also have pup diapers in the market these days. A cynic friend in the office says it is ludicrous how big the pet food industry is when hundreds of people are starving elsewhere. True. Well, to each his own. Besides you can't make a Mother Teresa out of everyone. OK, I think I am digressing.

I am just happy to have Dylan right now. He is playful, he is wicked and has a canny note for emotional detail. It is funny how he whines not when he is hungry but when he wants to be cuddled, especially when he hears the sound of the aeroplane flying overhead, or when he realises I haven't spoken to him in a while. We also have our normal conversations and he responds to things like 'NO' with promptness. I never percieved this before but I am amazed at how animals bond so naturally with humans when they live under one roof. It's not hard work at all or so much of a sacrifice after all. It's a labour of love.

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