Ms.Jojo: Empathy for a Deshi Bitch!
This is the Bengalee month of Bhadro and the canine population of Bangladesh is in heat - while the human population is slowly moving towards mass depression because of the devastating floods. There are far too many problems bothering all of us these days to be able to give attention to every problem the attention it deserves. It is a wise practice to take each day, and each problem at a time. The easiest way to get a hold of the situation in the country is to eep our kaan, chokh khola, ears and eyes open. The simplest way to do this is to lend a ear to sounds around our homes - our eighborhoods. This business of keeping my kaan khola is a hobby, because Ms.Jojo keeps me updated with the kind of information I am interested in and quality wise is superior source of news than say kaan kotha or gossips. One may say I am the only human listener of the CNN Pallabi. CNN here is the Canine News Network a ham radio station!
Me and Ms.Jojo
My life as a musician means late nights, and very lonely drives back home to Pallabi, where I usually reach past midnight. For more than three years or so, something else has kept me blissfully entertained in those late hours. Ms.Jojo waits for me outside my gate. Friends have questioned our relationship: harmless questions like, whether she is mine etc., and I have tired of explaining that while Ms.Jojo is a pet of the neighbor opposite my house, where she gets food to eat, she nonetheless prefers to guard my house. Technically I am not her master - but her friend - and enjoy the prerogative of being her only human friend since she was a puppy!
Why she does this is not known to me, but I suppose every night as I enter my house while opening the bgate, I take a few seconds off to ask her questions like kee ray tui kamon acchish - hello! How are you - and stroke her face. I think, I am the only human that does this to her. In winter nights I offer her a bosta or jute sacking and a dry place to sleep - inside my compound with the gates open - so that my neighbor i.e. her owner cannot accuse me of stealing or confining his kutti in my property.
PROFILE : Ms.Jojo
A pet in the house opposite mine Ms.Jojo is an animal that in local parlance is a deshi kutti, a pye-dog. The house owners got her in as a puppy and fed it till she became the beautiful being that she is today. For my neighbor, the purpose of her being taken in as a pet was : she is a cheaper alternative than having a human guard. It cost next to nothing to have such a dog to guard your perimeter. She is there to bark and wake you up, or the others in your house, if somebody tries to break in, and for her very sincere work, all you need to do, is give her bits of your leftover or a large portion of your bone plate accumulations from your dinner table.
She is domestic not foreign, so needs no maintenance - not even a visit to the vet. If she falls ill, you expect her to die, because soon she can be replaced. When she delivers her litter, the entire family exults, cuddling the puppies - not her !
When the puppies grow up and become difficult to manage or feed they are given away to relatives and friends as gift's with pride : amaader barir kukurar baccha, our home grown puppies from our bitch, just as much as we say amaader baririr gaccher kathal, jackfruit from the tree in our garden. My neighbors tie her up to a leash in the daytime, so those rare night's, when the gate is open, she sneak's out, and goes a wandering with somebody I know.
Expose : Ms.Jojo's private life!
One night, back from work, she was friskily awaiting my return. I realized later that the reason for all her over enthusiastic exuberance was that she wanted to introduce me to her boyfriend - a sturdy deshi kutta, Bhulu Bhai, who I immediately hugged and in a way consented to their affair. The happiest moments of my life was holding both dogs at the same time - while they wagged their tails to express their appreciation. When I asked them to go away aye baar tora jaa : Ms.Jojo and Bhulu Bhai disappeared into the night for their date if we may !
Our Cruel neighbor
Unknowing that it is the month of Bhadro our neighbors have ensured that Ms.Jojo is tied to a leash during the day time and that she cannot go outside the perimeter of the house, thanks to the heavy iron gate - but has to witness the agony and the ignominy of all that is happening outside.
For the last four nights or so she has been wailing as if in great pain. Two night's back, I found it particularly unbearable and went to find out what was bothering her. Like her boyfriend I am not allowed entry to the house she guards - not atleast at 3 a.m. in the morning! Since I could no longer bear her wailing that was fast turning to moaning, I did all the kuchi kuchi, chook chook, from the distance of my verandah, which pacified her for a while - but then it started again and continued unabated until morning - the neighborhood had a sleepless night.
Ms.Jojo in Moaning
There is something about dogs moaning. It is considered koo lokkhon or an ominous signal - indicative of somebody's imminent death. Though I am not superstitious, this I have seen happening in 1971, during the war, in 1974 during the famine, and before both my parents died - so I had reasons to be worried.
Last night when I returned home at around 1:30 a.m. - she was howling, wailing and moaning with an intensity of again waking up the neighborhood. If it was my human neighbors making such a commotion, my reaction would be take a lathi in hand and go see if dacoits have entered somebody's house.
My first reaction, after I parked my car therefore, was to check if a snake has bitten Ms.Jojo? As I neared her and on seeing me - her moaning and wailing and screaming intensified - her sight fixed a short distant away where I thought an intruder was lurking: but I was wrong.
Ms.Lewinsky : No Deposition Required
There he was - Bhulu bhai with another bitch, whose identity has since been revealed as one, Ms.Lewinsky in the act of copulation that only canines by nature seem to get literally caught red handed - attached to their respective genitals! Ms.Jojo was protesting and howling Bhulu bhai's infidelity. I shooed the copulating couple away - and the Ms.Jojo quitened down. However Bhulu Bhai and Ms.Lewinsky continued their tryst at a distance which was out of Ms.Jojo's sight.
CNN Pallabi will continue coverage on the story as and when we have more details.
This morning - Ms.Jojo is in leash and Bhulu bhai, has already made half a dozen visit's to her. I wonder if he was apologizing. I wonder if he was trying to make up. I also wonder if the canine world has the decency only to engage in the act of love - at night? Perhaps it will be tonight. Perhaps they are going through a maan obhimaner paala. I will have to talk to my human neighbor about their insensitivity.
On or my part, on way to work I told Ms.Jojo that her plight could not be worse than the Queen of the World and that we will compel Bhulu Bhai to admit this inappropriate relationship: or bar his entry into our neighborhood as punitive measures.
Here is a report just filed by Saeed, a thirteen year old freelance trainee journalist for CNN Pallabi, whom I have employed, as his school is closed for floods..
Flood update # 1:
Because of the floods around Mirpur, the canine population has doubled in our neighborhood - which thankfully is on higher grounds and as yet dry and unaffected.
Flood Update # 2:
While Bhulu Bhai now has a lot more eager bitches to flirt with because of this exodus of other pretties from the flood hit areas - this morning, eyewitness accounts have confirmed that atleast three other unidentified dogs - also from the flood hit areas - are trying to woo Ms.Jojo out of her depression. Let us wish her luck!
Flood Update # 3 :
An exclusive interview with Bhulu Bhai
When contacted, Bhulu Bhai refused to comment on his recent problems with Ms.Jojo, but agreed to this interview as it concerned the floods.
Saeed: Why have so many dogs come to Pallabi, is it because of the waters?
Bhulu Bhai: Other than water there is the problem of food because the garbage bins are empty.
Saeed: You mean the City Corporation is taking them away before you can eat them - that is efficiency isn't it?
Bhulu Bhai: Nonsense - this means, the human's clinging to trees and roof tops to save themselves from the water are producing garbage that no dog or human eats - they are producing excrement.
Saeed: Excrement - what does that mean?
Bhulu Bhai: It means SHIT it means CRAP, dummy!
Saeed: Are humans in those areas eating out of garbage bins as well?
Bhulu Bhai: We lost in the competition!
Saeed: How do you mean?
Bhulu Bhai: We are competing for garbage in your neighborhood as well, Saeed.
Saeed: With Ms.Jojo's complaints that are in the air - you are obviously not competing for their women - are you competing for food?
Bhulu Bhai: ... hufff, hufff, hufff!!
Saeed: Bhulu Bhai, can you be more specific: are you fighting with humans for garbage in our neighborhood?
Bhulu Bhai: ... (silence)
Saeed: I still do not have the answer to my question, Bhulu Bhai?
Bhulu Bhai: Okay, I will be more specific, let me say it is a definite maybe!
Saeed: Definite maybe - is this confirmation - you see I have to explain this to the boss - you know how difficult he is - I am on probation.
Bhulu Bhai: Francis Harrison reported on BBC radio last night that people in the flood hit areas are eating animal udder of dead animals. She does not know that in Bangladesh humans rarely eat udders or bicchis - they prefer eating nari bhoori or intestines of dead animal. She did not name the animals.
Saeed: Shall I ask her if people in the flood hit areas are also eating nari bhoori's of...
Bhulu Bhai: Sorry Saeed, this interview is over.
First Published 11th August 1999