Thursday, March 1, 2012

Finding Friends

"Ansh, you are going to be four, what should we get you for your birthday? Do you want a car, or a ball, or our favorite: story books?"

"Papa, I have all of these things, I want something different. Why don't you get me a little puppy?"

"Ansh, you know, it is very difficult to take care of a puppy. You have to take the puppy for a walk, feed him, bathe him...Who will do all this?"

"But, you do all these things for me, and I am always well-fed, clean and happy. It does not seem to be that difficult!" said Ansh gleefully. "You have tried it on me, now I am sure, you will be very good with the puppy."

"Haha! Are you comparing yourself to a puppy?"

"Yes, how is it different? Like me, it needs food, loves to play, enjoys when people cuddle it and just wants to make lots of friends."

My brother, Ansh's father, started getting worried now. Ansh was about to get his way with his witty reasons, and a way had to be found to convince Ansh, with as much astuteness as possible. Ansh had grown up with books around, listening to stories of Birbal and Tenali Raman from his grandfather. It was then, no surprise that his mind had developed to be as quick-witted as Birbal.

Befuddled to find an appropriate reply, that would keep Ansh's demands at bay, his father said: "But, you see Ansh, you can talk and tell us what is wrong, you can tell us when you are hungry, when you want to play, when you want to sleep. With the puppy, how will you know what it wants? And without knowing, the poor puppy will be sad with us". Even while giving this explanation, my brother knew it was a very weak explanation, and he was just hoping that Ansh's silence meant that he agreed to what had been said.

Ansh came close to his father, and jumped up in his lap. As soon as Ansh positioned himself well enough, he said, "But, father, it was you who said, I could not speak when I was a little baby. You still could take good care of me, and always knew what I wanted. It will be same with the puppy, you and I will always know".

There went my brother's little excuse, and he knew he had run out of good reasons. He had nothing else but to say, "When I come back from work, we will talk with everyone else and then decide".

Hearing this, Ansh hugged his father and ran away in excitement, muttering something about thinking of names for the puppy. Ansh spent the rest of the day, thinking about things he would do, when the puppy would come home. He could play ball with the pup, he could run around the garden with it, he could feed it whatever he liked, and sometimes things that he didn't like too; he could listen to his grandfather's stories with the little puppy in his lap. There were so many things he wanted to do, he couldn't wait for the puppy to come home.

When his father came home, Ansh went rushing to him, held his hand and said "Let's talk! Everyone is ready".

Now, all this while Ansh's grandfather had been quietly listening to their conversation, and Ansh's demand for a puppy. He could understand why it was difficult to get a pet. Most of the day, there wasn't anybody at home. And taking care of the dog, would become impossible, leave aside, spending time with it. But, it was equally true that being around animals, would make Ansh more compassionate, understanding and responsible. So, a way had to be found to keep Ansh happy, at the same time, not create a burden.

"Ansh, come here son. I have something for you", said Ansh's grandfather. 
"How would you like, if you could have more than one dog as your pet, maybe even a cat?"

There were two distinct gasps in the room; one of horror from Ansh's father and one of disbelief from Ansh. 
"Father, what are you saying? It is going to be tough taking care of one dog, how can you think of more than one?"
"Oh Dadu, you are my favorite! When can I get my pets?"

Ansh's grandfather picked up Ansh, while hinting to his son not to worry. 

"It is your birthday tomorrow, so we will get up early and take you to a nice place; you can have your pets there."

Next morning, Ansh was up early with excitement. His family was waiting for him to wake up so that he could cut his cake. He loved anything that had chocolate in it, and his mother was sure Ansh would love the chocolate cake. When Ansh woke up, he cut the cake and tried to eat a lot of it in one bite, making a mess of his clothes and face. His family broke into laughter, and his mother picked him up to give him a bath.

As soon as Ansh was dressed up, he came running to his grandfather and tugged at his shirt to go out. Ansh, his father and grandfather started for this place, where he would get his birthday gift. Ansh kept asking questions as to how long it would take, what place was it. Once they reached there, Ansh could hear the barks, howls and meows of lots of dogs and cats. Listening to all the noises, Ansh asked, "How will I know which one to pick?".

Before anyone could answer, Ansh ran off trying to take a look at all the animals. There were cats, dogs, a donkey, some cows and a goat. It was an animal shelter, where animals could be adopted. Ansh's grandfather showed him how to fondle a dog, using the stroke of two fingers to massage the dog on its forehead. Ansh tried this on all the cats and dogs, and very soon had won their hearts. When Ansh had worn off his excitement, he came back to his grandfather, and said he couldn't decide which puppy to take home with him.

Ansh's grandfather, set him in his lap, and asked him why he wanted a pet. Pat came the reply, "So that I can have a friend to play with".

"So wouldn't it be nice if you could play with lots of friends, rather than just one or two?".
"Yes, yes....can we take home all of them?", excitedly blurted Ansh.

With a guffaw, Ansh's grandfather responded, "Our home would be too small for all of them, but their home would be large enough for you to come and visit them".

"See, if you just picked up one puppy, the others would feel sad, that their friend is going away. But, if you would play with them daily, they would have one more friend. Adding a friend is always more fun than loosing a friend."

Ansh pondered on the proposal and said, "I like the idea of having so many friends, but there is one problem".

"And what is that?"

"Dadu, I had thought of only one name, now you will have to help me find good names for all my friends".

Both Ansh's father and grandfather smiled at this and agreed to help him with finding names for all his new-found friends.

Ansh's grandfather spoke to the shelter authorities about helping out with the homeless animals, and they were thrilled to hear about this generous gesture. The shelter manager humbly mentioned, "We understand that a lot of the times, it isn't possible for people to provide a home for these animals, but even their time and effort makes a difference in the lives of these lovable animals".

To which, Ansh's grandfather replied, "Don't worry, it won't be too long, before we will be back here to adopt a dog. Our Ansh is too smart to be satisfied with this adjustment. He will see through it soon, and once he is old enough to take care of a pet, we would be more than willing to get him his own puppy. Until then, more the number of animals he can share his love with, more the joy on both sides."

Note: The above is a work of fiction and was written as part of a group blogging activity. The goal was to write a piece of fiction, based on the following prompts: a four year old kid, a food item, a finger, and a family member. 


  1. Looks like you're a big animal fan :) Nicely done. A pretty decent 1st attempt at fiction I would say :) I like how in every post of yours you embed pictures :) Hope you're enjoying the group blog :) More in email.

  2. One good thing; I too seem to have learnt something from this. Lovely read.

    1. Thanks Rohit, I am glad to know that the blog post inspired you in some way!

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