It’s quite late in the night. My little daughter wouldn’t sleep. She pesters me insisting I tell her a story.
So I start, “One shivering cold day in October. Noon 12 O’clock…”
“I don’t want hear the same October dog story again” she shouts, closing her ears tightly to shut me out.
I say, “This time there’s a new twist. Listen to me…” and I continue, “Two hungry dogs…”
“Wait,” she stops me, “I will tell the story” and proceeds to quickly run through the story which she has been hearing for more than 2 years. “Two hungry dogs. They walk down the street looking for food. They stop in front of a small tea stall. One dog spots a samosa on a table. It quietly steals the samosa and runs away. The other dog (Dog-B) chases after it, snatches the samosa from Dog-A’s mouth and runs ahead. Dog-A now runs after Dog-B shouting, ‘nikada patti’ (stop ‘kuttae’(dog)). The dogs enter a forest. Dog-B slips on a rock and falls into a waterfall and dies. The samosa gets drifted away”. She looks at me, “now you continue”
The remaining story is where I bring the twist. The first part has always been the same for 2 years. She had even asked a few times, “Why, papa, it’s always cold October and why not December, it has never been cold in October” The reason is, this story-telling first started on a very very hot October day so I wanted to start with exactly opposite mood.
The second part of the story takes multiple twists. In one of the twists, the hungry Dog-A wanders further into the forest and loses its way. It meets Mowgli and the story merges with Jungle Book. The story twists again as Shere Khan (the tiger) chasing Mowgli and the dog, falls into the same waterfall (where Dog-B died) and dies and in the end the dog is able to trace its route back to its village.
The ending is always based on how much time I have. Sometimes the story stops with Dog-A longingly looking at the samosa as it drifts away but with a different ‘moral’ every time. Sometimes there’s no extensive second part. Once it ended with Dog-B miraculously surviving the fall and agreeing to share the samosa with Dog-A. Once, it was Dog-A which gets tragically killed in the fall and Dog-B flees the spot with the samosa.
Tonight, the story drifts into uncharted territory for Dog-A. Dog-B is killed in the fall and the samosa has disappeared under water. As Dog-A sadly walks back, a space ship lands near him. A fairy comes out and offers the dog a donut. The hungry dog runs to the fairy wagging its tail. The fairy asks the dog to travel with her to space. The dog agrees. They land in Mars. They find water and plant a money plant. One day the fairy, taking pity on the dog’s life of the dog, suggests that she can transform the dog into a fairy like her. The dog denies the offer…” I pause.
“Why?” she asks curiously.
Yes, Why? – I don’t know. I begin to search for answers.
I simply say, “The dog wants to remain a dog…”
“Why?” she asks again.
My wife listening to the story, interrupts, and tells her “the dog is like your father. This is his own life story. I’m trying to change him but he wants to remain a dog”
Daughter giggles gleefully. She asks, “What happens to the dog finally?”
Wife thoughtfully replies, “the dog runs into the space ship to return to its own world, but stumbles upon an electric wire, gets electrocuted and instantly dies – this is how stupid dogs die. Shockadichu chathupoyi”
As our daughter bursts into a loud laughter, I lie lightening-struck on the bed wondering about the life connection!