(Note: During the last 6 months that I spent in college, I had a stray dog that comfortably shared my room with me. She was so much a part of my life that all my memories of IMT have bits of fur sticking to them. Considering that I am rather fond of her, I thought it would be inappropriate to write about her in one go. The blog entry would never end and could possibly bore the reader to tears. For a change I have decided to write in installments. This way I can hopefully do justice to the details while managing to keep the entries relatively short. Feedback is welcome.)
The dog walked into my life on two legs.
While the other canines I knew were content to run around on all fours, this particular one didn’t seem to rate the four legged experience too highly. Instead she would rear up and place her paws on my chest. Wagging her tail furiously, she would look deep into me eyes she and pant encouragingly. I would pant back and for a few moments we would gaze at each other in pure adoration. After which she would drop back onto all fours and sniff my behind with great interest. It was this part that made me uncomfortable.
But then, she wasn’t the first dog to grace the campus. For several years IMT had been home to a particularly gregarious mutt named Jango. Jango was a short stocky dog of unremarkable appearance. With a scuffed, dirty brown coat he wasn’t the prettiest specimen around but what made him stand out was his exuberance and goodwill. He was everybody’s good friend. Turning up at all our outdoor parties, he would enthusiastically leap about barking his head off as we danced to the music. For every birthday celebration, a small piece of cake was reserved for Jango because no party was complete without him. It didn’t matter which part of the campus we were cutting the cake in. He just instinctively knew when and where to turn up.
Jango spent the chilly winters in the corridors of any of the hostels and was given a blanket too. If someone was inebriated and feeling rather mellow, Jango would slink into his room and clamber onto his bed, spending the night quietly by his side until he was ejected from the room in the morning with a furious yell. He was so popular that he even had his own Orkut profile. Energetic, lovable and slightly off his head, we gleefully accepted that that he was a part of that bizarre puzzle that was IMT. During the ragging sessions, it was essential that you introduced yourself to the dog and addressed him as sir. No one knew how long he’d been at IMT. Our seniors had called him sir and so had their seniors. It was a bit of a tradition, carefully passed on from generation to generation. Like the Phantom, he was the ghost who barked.
Most of all, we needed Jango’s presence to confirm that college life was wild and free – that our lives here were crazy and not bound by rules on how to behave. We all wanted memorable tales to share with our friends outside IMT about how weird things were here. Jango was one such memorable tale. Accepting him seemed to be in the spirit of IMT.
Jango remained a part of our lives in the first year of college until he bit someone. It was completely unintentional. This particular individual had just come out of the mess holding a sandwich when Jango spotted him. Or rather he spotted the sandwich. Jango was used to being fed tit bits and when he wasn’t offered any, he leapt up to help himself. He got the sandwich but his teeth ended up grazing the students hand in the process. The student complained to the authorities and the next day Jango was caught and taken to the pound. He would groove to the music no more.
Not many people knew the Jango was missing because within days a new dog of similar appearance was seen sniffing around. I knew it wasn’t Jango though because this dog had a nice shiny coat. It was a lot younger too. More importantly it was female. Most of them though couldn’t tell the difference and insisted on calling her Jango. When I pointed out the rather glaring difference she was promptly christened Mango.
I didn’t like the new name too much. It didn’t seem right to name a dog after a tropical fruit. For a while I toyed with the idea of calling her Silk Smitha - after a sex siren of the 80’s whose movies were cause for restless nights in front of the TV for the youth of South India…but gave it up. After all, it was rather inappropriate. I was also disturbed to find that the real Silk Smitha had committed suicide due to depression. It would be very wrong to name a dog after her...