The Pug Who Loved Mangoes

Lately, I have taken to learning Urdu. Gulzar shaheb says “kahin kuchh dur se kaano mein padhti hai agar Urdu,To lagta hai, Jaadon ke din han,khidki khuli hui hai,dhoop andar aa rahi hai” ( Translation:When Urdu reaches the ears from a distance,It appears,As if on a Winter’s day, the window is open and the sunshine is pouring in ).  While I started with trying to learn it online, I soon realized that the nuances of this beautiful language necessitates the guidance by an Urdu scholar. From the coming weekend, an Urdu teacher is going to come to my house in the mornings , every Saturday & Sunday and teach me the language.

But when I start my Urdu lessons on Saturday, I shall miss my little pug Bruce Wayne ( Read about Bruce here: : )

Why ? Well,because Bruce like the great Mirza Ghalib loved mangoes! Reading about this great poet in ‘Ghalib:  Life, Letters & Ghazals’, by Ralph Russell, I found that Ghalib was a mango-lover extraordinaire.Altaf Hussain Hali, Ghalib’s student and biographer,  in his book Yaadgaar-e Ghalib, tells the story  of Hakeem Raziuddin Khan, who while visiting Ghalib noted that a passing donkey had just sniffed at a mango peel and kept moving along. Look, said the Hakeem, even donkeys don’t eat mangoes. True, replied the poet, donkeys don’t eat mangoes! Over this mango season,my little pug and me had  been feasting on mangoes as we struggled to pronounce and understand Mirza Ghalib.

It seems strange that Bruce would prefer mangoes over chicken or meaty bones, but he did! Each time he spotted me getting a mango, he would turn on his formidable charm with a little rakish grin and soon we would both be ecstatically eating the fruit. My Bong cook would look at us and disbelievingly mutter a theatrical “Odhboot” ( Uncanny/Abnormal). Last mango season when we had gone to my parents’ home , Bruce would bark excitedly, much to everybody’s incredulous amusement, whenever a ripe mango fell making a ‘plop’ noise. The other dogs were a bit condescending towards the little guy’s obsession with mangoes, but  Bruce Wayne always smirked with the knowledge of one who is intellectually superior, chuckling in doggy lingo “Brains always over brawn & balls”.Yes, this little miniature pug could hold his ground amongst my  bid breeds like Boxers, a German Shepherd, a Great Dane. He had a Zen like countenance and  attitude to life which made  my sister call him ‘Puga Master’.

He was becoming a little frail and I had realized the end was nearing. A few days back  I had ordered a pram online, so I that I could take him for a walk in the park.’You aren’t serious?” said a friend. ‘I am’, I had replied firmly.’Brucie loves going for a walk, and if he is not strong enough to walk, I shall wheel him in a pram”, both Bruce and me fixed the chap with a baleful glare reserved for Philistines and refused to speak with him. Later, Bruce asked me to forgive him after he got us a half litre tub of Natural’s mango ice cream.

So, the Master left me yesterday. He went peacefully and yes after eating two huge mangoes.

He was a little warrior, fighting humans and fate, which had tried to break him.He emerged victorious over tremendous physical and mental abuse..Inside that tiny little body was an indomitable spirit. The Greek, Heraclitus, says of a warrior:”Out of every one hundred men, ten shouldn’t even be there, eighty are just targets, nine are the real fighters, and we are lucky to have them, for they make the battle. Ah, but the one, one is a warrior, and he will bring the others back”. Bruce brought me back many, many times from life’s battlefield of uncertainty and anguish.

I am happy that he died peacefully. Yes, I am grateful that he didn’t linger or suffer.

But I cry.

How does one hide from something which will never go away ?

By not hiding from it.

So each time I will eat a mango and read Ghalib, I will remember you Bruce….khuda hafiz…I wish the Rainbow Bridge had visiting hours.



8 thoughts on “The Pug Who Loved Mangoes

  1. That is just so sad.
    As for Miya Asadullah Baig, yes, he did love mangoes, didn’t he?
    Good luck with your Urdu learning, May I go so far as to suggest another name? Majaaz. His own life story is amazing and somewhat like the tragic Manto. Not to forget Josh Malihabadi and his other reference to mangoes 🙂 in his Aye Malihabaad ke rangeen gulistaan alvida (a beautiful ghazal too, from the Kehkashaan TV series).
    Nice writing. I love your blog. (And before I sound any more pretentious, I assure you, I am not so great at Urdu myself, being a southie-Madraasi sort).

    • Dear Tejaswi,
      Thank you for reading about my Brucie.
      You have also made me smile with your last comment about Southie-Madraasi 🙂 I don’t know how far I will be successful with my Urdu adventures as I am an Oriya with horrifying Hindi 🙂 Perhaps, I should adopt another needy, abandoned lil pug and call him Ghalib or Majaaz ? I know Bruce would approve 🙂 Thanks again.

      • 🙂 sure. For a brief while I used to live in Delhi too. Malviya nagar (shudder** the same place where the North-east attacks took place, khirki village, then on to CR Park and other areas. I had a lot of friends from the NE too over there).

        It is always nice to learn a new language. I hope you succeed.
        Another friend of mine from Goa says the same thing about lost friends – life does not stop. We cherish the memories, but we could not abandon another waif who comes along and looks up to us for shelter and food. She is sentimental about her past pets, but still does not hesitate to adopt any new animal. And trust me, I have outlived so many of them that people must think I am hard hearted. My wife certainly put her foot down when our last cat died and now tells me, never again, never ever.
        She is too attached to all of them and I can understand that.
        *Sorry about the long reply

      • Well, thank you for the long reply 🙂 I was reading your write up about your daughter and saw all your cats…it gladdened my heart. Yes life certainly doesn’t stop…. we learn to embrace both joy and sorrow. So Sri Aurobindo says “Pain is the hammer of the Gods to break
        A dead resistance in the mortal’s heart,
        His slow inertia as of living stone.
        If the heart were not forced to want and weep,
        His soul would have lain down content, at ease,
        And never thought to exceed the human start
        And never learned to climb towards the Sun.”
        I think I should apologize for a long reply now 🙂 And I really like your name 🙂

      • oh it is a bit longer than that actually, not many people know it, Kishore Surya Chandra Tejaswi (In challenge to a poet’s son’s name .. called Kuvempu, whose son was Poornachandra Tejaswi.. and my dad as silly as ever named me the young brilliance of the sun and the moon, rather than the poorna or the finished.. silly bugger.. and the amazing thing is, both Poornachandra’s daughter and my daughter are named Ishanya hahaha.. funny thing is, that Ishaniya was my classmate in engg college too). Thanks, it is always nice to meet a nice person. I am glad I met you here.

      • Wow! Oh I have a long name too..people say that the name has a lot of bearing on one’s personality 🙂 Pl read a earlier blog post which says ‘everything is in a name” :)) Thank you, nice to meet you too.

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