About Me

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Mumbai, India
I'm a landrace dog fancier, birder and amateur arachnologist. I'm also a wildlife conservationist working in the tiger reserves of central India with Satpuda Foundation. Founder of the INDog Project (www.indog.co.in) and the INDog Club. I worked with urban free-ranging dogs of Mumbai for 14 years.

This blog is for aboriginal breed enthusiasts. It is part of the INDog Project www.indog.co.in. Only INDogs (Indian Pariah) and INDog-mix mongrels are featured here. The two are NOT the same, do please read the text on the right to understand the difference. Our aim: to create awareness about the primitive natural breed called the Indian Pariah Dog/INDog.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Some Animal Chronicles - Fur, Paws, Claws and Other Accessories

Talking about the INDog, or the Great Indian Hound, I just have to share GAJA with everyone reading this. GAJA in Bengali is a homemade sweet. When a jute bag full of puppy arrived home from our ancestral village in 24 Parganas, Bengal, it was the most spontaneous name we could think of and so Gaja, even when he became the Great Hound of Short Street (Kolkata), lived with this name, and its mushy diminutive - Gojipie.

My father, way back in the '50s and '60s, was one of the earliest champions of the INDog - so Gaja was on his wish list, in spite of my mother's reservations about the whole thing.

The puppy Gaja looked like a bright little fox with his native born intelligence to match. Although he lived in the house, he needed to establish his territory regularly, and the stretch of Short Street - which is a very long street - was his to monitor. Those were the days when cities had community dogs quite naturally, and as children we played with these dogs without being afraid of being bitten or the thought of rabies even crossing our minds. And play with Gaja we did - our winter holidays spent much of the time in the sun-soaked courtyard of our rambling old house, my brother and I had Gaja harnessed to be sometimes Rudolf the Reindeer, sometimes Alexander’s favorite Bucephalus, at other times a canine Black Beauty. While our make-believe games went on for hours, Gaja was always patient and gentle - happy to be part of the team, with his jalebi-tail wagging in indulgence, and a smile always stretched across his brown and white muzzle. When we made tents and teepees out of old bed sheets, piling up potted plants to make believe a jungle, and disappeared inside in the hope we’d never be found, Gaja also gamely became our hunter dog. When rugs became boats, with stools and coffee tables piled up on either side, and our travels took us over the seas and far beyond, Gaja was our sea dog. Even if he did become bored all he did was put his face between his paws, heave a deep sigh of resignation and go to sleep.

When I see children playing these days, I seldom, if ever, see them playing games of imagination or in their games including animals or plants. If children would do that, then perhaps some of the irrational fears which our contemporary society has built up for the natural world would come to be reduced in greater understanding and empathy.

Supriya Dasgupta

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