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Story listed as: Fiction For Adults | Theme: Drama | Subject: Character Based | Published here : 09/26/2017
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Tail Tale 
 
By Sufi House
Born 1982, F, from Mumbai, India
Tail Tale
This is the story of a very young boy, so young that he wouldn’t fathom the difference between his poorly existence and that of a rich domestic dog. He was a bastard, or at least that’s what most people addressed him as. Eh harami, they'd say. An old man nicknamed him Sanjay, after the Prime Minister’s son, who drove the sterilization campaign with mad zeal around town. So Sanjay he came to be. Short, dark skinned with wavy hair on his head and a strange birth mark on his left thigh that ran down his leg like a faded burn stain.

One day, on a hot afternoon, when Sanjay was loitering around the streets of Delhi in his torn Khaki shorts, his bare feet scaled and bruised with continuous walking, he stopped outside a shopping complex and witnessed something he had never seen before. A big black car pulled up at the entrance of a jewellery store and out came a lady, a rich lady with heels and sunglasses, and what did he notice... she was carrying a Chihuahua with utmost love and care. She loved the dog so much that she asked the driver to hold an umbrella over the dog or else he may have a sun stroke. She took out a bottle of water, the one similar to a baby’s feeding bottle, and the dog sipped on it just as a child would. She put the bottle in the car, gave the Chihuahua a big kiss and walked into the jewellery store. Sanjay stood zapped. A dog? Well, he’d seen many in his area, the slum that served as his home, but dogs were meant to be kicked and cursed and shooed away. His small brain couldn’t fathom the bewilderment. Here he was, trying to gather something to eat and drink, and this dog was being treated like some prince. It was just too much for him. He decided to wait and watch.

It was an hour or so later that the rich lady finally emerged from the store, the Chihuahua in her arms. The driver of her big car was nowhere to be seen. As she dialled his number, she sat down on a well-cushioned chair at the entrance of the store, the Chihuahua on her lap, and played with him, stroking his head, planting kisses on his nose. All the while the dog just wagged its tail and buried its head on her lap. She was talking to him too. Calling his name again and again. Oh my love, my baby, my jaan she said. Pishu is such a good boy, and the dog just wagged its tail some more. The driver arrived with the car and the rich lady and her dog got in and drove away.

That’s all it took. Wagging a tail for all this love in return! He ran towards the slum, as fast as his legs could carry him in search of Milan chacha. When at last he found him after an hour’s search, huffing and puffing he said, ‘’Milan chacha, can you give me a tail?’’ ‘’A tail? What tail?’’ ‘’Yes chacha, a tail. The one Manu wore for the Ramleela act.’’ ‘’Oh, the monkey suit?’’ ‘’Yes chacha. I beg you. Can you please please give me that tail.’’ ‘’What for?’’ ‘’It is going to bring me luck chacha.’’ Milan chacha was a kind man. Without further delay, he walked into his house and came out with the monkey suit. Sanjay grabbed it immediately, like a hungry dog, got into it and began to shake his bottom, his attempt at wagging the newly acquired tail. Milan chacha found it hilarious and called him pagal. But the young boy’s joy knew no bounds. It’s that simple he thought. Some rich lady was going to hold him in her arms and feed him too. Some rich lady was going to name him, hug him and kiss him too. Just like Pishu had been kissed and hugged. Rich people did those things. Not like his slum dwellers, he thought.

He ran towards the jewellery store, the tail neatly tucked. Someone would arrive in a big car and he would wag his tail and that would be it. He waited for some time but the heat got the better of him and he fell asleep. He was woken up with a stick picking on him. The security guard of the jewellery store was waking him up, asking him to go find some other place to sleep. Rubbing his eyes, he sat up and just then a car pulled up. Again, a fat, rich lady, got out of the car. He pushed the security guard aside and landed before the lady and began to wag his tail. The lady screamed and got into the car again. But Sanjay wouldn’t give up. He continued to twist and turn his bottom in his attempt to wag the tail when a slap landed on his left cheek. He fell to the floor. Tears rolled out as the lady walked out of the car and without even glancing at him, she muttered something under her breath and walked into the store. The security guard picked him by the arm and warned him never to come near the store again.

The tail lagging behind, Sanjay wiped his tears and began walking away. He turned back to look at the guard who was eyeing him. He stopped, still looking at him when the guard shouted, ''Chal jaa.'' Sanjay turned back, scared, and hurried away. His dream had been crushed as quickly as it had been built. ''Harami kutta,'' (illegitimate dog) he muttered as he ran towards the slum. Maybe he was too poor to be a dog, he thought.
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