The Orphan's Pet
A short story on how one deserted heart finds it's apt Love and company- in a pet.
The Orphan's Pet
You can always find Mr. Dumas around the banks of Yamuna. Everyone who lives there will easily direct you to his small, convenient pet store.
Mr. Dumas was a foreign immigrant, who came to India for a spiritual tour. Later, he decided to stay in India forever. He didn't have anyone to care for him, just some acquaintances in his working place.
Mr. Dumas loved pets; he spent all his money on this pet shop - he literally lived in there. But, this little pet shop had brought him more respect and dignity than he could have imagined. Other shopkeepers around him would call him 'Dumas saab' or sometimes "Dumas ji", and gradually his customers started calling him by the same too, and he liked it.
One of his 'regular customers' was a small boy, orphan to be precise (There's an orphan home along the end of the road). He used to sit opposite the pet shop and would start staring at the pets, ranging from talking parrots to well-trained pups. Mr. Dumas always used to call him inside and try have a closer look, but the orphan boy would just remain still, as if in fear or shyness.
This went on until one day, surprisingly, the small orphan boy knocked at Mr. Dumas' door. It was very early in the morning, all the nearby shops were just opening up. Mr. Dumas, half-sleepy and half-surprised attended the boy (He would never be irritated, for he loved his customers so much!).
The boy appeared to be in a hurry, or rather in childish awe -- Mr. Dumas wasn't sure. "This is all I have" the boy said, pouring some coins from out of all the pockets in his shirt, "This is all I have -- uncle, can I have a puppy?". It was too few for a puppy, maybe it could barely afford him a fish or two. But, seeing the awe and happiness in his face, Mr. Dumas offered him a choice.
Mr. Dumas always kept a small lot of his pets untrained, because not all liked pets to be trained. Some liked pets the natural way. Untrained pets cost a tad lower than the trained ones. So, Mr. Dumas said "Go in and make your pick, little man". The boy gave a big grin and went in.
Within seconds, the boy came dashing out, "I've found it uncle, I found my puppy!". He held a very lean, shady pup in his hands.
Mr. Dumas, looking shocked and concerned, asked "Are you sure little man? You can see it's legs are attacked by polio.. poor thing, I got it off the corner of this street.. I'm sure you'd like to choose something else".
"No, It's really OK uncle, thanks a lot!" the boy sternly spoke and started walking away.
It was dark inside the store, so Mr. Dumas wasn't actually able to notice the Orphan boy fully. When he got out in the sunlight, Mr. Dumas saw the boy holding and embracing his pet all the way - - He was walking in an uncoordinated manner, in a wilting fashion.
It was then Mr. Dumas realised that the boy had the same bad leg as the pup he chose - - the same polio. Tears crawled up in the corner of his eyes.
By this time, shops began to open and Mr. Dumas came out to get some air. "Saab! Kya jaatha?", the nearby shopkeeper asked.
"Today" Mr. Dumas whispered "Today, I made my best sale to my best customer".