Was there a time in my life when I chose the unpopular over the popular?
Just one time? Ok, two?!
Then you aren’t talking to me. I am drawn to the unpopular, and the attraction sometimes borders on the fatal.
I invite trouble.
One recent example, and you’ll know what I am talking about.
Last evening, when I left the house for a jog, I had no clue of what lay ahead. I should’ve been alerted of the impending disaster when I turned the corner to arrive on that stretch of the road that ended in a T. T’s as you know are decision-points. As I approached this T, my mind went into an overdrive, trying to decide which way I must go. If I went left, I’d arrive at the big central park of our sector; if I turned right, I’d find a calm and quiet park, but which didn’t have a proper jogging track.
My decision-making was simple, and my decision was obvious. I would turn left…
but just before I turned, I saw them!
Mr. Goyal, my neighbor of the You-don’t-know-anything fame was coming toward me from the left, and Tornado and his fur-keeper Bir Bahadur were charging at me from the right.
Anyone who knows Mr. Goyal would’ve changed his mind and turned right, preferring to be slobbered, even bitten by a 190 lb dog who kept his Nepali groom on a tight leash, but Mr. Goyal waved at me, and I took the bait. Ignoring the warning beeps and flashes that signaled danger, I still turned left!
Mr. Goyal stopped.
He threw me a dirty look, lifted his leg, and peed on the tire of a parked car.
I saw him do it.
Bir Bahadur saw him do it.
Mr. Goyal saw him do it.
But Mr. Goyal was the only one who took Tornado seriously.
“These dogs,” he fumed, “they pee everywhere!”
“Yes, they prefer tires and tree-trunks,” I laughed, a little self-consciously. While I have a girl-dog who doesn’t indulge in the undignified lift-the-leg peeing, the non-dog people have a difficult time accepting that a girl-dog is any different from a boy-dog.
“You don’t know,” he said, shaking a finger so close to my nose that it might’ve gotten into my nostrils, “these dogs, they are a menace!”
“Why?” I had to ask, and that was my undoing, because then he launched into a poop-bite saga that could put any dog to shame. Any dog but Tornado.
That lovable jowly drooler must’ve heard Mr. Goyal’s diatribe against dogs, because he turned around and charged at us, dragging a hapless Bir Bahadur behind him. I should acknowledge that Tornado and I have been friends for almost an year now. He is the friendliest dog in the neighborhood and he thinks of me as his pal, so I soon realized that he wasn’t charging at us, he was rushing towards me for a rather public display of his affection.
I saw him in slow motion. His tongue out, his eyes filled with joy, his beautiful fur shimmering in the golden light of the setting Sun.
Mr. Goyal saw him too, possibly in fast-forward mode. His tongue out, his eyes filled with mad hatred, his white canines shining cruelly in the yellow light of the…drat…the setting Sun!
Before Tornado could reach me and throw me down to climb over my chest and shower me with his dribble-coated affection; Mr. Goyal was three feet up in the air. His usually acerbic expression having transformed in that of 24-Carat terror!
“You don’t know, he’s coming to bite us!” He shouted, then turned his tail and ran! “Kutta…kutta” (dog…dog,) he screamed at the top of his voice.
The tailor who sits under the tree at the corner, left his work and rushed to help Mr. Goyal, who suddenly became aware of the spectacle he was presenting to the world. He turned and looked at the tailor with disdain mixed with embarrassment. He had been the CEO of a Tata-Birla type company, and he couldn’t stoop low enough to be saved by a tailor. So he gathered his wits, pulled up his collar, and told the tailor that he was fine.
Tornado had gotten to me by then. I was stroking his head, when I heard Mr. Goyal’s remonstration.
“People like you are responsible for all this! You adopt these ill-behaved dogs! You don’t know. I was the CEO of a Tata-Birla type company, and I had hundreds of B.Tech MBAs like you working under me! You don’t know anything about these dogs – they carry diseases, they make people go mad, they bite…they…” he spluttered, then finished his sentence, “they are monsters!”
Then he shuffled away.
Tornado watched him leave, then swished his tail and signaled Bir Bahadur that it was time to go. I could swear I saw a smirk on Tornado’s face.
Ever since I took that unpopular turn that nobody in his right mind would’ve taken, and preferred to bump into Mr. Goyal instead of Mr. Tornado – I’ve been getting dirty looks from both Mr. and Mrs. Goyal. I suspect that Tornado’s reputation too must’ve gotten tarnished, because Mr. Goyal has been going around the neighborhood telling every electricity pole that Tornado is mad.
Tornado, Bir Bahadur tells me, has generally remained unperturbed by the hullabaloo, however he has developed a pee-ference for the tires of Mr. Goyal’s car.
A Note for the Non-Indian Reader: A Tata Birla company is a term used to refer to any old and respected business-house of India.
On popular demand (that has been gaining ground since Mr. Goyal first made an appearance on this blog,) I present you my faithful rendition of Mr. Goyal’s awe-inspiring persona.
Penned in response to the Daily Post tag “Unpopular,” which actually is about making unpopular choices and not about the unpopular you. Both ways, it refers to me.
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