Monday, October 17, 2005

Beanz & Buddy

Beanz & Buddy

One of the happiest ways to wake up in the morning is to hear the khit-khit-khit-khit of a dog’s nails hitting the floor as he scampers to your bed to wish you a very good morning; giving you just a few seconds to draw a deep breath and brace yourself for the instant he lands on you and proceeds to lick your face enthusiastically. The drawing of a deep breath before he jumps on you is essential – no one who breathes while a dog is licking their face could find it a joyous occasion, years of a non-vegetarian diet combined with a lack of discipline in application of toothpaste make a dog’s breath stink something awful.

Of course, an even happier way to wake up in the morning is to have two dogs greet you in this manner.

All dogs for a few minutes in the morning make you feel like the centre of their universe and the reason that they are glad to wake up and face another day. Some soon tire of this and wander away in search of more exciting things to do, while others snuggle up next to you and make you wonder whether a salary is worth actually getting out of bed this early.

The diverse personality traits of dogs show up most in households where they are treated like a part of the family and where there is more than one pet. One such family is Frog and Fool and their dachshunds Beanz and Buddy.

Buddy is as extroverted as Beanz is introverted – Beanz is a touch-me-not and takes time to get to know people whereas Buddy is almost a whore and transfers affections instantaneously to anyone introduced to him. Once Beanz has granted you entry into his inner circle of friends, he is steadfast and loyal; whereas Buddy would one instant be gazing adoringly into your eyes and the next instant be bounding over to the door to say hello to the dhobi/vegetable vendor/ sweeper etc and would be inviting them in. In the event of a robbery, Buddy would be useful only if the robber was a finicky, hygiene-freak and got disgusted by Buddy’s over-friendly overtures. Not that Beanz would be of much use in such situations - though he is far more protective and possessive of his territory, his chosen method of signifying disapproval is to hide under the sofa and bark.

Beanz is a scaredy-cat wimp whereas Buddy fears nothing at all. (Though I suspect that has more to do with Buddy's stupidity than courage.) To Beanz, the world is a scary place, full of unknown noises and smells and unpleasant things, where the only haven is in the crook of Mummy Frog’s arms or under the sofa. Even when the front door is wide open, the farthest Beanz will go is to Auntie Hilda’s house one floor down.

To Buddy, the world is a wondrous place just waiting to be explored and every human being a rich source of food, play or affection. Seeing the front door open, Buddy will merrily run out, sometimes right onto the main road, and stand there happily with tail wagging nineteen-to-the-dozen as cars whiz past, honking furiously. Whacking him in order to teach him a lesson is of no use whatsoever. Buddy will look repentant and hang his head in shame, his tail will droop sorrowfully to the floor, and his big, mournful eyes will turn your heart into a soppy, guilty mess. Just as you release him and finish berating yourself for being such an abominable monster, you will see him bounding away, tail wagging, eyes alight with an unholy sparkle, committing exactly the same mistake again. The fact that you are standing there, looking at him, doesn’t faze this intrepid duffer in the least, his motto seems to be ‘try, try and try again till you succeed’.

If they were human beings, Buddy would be the black sheep of the family, getting into all sorts of scrapes - drinking, bunking classes at school, throwing tomatoes at policemen, running away with the neighbour’s daughter etc. Needless to say, being the lovable nitwit that he is, he would flop spectacularly in each misdemeanor; he would puke after just a few sips of beer, he would fail a few courses each year, policemen would make enough money to retire from the fines he paid, and the neighbour’s daughter would probably ditch him to marry someone else. Not that any of this would deter Buddy, he would continue happily plotting his next scheme, maybe how to join Gabbar’s gang or become Munnabhai’s side-kick.

Beanz, on the other hand, would be Mama’s pride and joy, hair neatly combed and parted, nattily dressed, shoes polished, coming first in class every year, winning prizes in moral science, marrying the girl Mummy chooses and having two perfect children. Not for Beanz the life of adventure and exploration that Buddy loves, Beanz would prefer a more sedate existence, be an accountant maybe, or maybe knit socks.

Zenobia D. Driver

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