The other day we walked into a pet shop, a reputed pet shop at Khan Market, to buy food and accessories for our extremely adorable new puppies. We walked up to the counter.
“Good afternoon sir, good afternoon madam.”
“Good afternoon. Uhh… we are looking for some food, collars, food tray and all the other stuff, you know, for our new puppies.”
“Of course we have all the things you require, Sir. What breed is your dog?”
I noticed the immediate raised eye-brow. His smile disappeared for a fraction of a second (probably less than 1/100 of a second, if I was allowed to exaggerate), but it felt like eternity to me (no exaggeration this time). He of course immediately reverted to his calm and cheerful self. His eyes and smile lied, but that brief moment of facial expression betrayed everything.
That’s the problem here in India. You say “Indian breed”, and the most common reaction one gets here is of utter disgust. Because Indian breeds are always held synonymous with stray dogs. I don’t blame them, after all, that’s the breed stray dogs here in India supposedly belong to.
I really used to hate those so called "dog lovers" who put on a theatrical “awwww chhoo chweet” expression whenever they see a well groomed expensive pedigree, but immediately show a disgusting “ewwww” at a malnourished street dog. I wondered how such people could call themselves “DOG lovers” and I used to think they were better off carrying the snooty tag “High breed Pedigree Lovers” rather than “dog lovers”.
But when you really think about it, I guess it all boils down to “one man’s Indian is another man’s Pedigree”. A self-acclaimed “food lover” (or “foodies” as the P3 calls them) need not necessarily love EVERY food, and are usually crazy about only those exotic dishes. Likewise, a so called “car lover” won’t even look twice at a rickety old ambassador, or how a “bike lover” is in love only with the imported ones.
But one fact remains clear: Indian breeds are called strays because of us. None of them ever wished to become strays out of their own volition; it is society that makes them strays. If only there are more people like Malleka Gupta, then we can truly rid India of all its strays.