I am Zango. I am the only dog in Institute of Management Technology who has not enrolled for PGDM course, but still get to stay in the campus. I have heard that it is customary among humans and pseudo-humans to greet each other by ‘introducing’ themselves. We, who belong to the great species called dogs, usually sniff and growl and acknowledge the presence of a fellow dog.
I am not one to go against conventional social gestures. So let me introduce myself. I was born somewhere in Ghaziabad. My life before settling down in IMT was one full of action. Even when I was a puppy, I was aggressive and knew what I wanted in life. I grew up in the market, fighting bigger, ferocious dogs to eat crumbs of food thrown out by the humans. Later on as I too became big, I was feared and respected and went on to control a gang. The gang of dogs under my control were all paw-picked by me to stand by my side and fight for our territory. I was undefeated in several fights and controlled a majority of the market. My gang was flourishing when along came a bigger dog than me, who intimidated my canine friends into feline submission and banished me to IMT for the rest of my life.
IMT – the hallowed halls of this institution had seen many budding managers walk the talk. The corridors of the hostels had seen many dogs like me too. I had walked in with trepidation and was pleasantly surprised to find the rest of the dogs welcoming me into their fold with open paws. They sniffed and puffed around me and one of them beckoned me to the back door of the mess, which was like being led to a promised land. The amount of food and the comforts accorded by the place was overwhelming for my eyes which had hitherto been accustomed to street fights.
I walked around the campus with my eyes widening with wonder to the point that it could not widen any further. The humans were cordial to me. Most of them did not pay any attention to me, but there were some who flicked their fingers at me. I wagged my tail the appropriate amount to make those knuckleheads feel superior and they fed me biscuits and bread. I growled to myself, “If there is a heaven on earth, it is here”.
I spent two dog years in IMT (dog year also consists of 365 days, but the only difference from a human year is that, we celebrate new year at the start of our mating season, but that is a topic for another time). The first few days of my life were tough. I had to learn the ropes of the place. I realized that mess secretary and mess committee members are the most important people in the whole world. They held the power to stop your food supply. But it was easy to spot a mess committee member. They were invariably well-fed and had a look of contentment on their face, as though they were at peace with the world. I always stretched my paws and wagged my tail vigorously whenever those merchants of God walked by me.
But there were times, initially, when I was stumped by the behaviour of humans. There were two or three hostel blocks where males, even male dogs were not allowed to go into. The security guards waited outside these hostels with whistles in hands and shooed us away, if we came within a mile radius of these hostels. I realized that among humans, there existed a sub-species commonly referred to as girls or women or something of that sort. They were the protected species. Due to this blockade and sense of mystery surrounding them, I usually kept away from them. Therefore, I made the hostel adjacent to the mess, the B-block, my home. But I realized that the protected species, did not want to be protected after all. One night, after having my dinner, I went back with my friend, Bingo, to b-block to catch up on my beauty sleep and was surprised to find many girls or women or whatever they are called, in the b-block. I looked quizzically at Bingo, who growled in derision, “The security should be here where all the females are. Humans!!! I will be damned if I ever understand them”. He chased his tail for a while and settled down for his nap.
I fondly remember the times when the humans became very mellow and treated us like their kith and kin. Those occasions came along twice a year, during the Fresher’s party and the Farewell party. All the human folk, inhabiting the great land of IMT came together as one and there was no place for any differentiation of creed or sex or, as is my case, species. The SAC members would be making announcements into the PA system with their usual gusto and they would be present in their usual splendour and people would be singing their glory. Their tone, heard over the public-address system, would progress from being magnanimous to downright condescending, but I never blamed them. It is not in everyone’s bones to handle inebriation with equanimity. There were times when some guys tried to make me smoke a joint. I made it a point to politely refuse because we dogs, unlike humans, find it particularly difficult to simultaneously bite and suck the life out of anyone or anything.
Let me not bore my esteemed readers (I found out that sycophancy is an important tool in a human being’s life at IMT), with any further details of my stay at IMT. Without much further ado, let me take you all to the current whereabouts of my existence. I met a lady. A human lady, quite unlike the ones I was accustomed to, while living in IMT. She was very fair, and her tongue was far removed from the one that I heard from the brown ones. I would have to mention that, two years of life at IMT had made me look resplendent; my coat of fur had gained a remarkable lustre, my eyes had regained its fire and my body was toned. It was when I was in this prime condition that I met her. Our eyes locked across the concrete desert fondly called as the basket ball court. We both felt an immediate connection to one another. I ran up to her and wagged my tail and sniffed. She brushed aside the group of attention-seekers (humans) around her and started petting me. She cooed soothing words and spoke in a voice that sounded like chimes in a zephyr.
I was in love. It was not the love-of-convenience found in IMT, but the real deal. I mooned over her deep blue eyes and blonde hair. She was French (I had roamed around the class rooms where International Relations Committee-humans held their language classes. Now, I could discern French, Mandarin, German and Spanish from the other human tongues. Only English eluded me because so many different versions of it were present in IMT, like South Indian version, Mallu version, and Punjabi version and then there were people who considered themselves as the catch whiskers of English language...It was a melee). So when she whispered sweet nothings in French, to me it felt like my world was coming alive finally. She and I spent three months of her stay in IMT, almost always together. She took care of me the whole time and time went along in a fast-paced chariot. Finally, it was time for her to leave. I was devastated.
I followed her to the cab waiting to take her to the airport. My eyes and my tail drooped and I tugged at her legs while she was getting into the cab. An ill-concealed sob escaped her at that moment and she turned to look at me with pursed lips and a change came over her. Her face contorted as though she had come to a quick but inevitable decision and she opened one of her huge boxes, put me in it and taped it. She made an air-hole from outside, looked inside, put her finger to her lips and said, “Shh!!!” This was required because I was as quiet as a student in an IMT group discussion. In other words, I was howling myself hoarse. I finally got the drift and decided to keep quiet.
When you are in a box and have lots of time in your paws, you tend to reflect upon your life. It is during this reflection that you have stumbled across me. I am in the cab and probably making my way to France. I have heard of others going on exchange programs, but they return in three months time. I hope mine is a one-way ticket. I scratch my neck and lick my paws and settle down in the box. I am embarking upon a new journey; a journey that will take me far away from IMT. Will I miss the place? I do not know yet. But I am sure IMT will miss me, so much so that knuckleheads will write baseless stories about me and may be even poems. But that is me; I leave a huge impression behind...