The girl next door

We live in one of the better residential localities of Delhi with most of the amenities at our disposal right from the basic to the not so basic. Right in front of my flat is a small park and then a service lane for outbound traffic, a main road which has a fly over on it and then a not so affluent class who have recently converted from mud houses to brick houses in a haphazard manner and right behind us are bungalows of the comparatively more affluent and then there is us, the ‘middle class’ living in flats consisting of around 50 odd families. Atal Bihari Vajpayee, our former Prime Minister, once said that we can change our enemies but not our neighbors. This is about my neighbor Jaya Didi and her love for animals.

Neighbor, Jaya Didi, Jojo, pets, colony
Jaya Didi and Jojo
We had a pet growing up and it was a mixed breed, Cocker spaniel and Doberman, Boozo and Dad and brother used to be the masters in the house and yours truly who couldn’t enter the house if I was all by myself because Boozo wouldn’t let me which I never held against him. Boozo was one of the most ferocious dogs around and was a terror to the colony children if it was let out accidentally or on a leash. Have fond memories of him and he died in Mom’s lap in the balcony aged 13. Something completely changed in my brother post Boozo’s death and we took a decision as a family never to keep a pet again because the loss really hit us. Harman on the other hand started carrying biscuits in the scooter, car, office, outings and used to feed stray dogs anywhere and everywhere he could find them. He was the one around 2010 when he met Jaya Didi for the first time and that is how we got to know each other.
Didi or elder sister is married to Manoj Bhaiya and they had a love marriage but they don’t have children and all the motherly love, affection and instincts are directed to the stray cats and dogs. In the above photo she can be seen nursing Jojo who had an ear wound and required surgery and we will be taking him for a checkup again tomorrow. Jojo’s direct descendant is Bunny and Bunny stays with Didi and other dogs and cats in the vicinity. Didi makes it a point of feeding the animals at least twice a day and she has outsourced a dog Gugu who even though is a stray, stays with us in the air conditioning at times and we do not keep her tied so she is free to come and go as and when she pleases. Didi took voluntary retirement after working for approximately 25 years in the Canadian high commission which is similar to what Mom did but is full of life. There is never a dull moment when she is around. She is one of the few ‘headstrong’ ladies in the colony who like to take the bull by the horns, no harm intended. We’ve exchanged different dishes at different times and Didi cooks a mean Rogan Josh. My parents refused to get involved at the time of Shraddha’s delivery and Didi took it upon herself to shoulder the burden of the C-section. Even after Perke’s birth Didi has been rock steady in terms of her commitment towards us by gifting Perke baby essentials and valuable time and tips as and when she finds the time. The reason why I am doing this is not because of brownie points or incentives at the end of the day but hopefully by expressing my gratitude I can identify with the love for dogs the way she does. To end it, I leave you a snapshot of Queen Gugu on her throne, enjoy!
colony, Jaya Didi, Jojo, Neighbor, pets, Gugu
Gugu in the Winter

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