A Chekhovian drama was just lately performed out in Delhi. Media experiences front-paged flagrant abuse of energy by a senior IAS couple proper within the coronary heart of the capital. They used to, alleged the experiences, get the Rs300 crore Thyagraj Stadium cleared of athletes early simply in order that they may stroll their canine on the racing monitor. The TV channels went to city: Delhi’s vile VIP tradition, civil servants the brand new Rajas, colonial hangover and so forth. To restrict injury, the 2 officers have been posted in a single day to Ladakh and Arunachal Pradesh respectively, elevating the query whether or not border states needs to be handled as punishment locations.
My ideas, nonetheless, are with the swish four-legged star of this one-act play. Rocky (identify modified for privateness) is clearly a canine on whom Woman Luck has not smiled however positively giggled. Whereas many canine residing in Lutyens Delhi could have been born with a silver spoon of their mouths, Rocky was born with a whole sterling silver cutlery set jangling in his canines: he had not one, however two homeowners, who belonged to the heaven-born service.
Rather a lot got here with the astro-turf of the stadium: Even within the canine days of Delhi’s burning summer season, enjoyable walks at twilight on the supple race monitor, designed to guard the knees; an occasional go on the leaping pit; maybe a dip within the full-size pool. And if Rocky, good multi-tasker that he’s, did his job whereas on his stroll, anyone would do the mopping up. In spite of everything, pedigree canine, like bold bureaucrats, rise past petty particulars: they delegate, they develop past conduct guidelines, they concentrate on the large image. There will need to have been different trappings of this charmed existence: an ice-cream at India Gate, house visits by grooming saloons, canine deodorants and canine delicacies like Drools and Pedigree. In brief, Rocky the Canine was having his day.
Then Rocky blew it. Misplaced in doggy ideas on his night stroll, he didn’t discover the pesky journalist with the telephoto lens within the higher stands of the stadium. It could have been pet play for him to unveil his ferocious fangs on the journalist; if robust athletes had been shooed away, journalists, who correctly don’t danger a chew for a byte, would hardly pose an issue. However the journalist went unchallenged; the following morning Rocky’s homeowners have been now not the toast of the city, however simply toast.
Rocky now leads a canine’s life. One proprietor is busy shopping for inners for Ladakh, the opposite is studying up Arunachal on Wikipedia. Rocky who prefers clear choices (meals, sure; air-conditioning, sure; stroll, sure) is confronted with a troublesome alternative: strangers on Twitter are asking him whether or not he would favor Ladakh or Arunachal. Each locations have a lot to supply by means of clear air, dramatic landscapes and charming individuals; Leh even has about fifteen German bakeries, every claiming to be the unique. However Rocky has performed his analysis: there may be not a single trendy stadium in both place. Nor may he discover a department of Fabulous Fur Grooming Providers in Leh or Itanagar. Amazon expenses the earth for delivering Pedigree to these locations. And Rocky, with all that cutlery at his command, is past consuming chapatis or left-over momos.
Worst of all—Rocky follows the information, even when he pretends to be asleep along with his head on his entrance paws earlier than the TV—the Chinese language are too shut for consolation in both place; their thought of delicacies makes any canine’s abdomen flip, and now they even name themselves wolf-warriors. Rocky is more and more satisfied that the most suitable choice could be to behave because the canine within the manger, and refuse to vacate the official home.
The author is former excessive commissioner to the UK and former ambassador to the US.