Thursday, September 20, 2012

58. Marking the Territory.

I saw Umesh’s dad as a strange, detached person. He wasn’t home much, except on weekends. Maybe, because he was a lawyer who worked in another district. He didn’t talk much and I was careful to steer clear of him. And, I had this nagging feeling that he didn’t like my being there. Well, that was the impression I got.

One day, I asked Suresh, “Dude, is your dad mad at me or something?”

“Oh, no Henry Aiya,” Suresh said, “That’s his nature. Don’t worry about that. Actually some days he asks Mommy about you, like if you had your meals!”

Maybe because he was a man of law, even the dinner was a silent affair when he was home.  Silence reigned. Even Umesh used short, formal answers like “Yes sir!”, “No sir” when talking to his own dad, which looked a bit weird to me. It reminded me of the movie “The Sound Of Music”
And, dad was unpredictable and would yell at anybody, anywhere. And, he voiced his opinion aloud, to the embarrassment of his anyone who had to accompany him, no matter what.

“Henry Aiya, I don’t want to go anywhere with him if I can avoid it in the first place," Suresh said one day. “You never know what he’d do."

"Sometimes Mommy sends me with him by force. And, on top of that, I have to carry his awful fabric satchel, too. You know what happened one day?"

"Mommy asked me to go with him to where he works. I had no choice. So both of us went there and we stayed the night in his boarding place. So early next morning, both of us were at the bus stop to come back to Kandy. First thing he did was handing that dreadful, old fashioned, snake charmer's satchel to me. Dude, I hate to carry that, but again, I had no choice.

Now both of us were standing there at the bus stop. Dad opened a newspaper. More and more people started arriving.  I slowly slipped the bag off my shoulder and left it on the ground because I saw some school girls join the waiting crowd. They were giggling and wriggling from the time they came and I was also becoming very interested in them by the minute.  And, actually one pretty chick was giving me the eye. Yeah. And I took one more step away from the incriminating bag.

And my heart was picking up speed in excitement when things started to go wrong.  Actually that morning, bad luck arrived on four legs, in the form of a stray dog. He first sniffed the metal pole of the bus stop, lifted his paw and watered it.

The bored dudes at the bus stop who had nothing better to do, watched this with amusement. The giggle-ready  girls giggled.

But I didn’t. My sixth sense switched to over drive and recognized the impending doom. The world stood still. I sensed it that day in every hair of my body, I felt cold sweat break out on my forehead and back. And, my throat felt dry like sandpaper. I distinctly felt my heart pounding a double beat in my head.

This goddamn dog marked his territory on the metal pole and made a U turn to go. Then he saw the damned satchel on the ground and paused. He trotted over to it with a twinkle in his eye and sniffed it. I froze. No way! How could  I claim the satchel now?

The rest happened in slow motion. The dog lifted the paw over Dad’s satchel and sprinkled it. I felt dizzy. Girls giggled louder. One dude, blurted out, “Shit, whose bag is that?”

Dad who had buried his nose in the newspaper all this time must have heard that remark. He lowered the paper and peered over his glasses. I watched in dismay as his eyes  bulged out.   His face distorted, He gritted his teeth and screamed, “Are you blind, you idiot? Didn’t you see that damned dog pissing on the damned bag?”
I felt naked. I felt my cheeks burning. I wished I simply disappeared from the face of this earth. Girls giggled louder and I saw them covering their mouths to the corner of my eyes while I bent over to pick up the satchel. And as I hugged the bag, that now dripped dog pee, the girls roared with laughter.

Just then, the bus arrived. Everybody jostled  and shoved to board it. Daddy seemed to have suddenly lost interest to get home early. “Let’s catch the next bus, this seems to be crowded,” dad said, surely out of the empathy he felt towards me."


  1. omg....... if my father were like this, i would rather kill my self.

    But with his last action, i feel that he is also an ordinary father who thinks about his son than he shows he does.

    1. Yes Sindhu, people are neither black nor white. They come in many shades of gray.

  2. In one of your earlier posts you have mentioned that you can't locate the Padidilians. It seems that your buddies are in the UAE. Try googling "Umesh Padidilian" or "Suresh Padidilian". Also, you will find some Padidilians here at

    1. Anonymous, thanks very much for your concern. I read your previous comment ,too. Actually I tried this last year, too. I sent them messages and even to their sister who worked in a Colombo school as an English teacher. I didn't get a reply. Maybe they aren't visiting their Facebooks any more.
      Thanks again.

  3. oh noooooooooooo imagine the embarrassment and the mere grosness [ i think i just invented a word :D] cuddling the dog pee dripping back.

    and dude see anonymous comment! looks like you could find your friends after all. let us know about the mission as it progresses ok

    nice story well said with superb drawings to accompany it :D

    1. Grossness is already there, isn't it?
      Thanks for appreciating the story and the artwork both.

  4. Macho, dogs are dogs, boys are boys and fathers are fathers ...!

    1. Gamini ayiyaa Aren't you sleeping ?? 3.51 A.M ???

    2. Exactly Gamini. Well said! Thanks machan.

      Weni, he is sometimes nocturnal, like his subjects. :D

  5. Oh dear ! poor guy better piss in his pants himself...
    One of the disgusting (?) behavior (on my personal opinion) of dogs are this making territory by themselves.. But still better than fence and walls..

    1. Weni, they aren't the only animals who do that. Ask Gamini.
      Thanks Weni.

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  6. Oh Noo! What an unlucky moment :(
    May be his father behave like that because of his proffesion na.
    Even he is tough, he had sensed his sons' feelings.

    1. Well, it's difficult to explain. Personalities are in shades of grey, not black nor white, aren't they?
      Thanks Giman.

  7. Dude,

    I hope this guy will see these posts someday or another.

    1. Looks like that day would never come deejay. Now it is high time!

  8. Oh, My! How embarrassing!Some people are insensitive and that is their nature.I feel really sorry for this boy and angry for the father. I think he waited for the next bus because he was guilty conscious.

    1. Blue Lotus, like I said to Giman, it's difficult to judge people with one isolated incident as people's personalities come in shades of grey. His exterior was hostile, but he could be entirely different inside. I didn't mean to judge him anyway. I was just describing a very embarrassing situation.



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