Isn’t loyalty about dogs?


This morning I was reading about Mukesh Ambani’s proposed House Warming ceremony. House Warming? More like, Tower Warming. A family occupying a whole tower next to a shanty caging enough people to fill that tower- Nothing sums up India’s paradox better.

The papers are full of such tower ads these days, each one claiming to be taller than the other. Ever wondered how undies flying off the clothesline from those heights can become a celestial event for the rest of us? Someone watering their balcony plants up there could mean unseasonal rains for the shanties on the ground. Would the kid on the top floor be saying, This weekend let’s go down to Lonavala, papa? Would friends call from earth asking, So what’s the weather up there like? Would a saree-clad maid jumping off the terrace land safely like a parajumper?

‘Are you worried about Mani at all?’ my wife’s voice brought me plummeting down to my modest flat.

‘You mean M-a-n-i?’ I clarified before I ventured any further.

‘Yes. He’s been missing for five days. Did you even notice it?’

My heart sank. What five days? My Inner Voice has been missing for ten days- does anyone notice that? But I quickly stopped myself from going that quicksand route, and with genuine concern said, ‘Now that you say, yes. But what happened?’

‘Oh, he’s going around with Venkat’s Karupu. They were seen taking a stroll in the park, fur in fur.’

I laughed. ‘Hey, that’s romantic.’

‘The security guy caught them behind the bushes last night,’ she complained as if they were our son and Venkat’s daughter.

‘Really? So finally he has, huh,’ I said feeling twentish.

‘What do you mean? Karupu is a male!’ she screamed, and looked all set to say something socially unacceptable. I jumped in.

‘So what? It’s okay. It’s a done thing, you know. And Mani is only a cat. You can’t lecture him, can you?’

‘The society secretary has ordered that the two be thrown out of the compound. He feels they would corrupt the young minds in the society,’ she said, absolving herself of all parental responsibility.

‘We can’t let him. That’s our Mani!’ I protested.

‘No, he’s Karupu’s Mani. I’ve disowned him. Let him go start life afresh. What else can I say? What loyalty has he shown to us? Walked out on us just like that, with someone he has met maybe a few days ago? What about all the paalan-poshan I did? What about all the upuma, sambar rice and all that I fed him with so much love and care all these years?’

She was now rambling like a hurt mom and an envious mom-in-law. I followed her as she purposefully walked out of our flat. There was a committee gathering at Venkat’s flat. Honour Ousting, I guess. I recoiled into my flat and closed the door.

Cats and loyalty? I sat there wondering. Isn’t loyalty all about dogs?

Hey, I’ve heard that before somewhere. Why, of course! It came like flash floods into my parched head.

I had gone to put in my papers during one of my early job switches, and had been asked, ‘But Ramesh, isn’t there anything called loyalty?’ That had hurt me. That night just when I had made up my mind to withdraw my resignation the next day, I had heard my Inner Voice. For the next one week our fight had raged on like a wild forest fire. By the time, I had out-shouted my Inner Voice and decided to do as I please, my farewell party had been on.

Though I had moved on to another agency and things had only become better, I had never really acknowledged that fact ever.

Much was said about loyalty in that forest-fire week. Some of that came hurtling back into my head.

‘Loyalty is meant for the dogs. Don’t thrust it as a virtue on yourself or others. Don’t be fooled, it’s a vice in the garb of a virtue, very well marketed by selfish employees, bossy leaders, dominating parents, possessive pet owners and general slave drivers. It’s singularly responsible for most ills of the world. What we pass off as loyalty to dear ones is nothing but nepotism. What we call loyalty to friends is after all favouritism. Loyalty to one’s religion, language, caste, region and race is nothing but fanaticism. And isn’t fierce loyalty to any cause what eventually leads to extremism? Shun loyalty. If there’s one value that we must possess, then that should be fairness. Say what’s fair, do what’s fair to everyone and everything, at all times. That’s what will make this world a more peaceful and happier place.’

Strange how I remembered so much of that, in spite of rubbishing it then.

Is all this getting too senti? Do you think I’m beginning to miss my Inner Voice? Do you think I’ve wronged? It’s a strange feeling…This clip sort of tells you how I feel.


2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by madhu on October 18, 2010 at 2:32 pm

    very strange and intresting thought.


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