Letter from England - Kaloo, Part II

Letter from England – Kaloo, Part II

Life in a new land.

[Text by Mayank Austen Soofi; photos from Marina Bang]

Can a Delhi dog feel at home in the smog-free English countryside?

In October 2013, The Delhi Walla described his farewell meeting with Kaloo, a former street dog who was preparing to leave our city for a new home in England.

Kaloo’s parents were moving from their bungalow in central Delhi’s Jorbagh to the United Kingdom. Kaloo’s mother Marina told me:

“In England, Kaloo will live in a village in the Oxfordshire countryside in a garden adjoining a paddock. Instead of Lodhi Gardens, he’ll enjoy walks beside the river Thames, and — along with many Japanese tourists — strolls through the churchyard of St Mary’s, Cholsey, where Agatha Christie is buried.”

A few weeks later I received a letter from Marina, along with a couple of photos of Kaloo and his brother Brownie — he too was formerly a native of Jorbagh bylanes. Marina wrote:

“As I write, Kaloo is curled up beside the fire with Brownie. Kaloo took to the fields with gusto, chasing rabbits and pheasants, looking at sheep in Ryman’s fields. For a moment, when they were first let off the lead, they paused, and then, without a backward glance, charged off across the fields after a flock of crows.

In the distance was the outline of Wittenham Clumps, twin chalk hills on which ancient beech trees grow, and where a tree — the Poem Tree — once stood into which had been carved a 20-line poem by a local maltster called Joseph Tubb.

To the dogs, long grass is a novelty. They don’t like muddy puddles and seem to walk on tiptoes when passing one. Nearby is the The Parish Church of St Mary’s where Agatha Christie is buried with her husband, the archaeologist orientalist Sir Max Mallowan. Beside it lies a copy of her And Then There Were None — one of the best-selling books of all time — placed there by an admirer.

Back home the dogs eat two large meals a day made with biskoots and a mix of minced offcuts from the local butcher, which is sold for a pound (100 rupees) and is enough for several meals. Bones are a treat when their grandparents enjoy the occasional roast.”

Kaloo has moved on. Delhi too has learned to live with his absence.

Kaloo in England