Mission Delhi – Dino, Udyog Vihar
One of the one percent in 13 million.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
Dino is socially very active. Not in real life but on social media. His Instagram account, @dino_thesuperdog, is as old as him—3 years. And his handle has 4,831 followers.
In real life, he is a much quieter soul. Very calm. He rarely barks.
Dino is a labrador. He was born in Hyderabad and arrived in Gurgaon’s Udyog Vihar in the Greater Delhi Region last year in March, with a roommate who works in the advertising industry. This evening Dino is chatting on WhatsApp, his photos taken through the phone screen that connects him to The Delhi Walla.
“Actually, Dino has no conception of mobile phone,” says his roomie, “but he does get alert when he hears his name being called out from the phone, and then he runs straight for his toys to channel his excitement.” Dino’s antennas also stand up whenever anybody says the word “chicken”—he is very fond of eating chicken.
Dino is wildly popular among his roomie’s friends. One of them calls the roomie daily on WhatsApp video just to chat with Dino. These friends think of Dino as a party animal. “Because he loves people,” the roomie insists, explaining that his friends would visit his apartment often, sit on the bed in a circle and “Dino would jump right into the middle, looking happy and secured surround by humans he knows.”
In fact, he is so fond of humans that the roomie believes that if thieves were to crash into their home, Dino would rather play with the intruders than bark at them. To tell the truth, Dino doesn’t bark at all except when he’s sleeping “and sometimes then you can hear him barking softly.”
The pandemic hasn’t spared Dino. The coronavirus-induced lockdown has made it impossible for any visitor to travel to his home. He has been alone with his roomie for more than a month.
“But he also has Mister Rooster for company,” the roomie says, referring to a beaked man-shaped rubber chew toy.
At this moment Dino is lying quietly under the bed, but he instantly springs out on noticing his Mister Rooster in the roomie’s hand. Dino leaps towards the yellow figure, opens his mouth and affectionately starts chewing Mister Rooster, whose face continues to look calm.
The next moment, Dino looks bored. He gives out a long wide yawn, showing an explicit view of the molars inside his mouth. He walks to the front garden of his house and curiously looks about the sky—probably searching for a clickable scene for his next eagerly awaited Instagram post.
[This is the 300th portrait of Mission Delhi project]
The super dog