Chait is a man of few words, with a quiet dedication to his wife, his family, his rugby pals and, above all, his dogs. Having grown up with pets, Chait desperately wants a dog, so his journalist wife, Gauri finally relents and gets Simba, a mischievous Labrador puppy, who has a clear preference for Chait.
As the months turn into years, Simba nuzzles his soft furry way into Gauri’s heart, even as he insists on sharing the bed with his ‘parents’, never obeys anyone but Chait, and shows a rather perilous affection for violent strays. When Gauri and Chait realise they are expecting their first child, Gauri becomes concerned. Will Simba be jealous or remain his affectionate self? But after a deeply harrowing experience, in which both Chait and Simba’s lives are at risk, Gauri and Chait discover that no concerns can ever come in the way of their lasting love for Simba.
A wonderful story of life and love in Mumbai, of friendships built around pets, of moving visits with pet psychics and of family ties; a narrative that creates a profound and genuinely enlivening picture of life as it is actually lived in India: heartfelt, passionate, warm and deeply human.
Although Simba’s arrival opened up our world in many ways, our experiences with him were not all sweetness and light. One in particular stands out which made us realise how accidents can happen, no matter how much one believes in pre-emptive action. Simba’s habit of sleeping on the bed had been accepted by us both as we couldn’t really get him to sleep separately. At the time I don’t suppose we tried too hard either. Chait, having grown up with dogs, was extremely lenient with Simba’s furry body sprawled over the mattress. I, courtesy the poltergeist, preferred Simba to be close to me at night. And when Simba, growing bigger, learned to hog most of the bed, Chait and I simply adjusted to sleeping in discomfort.
Upon waking, Simba would squeeze himself around the room’s side door that we always kept ajar, to be taken for his walk at around 6 am by the household help. On his return he would enter the room again and snooze till around 8am. At 8 am precisely, he would park himself fully on Chait’s face, making sure the ﬂuffy fur snuffed out any notion of breath. This continued on all days that Chait didn’t leave
early morning for rugby training. Having ensured Chait’s waking by the effective blockage of all air to the lungs, Simba would then proceed to roll on the bed, rubbing himself all over the sheet, nipping at the pillow or occasionally at Chait’s arm in a gesture of affection, even as Chait gave him a sleepy good-morning rub. While this entire ritual was only loving from start to ﬁnish, it held a very real danger – that of a paw or worse a claw in Chait’s eye.
About the author:
Gauri Sinh was born and brought up in Mumbai, India. She graduated from the University of Mumbai with a degree in English and went on to emerge as a top-ten finalist in the Ms. India contest. She worked as a model briefly before marrying into Indian royalty. She then worked as Editor of the Bombay Times, the lifestyle and entertainment supplement of the largest-selling English broadsheet newspaper in the world, The Times of India, before taking a break to have her daughter. It was during this break that she wrote Dog-Send, the Story of Simba. Today she is Editor of After Hours (the lifestyle and entertainment supplement of DNA, the second largest English broadsheet newspaper in Mumbai city) and is once again covering stories on Mumbai – the city she knows and loves best.