“Can you imagine….the dog is called Morris Rider!!?” exclaimed Father as he put the phone down. He had just spoken to his brother who was sending him a Labrador pup all the way from Delhi. “Morris is being brought from Delhi by Mr D’Silva and his son Peter.”
Son was obviously thrilled at the news of a pet coming home, but at the same time a tad confused about the name. Err.. Morris Rider? Sounded like a vintage car to him, but he decided not to be a kill joy.
“Dad, the pup was reared by an Anglo Indian family, that explains the name I feel. Anyway, it doesn’t matter. Mr D’Silva and son will leave the following day and we can change his name.”
“Yes. I agree…. It is not a big deal.” Father dropped the subject.
Mother chose not to comment. The news of a pet joining their family, one which had a name as exotic as Morris Rider definitely added to the excitement and of course, amusement. That seemed sufficient for her.
The next day Father and Son woke up ahead of their alarms, dressed and got ready in time to meet Morris Rider. They reached the station way in advance and Father made the third phone call to Mr D’Silva, while the Son kept asking the station master for the nth time when the train from Delhi would reach. Patience was clearly not a family virtue and Morris Rider may have to live with that.
Finally the much awaited train reached the station and Mr D’Silva, Peter and of course another VIP got off the compartment to be greeted by Father and Son in much joy.
“Good Morning, Mr Bakshi. It is a pleasure to meet you finally. Your brother talks very highly of you.”
Mr D’Silva’s husky voice made some of the co-passengers turn around and his son, a gawky 18 year old stood next to him shifting his weight from one feet to the other. It was obvious that Peter was dragged by his father to deliver Morris Rider into safe hands.
“Pleased to meet you too Mr D’Silva. How was your journey? Come, let me take you all home for some excellent breakfast. Btw how is our champ doing?” Father was waiting to catch a good look.
“Oh he is great. He did not cause any trouble during the journey. He is a very friendly dog I tell u!”
“Labs are always friendly dad” quipped Peter.
Mr D’Silva ignored his son’s comments and followed Father to the car. He slipped into the seat next to Father and Son chose to sit behind with Peter with the pup's cage on his lap. It looked like a bird cage to Son, but he decided not to start a discussion around it.
The team was home in less than half an hour and Morris Rider had already started whining on the way.
“I think he is hungry… he has not had his morning milk” Peter remarked.
“Sure, Sure.. we will feed him right away” Father called out to Mother and both Mother and Son were busy with Morris Rider. He was quite a looker, unbelievably cute and cuddly for a 3 month old Labrador pup. He was famished after a long train journey and finished the milk in no time. Then he hopped around Mother, till she raised her voice to indicate there was no more food coming his way.
Most mothers typically try to be stern with their off springs and this one somehow decided to treat Morris Rider the same way as well. She kept yelling “Sit Sit.. …….SIT.”
Father heard this and ran to the kitchen “For heaven’s sake, stop it woman!.... Morris is just 3 months old. He cannot be trained at this age… for now you can shout at your son. Not the pup!”
Mother almost had a quick retort coming, but on seeing Mr D’Silva and Peter, she immediately changed her mind and kept quiet.
Son noticed that Peter was trying to control his laughter, ….maybe he has never seen anyone getting shouted at? Or maybe Father was being too protective about Morris Rider? Mr D’Silva kept a straight face and seemed quite embarrassed. Son realized that maybe he was feeling a little odd to be witnessing a family squabble, and that too for something so silly.
After a heavy meal, Father was in high spirits and so was Morris Rider. Mr D’Silva and the son watched the duo as they played.
Father would pretend like he was running, trying to move around the room, making rapid movements to catch Morris Rider’s attention. The Son was feeling a tad jealous that Morris Rider had not yet warmed up to him.
“Morrsis.. Morris… come here..” Father called out.
Morris Rider would take a few steps and then stop and wag his tiny tail and let out a small bark.
“Hahaha! Morris is so cute no..” gushed Mother
Father continued “ Morris… come to me.. now.. ….... that’s my boy ....good boy Morris!” Father took him in his lap and patted the wriggling pup. Morris Rider seemed to say “Let me GO ……..!”
Mr D’Silva sat quietly all through this public display of love and affection and Son also noticed that every time Father called out to Morris Rider, Mr D”Silva would shift uncomfortably in his chair, his face reddening. Peter had risen from his chair and excused himself with a big grin on his face.
The Son knew there was something going on, but once again dismissed it off as something trivial.
The day passed by rather quickly and most of the time the family would play with their new found friend , Morris Rider or watch TV in between. Mr D’Silva made a few phone calls and in between discussed the global economy with Father. Peter could not care less. The guests retired to sleep as early as 8 pm.
Son remembered reading in of his Enid Blyton novels about how Julian, Dick, Anne, George and even Timmy the dog would have their supper at 7.00 pm and go to sleep by 8.30 pm, unless of course they were out exploring a secret passage and snooping around with their flash lights. Then he stopped, he didn’t know why he was suddenly reminded of Enid Blyton. It could also be because that was the only book he had read about foreigners, phirangs as his mother referred to them. "Anglo Indians are lot like them you know...." he had overheard his mother tell the aunty opposite their house. She was discussing what to cook for the phirangs.
The next morning again Father and Son woke up early, putting their alarm clocks to shame, and dressed quickly to drop their guests off at the station. Morris Rider was taking his power nap.
Father thanked Mr D’Silva for having taken the trouble to carry Morris Rider all the way from Delhi. Mother packed gifts for Mr and Mrs D’Silva and Peter in an attractive ethnic bag. “Desi bags are what these phirangs are fond of” she whispered to Father.
“Good Lord! They are not phirangs , …… never mind” Father was in no mood for another altercation and he didn’t want his guests to witness another brawl.
Mr D’Silva and Peter decided not to wake Morris Rider and tip toed to the car where Father and Son sat waiting for them. They reached the station on time and Father bragged about how time management was one of his fortes, and how he had trained his wife and son to be just like him.
The men shook hands, bade farewell and just when the station master began to wave the flag, Father decided to ask an important question.
“Thank you very much Mr D’Silva…… I am sorry. I didn’t get your first name….”
Mr D’Silva quickly stepped onto the train before answering the question.
Father repeated his question. “Actually…….what did you say your first name was??”
Mr D’Silva smiled and waved as the train honked and started to move.
“Morris….. Mr Bakshi.” Then as to reiterate, he added. “My name is Morris Schneider D’Silva”
It was Father’s turn to turn red while Son tried to control his laughter. As for Mr D’Silva, he was glad that the train had picked up speed.