Saturday, November 10, 2012

The station dog.






Nine thirty on a Saturday morning and it's already hot. Touching 100 degrees. For reasons I'll come back to ( but which involve ' the font ', enthusiasm, and a new found passion for archaeology ) we are changing trains in the middle of nowhere. A place so remote even the yoghurt stall is unattended. '' It's an adventure " says ' the font '. Angus , looking out across a featureless desert towards a family of vultures perching on a dead acacia tree , is less sure.

Time passes. Our connecting train is nowhere to be seen. A bored group of children wander along the platform and stand staring at us. Their mothers join them. To better enjoy the entertainment they finally settle cross legged on the floor. From time to time one of them points at Angus and laughs. A man carrying a large metal pot on his head stops and tells us his brothers wife has a cousin in Pittsburgh. '' Do we know him ? ".

Suddenly there is a bout of activity. An electric platform polisher appears. Then  three police constables, two men in garish ties and no less than a dozen gentlemen carrying a red carpet come rushing out of the booking hall. Amid much arguing the carpet is first laid this way, then that. Finally it is taped to the stairs . A flag pole is retrieved from the station managers office and placed proudly, if slightly drunkenly, at the point where the platform carpet meets the stair carpet. Marigolds are scattered on the ground . The Maharajah is coming to town.

Minutes later what seems to be the biggest train in the world arrives. Thirty freshly painted, pristinely monogrammed, red and black carriages. It rushes through the station, brakes, then amid much banging and crashing slowly reverses back. The carpet is in the wrong place. Managers, policemen, and factotums run along the platform dragging the carpet behind them . After another ten minutes of shunting and whistle blowing , carpet and the Maharajahs carriage door are in some sort of alignment. A band starts to play. A camel and two horses appear in the ticket hall.

It's at this moment the station dog arrives. Ignoring the crowds, the camel, the honour guard, the drummers, the three policemen and the railway officials he wanders down the carpeted stairs and onto the platform. He casts a wizened '' what's all this about ? " gaze along the line of carriages. Satisfied that there's nothing to eat he carefully lifts a hind leg and christens the flag pole. The station masters assistant , horrified at this breach of etiquette, leaves the welcoming committee and rushes down the platform clapping his hands  while wildly shouting '' Shoo ! Shoo ! ". The dog looks to see what all the fuss is about and then slowly and disdainfully  disappears onto the track.

This is why Angus likes dogs. Pomp and ceremony may impress humans but it takes a lot more to impress an Indian station dog.



( Eagle eyed readers will note that the photos are dated April 11th 2012. This is because Angus has 'repaired' the problem with the date stamp on the i-phone. It seems all photos in future will be stamped with this date ).

21 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  2. Welcome back Angus!! What a delightful story to return with! I totally agree about pomp and ceremony, dogs really do have it right!

    By the way, I read the date on the photos as November 4th 2012--Here in the US, as you know, the number of the month is always the first number in that particular format.

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  3. Oh my, I'm so happy to have you back...you were missed.
    What a funny story, but then again once a dog is the main character (and not the Maharajah), it will pique my interest. I am still laughing.
    I was wondering what was up with the mis-dated photos, but do a Google search and I'm sure some cyber techie has a way to correct it. We can't have all your photos stamped with 11/04/2012 from now on.
    As I said I am so GLAD you and the Font are back.

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  4. That is hilarious!!! The part about if you know the cousin in Pittsburgh reminds of when my darling aunties came over from Scotland for a visit. They thought that we could take the day and go to visit some cousins in British Columbia, three provinces away from us. Which would only take 2 days to get there. Bless them, bless that lovely station dog, and have a great adventure!

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  5. Welcome home, Angus and The Font! Mitzi the Dog and the Green Magpie and I have been anxiously awaiting your return from India and have eagerly looked forward to hearing such tales from the road. Wonderful! Thank you for the smiles, and for including a dog in your very first post. :)

    I think you "fixed" the iPhone just fine, BTW. Its American brain thinks "11/04/2012" means the 4th of November. Silly Americans. ;)

    Purple Magpie and Mitzi the Dog in California

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  6. Interesting slice of life in the middle of nowhere. The dog totally "gets" it.

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  7. Of course a Scottish fellow living in France knows the cousin in Pittsburgh, lol!! Love the station dog! It seems the officials at the train station operate similarily as those in your little French village.

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  8. The scene is so beautifully described. Although I confess I scrolled back up to check the pictures and am a tad disappointed at the absence of camel.
    Cheers,
    Gail (looking forward to hearing more about the new found passion for archaeology...)

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  9. Goodness, do Maharajas still get the treatment?
    Only the dog and it's actions bring the scene into the present day.
    Welcome home friends.

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  10. The station dog knows the real world - love how he came down the carpet! Welcome back - good to hear from you again.

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  11. I was really hoping the station dog would take a huge dump coming down the carpet, but the pee was OK.

    Stella

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  12. Looking forward to the rest of the story..stories.

    Welcome back!

    Joan and the Barkalots

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  13. That's why SHE likes dogs, as well.

    XXXOOO Daisy, bella & roxy

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  14. A great story! It sounds like the station dog impressed you more than the most extravagant train in India - proof that the things that make us smile most often have nothing to do with their cost or how fancy they are.

    Enjoy watching the Scotland versus AB's game.

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  15. What a great story. I think that's one reason why I like dogs too.

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  16. HAHAHA! What a wonderful story :-) Like Kim, as an American, I just thought the photos were taken last week! Silly me...

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  17. What experiences you have.

    Little children sitting crossed legged watching you? Gosh, are you that funny looking!

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  18. I just loved your story, Mongoose! You certainly haven't lost your touch.
    Sending lots of love to you and the Font. Enjoy your adventures.

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  19. You are such a good storyteller - lucky to be there just when action takes place. Any puppies in sight???
    Love from Southern Italy susanne, Daisy, Foxiie and Kiri

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  20. Love the story!

    Hope you get that date issue sorted! Thought you had 'American' with your dates when I first saw the photos!

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