In response to Daily prompt : Unpopular -Tell us about a time when you had to choose between two options, and you picked the unpopular choice.
Sometimes unpopular choice invite awkward reactions.
We were sitting on the top deck of the launch(a make shift house boat),cruising slowly in and out of the innumerable narrow waterways of the dense Sundarban mangrove forests.Besides the three of us( Husband, Junior and me), there was another group on the boat – a big group with grandparents, children and adults.
A chirpy, loud, cheerful crowd with infectious enthusiasm. A friendly lot.
The grandfather looked very excited. He puffed on his cigarette and theatrically exclaimed ‘Apurbo !(beautiful)….. Asadharan!(extra ordinary)…. Dekhbar moto!( must see)’ every five minutes.
Now and then,his sons, son-in-laws standing near the rails,shouted ‘TIGER !!’ and pointed in the direction of an island, sending waves of excitement in the group. False alarms.
The children walked up and down the deck. Junior gelled well with them and joined the gang.
I sat near the womenfolk who were busy chatting and peeling oranges. Husband was busy with his camera and away from the noise and din.
‘Eeesh !( my God) it’s 9 o’clock already,’ one of the ladies sitting near me exclaimed and fished out a mobile phone from her huge hand bag and pressed the keys urgently.
‘How are Rin Tin and Pim Pim ? Did they sleep well ? Are they missing me ? Did they eat properly? Give the phone to them, at once. I want to talk to them,‘ she blurted as soon as she heard a voice on the other side.
Everyone on the deck was all ears – the children stopped playing, the men turned towards the ladies and listened attentively.
‘Olaay Baba, shona, how are you? Did you take your vitamins on time?Don’t be naughty,‘ she continued. She sounded and looked miserable.
‘The doctor in Park Street is excellent. I took my Lucy there. He gave a new diet chart and prescribed strong medication.Worked like magic. I’ll message you his number,‘ said the other lady.
Now I had no intention of eves dropping ,but the lady sounded concerned and the names Rin Tin and Pim Pim caught my attention.
‘ Is everything fine?’ I inquired politely.’Must be tough to leave the children at home?’ I added.
‘ Yes, yes.I miss them so much. they are like my children – my darling dogs – Rin Tin and Pim Pim,’said the grieving lady with a touch of maternal pride in her voice.
The rest of the family joined in- grandfather, the men and the children. Nostalgically,they told me all about their dogs-dead and alive. I told them about the dogs I had as a child.They shared their expert tips on the best breeds and pedigree. They told me how one can ascertain the nature of a dog by looking at its ears and paw. They informed me about the best and worst vets in town.They recalled the funny stories about their furry pals and laughed. Proudly they showed me hundreds of the pictures of dogs on their mobile phones. The children, including Junior, crowded around the ladies and shouted the names of dogs as their aunt/mother flipped through the pictures.
Then the unexpected happened.
The grandfather turned to Junior and asked ‘ So, what is the name of your dog, son?’
‘ I LIKE CATS.’ pat came the reply.
Everyone froze. The crowd dispersed – the men slowly walked away, the children hurdled near their mothers and looked at Junior is disbelief. The ladies muttered something under their breath.
I smiled apologetically and pulled Junior to my side.