Mr D was formerly known as Rocky in the seedy gullies of an urban neighborhood. He has many aliases: Dasho, Dashette, Dashlight, DashDash, Daasappa, Dasho-babu. He is, now RED ( Retired and Extremely Dangerous, like the oldies from that zany Bruce Willis movie, yes). We’d do well to never forget this – charming, intriguing old dawg, not to be taken for granted. Period. Never touch him unless he says you can. Many have paid a hefty price for having wanted to slap his tempting backside. He is built kinda weird. Stocky, strong-shouldered, short legs, longish body, like a sausage dog, but white all over and curly-tailed. Taller than a typical dachshund but distinctly reminds you of a dachshund. Agree?
Which is where the current ‘Dash’ comes from, the anglicised ‘dashund’ instead of the German ‘daks-hʊnt‘. He was referred to as the weird ‘Dashund’ look-alike and the ‘Dash’ stuck. Oh well. One should have first looked up what the German ‘dachs’ meant. So much for his name. I suspect he has MPD. Who wouldn’t with the many names he’s got…aren’t we all?
Of course Dash is more than just his name. His past is shrouded in mystery– like just about every Indiggo you’ll meet. I’m not even sure of how old or young he is. He was the third wheel to Kalu’s pack of 3. (More on Kalu later). Kalu stuck to his sister. (More on the sister too). The 3 of them lay musketeer-like waiting for God-alone-knows-what on raised platforms in front of various shops when I first noticed them. At other times, they slept on the landing over a dark flight of stairs above a tiny chai shop. It was a great hide-out; quiet, dark, away from the noisy hustle and bustle below. On hot summer afternoons, it was a cool place for siestas and they only came down at tea-time for biscuits to be bummed off bhaiyyas smoking at the chai shop or sauntered up to the momo stall farther down the street.
So, Dash stuck around and was tolerated by Kalu and his sister. Tolerated – because Dash was often picked on by all and sundry. His relatively small build and twisted legs made him an easy target. Life in the streets isn’t exactly a bed of roses, I’m sure you know. Even for 4 legged folk. He was always up for a fight though. He’d seen so many, he took them all in stride. He also gave off the air of someone you didn’t want to mess with. Explains why he was called Rocky methinks. He had mad dark eyes (had being the important word here). Besides, he and K needed each other; 8 legs and 2 sets of jaws were better than 4 legs and 1 jaw any day; especially when territorial rights needed reinstating constantly.. The musketeers needed all the strength they could muster between them and they always rose to the challenge. (A little preview: the sister was the brain behind these two ragtag bouncers, still is).
You could see the two of them, D and K even on biting cold winter nights, at the cross-roads next to the chai shop, standing or sitting, back- to-back, keeping a sharp lookout for intruders after all the humans had turned in. They took the job very very seriously. Not sure the people in the hood appreciated it much, or were even aware of how fastidious these Indiggos are about guarding their chosen territories. Any stirring from rival packs down the streets or from people returning from late-night revelries and the sister, stationed on the landing above would set up a siren. K and D would jump up immediately, howling and barking. If the intruders were other 4 legged folk, major snarling and gnashing of teeth ensued; a good old-fashioned street fight, with a couple of broken bones and teeth to account for the brawl. If the night crawlers were good ol’ 2 legged humans from the hood, all was well, much wagging of tails (if the humans were friendly) would happen. In the latter case, usually K and D had to move aside quickly to make way. It was important and demanding sentry work. No wonder they slept through all day long when the people came out of their houses. They may as well have been called Didi and Gogo. Wonder why I didn’t think of that earlier.