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Saturday, December 04, 2021

Chp 876. Dobby's journal: Finally, Neihbawih!

Finally, after travelling across more than 2500 KM from Uttarakhand to Mizoram, I reached my destination - Neihbawih!

Dobby here. Welcome back to my blog update.

For those who are new, I am a one-year-old Indian pariah dog rescued from the street of Dehradun. I've been updating pappa Kima's blog with my journal for some time now. In case you missed my previous two posts, you can read them by clicking the links below:

It was indeed an unforgettable journey to travel all the way from Dehradun to Neihbawih.

After such a long journey, it was good to finally reach Mizoram, the home state of mommy Lalani and pappa Kima.

I was completely tired and malnourished by the time I reached mommy Lalani's home at Bungkawn Vengthar, Aizawl, Mizoram.

Not that I didn't have anything to eat. My handler uncle Prince and my two new uncles, uncle Tesawma and uncle U Ruata gave me plenty of food, but I just didn't feel like eating anything. I missed mommy Lalani and Dehradun so much!

Every day, I would just stare at the road endlessly, waiting for mommy Lalani to reach Mizoram too. I spent many years and decades doing only that.

Ok, I'm exaggerating a bit. Mommy Lalani reached Mizoram the very next day, but it felt like years to me because I missed her so much.

Yayyy, finally in the loving arms of mommy Lalani again!

I also finally got to meet pappa Kima for the first time. Our first time meeting was a bit awkward.

But soon I warmed up to him. He's such an amazing and sweet person!

Every day he would come to mommy Lalani's house and spend the whole day with us.

Sometimes we would just sleep together on the bed, just the three of us - me, pappa Kima and my new sister Maggie.

Pappa Kima would always bring food for mommy Lalani and me whenever he came.

I was going to miss mommy Lalani so much.

So I tried to disturb her as much as I could before she headed back to Dehradun. Just for old time's sake.

This one time, uncle Tesawma took me, mommy Lalani and pappa Kima to their farm at Bungbangla.

Even though I enjoyed the journey, I got motion sick again and vomited along the way. Mommy Lalani spent the entire journey cleaning it up :D

Mommy Lalani's farm was beautiful and I finally got to run around a lot.

I ran in the mud as usual, and mommy Lalani had to clean me up, as usual.

I really love mommy Lalani's farm, but she told me it wasn't safe for me. There was a quarry nearby that would blast this really loud explosive sound all the time, and the people around the farm were known to do "bad things" to my kind.

We soon headed back to mommy Lalani's house.

I love mommy Lalani's house too, but to be honest, there was hardly any space for me to run around. That's the problem with most houses in the city. They were not built for us doggos to run around. Very selfish hoomans.

Just like Dehradun, I was still up to my mischief in Aizawl, like digging through the garbage bin even though I had good food on my plate.

And just like Dehradun, mommy Lalani or one of my uncles would punish me.

Every time mommy Lalani had to leave the house for work, I would miss her so much.

And finally, the dreaded day arrived. The day mommy Lalani had to go back to Dehradun. That was a very sad day. :(

The initial plan was for pappa Kima to take me directly to his farm from mommy Lalani's house once she went back to Dehradun.

However, pappa Kima suddenly had a toothache! It was probably because of all the food and sweet stuff he ate with mommy Lalani. They really ate so much! All they did together was eat, eat, and eat.

And so, pappa Kima made an appointment with a dentist. Because of that, pappa Kima couldn't take me to his farm, and so he took me to his home instead.

But at pappa Kima's house, his own dog Snowy was hell-bent on not having me in the house! Pappa Kima's family tried their best to calm Snowy down but he was beyond any control. This is Snowy.

Finally, it was decided that I would stay at pappa Kima's cousin's house temporarily. They all lived together in one colony anyway, so pappa Kima was right next door.

I spent the night there at uncle Hriata's house.

Pappa Kima's sister aunty Deedee too came to see me all the time to make sure I was adjusting well.

I managed to sleep a bit. But I kept missing mommy Lalani more and more. The next day, I cried so much that pappa Kima had to come down and stay by my side the whole day.

Pappa Kima was the only familiar face I knew so it was understandable. I was calmer once he was around.

I played a bit at uncle Hriata's lawn and even managed to get stuck one time. :D

I wasn't allowed inside the house though, and so I would just peep at them to see what they were doing inside.

The problem was, I needed a lot of attention to distract me from the fact that I missed mommy Lalani so much, and uncle Hriata and his family couldn't give me that attention, after all, they had their own life to run.

Finally, it was decided once again to shift me to pappa Kima's eldest sister's house next door. Oh boy, so many transfers! :D

At aunty Lapuii's house, pappa Kima's nieces Mamuani and Pensy were ecstatic to have me around! My two new cousins!

Aunty Deedee too came down and spent a lot of time with me again at aunty Lapuii's house, while pappa Kima had to meet the dentist twice, to get two molars extracted.

Aunty Lapuii's house was very cosy. But again, like most houses in the city, I didn't have much space to run around.

I was always excited to see pappa Kima whenever he came downstairs to visit me, and he was still as sweet as before even with two molars extracted.

My new cousins Pensy and Mamuani made sure I had the best comfort they could offer.

Finally, once pappa Kima's dental issue was solved, it was time to take me to my original destination - Neihbawih.

Pappa Kima knew I would get motion sickness again was it was a long drive to his farm from the city, and so he laid down towels on the seat for me to vomit. :)

Weeeeeeee. I really enjoyed watching the Aizawl traffic pass by.

Disaster upon disaster, once we reached Neihbawih, the road leading up to pappa Kima's farm was under construction! And so he took me up the long and bumpy road on foot, keeping me on a leash the whole time.

Aaaaanddd finally, we reached my new home! Oh man, so much drama right?

I made myself home immediately on pappa Kima's bed, signalling to him that this was my bed now and that he should sleep on the floor. :)

And with that, my long journey from Dehradun to Neihbawih finally ended.

I will be updating pappa Kima's blog again about the awesome time I'm having here at Neihbawih, so please do keep visiting. I really love Mizoram and get ready to see many breathtaking photos soon. Until then everyone, woof woof.

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Chp 875. Encounter with a Snake!

I've had my fair share of encounters with different species of snakes, from the tiny garden variety of non-venomous snakes to the extremely venomous politicians who create communal or racial discord for the sake of gaining votes.

But I really wasn't prepared at all when I came face to face with a 6 feet long cobra last week!

I've been staying at our farm for more than a year now. And for the past 1 month, I've had the delightful companionship of our adorable dog Dobby. Some of you may have read his guest articles on my blog - "Goodbye Dehradun" and "Hello Mizoram".

I won't write much about Dobby's experience here at our farm as he wants to write those posts himself, so do visit again to read his upcoming updates.

Everything became merrier and happier at our farm with Dobby by my side, except last week when we encountered a cobra! I almost got a heart attack, not because I'm fearful of snakes but because I feared for Dobby's life as the cobra was in full attack mode, ready to strike him!

So here's what happened.

Dobby and I wake up every day at 5:30 AM. That's farm life for you. I let him out of the farmhouse after that so he can pee and poop and do any other business required, while I start getting ready for the day. I make my bed, freshen up, make coffee, cook breakfast, wash the dishes, sweep the farmhouse etc etc.

He eats breakfast at around 8, and once he's full, he usually lies down on the lawn in front of our farmhouse basking in the warm sunlight, while I prepare to eat my breakfast.

That fateful day, while I was eating my breakfast, I heard Dobby bark from the lawn. He barks at anybody entering our farm, like bawngchawphur (cowherds looking for fodder) or farmers from neighbouring farms who use our farm as a shortcut to go to their farm.

But this time, his bark was unusually longer and more aggressive. I started having a bad feeling about it so I went to the window to look at him. He was actually barking in the opposite direction, towards our barn!

I was like, "What the hell?" and ran outside immediately.

None of those bawngchawphur or neighbouring farmers come near our barn so I was thinking it could be drug addicts looking for items to steal, or probably some wild boar who ventured too far away from the forest area.

As Dobby saw me run out from our farmhouse, he ran towards the back of our barn and continued barking. It was only when I reached there that I was completely shocked. He was barking at this big ass cobra!!!

In all my time of living at the farm the past one year (or the many times I used to visit the past 20 years), I had never seen a cobra. I've seen those small scrawny snakes many times and they didn't bother me as they just slithered away. But a freaking cobra? Hells no! I never for once thought there could even be a cobra at our farm.

I grabbed Dobby by his collar immediately and pulled him back inside our farmhouse and locked the gate.

Once inside the safe enclosure of our farmhouse, I called up Pi Thuami immediately. She's one of our neighbouring farmers. Luckily for me, she was already working at her farm and she said she's sending Pu Huma down right away.

As all our farms are connected with little or no boundary walls, a cobra in our farm is as dangerous to me as it is to them too.

When I saw Pu Huma running towards our farmhouse with a stick, I opened the gate again as I wanted to take him to the back of our barn where we spotted the cobra.

But bloody hell, the moment I ran outside the gate, the freaking cobra was right next to me IN FRONT of our farmhouse. It must have slithered all the way around our barn towards our farmhouse while I was speaking to Pi Thuami on the phone.

I completely didn't see it. It would have definitely bitten me had it not been for Dobby's warning! I jumped away just in time and Dobby threw himself between the cobra and me as I regained my composure.

I panicked and hurled whatever I could find around me towards the cobra - empty water bottles, twigs, YMA cups and even a tualhmunphiah (Mizo version of a besom broom). None of them hit the snake of course and it only made it more aggressive.

It was already standing as tall as me, head completely spread flat and hissing loudly at the two of us, ready to strike. My biggest fear was that Dobby would lunge at the cobra so I was screaming at him the entire time not to attack.

I think the snake was distracted or confused with the mixture of Dobby's vicious bark and my shrill scream because it didn't notice Pu Huma who was running towards our farmhouse the entire time. As soon as he reached our spot, he whacked the snake right on its head with his long bamboo stick.

Whack, whack, whack.

I grabbed Dobby by his collar again and held him tight, while Pu Huma continued beating the snake. Finally, the snake was motionless and then Pu Huma took out his sharp chempui and chopped off its head.

Everything felt so unreal. My heart was beating faster than Pu Himanta Biswa making up yet another lie on why Mizoram retaliated against Assam.

Pu Huma then took the dead snake (and detached head) with him to discard at a nearby cliff.

Man, that was such a harrowing experience for me. More than my life and well-being, I was worried about Dobby's. The little idiot had never encountered a venomous snake before. One bite from the cobra and that would be it for him. :(

Had he just barked at the cobra from a safe distance, I would be okay with that, but watching him just inches away from the cobra ready to pounce, man, my heart stopped beating right then!

Dogs very rarely survive a fight with a venomous snake. That's a fact. Yes, they end up killing the snake eventually, but because of the snakebites inflicted on them during the fight, they too eventually start frothing in the mouth and die too.

With no anti-venom with me or clinics nearby (the nearest is Vety college at Selesih), that would have been Dobby's last day in Neihbawih. I thanked God profusely for keeping Dobby safe.

I was still shaken up after Pu Huma left. I called up another farm neighbour Pi Zuii and hired her for a half-day chore. I spent the rest of the day locking up Dobby inside the farmhouse while Pi Zuii and I sprayed FIRE (Paraquat Dichloride 24% SL) herbicide all around our farmhouse, barn and yard.

The logic was that the herbicide won't kill snakes but it will kill all the grasses and plants, thus making snakes more visible next time. Pi Zuii and I also cleared all the garbage around our farmhouse because they attract rats, which in turn attract snakes.

Lalani also told me to make a compost pit for leftover waste disposal far away from the farmhouse as that would also pull away the rats from our farmhouse, ergo, the snakes too. 

But I still can't fathom why that cobra came towards us. Even Pi Zuii and Pi Thuami were surprised. According to their vast experiences with snakes in Neihbawih, they said the snake always slithers away from humans as it is their survival instinct. So why did this particular cobra behave unnaturally? That was so scary.

Trust me, I really didn't want to kill the snake. I only wanted Pu Huma to help me scare the snake away, but unfortunately, it resulted in the loss of its life. Apart from the needless violence, we could end up disrupting the ecology too. The increase in the rat population in Mizoram is already attributed to the demise of the snake population.

Likewise, Lalani told me that currently in Mizoram, the population of cobras has increased exponentially because people killed a lot of King cobras, the main predator of cobras. Could that be the reason why we just saw a cobra so brazenly approach human settlement in broad daylight?

All our actions have consequences, especially when it comes to the balance of nature.

As of now, I'm extremely careful whenever I venture out from our farmhouse. I always carry this long bamboo stick with me now and I look everywhere first before taking any step, lolz.

When I trekked downhill to buy my weekly supplies from Pi Biki's shop (the nearest shop from our secluded farm), I narrated the incident to her and the number of times I must have cleared our thick overgrown terraces cutting weed and tilling the soil without being aware of a cobra nearby, and how I don't think I can do those ever again.

She laughed and said, "Snakes are so funny, right? When it is alive, we aren't scared of it because we're unaware, but once it is dead, we are so scared of it".

True indeed! :D