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Subir Roy: Good the dog was there

The other good thing was being able to have the tea without having to get up and keep making fresh cups of it

Subir Roy 

Subir Roy

I had a dream. I was in a most comfortable easy chair, sipping tea and reading the papers. What made the good feeling complete was our dog near my feet, slightly reclining on them. That was important for him. His sense of comfort was not complete unless a bit of him touched me.

I knew we would catch up one day. I said as much to myself and to him, silently, when I buried him in his shallow grave at that animal shelter a bit outside Bengaluru. It was on a rise, amidst rolling hills. You could see miles around and a lot of the open sky above.

This was the right final resting place for a fellow like him, from where his spirit could move out into the openness and go wherever. I had wrapped him in his favourite blanket though I knew he would not need it there. But still, for old times' sake.

The other good thing was being able to have the tea without having to get up and keep making fresh cups of it. I don't know who made the tea but he did a pretty decent job of it. He knew his tea, exactly how much to brew it, so that it was neither too light so the flavour could not release itself, not too strong so it would not taste bitter.

Fortunately, I also did not have to worry about having to go buy the tea. The fellow who made it must have got it from the right place. I had long stopped buying packaged, branded tea and gone back to what I had seen my father do when I was a child. His favourite shop for some odd reason was called Orphan Tea Co.

It had these big plywood boxes stacked up on their sides all along the walls, each with one little round opening at a bottom corner with a metal cap fitted onto it. When he wanted to take some tea out, he would take the cap off and scoop out a bit into a can with a long spoon with an upturned bottom, shaped like an L. Then he would go to another case and take out a bit from it. When he was done he had a mix of different teas - Darjeeling, Assam and whatever. He would shake it all together, pack it in brown paper bag and fix it with a jute twine. As teas go, the mix was difficult to beat.

With such a good supply of such decent tea, I thought I must be somewhere near Kolkata. But it was not a steamy uncomfortable place. At some decent spot on the way to Shimla? But then what about the tea?

The other good thing was the newspapers. There were loads of them - white and pink. Thankfully, it was not the festive season so the front pages had not been tastelessly given over to ads. The papers were as they should be, with a mix of important and inconsequential stuff. As the world had not come to an end and neither had there been a terrorist carnage the previous day, they conveyed no sense of calamity.

After going through the news I passed over the opinion pages. I knew from experience I would be missing nothing, what with the kind of columnists that had the run of those pages. I should know. Then I stooped to the comics. Dennis was still up to his pranks. When would he grow up? I wished he would give way to a rerun of Doonesbury.

I realise I could not remember much of what I had read despite spending so much time on it. But this is the whole idea of reading a newspaper which creates a good feeling. No ripples, not to speak of tidal waves. It takes you on a tour of passable country, the process of travelling being more important than what exactly you are passing through.

None of the good feeling would have been there if the easy chair had not been right. Naturally it was made from quality cane out of Assam, the space in between the weavings letting the air through so that your back didn't have difficulty breathing. Of course the angle of the recline was perfect but that is what a good easy chair is all about.

The funny thing is I could not figure out how long this pleasant morning had gone on. Any sense of time was totally absent. It could not be heaven because I did not believe in that sort of thing. It could not be hell because it was much too comfortable. Not that being unable to locate the place mattered. What did matter was the dog was there. His soft coat touching my feet creating a sense of peace which had neither beginning nor end.

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First Published: Fri, November 27 2015. 21:43 IST