It was a dinner break for which the 21 of us got down the bus at Udaipur. An exciting and exhausting five day trip was coming to an end tonight.
It is a family tradition for our family of 21 to spend the Diwali holidays together. Krypto is my first dog, Chihuahua by breed, small and the most beautiful dog I have ever seen. Generally these breed is found in brown colors but mine is an elegant black and white.
The whole family including me and my son were overjoyed when my husband declared that we would be taking Krypto with us.
A bus was hired and we had set out with the bus driver, his helper and my husband’s personal driver with whom Krypto would sleep at night. [All the hotels in which we were staying had specifically informed us that they will not allow a pet inside their premises]
It was 9 p. m when we alighted the bus to have our dinner. Krypto was in my arms and I handed him over to Jayeshbhai our personal driver.
We were half way through dinner when Jayeshbhai walked in the restaurant with a worried look on his face asking us if Krypto had come there. My heart skipped a beat. My son who was on the other table with his cousins heard the disturbing words and looked at me. I assured him all is well and leaving our plates unfinished me and my husband rushed to our bus.
We scanned the bus thoroughly and called out his name. I was hoping he would come out from under the seat with his tail wagging joyously. My hopes lay scattered when I realized the gravity of the situation. Krypto was nowhere to be found. Within few minutes the whole family had joined us in our search. We searched all the streets nearby, each nook and corner, all the shops in that area, all the basements, and the parking lots. We asked every person if they had seen a small black and white dog with a t-shirt and a red belt around his neck. I was able to control my tears till now but as soon as my son came to me with a question in his eyes, we broke down, hugged each other and cried for that little dog that was now with us for almost nine months. We all slept in the same room. We had a special round bed for Krypto. At night Krypto would always sleep on my son Kshitij’s blanket near his feet. After an hour or two he would sneak in his round bed which I would cover with a blanket to make it cozy.
After three hours of intense search all the ladies and children were asked to get on the bus. One of us thought about looking at the hospitals just in case Krypto might have met with an accident. Someone else thought that some ruffians might have kidnapped him and will ask for ransom. Others felt that he must be scared and hiding in some lane out of our sight. We thought about lodging a police complaint. The area was crowded and searching a small dog was very difficult. I cried and requested my husband, Rakshit if we both could stay back and search for Krypto. Finally it was decided by all the male members that we would all go back leaving just Jayeshbhai to look out for Krypto. The journey back home was the longest ever. None of us spoke a word with each other. The five days of our trip together had brought Krypto close to everyone. None of us slept that night. When we arrived home at 3 am, things had changed. The house seemed deserted. Quietly I climbed the stairs to my room. All four of us used to sleep in the same room. The empty corner where I used to make a cozy tent for Krypto seemed to stare at me.
Next morning I woke up with puffy eyes. Took a bath and went down to pray. I lighted a diya and asked God to take good care of my baby. Tears over poured again. I became busy in searching for pet shops in Udaipur on the internet. I wanted to inform them that they be on the lookout for any person who would come to sell a small black and white Chihuahua. I called up Jayeshbhai, he had lodged a police complaint, had gone to many pet stores with krypto’s pictures, visited animal hospitals too but all in vain. Amongst the now and then pouring tears, I mechanically completed the tasks I had to. An ache had started to deepen with every passing hour.
I must have called up Rakshit so many times to ask about any news of Krypto. In the evening I called pet shop from where I had purchased Krypto. He was shocked and sad to hear the news. He was all the more surprised with what I asked him, ‘if Krypto doesn’t eat food for more than 48 hours will he survive?’ I found relief in his words that these small breeds can survive without food and water for at least 7-8 days. My only question to Rakshit was, “will we be able to get our Krypto back?” His reply would be, “in the next 48 hours chances that we find him are quite high. If not found than chances are we might not find him for another six months.” Rakshit has a lot of business projects in Udaipur. One of a nice gentleman whom Rakshit knew used his influence and gave Krypto’s picture on the local news channel. The search was on but no result had been acquired till now. Night arrived and I could feel my dog shiver with cold on some abandoned streets.
We had decided to give an advertisement in the Rajasthan Patrika the next day. A picture was given on the last page of the news paper. The dawn appeared gloomy with no news what so ever. I felt so helpless here in my home town. I did not know anyone in Udaipur. The clock ticked by. Tears made it a habit to pour now and then. Noon arrived with no hope.
At about four in the evening Rakshit called up, he was talking in riddles, I could only make out that he was talking about celebration. I felt hurt, how can we think about celebrations when we had lost a piece of our heart. My eyes were misty again, Rakshit sensed the pain and broke the news that Krypto was found!!! He wanted it to be a surprise but then thought it would be better to tell me.
Tears rolled down, I could not stop them, I could not believe my ears, I ran to my son. I told him the news. Because I was crying so badly, Kshitij could not understand what I wanted to say at first. Slowly the message sank in and we were calling all our loved ones with the news of this miracle. I was told that my baby would be in my arms after 4-5 hours.
I thanked God for answering my prayers. The four hours of wait seemed like 400 years. To top it up Rakshit had instructed Jayeshbhai to bring Krypto to the office where he was working. After a long wait, he arrived home. We were ready with a camera to shoot his first reaction on coming home. He entered and ignored me, ran to the bowls of food we keep for him and ate non stop for almost half an hour. I called out his name but he would not even look at me. He was probably angry at me cause I let him get lost. This went on till about the next day noon when he finally forgave and let me pamper him.
Jayeshbhai came on duty the next day and revealed the ordeal of those dreadfully long 48 hours.
After we went to the restaurant one of us must have called him up asking him to bring a bottle of water for us. The bottles were near the drivers seat so Jayeshbhai put krypto down and picked up the bottle and alighted the bus. Unfortunately the bus driver did not notice Krypto going down after Jayeshbhai. A rickshaw driver must have spotted this cute little dog with a t-shirt on and picked him up. Krypto hardly barks so no one must have noticed anything uncanny. When we all started our search, krypto was already taken away from that area. Next day when a passanger got into the rickshaw he saw this dog and asked the driver, “where did you get this cat faced dog, will you sell him to me?” the driver refused to sell the dog. The passenger requested the driver to get him a dog like this, to this the driver replied that a friend had given this dog to him and it was not possible to get another one. The next day, this passenger read the news paper, saw krypto’s picture and recognized him as the same ‘cat faced dog’ from the rickshaw. He immediately called up Rakshit and described the events of the day before. Fortunately this passenger knew the driver and the pan shop that his brother owned. Rakshit asked him to meet Jayeshbhai who was in Udaipur. Finally both the caller and my driver met near Sankalp where we had lost our dog. Together they went to the pan shop of the rickshaw drivers brother. After much coaxing the brother revealed the address.
The house was perched deep in a down trodden area on the out skirts of Udaipur. Few knocks at the door and a lady opened a door. Krypto was in one corner of the small room, he saw Jayeshbhai, wagged his tail happily and came running to him. The stress of the long hours had taken its toll and Jayeshbhai hugged Krypto and broke down. A lot of argument took place with the lady. She said that this dog was a friends gift and they cant part with him. Finally she called up her brother- in- law. He too stuck to the same point. The passenger who was a localite took the phone and used harsh language warning him to call the police and ruining his business and driving him out of Udaipur. The voice on the other side finally said that he would hand over the dog if Rs. 5000 were paid to him. “Why should we pay for our dog?, You are the thief and yet you demand money?” finally the deal was closed at Rs.2000. Krypto was taken into custody by Jayeshbhai who finally thanked the help of the kind passenger. He offered some reward money which the pessanger declined. Its rightly said, ‘Alls well that ends well’.
Jayeshbhai caught a bus to come to Ahmedabad. Krypto was shaken but without a scratch or a bruise… Miracle isn’t it!!!