Blog: Cat Person

Did you read the short story Cat Person? I read it and I didn’t like it. Instead of discussing what didn’t work for me in the story, I am choosing to respond to it by writing my version of it — Dog Person. 🙂 I hope I would like this silly story. 😉

Dog Person

Misba met Ravana on a Sunday night toward the end of her shift at the pet store. It was her first week there, but Ravana was a regular. He bought 3 kgs of Pedigree, a pack of tiny bones, and a tin of treats. The owner was visibly delighted to see Ravana. “How are the dogs doing, Ravana?” the owner swiped Ravana’s card. “They are all okay. Looks like Muthu has to lose some weight. The boy has been eating his sister’s food too. Greedy fellow!” The owner chuckled. Misba dropped Ravana’s things in a holdall which Ravana brought. “Would you like me to bring the bag to your car?” Misba asked. That’s when he noticed Misba’s presence. “I don’t have a car. I am just a street away from the store and I walk. But thank you!”

After Ravana left, the owner and Misba dusted the store before shutting it for the day. “Ravana has three dogs, Misba,” the owner sounded like he was talking to himself. Misba had to strain to catch his words.

“Muthu, Meena, Marudhu! They are mongrels whom he rescued from the street.”

“What about his family, Uncle?”

“I haven’t asked him and he hasn’t mentioned too. But the man has been my customer since he rescued the dogs. It’s been about four years.”

Misba never had pets. Her family’s religious values didn’t allow. But her heart ached whenever she saw people with their dogs. She might not have raised an animal, but she knew the joy and agony of sharing one’s soul with an animal.

Ravana frequented. When the owner was not around, Misba exercised the liberty to interview Ravana about his dogs, the painful past of the mongrels, and how they all had gained health and vigour after they were adopted by Ravana. “Would you like to meet them, Misba?” Ravana asked nonchalantly, as he dropped the treats and toys in his bag. If anybody else had asked that question, Misba would have said no, without paying another thought. But this was Ravana. The man who had three dogs. Even if he was a molester or a murderer, Misba could find her way out. She remembered the reassuring presence of the pepper spray canister in her satchel. “May I drop by after the shift? I am closing at 7 tonight.” Ravana wrote his address behind the bill and left it on the counter. He was not the one to text his address.

On her way to Ravana’s house, Misba bought a bag of apples for the dogs. She remembered Ravana mentioning that his dogs loved fruits. Misba didn’t have to search for Ravana’s modest house. One of the dogs was at the gate, barking at a feral cat. She wasn’t sure if she could open the gate. From the threshold, Misba called for Ravana. The man sprinted from the drawing room, the dogs followed him, and he opened the gate. “I thought you wouldn’t come, Misba. Thank you for visiting. Thank you!” Misba asked if she could get a knife to chop the apples and to treat the dogs.

She sank in his sofa, with a plate and a knife in her lap, and all the three dogs sat around her, drooling and asking. Muthu was a black dog with a patch of white fur on his chest. “The tuxedo doggie,” Ravana laughed. Meena was all brown, and Marudhu was all white except a black patch around his left eye. “The pirate!” Misba, who was usually taciturn, couldn’t reach for any word that evening. Her silence was thicker. After six apples were cut and Misba’s hands were polished, Marudhu jumped on the torn black sofa and lied beside her, with his snout between his paws. Meena placed her velvety jaw on Misba’s feet, while Muthu sat against Misba, demanding her to scratch his chest and forehead. How could Misba say no!

The image of Misba being surrounded by his dogs warmed Ravana’s heart. From the way his dogs took to Misba, he knew her love for them was pure, unconditional. He let her soak in the moment, while he sat on the floor, reading RK Narayan’s A Tiger for Malgudi.

The room was filled with silence and it was comfortable.

The dogs began to snore, as though they had signed a pact to follow a rhythm. Muthu started the tune, Marudhu took it from him, and Meena ended it. The snoring went on and on. Misba had to be at home before 9, but she had no strength in her heart to wake up the dogs.

“Would you like to come next weekend too, Misba?” asked Ravana as he slipped a bookmark into his book. He asked his dogs to let Misba go. She stood up, dusted the fur on her t-shirt and jeans, touched the dogs’s heads one more time, and shook hands with Ravana. As she buckled her footwear, Ravana came to the door with a bunch of books in hands. “These are for you. Looks like you are a dog person too. You would love these books.” Misba took them from him like a child, reluctantly, but her eyes betrayed her enthusiasm. She read the titles aloud. The Art of Racing in The Rain by Garth Stein. Dogsbody by Diana Wynne Jones. The Honest Truth by Dan Gemeinhart. Dog Boy by Eva Hornung. Dog Songs by Mary Oliver. “When you come next time, we can watch some dog movies together and discuss these books. It would be fun. And thanks for the apples!” Ravana clapped on her back.

Misba didn’t have to use the canister. She was not sure if she would ever use it in Ravana’s house, but she loved the dogs and Ravana’s silence. She didn’t know why he lived alone– No! She didn’t know why he didn’t have a human companion. With three dogs, a pregnant bookshelf, a modest house that could do with a fresh coat of paint, and the sort of silence that was comforting, Ravana seemed content and happy. That was enough for Misba — for her friend and his furry friends to be happy.

Image from here.

Blog: Six Degrees of Separation

Since the time I read about Six Degrees of Separation in Whispering Gum’s blog, I have been turning the thought in my head, to see how I would link the books, and to know if I can jog my memory. I am trying this month and I hope I would try this exercise regularly. It’s fun.

From Kate’s blog (booksaremyfavouriteandbest), I understand that the journey for December has to be started from Stephen King’s IT.

The clown wasn’t scary, but the fictional town Derry was. How could children live in a dark, dark town like Derry! I stayed up reading till 5 AM a couple of nights to finish reading the book because my ticket for the movie was booked. Stephen King cheated me. I didn’t know the book was THAT long. That was TOO long. I am sure his editors were scared to read the book, so they failed to run their scissors on hundreds of pages. Speculations aside, the book helped me to make some decisions: I will not read King’s book for the next two years; they make me anxious. I will not read horror for a little while. I really need a breather. (Delia, I will read your story alone. Yaay!)

I read Nicola Yoon’s Everything, Everything just before the movie was released. I enjoyed Maddy’s journal entries and her mini -reviews. I love when the characters talk about books. In Everything, Everything, Maddy reviewed The Little Prince, Flowers For Algernon… Oh! To my dismay, she mentioned a few spoilers too. But that’s okay. I look forward to reading Flowers For Algernon. And who doesn’t love The Little Prince!

In Wild, Cheryl Strayed wrote about SO many books. Loads of them. But I chose to read Eudora Welty’s The Optimist’s Daughter. I read it when Chennai was flooded in 2015 and I read it by the subtle light of candles. In retrospect, I realise that I could have read something fun because the city was already drowning, but for reasons which I can’t fathom, I read The Optimist’s Daughter. It’s just the kind of book that’s placed in a particular spot in my bookshelf, so that it can keep looking at me. It’s that dear.

“At their very feet had been the river. The boat came breasting out of the mist, and in they stepped. All new things in life were meant to come like that.”

The Optimist’s Daughter by Eudora Welty

Just when Chennai was facing the worst deluge, I read Yoko Ogawa’s The Housekeeper and The Professor too. The problem with the book was that it brought too many wonderful characters into my life and I didn’t know how to love all of them. As I write this post, it occurs to me that I had wanted to read The Housekeeper and The Professor to feel all the warmth and kindness, and to forget that we were stranded with no power and to make peace with the image of a boat tearing through the floodwater in my street.

I read Takashi Hiraide’s The Guest Cat even before I read The Housekeeper and The Professor. Maybe, The Guest Cat showed me the sort of Japan that I couldn’t see in Haruki Murakami’s books. Those were the only Japanese works I was reading then. So The Guest Cat cleansed my palate and widened the horizon. Chibi, the cat, is precious. The couple who are in love with Chibi are more precious. How painful it must be to fall in love with the cat who doesn’t belong to them! How hard it must be to mourn the cat who doesn’t belong to them, but who belongs to them in many ways! The Guest Cat tests our patience. Nothing really happens. But, that’s the thing. Nothing really happens but the loss and longing bubble in the pit of my heart.

“Having played to her heart’s content, Chibi would come inside and rest for a while. When she began to sleep on the sofa–like a talisman curled gently in the shape of a comma and dug up from a prehistoric archaeological site–a deep sense of happiness arrived, as if the house itself had dreamed this scene.”

The Guest Cat by Takashi Hiraide

While I am at an animal-book, let me slip a note about Patrick McDonnell and Daniel Ladinsky’s Darling, I Love You: Poems from the Hearts of Our Glorious Mutts and All Our Animal Friends. Most poems in the book are shorter than the title. 🙂 It is the kind of book that I want to read at the end of an awful day and an amazing day. It’s the kind of book that I want to carry in my bag and keep beside my pillow. It is my best friend in a paper jacket. 🙂

She Phoned Saying

she phoned saying,
“i will
be over in a
but the sweet snail
was just figuratively
of course

Have you read any of these books? Are you trying this activity too? Let me know. 🙂

Blog: His Dark Materials

DQai9u6VQAA9B5UI picked up this intimidating tome this morning. 1102 pages. The font is not generous. I am not sure how I am going to hold it in my hands for long hours. Kindle has spoiled me. But I have decided to end my year with this book, which I have already begun to love. I think I will write a couple of blogs about His Dark Materials. However, I want to share this modest, beautiful preface with you.

I began to write this novel with little sense of the plot, even less notion of the theme, and only the vaguest idea of the characters. I’m convinced that that’s the way to do it. I tried to work out the plan of a novel once, when I was young, ahead of writing it. It was an excellent plan. It took me months and covered page after page, and in the end I was so fed up with the damn thing I threw it away and started a quite different novel with no preparation at all, which came out much better. I suppose these things are partly temperamental; I know that some excellent writers make a great thing of planning every book before they write it; but it doesn’t work for me.

One thing such a technique prevents is what I think every long book must have if I’m not to go mad writing it, and that’s the element of surprise. I had no idea what Iorek Byrnison, the armoured bear, would say when Lyra first came face to face with him. His vulnerability to strong drink was a huge surprise. I knew there was going to be a boy called Will, but his reason for running away and thus meeting Lyra was a complete mystery to me until it happened. As for Lee Scoresby, I was as ignorant of his existence as the gyptians themselves the sentence before he turned up. These surprises are pleasant and exciting; they feel like a kind of reward. If I knew they were coming I wouldn’t enjoy them at all.

In the first sentence above, I mentioned something I called the theme. By that I mean what the book is about, in some fundamental sense. I’ve heard that some writers decide on a theme first, and then make up some characters and a plot to exemplify it. They seem to get on all right, but again, it wouldn’t work for me. A book, especially a long book like His Dark Materials, has to have some sort of theme, or else you’ll be working for a long time (this story took me seven years) in a moral vacuum. But that doesn’t mean you have to decide what the theme is. If you’re working as seriously as you know how to, for a matter of years, then a theme will emerge whether you want it to or not. It’ll be something you think very important. It might be the most important thing you know. Once you know what it is, you can shape the story more precisely to help it show up, but it’s a mistake to rely on the theme to lead the story for you. I think I did that in a couple of places in this book, and it’s the worse for it. But there we are, we’re never too old to learn. Next time I shall remember: the story should lead, and the theme will emerge in its own time and its own way. Besides, if you want to write something perfect, write a haiku. Anything longer is bound to have a few passages that don’t work as well as they might.

So here is a story that was the best I could do at the time, written with all the power and all the love I had, about the things I think most important in the world. I think it was worth writing. I hope you think it’s worth reading.

— Philip Pullman
Courtesy: Random House

This note is comforting for a lot of reasons. Writing terrifies and liberates me. Before I hit the ‘publish’ button every time, I pose some questions to myself: Why did I write this? Why should anybody read this? What makes me think that this piece is worthy? Did I prepare well? Am I just rambling? Is my grammar okay? Are my sentences too short? Just the sort of questions which fan my insecurity. But I muster the courage and publish the posts because I have something — just a whisker — to share, and I want to say it in the way I know.

I love Pullman’s note even more, for I don’t ever scheme my stories; that has made me feel small. I have never known the beginning and the end. I have always allowed my writing to lead me, surprising myself on my way. Maybe, that’s why I think that my stories write themselves and that I am their instrument. I can never chase and pin down my thoughts if I work backward. Maybe, that was why I couldn’t survive in journalism, for my temperament supplied my words.

Sometimes, writing feels like a trance. Sometimes, it’s like abusing substance. Sometimes, it’s like inflicting pain on myself. Sometimes, it’s like lifting weights. Sometimes, it’s like walking an unruly dog. Sometimes, it’s like communicating with the beyond. Sometimes, it’s like the last ray of the evening sun. But, it’s always, always liberating.

PS: I thought Pullman’s note might motivate you or hurl a pebble in your pond, if the idea of writing a book is in the offing. 🙂

What do you think of this preface? What are your thoughts?

Book Review: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

“Why do we smile? Why do we laugh? Why do we feel alone? Why are we sad and confused? Why do we read poetry? Why do we cry when we see a painting? Why is there a riot in the heart when we love? Why do we feel shame? What is that thing in the pit of your stomach called desire?”

— Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

12000020The secrets of the universe present themselves in their own time. They don’t pander to our hurry which perhaps doesn’t exist. So we wait. While we wait, we can learn to smile.

The secrets of the universe may appear ridiculous when they unveil themselves. They are not what we think. Most times, they are beyond our imagination. We should not be mad at them for being different. We can only laugh at our expectations.

The secrets of the universe don’t have to strip themselves to make us believe that we are a part of this sublime universe. When we are the secrets and the universe in some way, we don’t have to feel alone and sad and confused and ashamed. We are not our doubts. We are not our fears. We are our hope. We are needed and loved by this universe.

Maybe, the secrets of the universe should never be divulged because we can continue to look for them in poetry and paintings and stories and music and… people. Let the secrets make us cry. Let them create riots in our hearts. Let them light the lamps of kind desires to illuminate our dark corridors. Let them be elusive. Let them be obstinate. Let them come. Let them go. Let our quest never end. Let us never cease to believe, create, and accept.

The secrets of the universe are meant to be our beacons.

Book Review: Ikigai

Occasionally I looked at the sky, where the stars were fading and the pink light of the morning was beginning to spread behind a dark bank of clouds. But my mind clung to my wife’s image, imagining it with an uncanny acuteness. I heard her answering me, saw her smile, her frank and encouraging look. Real or not, her look was then more luminous than the sun which was beginning to rise.

A thought transfixed me: for the first time in my life I saw the truth as it is set into song by so many poets, proclaimed as the final wisdom by so many thinkers. The truth that love is the ultimate and highest goal to which man can aspire. Then I grasped the meaning of the greatest secret that human poetry and human thought and belief have to impart: The salvation of man is through love and in love. I understood how a man who has nothing left in this world still may know bliss, be it only for a brief moment, in the contemplation of his beloved. In a position of utter desolation, when man cannot express himself in positive action, when his only achievement may consist in enduring his sufferings in the right way — an honourable way — in such a position man can, through loving contemplation of the image he carries of his beloved, achieve fulfillment.

— Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl

35610900How do I understand how I stumbled upon three books on discovering life’s meaning when I am between jobs?

I read Viktor E. Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning and Matt Haig’s Reasons To Stay Alive a couple of months ago, and I finished Héctor García and Francesc Miralles’ Ikigai this evening. They all are unlike many inspirational speakers, who hire ghost writers, and whose books fill our heads with insecurity and inadequacy. The authors of all the three books take me on a road that is free of traffic and pollution. The road is bordered by enormous trees and when I walk slowly with the authors, I can hear the birds’s songs. They chirp, “Discover your life’s meaning in your own time. It’s okay. There is no hurry.”

Ikigai is my reason for being. What do I want to do with this wild, wild thing called life? Mary Oliver asked that question, didn’t she? But Ikigai is not about the question that recruiters pose — Where do you see yourself in the next five years?

Oh! How I wish I could make them understand the beauty and agony of impermanence, how I wish I could laugh at the naivety of that question, how I wish I could tell them that I see myself loving my family more, reading more books, making more Zen-doodles, writing more, lifting more weights, bicycling more, discovering more hobbies, helping more animals, meditating more, relating more stories, eating well, sleeping for 7.5 hours, drinking three litres of water a day, eating more fruits, watching stars and sunsets and moonbeams, meeting more strangers, listening more to friends, smiling more, hugging more, moving more, collecting more feathers, observing more synchronicities, writing letters, being more vulnerable, being more antifragile, boarding more planes and buses and trains, taking more deep breaths…

Oh! How I wish this list could never end!

How I wish I could tell them that that is my Ikigai!

The book Ikigai asks me to take life one day at a time and to invest time and love in what illuminates my soul. There are urgent things like money and financial security; the urgent things will be heard if the important things are addressed. It might sound like a reductionist’s idea, it might sound absurd to take one step at a time, but time is relative, isn’t it?

Life will slow down and reach me like waves, one after the other, when I slow down, when I pause, when I listen. That is my Ikigai. That is enough.

One evening, when we were already resting on the floor of our hut, dead tired, soup bowls in hand, a fellow prisoner rushed in and asked us to run out to the assembly grounds and see the wonderful sunset. Standing outside we saw sinister clouds glowing in the west and the whole sky alive with clouds of ever-changing shapes and colors, from steel blue to blood red. The desolate grey mud huts provided a sharp contrast, while the puddles on the muddy ground reflected the glowing sky. Then, after minutes of moving silence, one prisoner said to another, “How beautiful the world could be!”

— Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl



Blog: My November in Books

23319015_1530041427088493_4897820902453455231_nI have been reading and writing a lot these days — one of the greatest perks of being between jobs. Despite being desperate to be employed again, I am enjoying this time. Loads of books. Loads of blog-hopping. Loads of books again. No complaints at all. 🙂 I am practically broke, but how can I complain when books are my magic carpet! And that reminds me of this passage from Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451.

Most of us can’t rush around, talking to everyone, know all the cities of the world, we haven’t time, money or that many friends. The things you’re looking for, Montag, are in the world, but the only way the average chap will ever see ninety-nine per cent of them is in a book.

This is how my November looked in books:

You Will Not Have My Hate by Antoine Leiris, Sam Taylor (Contributor) – Five Stars
Lighter Than My Shadow by Katie Green – Five Stars
Sunrise, Sunset: 52 Weeks of Awe & Gratitude by Kim Weiss – Three Stars
Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body by Roxane Gay – Five Stars
The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts by Gary Chapman – Five Stars
Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling – Three Stars

Undelivered Letters by J. Alchem – Two Stars
I Liked My Life by Abby Fabiaschi – Five Stars
Goodbye, Vitamin by Rachel Khong – Five Stars
Maidless in Mumbai by Payal Kapadia – 3.5 Stars
Alone in Berlin by Hans Fallada, Michael Hofmann (Translator) – Five Stars
Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K. Jerome – Five Stars

Still Can’t Do My Daughter’s Hair by William Evans – Three Stars
Sea of Strangers by Lang Leav – Three Stars
The Sun and Her Flowers by Rupi Kaur – Three Stars
Vertigo: There Is a Secret Written in the Stars and in the Mountains by Analog De Leon – Two Stars

Children’s Literature:
Ten Cents a Pound by Nhung Tran-Davies, Josée Bisaillon (Illustrator) – Five Stars
If a Horse Had Words by Kelly Cooper, Lucy Eldridge (Illustrator) – Five Stars
Polar Bear Postman by Seigo Kijima – Five Stars
Happy Birthday! by Mamoru Suzuki – Five Stars
Kuma-Kuma Chan’s Travels by Kazue Takahashi – Five Stars
The Snowbear by Sean Taylor, Claire Alexander (Illustrator) – Five Stars

YA Fiction:
Turtles All the Way Down by John Green – Five Stars
The Temptation of Adam by Dave Connis – Three Stars
The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli – Four Stars

21740031_1482000091892627_2288840640534506545_nI am channelising my inner Sybill Trelawney to see if a job offer is on its way, and I have even asked the centaurs to read the stars for me. I hope I would hear from them soon, and I am curious to know how my reading and writing pattern would evolve after I start a full-time job. In spite of the anxieties, I am asking myself to enjoy this precious time.

And, and, and may your December be filled with light moments and bright memories. 🙂

How did your November go? What was your favourite read? What do you recommend for me?

Images courtesy: Buddha Doodles

Blog: An Author Judges A Reader

Image from here.

I recently reviewed a poetry which I borrowed from Netgalley. I usually request Children’s Literature, Young Adult Fiction, and Poetry from them. Also, I request books which I can’t get in India — books which are expensive, books which are not available.

Lately, I have stopped asking for Poetry, because I realised that I am tired of reading poems written by neo-poets whose I’s are i’s. I am tired of reading one-liners which are packaged as poems. I am tired of reading about men who call their women oceans and waves. I am tired of reading about women who pine for their lovers. I am trying hard to not sound patronising here, but it’s just me after OD’ing on such poems.

For I admit that I haven’t read great poems — I do not know what a great poem is — I understood that it’s not fair on my part to request Poetry when I know they are only going to irk me. However, a poetry which I had requested a long time ago was lying in my mailbox, and I decided to review.

The book was about 150 pages long and had a gorgeous, gorgeous cover and some surreal illustrations. The poems were still cold for me. They didn’t bring me back to the present nor did they send me into a spiral of introspection. The poems were just there and I wished they were better. (In truth, I have copied and pasted this paragraph from my Goodreads review itself.)

I had also quoted a poem, which was just one line long and which was broken into a couple of lines. I mentioned that such poems didn’t move me.

Is it wrong to say that a piece of artwork didn’t give me feelings? Do you think I should have read great poets to say that?

This morning, I woke up to a personal message on Goodreads from the author. For obvious reasons, I am not revealing any information about the author and the book. However, the author’s message left me flummoxed.

From the message, I understand that the book is the author’s first one, and that there had been suggestions from the publishers to change some aspects on how the poems were presented. I nodded as I read that. I could really see the pressure that was imposed upon the author.

The author added that it’s hard to take tough reviews. I really wanted to empathise. I didn’t enjoy the work, but I can see how a creator would be shattered to receive two-stars. I understand. I really do.

But. There came a suggestion which didn’t sit with me. The author said that if I happen to read the book and get a different view of the allegory and the deeper layers, then the author would love an update on the number of stars I had offered. Despite telling me that there’s work to do, the author hoped that I would find three-stars worth of value in the book when I reread.

I woke up to that message and I couldn’t shrug off the underlying sneer in that. After I read it a couple of times, what I understood was, “Thank you for the review. But I think you didn’t understand the allegory and how beautifully layered and profound the book was. As you didn’t see the book for what it is, I suggest you read it again. When you reread, remember to wear those perfect, scratch-proof literary glasses!”

The message rang in my ears that way. An insult to a reader’s intelligence. While I am trying not to take it personal, I detest how an author could believe that the reader had given two-stars because the reader was not bright enough to catch all the metaphors, and that a reread had to be prescribed to fix the reader’s myopic vision.

Even on Goodreads, I don’t expend my energy to explain why a book didn’t work for me. Even if I am supposed to review a book, I pick some soft words from my vocabulary to say that the book was not for me. Above all, if a book is available on Netgalley, it is exposed to all sorts of feedback. Since I believe that my criticism was constructive, I couldn’t fathom why I was judged as a reader.

I have decided not to respond to the author; I don’t want to have a conversation, lest it would turn bitter. But I wish authors were open to honest feedback, instead of asking the readers to up their game. Not fair. Not fair at all.

As I wrote this blog, I was reminded of Kazuo Ishiguro’s interview published by Lithub.

I don’t really like to work with literary allusions very much. I never want to be in a position where I’m saying, “You’ve got to read a lot of other stuff” or “You’ve got to have had a good education in literature to fully appreciate what I’m doing.” . . . I actually dislike, more than many people, working through literary allusion. I just feel that there’s something a bit snobbish or elitist about that. I don’t like it as a reader, when I’m reading something. It’s not just the elitism of it; it jolts me out of the mode in which I’m reading. I’ve immersed myself in the world and then when the light goes on I’m supposed to be making some kind of literary comparison to another text. I find I’m pulled out of my kind of fictional world, I’m asked to use my brain in a different kind of way. I don’t like that.

To forget the message I received this morning, I had to read this poem. 🙂

Our new dog, named for the beloved poet,
ate a book which unfortunately we had
left unguarded.
Fortunately it was the Bhagavad Gita,
of which many copies are available.
Every day now, as Percy grows
into the beauty of his life, we touch
his wild, curly head and say,
“Oh, wisest of little dogs.”

Percy from Mary Oliver’s Dog Songs