What's In a Name?

What’s In a Name?

Farzana Contractor editor dogs & more with baby Lhasa Inshy

What’s in a name?, you may as well ask. Plenty, is what I reply.

Naming your pet is not the easiest thing to do. You want the best name in the world for your dog, or cat, I might add, now that we have started to feature cats too, in dogs & more.

I remember when I got my first dog. It was a necessity. Many of my dog-loving friends insisted I consider getting one home. I had lost my husband three years before that and I was still grieving deeply. To the extent that my friends and doctor friends warned me that I could succumb to some serious ailment. “Let go,” I was advised.

Easier said than done. So I did the next best thing I could. I wrote a full column on the subject. Those days I used to write a column every Saturday, in our newspaper, The Afternoon Despatch and Courier. It was called A Few Stray Thoughts, (borrowed from Busybee’s opening lines of his Round and About column on Saturdays).

My column concluded with, ‘So, should I get a dog home?’ You cannot imagine the response. My readers went crazy with their advice and suggestions. In short, the answer was, Yes! Yes! Yes! And yes!!

So I took up the offer of going and visiting one of those who had responded. The Gonsalves family living
opposite Bombay Scottish school who bred dogs on a very small, personal scale. They had had a litter just that week.

I thought this was a good omen. So I went there. And as it happened this black furry ball approached me, as I sat in their living room and attempted to nibble my toe. And as all her five siblings tumbled around like little balls of fur, this one went to sleep at my feet. That was a clincher. “May I please take this one?” I found myself asking. This in spite of the fact that I was just going there for a dekho.

So eight weeks later, there she was in my lap, in my car and we were driving home. I can’t narrate that emotion, though I remember it all, so vividly. Precious cargo, looking up at me with her deep, brown, intense eyes. The most beautiful in the world.

Then came the difficult part. Choosing a name. There were so many names going on in my mind. But I wanted to take my time. It was going to be for keeps. All I knew was that I did not want it to be a human name.

From the first day itself I started taking my little puppy with me to Afternoon House. I did not have much of a choice, I lived alone. Behram and I never liked the idea of a full-time maid. So, there. But my pup was most comfy at the office. She had her bed there, her water and food bowls, napkins, toys, food… the works. She also had Sunita, a maid who would follow her, keep her company, while I looked into the running of our newspaper.

But the name… a name… still alluded me.

Then one day, I had a colleague (Mark Manuel) come up with a suggestion. “You know, you say InSha’Allah so often in your speech all through the day, perhaps this little one, God willing will change your life, give you peace, why don’t you call her Inshy?”

I loved it! So she was christened Inshy, instantly. From Inshy it became Inshoo, Insha… but yes, she did go on to change my very existence. I felt nothing but love, love and more love. Not just for her, but everyone and everything around. It is just amazing what a pet dog can do. Slowly, very slowly, the vacuum left by Behram’s going away began to fill. And I began to feel myself returning to being my old self.

And if I have to be utterly honest, thanks to Inshy’s influence I started to become an improved version of my old self. That girl had such sterling qualities. From being my little baby, she turned into a friend, then a companion, later on my mother and then my grandmother! She kept me in check for sure. From her I learned how to be patient, a non-complainer. I learned appreciation and determination.

Love you, darling, you will always live in my heart. And one day, InSha’Allah we will meet at the Rainbow Bridge.