Spotty was spot on!


A bomb burst with a deafening bang.  The machinegun staccato of an endlessly long, loud 'Lar' rent the air.

Spotty, my Dalmatian, came charging into my room and dove under my bed, where he lay cowering and whimpering with each earsplitting bang.  Divali was the time of the year my rather timid dog dreaded the most.   As a pup, he got so frightened one Divali that he ran away.  We searched for him in vain, scouring the neighbourhood and calling his name.  

Luckily our cook spotted him the next morning, scared and dirty, hiding behind a rubbish dump.  Poor puppy was trembling.  Thereafter, we ensured that Spotty was tucked safely indoors during Divali.  His fear of fireworks earned him the nickname "Darpok".

 On Divali day our family always gathered in our large compound along with friends and cousins.  We pooled in firecrackers and had a gala time bursting them in the night.  "Make sure that sissy, Spotty, is locked in the house or else he'll run away", dad called out.

While we were enthralled by the spinning chakris and colorful flower pots showering sparkles earthwards in bursts of red, green, silver and gold, a wily thief decided to take advantage of the fact that no one was home.  

We were all too distracted by the fireworks and didn't hear the shattering of glass through the non-stop din, as he broke open a window at the back and entered our home.

Having filled his bag with loot downstairs the greedy thief decided to explore upstairs.  Spotty who was hiding under the carved table on the landing above the staircase was surprised to see a stranger climbing up the stairs.  He too had failed to sense his presence earlier as his sense of smell had been dulled by the gunpowder and smoke. Besides, he was scared out of his wits by the deafening racket outside.

Just as the robber reached the landing, Spotty leapt out straight at him from under the table with a loud bark, pushing him backwards.  The startled thief stepped onto Spotty's red rubber ball and went flying backwards, bumping and bouncing all the way to the bottom of the stairs where he lay quite stunned.

Meanwhile, timid Spotty, realized something was amiss when he saw the broken window.  Overcoming his fear, he jumped out and instead of running for his life like he usually did, he came running around to the front where I was taking a breather from the excitement, sitting on the swing in our porch.  

Spotty grabbed my dress and started tugging at it.  "Hey, what are you doing out here?" I cried out in surprise. "Spotty's out", I alerted my parents and we all followed an insistent Spotty, still leading me by my dress, round the back of the house to the broken window.  "Oh, no! There's been a break-in." cried mum "Call the police".

We entered the house and found the thief groaning in pain, sprawled at the bottom of the steps.  He was unable to get away as he had broken his leg.  Spotty let go of my dress and pranced around the thief as if to say look what I caught and then plonked himself down on the burglars large paunch.  

We all laughed and said "Good dog! Brave dog!"  This time, Spotty was spot on!  No one called him Darkpok or sissy from that day on.  We were lucky that Spotty had been on the spot that unforgettable Divali night.

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