There are very few true albino dogs. It seems they are hard to come by. And they are susceptible to light sensitivity and ocular issues. There had to be a combination of many games of chance for me to be with an albino Indian dog, Vaali.

With icy blue eyes, an all white coat and a pink nose, he is confused for a European hound or some exotic being that is obviously imported. With a calm demeanour and a seemingly inscrutable innocent countenance he belongs to the Rajapalaym tribe, well known as hunting dogs of South India.

In my line of creative work, we equate customer experience with measures of human interactions that make life easy in general. Our universe is mainly human — our work wraps around satisfying needs and aspirations of this group and the choices we make.

In a city like Bangalore, a working dog has many social interactions. In due course, I thought it would be interesting to journal some of the questions and interactions I have with my dog and the world in general.

“Is it Mettupalayam breed?” — a cool dude on a bike stopped by and also wanted to know how much I paid for Vaali. Must be the rhetorical question, I thought to myself. Mettupalayam is a quaint town in the foothills of the Nilgiri hills, remotely related to Rajapalayam.

“That’s a goat in a car!” — some kids gushed in bewilderment as I drove by a scenic coast with Vaali enjoying the seaside breeze, That made me realise that a lanky dog can be confused for a goat. Form ever follows function? Maybe not everytime…

“I heard his types can fight a tiger” — a fav aunt chipped in. Maybe Vaali had brave ancestors, but many a time he does get startled by a stealthy spider. Talk about managing expectations…

When I asked Vaali what he thinks of the world around him, he tells me nothing — being a dog is what he is best at and I enjoy his company. And he loves the sea. Albinism is not his choice. Local Indian zamindars long ago began ‘creating’ pure white Rajapalayams to impress the British. History does have instances of white washing.

There must be some truth in what Napolean of George Orwell’s Animal farm said — The happiest animals live simple lives.

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LAVANYA Kurup

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