How Cheeka Became a Star and other Dog Stories – Book review

In between the bright covers of ‘How Cheeka Became a Star and other Dog Stories’, the canvas on which these stories breathe is sometimes calm as convent and at others riveting as a raccoon. The heartwarming tales blended with remarkable artwork by Tina Rajan give a unique flavor to each story that you would savor long after reading them. A compendium of alluding narrations from celebrated artists from all walks of life, the book makes for a breezy read.

"How Cheeka Became a Star and other Dog Stories"

Forever a fan of Rukin Bond, it came instinctively to fingers to flicker their way to read about a young widow in Mussorie and her band of dogs, the inks dipping in that idiosyncratic Bond signature with fragrance of ferns.  Eminent animal rights activist Maneka Gandhi pens a heartwarming tale that oozes with kindness. The book draws its title from Sneha Iype Varma’s story about Cheeka, perhaps the most recognizable dog on Indian screen thanks to Vodafone commercials (erstwhile Hutch)

Satirical and engrossing, perhaps the best of the lot is Jug Suraiya’s first person account of a street dog adopting a human family (that of the writer). Gul Panag, the actress, reminisces of her pet Milo’s distinguishable pair of paw prints in her travel escapades in a jovial write up.  Also featured are tales from Cyrus Broacha, Hiranmay Karlekar, Mario Miranda, Shirin Merchant and others.

Delineated beautifully, the tales have a charm that speaks for itself. Some people, for all the right reasons, have not absorbed the idea of dog-human hierarchy.

In a story worth noting, acclaimed actress Nafisa Ali Sodhi pens the power of faith and survival with ‘Macho’. Diagnosed with paralysis, Macho had to rely on the support of a dog cart for moving around. After two weeks of observation Nafisa’s mother suggested it would be kinder for the dog to be put down. Defying the advice Nafisa waited for two more weeks. The firmness of her cerebration for Macho’s recuperation brought him back tardily with increase in appetite, slight movement of tail after a month. Few days later, Macho barked. All this while his eyes channeled trust in her. Sessions of physiotherapy brought Macho back to his legs shakily, betting like a new born baby, she burst into tears. Like a phoenix, Macho came back to life for the faith bestowed on him by his mother.

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