I step out of my gate, rucksack on my back, anxious about missing the school bus. Tight as the time is there’s space to squeeze in the ritual. But where is she? Where is the bright-eyed, shiny black nose, camel brown body sleekly padding over for her morning greeting?
The chowkidar in the wooden guard box unwraps himself from its breezy confines, grateful for the fan but as puzzled as I am.
‘Where’s Rani?’ I ask – worried that my friendly neighbourhood pet has strayed further than she should have.
Now, the chowkidar’s face breaks into a grin. He points behind me.
I turn. There, on the mound of sand in front of the next-door construction site sits Rani. She won’t come down off her perch, her outlook post, her throne. Instead, I, risking sand in my sandals, step up to her, make her my ritual offering – a glucose biscuit – which she nibbles daintily, holding it in her elegant paws, like the princess she is.
- Kalpana Misra