During our time in Goa, my family and I lived in a three-storey row house. The topmost floor had the master bedroom and the terrace, the middle floor had the living room and a second bedroom, and the ground floor had the kitchen and dining room, and a small third bedroom.
Because my father was incredibly lazy, he chose to stay in the third bedroom. His logic was: no stairs. When my aunt moved in, she took the middle floor bedroom, because it made sense to her. Therefore I got the top bedroom.
Now, my dog loved me, so she occasionally came upstairs to say hi. But more than me, she loved the terrace. My dog pathologically hated closed doors in the house. If a door was closed, she was instantly miserable and wanted to be on the other side of it. Thankfully, the main door was exempt from this ridiculous diktat.
Like all dogs, my dog was obsessed with people coming in. If the doorbell rang, hell broke loose. She had a particularly shrill bark, which grated on everyone’s eardrums. She also insisted on being centre and front when the door opened, generally tripping people coming in or people going out without any compunction. Unlike other dogs, my dog was a badly behaved little lout, with a strong inclination for her own way all the time.
One afternoon, my dad was at work, and mum and I were hanging about in the kitchen. There was no one else in the house, so the top two floors were silent. Basically, there was no reason whatsoever for my dog to go upstairs.
Of course, that’s exactly what she did though.
My mum and I were a little amused to see the fat podge slowly ascending the stairs. One paw at a time, the small rotund body was rolling upwards. My mum called out to her: “Come down! Where do you think you are going?”
My dog stopped, looked disdainfully over her shoulder for a few second, and continued upwards.
Stifling laughter at this flagrant disobedience, which incidentally I would never have dared to pull on my mum, I called her too. I didn’t even merit the disdainful look. She continued upwards.
It became an ego issue. I kept calling, till my mother silenced me. “Wait. I have an idea,” she whispered. “Let the miserable cow get to the top floor.”
I waited. I had no idea what my mum was up to.
We heard her start upon the next set of stairs, and finally reach the top landing. My mother, with all the stealth of a ninja, carefully unlatched the front door, snaked her arm out, and rang the doorbell. And then quickly shut the door again.
The reaction was instantaneous.
My dog pelted down the stairs, barely allowing her paws to touch each step, crying with excitement. Someone was at the door! OMG OMG OMG.
She reached the ground floor, and ran to the door, preparing to bark her silly head off. Only to realise that there were no new smells. I could see the cogs turning in her head, while she tried to figure out how the doorbell rang but the expected outcome of new people and new smells was missing.
She looked back at me expectantly, and I obligingly opened the door for her. She gazed in consternation at the empty porch, as if to will someone to be there. I shut the door in front of her bemused face, and collapsed into a chair to laugh.
My mother was already crying with the effort of not to laugh, and her last thread of self control snapped when I started to laugh. My dog finally cottoned on that she had been played, played masterfully at that. She slunk into her basket, and refused to talk to us for a few hours after.
100% worth it.