Our German shepherd Rani is 10 years old now. She is Rani Part II, actually. We had another German shepherd before her who was also called Rani. I had actually grown up with that Rani. My mother (Lata Bhattacherjee) often used to leave me under her vigil. Unfortunately, we lost her and then we got this Rani after quite some time as we could not get over the loss.
|Picture by Anindya Shankar Ray
This Rani we got from Bangalore. My father [Maidan great Subrata Bhattacherjee] had gone to play there and he came back with a basket from which emerged little Rani, my gift! She was just a few months old then.
We are all extremely attached to Rani, especially my mother. The interesting part is that Rani has an acting gene! (Laughs) Her mother apparently worked in the Salman Khan-starrer Tumko Na Bhool Paayenge! Oi bhebei aana hoyechhey! Actor chheley aar tar actor pet [That’s why she was brought! Actor pet for actor son]! (Laughs) I am just joking!
We have been very protective about Rani. Somebody always accompanies her but one fine day, she found the door open and ran out. Everybody was in tears. I remember my father did not go to work that day, and he and I went looking for Rani all around Golf Green. It was almost like Mission Rani. Finally, we found her on the fifth level of an apartment! She is one naughty dog.
We never trained Rani to be a watchdog. She is very lovable. And she is very smart! She will definitely bark at people we don’t like! Rani has a sixth sense. She is pampered too. During summer, she doesn’t stay without the air-conditioner much but then German shepherds cannot bear heat. There is one person who has been designated for Rani’s care but Baba has to bathe her every Sunday.
Rani loves vanilla ice cream. Her favourite pastime is playing throw-the-ball with my mother on the terrace when she waters the plants. She is closest to her. My mother feeds her and if she is not around, Rani is very sad. She literally stops eating! Her diet is mostly tangri juice.
Whenever my father comes back from work, she will make it a point to go to his room. Kichhukkhon aador khabey. And no matter what time I come back, she will also come to my room. We don’t want to get another pet while Rani is around as that might sadden her. She is like a family member with a presence of her own.
(As told to Saionee Chakraborty)