Carlos Santana. That’s the name of the Pug, who inhabited our house 11 years ago. He can’t play the guitar like his namesake, but he jumps on to the bed, the bean bag and sofa to displace me when I am resting my bones, which I do quite often, these days.
When we picked him up from the Pet Shop, his name was Shadow. Very sinister, if you ask me. So, the first thing we did was change it. Thankfully, this was before Nilesh Cabral introduced his Bill on name changes in Goa.
Carlos is like most Pugs, except that, when in the mood, he talks to me. Like the other day, I was reading the newspaper — yes, I still do that even though everybody else has gone online — I asked him, “Are you aware that the government has raked up a debt of 23,000 crore?”
“Not my concern,” he replied nonchalantly. “Wake me up if you want to talk about food, otherwise let me sleep.”
“Do you know that 23,000 crore can buy a football stadium full of dog food?” I said. His head jerked up and his ears perked up.
“Tell me more,” he barked.
“It’s like this,” I continued, “governments always live beyond their means. They borrow money from all sorts of chaps to make up the short fall no questions asked…..”
“You left out the food part,” he whined, “but I have a question. Are you living beyond your means? I would not want a situation where you fall into a debt trap and I have to alter my lifestyle. Just remember, I am loyal, but up to a point.”
“The good news is, I am not likely to slip into a debt trap,” I said.
“That is a relief,” he barked. “Wait, what’s the bad news?”
“The bad news is that I missed an EMI on the loan I took to buy you from the Pet Shop,” I said, just to rile him.
“Oh God, this is very scary,” he whimpered. “Tell me something, what happens when the government cannot repay its debt?”
It was nice to see Carlos thinking. It was the only time his wrinkles became more pronounced. “When the state government runs out of money to repay its debt, it goes to the Central government with a begging bowl…..”
“And what happens when the central government runs out of money?” he asked with some concern.
“It raises the price of petrol,” I said.
“So, what happens when you run out of money?” he asked.
“Well …. I checked out with my financial adviser and he asked if I would consider selling you ….” I let it hang in the air just for effect.
“And ……” he let it hang in the air.
“I haven’t made up my mind,” I said.
“Haven’t made up your mind?” he barked, “I spent 11 years with you and you want to put me up for sale! You disloyal, backstabbing, unfaithful, treacherous traitor. You should join the Opposition because that is where you belong.”
With that, he jumped off the sofa and went over to my wife who was cooking in the kitchen.
Who’s the traitor now?