If you are a dog lover, A Home for Gori is a must-read. If you aren’t sure of how you feel about dogs, the book lays clear what you are missing.
Habib Rehman, who recently retired as director in charge of ITC’s hotel and travel businesses, was not particularly fond of dogs. It was when he joined the Indian Army and was posted to a remote outpost known as Hanker—which is now in Arunachal Pradesh—that he became conscious of dogs. His first pet of sorts was Bullet, the stray who ingratiated himself with the soldiers in the platoon.
A Home for Gori: by Habib Rehman. Lotus (Roli), 116 pages, Rs150
Rehman moved across cantonments and postings, and he marks each of these episodes with the dog he loved at the time. Finally, he quit the army, joined ITC and came to live in Delhi. His wife then smuggled in Gori, a tiny pup, and because of a particularly bad incident with his previous dog Rocco, Rehman refused to have anything to do with her. But, as dogs tend to do, Gori wormed her way into his heart. What follows is a beautiful account of a decade of companionship. All dog lovers have crazy stories of talking on the phone to the dog while travelling, the silly pride when your dog accomplishes even the simplest of tasks and the astonishment on realizing how smart the animal is. But Rehman’s honest and colourful narrative makes his story of Gori a compelling read.
Ten years later, Rehman nursed her through her final, fatal illness and when she died, he resolved to build a home that overlooked her grave so that he was always by her side. A Home for Gori is a beautiful story of a special relationship. Miss it at your own peril.
Disclaimer: This reviewer loves dogs and is the mother of one.