Book pays tribute to canine friend

Last Updated: Friday, July 30, 2010 - 15:05

New Delhi: Animal lovers have often
expressed their attachment for their pets in myriad ways and
those with a literary bent have gone on to include them in
some form or other in biographies, autobiographies and other
works of fiction and non-fiction.

One such deeply personal memoir by Habib Rehman,
former ITC chief, capturing the joy of loving and anguish of
saying goodbye to his canine companion, `Gori` was released
here late last evening.

Former Chief Minister of Punjab, Capt Amarinder Singh
released the book `A Home for Gori`, an account of a pup that
was smuggled into Rehman`s home by his wife and who was
treated with disdain by him initially, but soon warms her way
into his affections.

For the next ten years, they share an inseparable bond
which ends with the pet`s death in 2005.

"I treated Gori with disdain when we met first.

Ironically, when she fell ill in her last days, I did all that
I could to save her," recounts Habib, who began his career
with Indian Army which he left to join the hospitality
business in 1975 and joining ITC in 1979.

From sharing a pillow to talking on the phone when he
was out of town, `Gori,` says Habib had became a part of his
life.

He was so moved by the incident that he made a home
that overlooks Gori`s grave in Panchsheel Park as a memorial
to her. Habib has 14 pets of different breeds in that home
now.

"The book also has my encounters with other dogs in
Himalayan ranges during my Army days. These dogs not only
protected our soldiers but in a sense, the Indian state as
well," said Habib.

Capt Singh, a pet lover himself revisited his relation
with his first pet, `Doni` which he got when he was 14. After
joining the Indian Army, he took `Doni` to his post near
Indo-China border.

He recalled how Doni, had mistakenly captured a sheep
from a bordering Tibet village and how Beijing had promptly
sent a message to New Delhi about it.

"A dog does not know the difference between Indian
sheep and the Chinese sheep," he said in a lighter vein during
the function of the book release.

"Dogs are wonderful friends and become part of your
family. They give everything they have and ask for nothing
from you. Habib has written a brilliant book which is gripping
and intense. It gives insight into him and shows his
sensitivity," he said.

Y C Deveshwar, Chairman, ITC Ltd, who was present
during at the event said," Habib is an intensely private
person. Some of his personality traits were revealed when I
read the book. Its emotionally satisfying to read it."

PTI



First Published: Friday, July 30, 2010 - 15:05

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