Story inspiration: Amit Mitra
“Now to present you the new advertisement campaign, I would request Amit to take over,” Boss said handing over the presentation pointer to me.
Biwi calling flashed on my phone as I was about to make the presentation to our customer – Vodafone. I rejected the call and started my presentation. My phone vibrated again. Even though I didn’t bother to pick it up, everybody looked at the cell phone light emitting through my crisp white shirt. My boss signaled to address it. I took out the phone, checked the caller and handed it over to boss, to take care of it, in case it vibrates again.
The calling protocol established with Biwi was:
One missed call – Casual call, no urgency.
Two missed calls – Emergency, but can be addressed later.
Three missed calls – Emergency that cannot wait.
Even though I continued with the presentation, I secretly prayed that there was no third call. But Murphy was at his best again and in a matter of seconds, I could see the light flashing again in boss’s hands.
In a split second, I snatched the phone from boss’s hands and said, “Excuse me gentlemen this is a real emergency. I have to take this call.”
I rushed outside the boardroom as I received the call.
“Amit,” she sobbed, “Chutki vomited……. It’s all brown…….She has not eaten anything…….. I am taking her to Manipal Hospital……….. Come fast.”
“Was there any blood?”
“No… no blood… but brown and … thick. Come fast.”
“I am on my way,” I said.
Back to the boardroom. I announced, “Sorry gentlemen, I have to rush to the hospital. My 5 year old daughter has not eaten anything since last one week. Sorry.” I didn’t look at boss’s eyes, I just rushed out.
Twenty minutes later, I was in the hospital’s emergency ward. I saw a doctor examining Chutki.
“Amit,” Biwi rushed towards me and starting crying on my shoulders.
“Shhh, Madam easy,” said the nearby nurse attendant.
She continued sobbing while a lady doctor was examining Chutki. When she finished examining her, the doctor said, “When was the last time she ate?”
I replied, “Yesterday night we forced her to drink milk, but only two spoons.”
I continued, “She has not eaten a proper meal since last one week. Since the day Bingo, our dog, went missing. She just cries all day. We tried to force feed her, gave her chocolates, ice creams, every thing she loves, but she refuses to eat anything. We don’t know what to do doctor. We’re helpless… and now… this vomiting…”
Doctor said, “She is weak, very weak from inside. The brown vomit is nothing but Bile. Let me explain. Bile is a liquid released by the liver to decompose or digest the food. In the absence of food, this liquid comes out in the form of vomit. We’ve to wait and watch if it happens again before starting a heavy course of medicine. In the mean time, we are keeping her on drip, so that she has glucose in her body. She has to be given liquid diet for the next two days. We have to do something to make her drink. Otherwise, we have to inject glucose twice a day. We are shifting her to the General Ward.”
As the doctor was about to leave, Biwi started crying again. Tears started coming down from my eyes. I managed, “Thank you doctor.”
After an hour, we were sitting by her bed in the General Ward. She lay awake looking at the ceiling. The circle around her eyes appeared so dark, as if someone had put a finger in kohl (kajal) and spread it all around her eyes. We both sat on each side of her bed holding her hands.
My boss called, “Is everything okay?”
“Sorry, I had to leave. She is under observation. She is on glucose at the moment,” I said.
“What happened to her?”
“She has not been eating from the day her dog, Bingo, went missing,” I said.
“Oh!…. how did it go missing?”
“Our maid took the dog out for a walk at 4 in the evening in the park. She told us that Bingo started chasing another dog. She couldn’t hold on to the chain any longer. He ran faster than her and she couldn’t catch up. He disappeared.”
“But after threatening her, we found out that she was actually busy talking on her cell phone with her boyfriend at that time. And she couldn’t keep a watch on the dog.”
“Oh…. have you filed a complain in the police station?”
“Yes, we have.”
“Is he a Labrador?” He asked.
“No, he is a Pug. A light brown one.”
“Interesting, the Vodafone dog, but those are plenty these days…..How will you identify, even if the police finds one?”
“He has a big red patch between his eyes. A birth mark.”
“I see, can you send me the picture, I will email it to all my friends.”
“I will. Thank you boss for calling.”
We sat there silently for few hours, Chutki had dozed off. At 8 in the night, the doctor said, “This is a liquid ORS drink. Can you wake her up and make her drink?”
Biwi woke her up, “Princess, my baby, let’s drink this orange juice.”
“No… don’t wanna drink. I …. I…..want my Bingo.” She turned around and buried her face inside the pillow.
Biwi signalled me to do something.
I took the glass and started, “Princess, my good girl no?”
“No, I am not a good girl,” she got up from the pillow and pushed the glass away from the tray. It broke into pieces.
Biwi shouted, “Chutkiiiiiii”
Doctor intervened, “Let us give her glucose once more.” She signaled the nurse. She set up the drip again. Chutki was quiet and stern.
Doctor said, “Can’t you buy her a new dog?”
I replied, “We bought one two days ago. The same breed – pug. But he didn’t respond to her and almost bit her that day. She got wild and said take him away. We tried explaining that it will take time. But she didn’t budge. We returned that dog.”
“I see…” Doctor said, “but somehow you have to make her eat and drink,” and left.
Next day afternoon at 2pm the doctor came again.
“Hey Chutki, how are you?”
She didn’t reply.
The nurse showed her reports.
She addressed to me, “She passed normal stool which is a good sign. You can take her home if you want in the evening. But she has to eat. We can’t just keep on injecting glucose every six hours. You guys have to do something.”
Biwi and me exchanged glances. We were both clueless, what extra should we do.
Doctor looked at Chutki, “Princess you know I have a cat.”
Chutki glanced at her.
“Yes, I have a cat named Tom,” Doctor waited, “You want to see her?”
She took out her cell phone, it was an iPhone. She tapped few buttons and said, “Look, this is my cat Tom. He will talk to you, say hello.”
Chutki took the phone, there was an imge of a cat on the screen, she said, “Hello.”
“Hello,” a squeaky voice came from the iPhone, an echo of Chutki’s voice.
A faint smile appeared on her face.
“Who are you?” Chutki asked.
“Who are you?” the squeaky voice echoed back.
Her smile grew.
“My name is princess,” she said.
It echoed back. She was laughing after few moments.
Doctor said to us, “It’s a Talking Tom application for smart phones. If you have an iPhone or Android phone, you can download it for free.”
Neither me nor my wife had a smart phone. I rushed to the nearest Vodafone store and bought an iPhone. It cost a bomb.
Chutki was happy to play with it. We brought her home in the evening. She started cooperating by drinking ORS. The next day, she played the whole day with Talking Tom by making him drink milk, occasionally hitting him but most of the time talking to him. I downloaded other applications like Talking Santa and Talking Toby to keep her entertained. I also downloaded LEGO application to keep her entertained.
A week past, the apps on iPhone kept her busy. She drank and ate only when we threatened to take the phone away. She was always playing with the phone as long as she was awake. By then she discovered how to see would see youtube videos on her mobile. She used to see ‘Dogs 101’ videos on youtube and had so much fun watching ‘Zoo Zoo’ videos. She cried at times while watching the videos that had pug in it.
She also learnt to chat with her grandparents from Cellphone via Skype and Facetime. Whenever she used to feel alone, she would just tap once and it used to establish a video call with her granny. At times, she used to record from her cell phone camera and watch those recording over and over again. Phone time was fun time for her, which was nearly the same time she was awake.
For the next few days, I actively started searching for Bingo. I visited the police station twice each day. Ran an advertisement in the newspaper for missing pug. I pasted posters with Bingo’s photo on all the trees . I even kept a reward of Rs. 10,000. But nothing worked.
One day Biwi suggested, “Let’s try Facebook.”
I uploaded the picture with the caption “Our pug dog is missing from 26th March. He has a red patch between his eyes. Please help us find him. Please forward it to all your friends. Reward Rs. 10,000”, on Facebook and kept my fingers crossed.
Sadly, only few of our friends forwarded that message. I lost all hopes of finding Bingo ever again.
Two days later, boss called, “Any news?”
“No boss, no news. I’ve tried everything newspaper, TV, posters and even Facebook. Nothing is working,” I sighed.
“Facebook, that’s interesting, lemme see what you posted,” he said.
I heard him type frantically on his laptop. After a while he remarked, “Amit, now I know why people have not forwarded this message to everyone.”
“I didn’t understand,” I said.
“Come on, you work in an ad agency. This message doesn’t strike a chord. There are hundreds of people going missing everyday. We Indians don’t bother and so why should we bother for a dog?”
I was silent.
“Look, you have to be creative and weird or in other words creatively weird on social media-aka-Facebook, Twitter,etc.,”
He was silent.
He said after a while, “Let me think and come back to you.”
I was thinking hard, but nothing was coming to my mind. I was exhausted due to lack of sleep and loss of appetite.
Boss called back after 10 minutes, “Amit, I nailed it, I have a brilliant idea.”
“I am listening,” I replied.
“First we have to create a video. An emotional one, in which only your daughter should talk. Tell her that this video will be seen by everyone and she should tell the world, what Bingo means to her. And you should upload this video on Youtube, Facebook and Twitter.”
I saw a ray of hope in that idea. “Brilliant”, I said.
“The most important part. Like advertisements, we have to name this campaign.”
“I have thought of the name that has the potential to go viral.”
“What’s that?” I asked.
“Kutta Kho Gaya.”
“Yes, Kutta Kho Gaya. See how you reacted. It’s weird, it’s simple. Isn’t it?”
He said, “Leave buttism. I know that on social media it will go viral. Just do what I said, shoot the video and good luck.”
I prepared the script. Asked Chutki to speak. I shot the video through iPhone and since I had Vodafone 3G connection in it, within two minutes it got uploaded on youtube. Chutki did a fabulous job in the video and also told viewers about Bingo’s birth mark. She also told about the phone numbers, address and the reward of Rs. 10,000.
I named the video, as suggested, ‘Kutta Kho Gaya’. I uploaded the link to the video everywhere on Facebook and Twitter. I attached a tag to it ‘#KuttaKhoGaya’ to make people easier to share.
To my surprise, within 2 hours, it got 1000 views and around 400 people shared it. The response from the people started pouring in. People sent us good wishes and prayers.
It went on for a week. Within a week, we got 50,000 video views and around 11,000 people shared it on Twitter and Facebook. But nobody came forward with any information on Bingo.
Another week, the number of people watching the video slowly started decreasing.
We started losing hope again. Chutki occasionally gets up in the middle of the night and starts crying. We lost our hopes in everything – Law, People and even God.
I went to the Puja (Prayer) room, looked at Lord Ganesha and said, “This is my last prayer to you. Bring him back or else I will become an aethist.”
I couldn’t sleep the whole night. The following morning at 8am the bell rang. I opened the door.
I couldn’t believe what I saw. A boy of about 8-9 years holding Bingo in his hands. He extended his arms to give Bingo.
“Bingo!” I exclaimed.
Bingo jumped to my arms. I couldn’t believe my eyes.
“Bingo… Bingo… Bingo… where have you been,” I cuddled him.
Hearing my voice, Biwi and Chutki both rushed out.
Chutki shrieked on seeing him, “Bingiiiiiiii!”
Bingo jumped from my arms to her.
She cuddled him, “Where did you go Bingo? Why did you leave me?”
She started crying and took him inside.
“Hello Mr. Amit, my name is Wilson,” a gentleman in Reebok tees and Reebok shoes said. He was almost the same age as mine.
“Hello,” I said.
“This is my boy Sid. He found your dog near the garbage dump, looking for food, in the garden. He asked people around but everyone refused to take ownership. He brought him home. We asked our neighbours if they knew this dog. No one replied. So we decided to adopt him. My son has become fond of him and the last few weeks they have become inseparable. The last night I saw the video Kutta Kho Gaya.”
“Thank you Wilson, thank you very much,” my eyes started watering. I took his hand and held t tightly.
“No problem Amit.” he assured.
“No, you don’t know what this means to us.”
He said, “Glad that I could help you. We better get going. I promised Sid to buy a same pug today. We are going now to get one.”
“Thank you, thank you very much,” I said. Before I said anything else, both father and son rushed out.
I saw Chutki. I was ecstatic.
I dialled on the iPhone, “Boss, Kutta Kho Gaya worked.”
I looked at Chutki, she was happily recording video Bingo on her Cellphone. I thought what a fun-cum-life-saver the internet was on the phone.
~ * ~
This is entry to Indiblogger contest ‘Internet is fun on Vodafone.’ Here’s the link www.vodafone.in/fun
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