Editor’s Note:There are traditions seeped deep into the Indian culture. And we believe in them and follow them – no questions asked. But what happens when we question the logic? Here’s what happened to our member Balajee. Share your thoughts with us here.

One of the most absurd practices I found among Tamil Brahmins is the way they pass on the Gayatri Mantra from generation to generation. You see, it is never chanted loudly and the father whispers it in the ear of his son during the thread ceremony. Even when recited later, the chanter is supposed to do it in such a way that no one else hears it.

Now, you must be wondering what the invocation to goddess Gayatri got to do with pets. Patience dear reader it has everything to do with man’s best friend. When I asked a dyed-iin-the-wool Tambrahm why all this hush hush about the hymn, he replied that the mantra was very powerful and it was being treated as if it was covered under the Official Secrets Act because women, non-Brahmins and dogs are not supposed to hear it.

He continued without even noticing that I was almost in stitches and was wondering whether cats were allowed to hear the mantra, that one became a woman. Shudra or Dog because of the bad karma accumulated in the previous birth and listening to the mantra would free them from the karmic burden and they will escape the full punishment for their sins.

Did he mean that a woman who hears the mantra would undergo a sex change or kick the bucket to be reborn as a Tambrahm man? That is dangerous. But I remember when I was a kid at an Arya Samaj temple near my place they used to broadcast the mantra through loudspeakers.

The Arya Samajis , said my friend angrily were freeing a whole lot of reborn sinners of their Karmic burden. That virtually amounted to abetting a mass prison escape.

But what really concerned me was dogs. Do you really have to accumulate bad karma to be born as a dog? Then it is high time I put my bad karma accumulation on a fast track. Because if there is a next birth I would like to be born as one of those pampered pooches.

Look at my own lab Jimmy. The female with a male name has two beds, one in the bedroom she shares with my daughter and the other in the living room while the humans of the house have only one each. And wherever she is, the AC runs non-stop, Even if it stops for a minute, she will get up and put her front paw on a family member’s thigh and look into their eyes. It is a diplomatic way of saying “Alright you idiots why did you switch the damn thing off?”. If we get massive power bills the credit goes entirely to the mutt. 

Earlier her methods used to be less subtle. If she wanted the AC to be switched on . she would go to the voltage stabilizer and pat it with her front paw and look at us. giving a clear message that she wanted the room to become cooler. While I doubt whether she knows that something called AC exists, she is intelligent enough to link the switching on of the stabilizer and the room getting cooler.

And recently when I went to the pet shop to buy doggie treats for Jimmy I was surprised to find that the shop had designer wear for dogs! A dog haute couture? You bet.

I wonder whether there are fashion shows for the pooches too. Imagine dogs doing the catwalk! Will they go through it without getting offended if they knew it was called catwalk? Your guess is as good as mine.

But while dog food is quite commonplace with vegetables and tripe going into their making, the cats have it much better. My daughter virtually adopted some stray cats in our house. And guess what their majesties eat? Catfood made of tuna and salmon!

I get almost reduced to ashes with jealousy when I see the felines munching granules infused with tuna and salmon flavour .I haven’t had a delicious piece of salmon for at least a couple of years and they get to taste it every day! 

But thankfully they have not lost their feline cultural roots. They still continue the age –old tradition of hunting rats.. Despite my love for fish, I don’t want to be reborn as a cat. Rodents are not my cup of tea you see.

And coming to rebirth,., what if I am born as one of those stray caninines instead of a pet pooch? I think I should ask my Tambrahm friends about avoiding it. May be they would be able to tell me about the quantum of bad karma I have to accumulate to be born as a pet and not as a stray. Maybe it has to be a judicious cocktail of bad and good karma.