My son says that his friend would look after Jimmy. Which friend? I ask. A college friend, you don't know him, he replies. That's true. I don't know many of his college friends. But my son has promised me that Jimmy will be well cared for by the friend. I hope the friend – what is his name? I enquire. Ramanathan, he says. But I thought he mentioned Srinivasan early on. My memory must be playing tricks on me. Anyway, I hope the friend remembers to take Jimmy for walks every day. Once in the morning and once in the evening. The vet said that apart from a slight liver engorgement, Jimmy is in good condition for a dog his age. He is coming up to 78 in human years, would you believe it! We're about the same age and he is in a much better shape than I am. My diabetes and arthritis are worse than ever.
After my husband passed away in 2004, I became even more reliant on Jimmy for company. I didn't want to move in with my son but my fall last month has left with no choice but to pack my bags. My younger grandchild is asthmatic and her mother reckons dog hair might aggravate her condition. That's why I couldn't take Jimmy with me when I moved.
Where does Ramanathan live? I ask. Who? my son wonders. Ramanathan, you know your friend who now has Jimmy…where does he live? Ah, him, very far away. About 3 hours' drive from here. Are there vets nearby? Jimmy is due for his monthly check up on the 25th, I remind him. It's not a village, you know, he sighs. There are supermarkets and restaurants and internet cafes and schools and hospitals and I'm sure, vets where he lives. But how would I know about it? I've no clue where his friend lives. I wonder if I should ask him if Ramanathan is a vegetarian. Because Jimmy eats meat three times a week and I don't want him to miss his treats. But I'm sure my son would have told his friend that. Does Ramanathan live in a flat? I ask. Because Jimmy needs some space to run around. He's never been a dog to sit still or sleep all day. My son doesn't answer. His back is turned to me. So I ask him once again. No, he replies. Ramanathan lives in a large, towering bungalow with a 50 feet garden at the back. Jimmy would like that.