‘The Bond of Love’ by Kenneth Anderson
It is a story of love and friendship between a pet bear cub and the author’s wife. He got the cub for her by accident. Two years ago while driving through the sugarcane fields near Mysore, they came across some people driving away wild pigs from their field. Some were shot dead and others escaped. Suddenly, a sloth-bear came out of the field. One of the author’s companions shot the bear on the spot. As they approached the fallen animal they saw a baby cub riding on his mother’s back. The little cub circled around the dead mother producing a pitiable sound, then ran away into the fields.
The author was able to catch hold of the cub. The little bear struggled to free himself but they put him in a gunnybag. They brought him to Bengaluru. The author presented the little creature to his wife. She was delighted and named him Bruno and later changed the name to Baba, a Hindustani word which signifies ‘a small boy’.
The author’s wife looked after the cub like her own child. They had two Alsatian dogs. The cub became friendly with them and he played with them and even slept in their beds.
One day, by accident he ate some poison that the author had left in the library to kill rats. He suffered from a stroke of paralysis. But he dragged himself slowly to the author’s wife. He was vomiting and breathing heavily and growing weak rapidly.
He was taken to a veterinary surgeon. 10 c.c. of anti-dote was given to him. His condition remained unchanged. Another 10 c.c. was injected. Finally, Bruno got up and enjoyed a good meal. In another incident he drank a gallon of old engine oil but it had no ill-effects on him.
As time passed by Baba grew in size. He was very fond of the dogs but most of all loved the author’s wife. However, because of the tenants’ children he had to be tied up most of the time.
The author, his son and friends advised her to hand over Baba to the zoo at Mysore. He had become very big and could not be kept at home. At last, she consented. A letter was written to the curator of the zoo and Baba was packed off.
But he missed them all greatly and refused to eat food. The author stopped his wife from visiting Mysore for three months but she was adamant. At last he took her.
Friends thought Baba would not recognize her but the moment he saw her he cried with happiness. She ran up to him and patted him through the bars. She gave him tea, cakes and ice-cream. At last the ‘closing time’ came and they had to leave.
The author’s wife wept bitterly. Bruno also cried. She pleaded with the curator to send Baba back. At first he refused saying that now he was the government’s property, but finally agreed. He even lent them a cage to transport Bruno.
At home, an island was made for him. It was twenty feet long and fifteen feet wide. It was surrounded by a moat six feet wide and seven feet deep. A wooden box was kept for Bruno to sleep in at night. Straw was kept inside to keep him warm.
In a few days Bruno was released in the island. He was delighted. The author’s wife spent hours sitting there with Bruno on her lap. The story shows the baby bear’s qualities of love, affection and loyalty.