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Horny Hobbes: The Rabbit That Disgraced Us All

04/08/2015 8:07 AM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:25 AM IST
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Thomas Hobbes was my favourite political philosopher while I was studying for my Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science. I was fascinated with the way he broke with tradition and propounded a political theory based on the comprehensive understanding of human nature, especially the passions. So, while course work demanded that I study the 'Leviathan', a lesser known work of his 'Elements of Law' (1640) excited me beyond measure too.

This great love for political philosophy and this English philosopher in particular made me name a rabbit I adopted, Thomas Hobbes.

Hobbes came to me on one of my visits to my Dad's friend's house. This person loved rabbits and had a whole lot of them running around his house. Rabbits as we all know multiply alarmingly quickly. But Uncle never seemed to be bothered about it, much to the annoyance of his wife, who had to suffer the loss of the vegetables in the store house and destruction of her beloved kitchen garden! Well, I spotted this little rabbit, sitting all alone on the sofa in the living room, nonchalantly eating an apple with a very arrogant expression. Much like intellectual disdain over his lesser rabbit brethren. He looked different too. You know, like not 'normal'. And I soon found out that it was because he had only one ear. His right ear was completely missing. It was a birth defect.

Everyone was mystified about my choice. I could hear what they were thinking. 'Why pick a deformed rabbit?" I could have quoted glorious lines by Spinoza "

I would warn you that I do not attribute to nature either beauty or deformity, order or confusion. Only in relation to our imagination can things be called beautiful or ugly, well-ordered or confused.
Instead, I scooped the precious guy in my arms and marched to my Dad's car. 'Daddy, I am going to call him Thomas Hobbes. He is a break against tradition. A stupid tradition that reveres beauty without compassion." My long suffering Dad possibly would have wondered why he couldn't have had a more 'normal' daughter.

Thomas Hobbes led a grand life. He lived in a huge, airy room, with lattice windows, adjacent to our lawn. He shared his accommodation with numerous rescued birds. He would sit on my lap, nibbling apples and carrots, while I read him poetry and philosophy. Sometimes I made him listen to Hendrix, too, on my Walkman. I mean we shared the Walkman... he had one ear phone and I, the other. Just to reassure him that his abnormal one ear did not bother me.

When Hobbes entered his teens, trouble started. The chap became decidedly and embarrassingly horny! In the evenings, he would take his constitutional on the lawn. That was the time many people would come to meet my Dad, seeking his help as he was a police officer; or his colleagues would come to visit him and discuss office politics; or young officers would call on him. They would invariably be seated on my Ma's beautiful lawn, drinking in the beauty of her roses, loving our fan-tailed doves lazily sauntering about and sipping tea or lime juice. Suddenly, Thomas Hobbes would hurl himself on them and enthusiastically hump their leg hard. It used to be hilarious and I would double up with laughter at their shocked expressions. But then my Dad got real mad at both me and Hobbes! Perhaps he imagined a whisper campaign starting against him? Somewhat like 'Shahib has a strange, dirty rabbit"

So we decided to get a mate for Hobbes and Dad imperiously ordered one of his flunkeys to do so. A pretty little rabbit came along and she was called 'Tina". Soon she grew up, but Hobbes showed absolutely no interest in her. I tied satin ribbons on her ears, sprayed her with my Ma's Nina Ricci perfume, painted her nails red etc to make her sexy and desirable. Nothing worked. Meanwhile, Hobbes continued with his relentless molestation of my Dad's guests and colleagues.

Worried, the police vet was called to examine Tina and suggest methods to improve her sex appeal. The vet checked her and announced hoarsely, to everyone's shock, that Tina was in fact a male! 'Tina' was hurriedly changed to 'Tony'. And to my Dad's horror, became a devout disciple of Hobbe's in the matters of molestation and arbitrary humping of human legs.

Both Hobbes and Tony lived a long, happy and 'rangeela' life .

My Dad has never forgotten them and still refers to them as 'those disgraceful rabbits of yours".

This post appeared here.

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