They may be like chalk and cheese, but Fluffy and Lucky have one thing in common – music. When their actor and musician dad, Adhyayan Suman, picks up his guitar, they’re all perked-up ears

Fluffy makes his appearance first, his white and beige coat true to his name while his elder brother, Lucky struts in a little later, pure white and silky. Green bows adorn the heads of both Shih-Tzus, neatly groomed and ready for their big cover shoot. Then there’s Adhyayan, in cool garb, blue and cream linen, excited to be on the dogs & more cover with his two beloved beings, like a real proud papa with his boys. And we’re in action mode, poses, angles, smiles and woofs, moods and frenzies, some serenading by the master followed by a rendezvous with the trio. Well, mostly Adhyayan, but the boys chimed in with their two pence, too. 

“Lucky is officially the first son of the house!” exclaims Adhyayan. “Mum (Alka) has made that very clear. Then comes Fluffy. Then me.” Surprising, given that mum was dead set against a dog in the house, even stood on the sofa when a teeny weeny white furball was brought home six years ago, on the 7th of Feb. “Today, they are so close, cannot do without each other. And rightly so, for dogs bring so much unconditional love with them. The welcome they give you every time they see you is so heartwarming. In fact, I feel like animals are more like human beings and humans are more like animals now!” No arguments there, for the cruelty and inhumane treatment we see meted out to animals in various forms today is prevalent as ever. 

And it makes Adhyayan livid, depressed actually. So much so that he is planning to invest in a shelter with animal rights activist, Hema Chaudhary, in Madh Island soon. He wishes people would be more sensitive to the strays around and try and get them neutered in their respective areas as far as possible. During the lockdown, the Good Samaritan was seen with bowls of food for the furry ones in his vicinity as he couldn’t bear to think of them starving through such difficult times. 

One look at Fluffy and Lucky and Adhyayan cannot imagine anything other kindness, gentleness, love and affection towards the four-legged. “Both dogs were originally gifts for my exes and came into my life when I was going through a rough patch,” speaks Adhyayan candidly. “Lucky was suffering from a lung infection when he was just 50 days old and he came out a winner. We were all so distraught but overjoyed when he made it through. Mum believes my elder brother, Aayush’s soul – who passed away when he was 11 – is in Lucky.” It’s just something else to see how puppies can bring about such a profound realisation and a change of heart in a non-dog person like Alka. She’s even welcomed the little rescue bird that flew in and claimed residential status – not up for discussion! 

As for the five-month-old Fluffy, with a little training, they’re hoping the feisty little one will be calmer in time. As much as Fluffy is the crazy one, Lucky is the sober one, we learn. The two diametrically opposite brothers don’t necessarily get along but they know they must co-exist in the Suman household and have only each other for company. Drive time, that’s another occasion when both stay cordial, for if they don’t, ‘sticking head out of window’ will be strictly prohibited. Time together will anyway be slightly altered now with Adhyayan having moved into his new home on his 33rd birthday on Jan 13, along with Fluffy. Sure, Fluffy will be dropped off at his first home in the mornings while dad is busy at work.    

It certainly helps that all in the Suman home are animal lovers. Shekhar – the iconic anchor and actor – is mostly away at work but when he’s home, Fluffy and Lucky are afraid of him, especially Lucky; perhaps some form of obeisance to the big dad. Mum, on the other hand, spoils them silly and they adore her. You cannot shout at the dogs, without facing her ire. She will not even let Adhyayan grow their fur long because of our precious weather and they have to be groomed twice a week. They also have the house help wrapped around their little paws. Car rides with Ram Balak are their all-time favourite. Come feeding time and Chotu Bhaiya has to sing to Lucky, the very moody one, to get him to eat his chicken or veg with roti. Fluffy, now he’s a “khau,” as per Adhyayan’s definition. “He will eat anything. Furniture, upholstery, mutton, chicken, shoes, whatever he can get his teeth on. He’s also teething right now. And we’ve started his training to get his aggression under control. We tried training with Lucky earlier, but it didn’t work.” For Lucky has a mind all his own. 

Like the time he was caught red-mouthed after a claiming a pigeon as his victim, perhaps choosing to go feral that one spell! Lucky is also very picky. He only likes the company of big dogs and is extremely attached to his red teddy which Adhyayan gifted him when he was a mere 40 days old. “I got him versions of this toy multiple times as the original is worn out, but he will not budge,” quips Adhyayan. “We have had to repair that toy so often. He does everything with his teddy!” Now, to see Lucky in his truest self, dress him up in a tux and ask him to stand on his hind legs; the boy’s a star! Will just have to wait and see what Fluffy picks up over the years as the impressionable sibling. 

“I would love to spend more time with them, but have a jam-packed work schedule,” says Adhyayan while he steals a glance at the boys, pooped after their day in the limelight. “It scares me to think of when they won’t be with me anymore, I don’t know how I’ll move on without them. But that’s life, everybody has to go someday. Till then, the dogs are living their best life.” That’s the way it is with our pets, isn’t it? Such a short life span filled with joy that’s immeasurable, God’s wonders!

Adhyayan’s jam-packed schedule includes a series of recordings and shoots. Five music singles coming out soon – one with singer, Mohit Chauhan – a few web series and short films in the line-up. It’s been an arduous journey for the Raaz (2002) star ever since. After his movie, Jashn (2009) released, it received critical acclaim but not BO success. This, along with media flak surrounding his personal life sent Adhyayan into a slump. But he struggled and he hustled and he is back in business. His YouTube channel, AS Music, was launched in 2018 which caught the eye of director, Prakash Jha and Aashram was in Adhyayan’s lap. The crime drama web series ran successfully leading to Aashram 2 and proved that dedication brings forth fruit. It may have taken Adhyayan 10 years but he is happy where he is now. “Music has been an integral part of my life as it helped me survive through my darkest days. I didn’t give up on life, you can’t.” Of course, his loving family and God were a big support for him.

His two furballs have undoubtedly played a big role in his positive state of mind. “Lucky and Fluffy have brought so much love into my life, not to mention they are a lot of hard work, too! All worth it!” And this has earned the furry stars a place in Safar, Adhyayan’s upcoming music video. Woof, woof, they sing in harmony.

This feature was published in the Jan-Feb 2021 issue of Dogs & More and reused here with permission from the publisher. Images courtesy: Dogs & More.