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Diamond Dust – Anita Desai

Diamond Dust

Plot Summary

In this story, we find an eccentric man, Mr. Das, who develops an unusual love for his pet dog, Diamond, despite other people’s (neighbours, friends, wife) protestations. Das, steadfastly devotes himself to Diamond and even feels depressed and devastated when it, occasionally, disappears before appearing again. On its appearance, he resumes his normal health and bearing. However, when it disappears for the third time, dog catchers capture it together with other stray dogs; place it in their van intending to destroy them. When the vehicle passes by, Mr. Das spots his dog in the van. He scampers onto the hind part of the vehicle intending to liberate it but as the vehicle speeds away, he slips and crashes on the road, fatally cracking his head. That is his end.



Obsession is a situation in which one gets so much possessed by a person, thing o idea that he cannot afford to do without. The person possessed thus would rather die than do without his/her object of obsession. The character, Das, in this story gets so devoted and besotted to his pet dog, Diamond, that despite the complaints from his wife, Mrs. Das, service providers, neighbours and colleagues, he is utterly impervious. He has turned a deaf ear to all entities. His monomania for the dog turns him into a social irritant in the community.

The dog, Diamond, becomes more than just a pet. It is a kind of shrine of worship to Mr. Das. He prefers it to his wife, children, grandchildren and everyone else. His exclusive attention is given to it before anyone else and any time it is absent , Mr.Dias, looks devastated and almost demented. This, his obsession, affects the relationship between Mr. Das and all other people, some even say that he is out of his senses.


This is a situation whereby a person’s conduct becomes strange to other so that they can hardly understand, associate or agree with him. An eccentric person will do things that will surprise or disgust others so that they doubt his sanity. For example, if one chooses to live alone in an isolated island and develops the habit of eating wild fruits and animals instead of the normal foods, we can refer to him as an eccentric person.

In this story, Mr. Das becomes eccentric even to his wife and family members. He likes his dog, Diamond, more than anything that lives. When in the public garden, thinking he is hidden, he chooses to play the games with his dog like a child to the great surprise and disgust of his friends.

Whenever the dog disappears, he behaves like a sick man but when it reappears, he becomes normal again. This is quite surprising.


As Mr. Das’ behaviour has become strange, he doesn’t easily get on well with other people. His wife complains about many things. For example, she complains that the dog makes a mess of her decent house, she hates boiling buffalo meat for it, she hates the way it carelessly prances around almost entangling her legs etc. However, in order to stay peacefully with Mr. Das, she has no option but to put up with it.

The service providers, like the postman and the electricity man have problems accessing Mr. Das’ home because of the ferocity and nagging nature of the dog. Mr. Das is, however, not ready to listen to their complaints. Mr. Das pays very little attention to his children and grandchildren because all his efforts and energy are directed towards the dog.  Everyone around Mr. Das has, therefore, to tolerate his behaviour and that of the dog. Tolerance is a virtue but it should never be forced out of others as Mr. Das forces it out of the people around him.

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