A Dog Saw Love
A Dog Saw Love5 mins 225 5 mins 225
I like to watch life from atop my room’s balcony. Ever since I was house-arrested by my leg fracture, I have done nothing else but watch. I watch the old uncle pluck white flowers for morning pooja, leaving the shrub covered in lush green without a speck of whiteness it had adorned itself with. I watch the line-up of thresholds in the street getting their daily share of rangolis, some small, some big, some flowery, some geometric, in all sizes and shapes. I watch the paper boy on his bicycle, balancing garrulously, throwing newspapers into every compound. Every house, be it on the ground floor or fourth floor, getting their fair share of aimed “phat”s every day, same time, without a mistake. I watch my neighbour’s Rottweiler lying on their patio with dreamy eyes and drooling mouth. I wonder what he is dreaming about. By far he is my favorite thing on the street to watch, rooted to his spot like me.
Nothing ever changes in his routine. He lies on the patio, big blackhead on his front paws, lazily wagging his tail just once whenever anyone passes by the gate, milk-man, paper-boy, car-wash guys. He is taken out for a very short walk, frightening off the pigeons and unwelcome stray dogs resting on the street. Completing his nature calls, he is back in the patio with a bowl of dog food kept out for him. The rest of the day is reserved for his rest, complete from head to tail, raising his head only during mealtime. Nobody has ever heard him bark, making it the safest neighbourhood. The only time his tail wags with relative vigor is when the young girl from the pent house comes down. She never fails to pass by without waving at him or patting him on his big blackhead. Usually tied to his spot, the girl sits with him in the evening when she comes back from office. Her hand pats him and scratches the back of his ears ever so gently, that he drools even more, forming a puddle on the floor.
In the evenings, my street is magically transformed into a small bustling town. Vendors of “time-pass batani”, “chatpata churmuri”, balloons and bubble guns are in strict competition to occupy the marketable corners of the street. Any time after 5PM, the street is flooded with children of all ages. It starts with the skinny boy on his skating board, calling out all his friends for play time. It is almost always the little ones that come out skipping and scampering about. I am in awe of the skinny boy who navigates the gaps of the street so adeptly as if the board and he were one body. Mothers are out in their neat evening dresses, ready for the gossips and the showing-off of their kid’s numerous achievements of the day. The pent-house girl enters the street with her laptop bag slung on her shoulder and lunch bag in her hands. A smile lights up her face when the shouts, cheers and general ruckus greets her back home. A still calmness dawns on her, washing off the tired look that had shrouded her countenance.
One evening, soaking in all the laughter around her, she entered the gate of her building, greeting her pet warmly. She dropped her bags by the wall and sat at the doorsteps, talking to her buddy. He seemed unusually clean and alert. He was on all fours, pawing at the little sparrows which had swooshed down to peck at the rice grains kept out to be sun-dried. She glanced at the wall behind his spot, staring closely at what seemed like blood spots. Slowly, in her silky-smooth voice, she started talking to the restless dog, drawing his attention to herself. She was admonishing him for troubling the little birds asking how may he had gobbled up.
Gentle as she was, her hands started their ritualistic strokes across his head, brushing his smooth mane. She scratched the back of his ears making him croon. He stretched out his head, exposing his throat to be stroked by her gentle hands. He was easing himself, gradually stretching into the familiar slumber log position that was more like his personality. He was making more of the crooning noises and deep satisfying guttural growl. How easy and smooth was the relationship between this young girl and the huge beastly dog! I was wondering why there were so many tangles amidst the relationships between men.
Sudden movement at the door waked me out of my reverie. The master of the dog shouted at the girl on top of his voice, to step back from the dog. His rude shout made her jump five feet out of her place far from her pet. All the familiar playful noise was shattered and silenced by the master’s shout! The dog jumped up high and started barking madly bringing down the whole house hold. Another set of barking was heard from inside the house. Kids ran far away from what seemed like two beastly dogs about to unleash themselves. The lady of the house walked to the frightened girl, holding her shaking body close to her bosom. She took the girl upstairs and tried to steady her frayed nerves.
This identical dog was not their pet, but that of a friend’s, which had to be looked after closely while they were away. Unlike their own domesticated pet, this ferocious Rottweiler was never friendly with anyone except his own master. He was infamous for his loud resounding bark and terrorizing deep bite he had bestowed on many passers-by. Untrained as he was, he seemed to be bent on giving rabies to all humankind. Nobody was supposed to come near the tightly leashed dog. The girl was pale, shaken to the very core of her heart.
The dog was finally put down by a drowsy bowl of milk. That night, sleep was not so easy for the girl as I stayed awake by the lights of her room spilling into mine. What failed both our understanding was the fact that the beastly dog had succumbed to her love. It was eventually not very different from the domesticated pet she was friends with. All it took was some coaxing love-filled time with the beast to turn into a beauty. Why did people not understand it, love conquers all, so they say?