The Dog is a heart-touching tragic story of a street dog.
I received the invitation mail from Sweetycatpress (a publication house of great books and a forum for budding writers) five days ago for their next anthology submission. After every submission, I wait eagerly for the next mail. It is full of challenge and excitement when you are given a topic and told to write over it. When you complete the project, it feels wonderful, as if you have given birth to kudos.
This time anthology’s subject was an animal and its role in your life.
I scratch my head ransacking the memories from womb to tomb but found nothing to script down except a few scattered reminiscences.
In my childhood, I went to visit my native village on summer vacation. There I rescued a kitten from a puddle. I took care of her for a few days and then left there with my grandparents and came back.
When I went there the next summer she walked before me with her trail of kittens with a majestic gait paying no extra attention to me.
After that, I took fancy on two twin puppies in my school. When I put my plea in front of my father he instantly dismissed it on the ground of his transfer job.
And that was my last attempt to get close to the animal world. After that life took a speed breaker motion and I became a busy bee. There remained no time to indulge in such trivialities.
Five days had already gone in a jiffy and I finally had nothing to put down in my blank pages except a piteous cry that was banging in my head, piercing my peace for three days.
Monsoon had come this year with its unusual hurry and it was a great relief from the scorching, suffocating heat. But something sad was playing in its early raga that I felt three days ago when in the drizzling rain I found a dog barking desperately under my balcony.
Its continuous howl irritated me, making me anxious not only for him but for everything. An ominous cry mingling with the damp smell of wet mud made the air heavy on my chest.
I watched it from the balcony. There was not a shadow near it…only the street light, foggy and humid beamed over its cuddled body like a spot-light hallowing a rubbish heap, groaning in agony.
I called at it. It stopped the barking for a second and searched for the source of the interruption. Then finding nothing started barking again. I observed it for some time. Then I retired to my bed and tried to sleep. Even in my trance, I could hear its occasional plaintive squeal. Why was it crying so miserably?
The next two days were hectic. I used to go out for the office early in the morning and come back at night. When I went to bed at night the call of the dog was there but I was too tired to think anymore.
The next day was Sunday. But my plan for rising late was dismissed with the bark of the dog which now seems like an intense whimper from a distance. I felt an intense uneasiness and tight knot in my heart that I cannot dissolve with reason. I went to the balcony. The road was clogged in water and there was none in that wee hour. In that bleak watery land, the sun was peeping, wading the stacks of dark clouds.
Searching for the source I reached a half-constructed house just a few steps ahead. I was afraid. If there were other dogs they might bite me and I had no experience.
Yet I appeared gingerly. In the corner of the waterlogged floor, a dog was lying with its body half drown in water. It was shuddering in pain. I realised it was going to die. I knelt down and tried to put a few drops of water in its mouth…but all drops glided down to join the water pool.
I called the municipality. But they informed me there was no veterinary hospital here and in this weather they could do nothing.
I knew that the dog would die soon and they would come to remove the body. But before that, they would do nothing. In our country, thousands of dogs die on road. Why was I caring for an unnamed street dog? Why was I spoiling my only holiday to win a dead game?
The air was already filthy with a dead smell. I felt at least it should be put on a dry area. With a log I pushed it …it turned …its head dropped like a dead man.
I drag it to a dry place in the building. It had stopped the whining already. It had lost its power to express its agony to this world. Only the body was shaking in a feeble quiver. I put a few more drops of water…but in vain. I called it endearingly. It was looking at me … wide-eyed but not a blink was there.
Gradually it stopped quivering and there was no sound except the ringing of rain.
I stood there for a long time. Time got frozen under my feet and in the dead eyes of the dog. Flies started feasting over its body. I was visualizing myself in the place of the dog…hopeless, helpless, and left to die a miserable death. In that grim moment, life and death met in a convergent like.
The dots of the night sky started fainting with the magic spell of soft beams. Torrential rain had dwindled into a drizzle.
Very soon people would come to work in this construction field. The dead body would be taken by the municipality to dump somewhere to rot far from the locality. In its still open eyes, the world would encounter a new morning, a busy day.
I took some snapshots on my mobile and left the place to write a story for Sweetycatpress.
Hey, I am Munmun, the phoenix fabulist who wants to tell you stories. I love to read stories and I love to weave stories. I feel life is an amalgamation of multiple stories, colourful threads, and threads of pain, pleasure, hope, and hopelessness. We just need to pick those hues and arrange them, knitting them with our own emotions and perception. So let’s celebrate the stories of life.