The Kitchen Vedantist

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When Actions Speak Louder than Words

English: Close up of common street dog at Howrah.

The year was 2003 and the place Bangalore. We had moved into our newly bought apartment just a few months back. The street in front of our building had many of stray dogs and among them were  two new- born pups. One was the desi type but looked healthy and had a shinier than usual coat. The other was slightly bigger and shaggy. I used to feed both and play with them to keep my daughter company. The shaggier one slowly started accumulating dirt on his coat and our interest in playing shifted to the cleaner looking one. Nevertheless I continued feeding and playing with both. As is our custom we found funny, apt names for both in local lingo- the cleaner, golden brown pup was called Ponnappa and the shabbier one was called Mannappa. Ponnappa disappeared from our street in a few more weeks; Mannappa remained and within months grew up to be the leader of the dogs in the street, a most ferocious one too when it came to strangers. By this time he had developed an intense liking for me. Whenever I came out of the building or was walking to our building, he would come running and jump all over me. He was now quite shabby and I started feeling a sense of revulsion, though I was still friendly and continued to give him food. I was also quite scared of his ferocious expression of affection, worrying his claws would hurt, but it never once happened. Many a time I had a good mind to give him a bath but with the hectic life I had and having no prior experience of owning a dog it never materialized.

Then it happened. One evening I had ventured out of the apartment and Mannappa came running to me.  I  bought a loaf of bread from the next shop, kept it at the usual place for him and continued to walk. thinking the food would make him happy. He just sniffed the food and didn’t take a single bite. I thought he was a little subdued, as he didn’t jump on me anymore. Nevertheless he followed me till the end of the street which was probably the end of his territory too. I’m not sure if it is just my feeling, but I had a sense that he was a little low key in his interactions with me after that day. On that day that street dog taught me a powerful lesson of why not just man, but any sentient being might seek out another. I still don’t have adequate words to convey it, but the message went right through.

August 7, 2013 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , ,

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