Going to the dogs

Author: Yuvi June 10, 2022

Going to the dogs


Being dumped by roadside pooch Nelson is no less than a heartbreak from the ’90s, when women presumed to be girlfriends would be seen riding pillion with guys considered to be ‘bros’

Being dumped by roadside pooch Nelson is no less than a heartbreak from the ’90s, when women presumed to be girlfriends would be seen riding pillion with guys considered to be ‘bros’

For me, the morning walk is all about dogs. And I learn something new every day.

I begin my routine by taking an informal pooch count of my circuit. It starts with the red-collared black-and-white guy, the monarch of Adyar, in no hurry at all to eat the biscuits given as a tribute by his many subjects. The graceful, spotted boy, the one with definite hound blood, who pretends he doesn’t know me, comes next. Then come all the familiars.

There are the raucous twins, one tan, one black, both government employed it would seem, who go round and round the sanitation worker’s tricycle like furry satellites as he goes about his job.

Then there is the one-eyed good boy that guards the potti kadai, whom I call Nelson. Every day, Nelson waits for me and follows me faithfully for exactly half a kilometer before saying goodbye to attend to other pressing canine engagements.

A couple of days ago, uncharacteristically, Nelson appeared to be coming towards me. And I was nowhere near our rendezvous point. It took me a second to realize that Nelson was accompanying a woman, walking a polite five feet behind her. Whether the woman knew she had an admirer, I couldn’t be sure, but that I had been roundly dumped was confirmed.

As Nelsie Boy passed me, he gave me a semi-apologetic smile without breaking stride, and continued being faithful to his new human.

I was reminded of the ’90s, when I would see (with clockwork regularity) young women. fumes.

I wasn’t angry with Nelson. After all, I had missed my walk for a couple of weeks. What’s a lonely pooch that needs a pacesetter to do? Later, I saw Nelson sitting at his usual place, the potti kadai.

I stopped. And we had our talk.

“Er, you know how it is”, said Nelson.

“No apologies necessary”, I said.

“I could follow you for a bit”, he said. “Wouldn’t be the same, though”.

“It wouldn’t be right”, I said.

As I walked away, Nelsie Boy winked at me with his good eye.

Then there is Lana, the ever-smiling Lab. I remember the first time I met her and got talking to her human. A thoroughly drenched Lana had apparently walked into her house on a rainy day during the lockdown.

“Oh, a rescue”, I’d said, giving Lana’s back a rub.

“Yes”, the woman had said. “I am”.

Recently, as I was walking past the neighborhood Pillaiyar Koil, a young man with a backpack did a quick namaskaram to the deity, and yet somehow managed simultaneously to pat a passing doggo (a pale brown chap with an ever-alert air).

The dog stopped for a bit, gave his patter a smile, and trotted off. The young man, too, short prayer done, walked away in the opposite direction.

My first instinct was to go to him, shake the hand, the hand that was one half of the namaskaram, that had absently patted the dog.

“My friend, be this guy, forever”, I wanted to tell him. “Be the guy whose faith isn’t an impediment to his humanity, whose devotion is an easy companion to his compassion. Whose prayers are as much about God as all of God’s creatures. The guy who gives us hope, whom I meet only too rarely these days. Be this guy without thinking”.

As they say, dog works in mysterious ways.

Krishna Shastri Devulapalli is a satirist. He has written four books and edited an anthology.

10 June, 2022, 3:05 pm

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