TODAY -

Prelude to what we need to know !!!

By Anoubam Rishikanta Sharma *

That evening was as hot as being near a burning pile of twigs. In those days, I usually took a walk every day & came back having bought vegetables & other kitchen stuff, as I was renting a room, not so small, in Gokul Pura in Agra where Taj Mahal stands as an ever lasting symbol of love.

I, having decided to go out for a walk around the Raja Mandi market, came out of my room, dressed in what I thought I looked best in. Slum Dog Millionaire is what I never saw when I was in Agra, but I saw real slum dogs there & see many around here.

You might misinterpret my first writing, thinking that I have chosen the topic of slum dog, that has recently attracted the jury members of Oscar Award, to gain your attention to my first post, but I have an altogether different story to tell. I am not writing this neither to judge the award nor the lives reflected in the movie Slum Dog Millionaire. What I am writing is all about the real slum dogs around the area where I was renting the room.

As soon as I was out of the room, I heard some roaring & barking sound not much far from I was. I knew there must be some new dogs entering the border that the slum dogs in our locality do not allow any other slum dogs to enter across.

As soon as I was at the corner of the building where the alley that I had been coming down ended, I saw some dogs, which, I was sure, were from around the locality, biting a dog which was smaller than its age.

They were chasing the dog, biting it as soon as chance came their way, as if there would be no other day to bite a dog entering their province, while the small ones were barking at it, as if they were encouraging & supporting their mighty ones. The situation reminded me of every barking & biting hearts that, from under the masks of busy lives, hate the poor.

Thank god! At least the poor cannot observe how much the rich hate them. As I was approaching them, I was a little frightened, since I had to go past them on the way to Raja Mandi where I used to buy vegetables & grains three to four days every week. The dog with biting marks almost all over its body seemed to have been weakened by the pain caused by the local slum dogs.

It did not bark even once back to the dogs showing only blazing long teeth & red eyes that seemed to proudly indicate "that's the lesson you get here for entering our province". As I moved along the road, I was nearing them all appearing as if they could never be stopped by anyone & anything.

I was making myself feel comfortable, thinking that there were some guys who were looking at the situation & laughing at the dog bleeding from the marks that made them (guys) feel like laughing at it. For a moment, I was feeling very small & timid as I saw them making fun of the situation while I was panic with fear & sympathy. One among them turned to me, as he was aware of someone passing them.

I put up a made up smile facing them all specially the one who turned to me, & then I moved my face to the dogs not much far away from where I was, showing that I was equally strong & not sympathetic to the biting & being bitten as they were on the road side. The black dog running for its life changed its direction & turned to us & was running towards us, perhaps thinking we would stop the dogs behind it from chasing it & save at least its life.

I lost my made up smile, stumbled with my eyes wide open, readying to protect myself as soon as I sensed something bad was sure to happen to me. It was fast nearing us. It was running fast down the road at most one-step distance before us, almost passing us. Suddenly, the guy kicked the dog falling on its side.

I hardly saw him kick it, hence I fully came to know only when the dog roared a sound of pain & frustration at the behaviour of man who it had thought would save its life, now was hating it more than the dogs behind hated. It soon rose up & went directly to the guy, who was laughing with his friends, at how he kicked the dog & turned it down.

Sitting on a scooter, he did not notice the dog approaching. The dog, jumping up a little, bit the guy at his ankle while his leg was hanging down at least 3 to 4 feet over the ground. The guy screamed with pain 'it bites.It bites, hei..hei..', kicking in the air not knowing how to bear the pain. The dog moved running slowly by me without a hope for sympathy from me.

Perhaps it might have learned by now that it is no more weakness that all sympathize with, but it is power & strength that people honour. The dogs were barking at it from a place to where they thought they were safe. Quite surprised by the bleeding dog, I was standing in the middle of the road, not knowing that I was standing there.

Partly sympathetic to the bleeding dog & partly delighted at what it had taught me untold that it's not only we 'the human being' that, when we are not able to take revenge against the mighty, draw our anger to the weaker who will never raise their hand against us, but also the animals.

When I came back to my consciousness, the guy was showing his tattered jeans & hurt ankle to who passed by. The evening grew darker & darker suggesting me to go for what I was out for, & I resumed my walk toward Raja Mandi to buy vegetables. As I moved on, how the bleeding dog fell & how it bit the guy, came back to my mind, & it did not fade away from 2 to 3 months from then.


* Anoubam Rishikanta Sharma contributes for the first time to e-pao.net. The writer can be reached at rishisharma(dot)r93(at)gmail(dot)com (
This article was webcasted on November 16th, 2009.



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