By: Ali Tarab Rizvi (LT SL)
It was Saturday. I was driving back home and was a little upset over my boss for not promoting me, due to which I was quite pumped up and was driving rash. As I was about to turn into my society, something caught my eye and I applied brakes. There, in front of my car, were two small puppies. Thankfully, I saw them. I got out of my car and went to the guard.
“Who brought them, and why are they in the middle of the gate?” I asked irritably.
“Sir, Bahadur brought them.” the guard said. (We had two guards, Bahadur and Ramesh, the former for morning shift and the latter for evening shift. Here, I was interacting with Ramesh.)
“Well, tell him to keep them inside the guard room. They could’ve got killed.” I said.
“Sorry, sir.” He replied. Till then, both of the puppies were sniffing my shoes.
“Shoo!” I waved my leg to move them away. The guard took them both in the guard room.
Both of them began howling. I came back to my car.
Next morning, I set out for a jog in my society. As I passed by the guard room, I saw Bahadur feeding both the puppies. It was a pleasing sight. Though I’m cynophobic but these two puppies were too cute to avoid.
I came back home and got ready for office. As I sat inside my car, I realized I have a packet of biscuits in my bag. As I reached the society gate, I stopped and I came out, opened the packet of biscuits and scattered the biscuits at a place a little away from the gate. Both the puppies came running and began nibbling. I saw Bahadur, he smiled at me.
“Try to keep them away from gate. Someone might run them over.” I cautioned him.
“Don’t worry, sir. I have an eye on them.” He said.
“Tell this to Ramesh too. Last night, I was about to crush them.” I said.
“Ok sir.” He nodded.
Since then, I began feeding these puppies every day, either in morning or in evening. One morning, I saw Mr. Mahesh Chand yelling upon Bahadur. Mr. Mahesh was the President of the Residents’ Welfare Association for our society.
“I’m giving you the last warning. I don’t want to see these puppies inside the society or in the guard room.” he yelled.
Bahadur was numb. I intervened. “What happened, Uncle?” I asked.
“See, I don’t know from where he has brought these dogs from? They began chasing me when I was walking with Mr. Gupta.” His voice has full of anger and irritation.
“But they’re pups and they….”
“Please. I don’t need any explanation. I want these, whatever they are, out of the society.” He was stern.
“Ok, as you say.” I gave in.
The pups were driven out of the society, though they kept coming back. Bahadur made a cardboard makeshift kennel outside the gate to house the puppies.
A few days later, it was Diwali. The society was lit up. One could see the kids burning crackers and sparkles. I came to the society gate, where all the elders including Mr. Mahesh were there, greeting each other and exchanging sweets.
Suddenly, there was a loud noise outside the gate. A few kids on the street lit a cracker on the footpath outside the society. Few of us came out to see. The kids ran seeing us. Mr. Mahesh began swearing them. Then, unintentionally, my gaze went on the makeshift kennel. In the past few days, I almost forgot about those puppies.
I went to see those puppies. As I knelt to see the puppies, both of them got frightened and began wailing. I was surprised, and extended my hand. To my surprise, they started backing off.
“What happened?” Mr. Mahesh asked.
“Nothing” I said. “It’s just the puppies. They’re frightened.” I said.
“So? Who cares?” He said in a very cruel way.
I was furious, but didn’t say anything as that would’ve been equivalent to inviting trouble.
After everyone left, I went back to check the puppies. Both were frightened. I called Bahadur to ask about it. “They’re frightened because of the crackers.” He said.
“Ok, pick the puppies. They know you well. I’m picking this kennel. Take them to my home.” I said.
“Ok.” He agreed.
I lifted the kennel. It was stinking. I left it there itself.
“Do you have any other cardboard box? This one stinks.” I asked Ramesh.
“Yes, there’s one inside the guard room.” He replied.
I picked it up, and we both reached my home. My dad greeted me at the door.
“Why are they coming into the house?” he asked, pointing the dogs.
“Pa. They’re scared of the crackers outside.” I said.
“Look at them. They’re stray dogs. They aren’t even toilet-trained.” He said.
“I know, but I can’t leave them outside. If Mahesh uncle sees them, he’ll get furious on Ramesh.”
“Alright, into your room. Just assure, they don’t poop here and there.” He commanded.
“I assure you.” I said as we both entered inside.
I quickly made the makeshift kennel beside my bed and put those puppies inside. I took a bowl, filled some biscuits in it and put it in front of the puppies.
After some time, I retired to bed. I kept the lights on, to assure the puppies don’t get uneasy.
Next morning, I woke up and checked the puppies. The biscuits in the bowl were intact. What caught my eye was a pup laid cold and the other one was coaxing him. That was strange. I took the pup out, he was cold and lifeless. I took my phone and checked for any veterinarian nearby. Fortunately, I found one. He was 10 km away from my home, and his clinic opened at 9 a.m. After freshening up, I took both the puppies to him. He examined both of them.
“One is dead. The other one is in shock.” The vet said.
I didn’t get it. I was confused.
“See. Let me explain. Dogs are quite sensitive to sound as their hearing capabilities are sharper than us humans. Reason why they can hear at the frequencies which we can’t even feel at our ear drums.” He said. “The noise of crackers sounds louder than any gun shot, and these are small puppies.”
“But I can’t help it. Both were on streets. It’s just I saw them terrified.” I explained.
“It’s alright. Still, you did a great job.” He said.
“But what should I do now. The society people can’t let this dog in and I’m a cynophobe.” I said.
“Relax, I know an old lady who lost her dog last month. She was very upset. I’ll let her know. She’ll be happy to adopt this puppy. For the other one, call the municipality people. They’ll get it disposed.” He said.
“But then again, this is a stray puppy. What about the vaccines?” I asked.
“Well, that’s my job.” He said slyly.
I called the municipality and told them about the dead pup. The municipal van arrived in 20 minutes, and took the dead corpse away. The vet telephoned the old lady. She arrived in another half an hour. The vet gave the puppy to her. The lady was delighted.
“Oh, thank you doctor. Thanks a lot.” She said to the vet.
“Well, I would ask you to thank him.” He said pointed towards me.
“Thank you, son. Thank you very much.” One could see tears in her eyes.
I left, as the vet explained her all the vaccines and stuff. I returned home, cleaned all the stuff from my room and took a bath.
It’s quite strange that in our own schedules and frustrations we forget about all those animals living outside on streets. These animals deserve care and respect from us, as we all expect from our fellow beings. However, all they receive from us are leftovers and dislike. Even though, we cannot make them a part of our own lives but still we can look after them as they too a part of this world and somewhere depend on us for their survival.
(Disclaimer: This is a purely fictional story in order to highlight the cruelties on animals and no attempt has been made to vilify any particular community.)