It was back in those days when I, by virtue of the inherited belief in God, visited a temple every week; believed that chanting hymns will coerce God to grant me good grades at school; that the priest’s blessings will be enough to make me live for a hundred years without the need of medical science making any advances; and that the sacrament given in the temple will make up for the deficiencies of all vitamins in my body. It was one such day when I waded through the flooded waters of the Delhi monsoon to reach the local Hanuman temple. After ingratiating Lord Hanuman to help me score well in the coming exams, at which I promised to be an obedient boy and not trouble my mother anymore, I started ambling towards the army of people ready to pounce on me for the Prasadam. They looked at me with anticipating eyes and I gently nodded my head to confirm I was not going anywhere, but right towards them. As I ran my fingers into the packet containing the Prasadam, my attention was grabbed by a girl extraordinaire. The fruity fragrance of her perfume flirted with my nostrils turning my nose red; her shiny parrot green Kurti shone bright in the glare of the temple lights; and her face glimmered in the moonlight. As she moved towards the crowd, the ends of her Kurti swinging like a pendulum, her Jhumkis swooning with a cadence, I was hypnotized. I got stupefied. Upon came a canine with a countenance so tender, eyes so melancholic, a gait as expectant as to melt the coldest of hearts. With a smile on her face and glee in her soul, the girl gently caressed its back and held some Prasadam above its mouth. Like a snake dancing to the tune of the snake charmer, the canine flexed her jaw, arched its head up to smell the food, and opened its mouth wide open. The girl duly obliged and dropped the Prasadam into its mouth. The canine feasted upon the food and when it was finished, it looked at her, drenched in gratitude, as if it wanted to bless the girl. The crowd moaned and grimaced. Some looked in disbelief, some with fury. I was surprised, taken aback. You see back in those days, I didn’t use to be much of a canine lover. In my defense, it was long before I came to TISS. As the girl made her way to her Maruti, I started gaining consciousness. As she breezed away, I was myself again. Or was I for I looked at the canine with compassion and walked towards it. As I extended my hand to feed the canine, it sticked its tongue out and licked my palm all over. Disgusted, I ran back home and ravaged my hands with detergent and pumice stone. As I lay in bed that night, I could only think –
“Ladki aur kutta hai jahan, panauti hai wahan”
P. S. The story is a work of an anonymous writer, lazy enough not to start a blog.