I'm lying here, where they left me.Do you have a minute today?Or would you miss your bus?Is that phone call really important?I would have survived the other day,albeit weak from hunger,if you hadnot given me the last scrap of bun.No,I'll still be grateful,for we ARE loyal creatures,every one of us.But TODAY,I really need your help.Look at me please,last night as I was sleeping under the street light,the back wheel of a truck squashed my stomach.My guts are spilled out for the world to see,its a miracle that I'm still alive,though I can feel life like an ebb tide,as opposed to a rising one.I have been howling like this since four in the morn-some of you must have cursed me in your sleep.Sorry about that-but today I'm REALLY not crying wolf-there are no suspicious strangers,no scurrying cats-it is a matter of life and death for me.If only you would look out and see.The old lady never liked me,she covered her nose with her saree,but the school boy?He used to give me bread out of his tiffin box-was that love or just a method to dispose off his unwanted lunch.I would say it was the former,for today he wanted to help but his mother dragged him away,disgusted,mumbling something about being late to school.The sun mounts higher,I need water.Wouldn't somebody give me some?I have been too hopeful,and now irritation sets in,or is it a sin to be so?To expect something in return of a service?-have I not guarded your houses well enough,friends?
Suddenly I feel something cold,metal.Oh.A clamp around my neck.Somebody hauls me up and puts me in the back of a van.I could smell more of my kind,but I could see none.It was cool in there...
And then darkness set in.
One morning I woke up to a horrible howling,the sight was more pitiful than the sound,as you can well imagine.Well,this street dog and I,we have grown up together,and that day death came as the end.Many people were curious,some visibly disgusted,others Talked about what should be done,but nobody did anything.My dog,kept howling back,he was restless.He whined and kept coming back to me,pleading to do something.I put a call to the local animal centre which takes care of wounded strays,but they too were pretty nonchalant for an organisation which did such work.I was seriously disappointed.They took an hour to travel four kilometers,and that too hauled the dog by its neck on their arrival.The howling still reverberates in my ears.I took little comfort from their arrival,as it was clear that she wouldn't live long-nobody does,when their guts have been spilled on the road for hours.
None of my neighbours even came down with water,or first aid.I was surprised at such an inhuman reaction to something like this.Do we not sleep peacefully in our beds,because they roam the streets and guard the neighbourhood?Do they not put up a racket if suspicious men hang around our houses?Have we learnt this then?To expect service and and give nothing in return?
That sure was a poor way to repay a debt.For days,some of the other dogs mourned.And with them,I did too.I love my city,would trade the most precious thing to me to live here forever,here in Calcutta.The City of Joy,they say.But sometimes,just sometimes,I feel that my city has a black heart.
And if you are up there,my friend,this is for you.I know the brightest star that shines is you.Forgive me,my friend-that sure was a poor way to repay a debt to you.
pic found here:http://www.flickr.com/photos/83461242@N00/726486900/