It was 9.30 in the night. I had been working late as usual. I am an ardent lover of all animals. There is this stray pup that I buy food for, each night. This fellow spots me coming out everyday and follows me to the usual spot where I buy him his daily meal. I don't have to ask the shopkeeper for a pack of biscuits. Its become a ritual and we work like clockwork. I got him his pack of biscuits. And like everyday, I share my pack of biscuits with him. One for him(he leaps and snatches it out of my hands) and the next for me(if I manage to cheat it from his keen eyes). We are regularly made fun of by my colleagues. Even if I do, he doesn't give a damn. He just keeps wagging his tail at me and I keep wagging the biscuits under his nose. Each day, we are closely watched by the local begger. He has his one eye on the dog and the other on the pack of biscuits that I use to bait the dog. I am sure he is need, it has never occurred to me to share the pack with him. I always thought that if a man could walk, he could fend for himself(all you need in life for protection are your legs, in case things turn bad and you need to turn tail). I never gave the begger a biscuit. Either I would eat one or two from the pack or I would give the whole thing to the dog. Its been two months since I started feeding this dog and now-a-days, I find the begger shooing the dog off at any possible situation. On this day, however, I was walking through the office gates, craning my head and squinting through the night's smog to catch a glimpse of the dog. Its a great feeling to find someone who is actually happy to see you no matter how late you are from office, or how insanely hungry you are.
I caught sight of the begger sucking away at a half used piece of cigarette under the shelter of the PRICOL bus stop. The dog was no where in sight. Suddenly, across the road, I heard the happy yelp of the dog, my dog. He was happily snipping away at the heels of one of the operators from my company who automatically shooed him away. Being the dog that I raised, he did not leave the half scared, half nervous man alone. He continued to snip at his heels and his shoes. The man did not realize the joy behind the dog's actions and kicked a him. Scared at the sudden movement, the dog jumped from the side of the road into the steady trickle of traffic. Being that it was 9.30 in the night on one of the busiest roads, the dog was hit by a passing Qualis. The car was doing quite a speed and he could not stop the car in time to avoid hitting the dog. Dogs are born with an instinct for escape. I have no idea, but the dog avoided being crushed and howled its way over to where I stood. I too dumb struck and nervous to move ad I couldn't stand the sight of the dog. He looked pitiful, howling like a baby, unable to stand on his hind. He fell down in a heap and I was still too queasy to do anything. I did not know how to react. The begger made his way to the dog and started slowly stoking him. It should have been soothing, because the dog was no longer howling as bad. Once the dog had stopped howling, he slowly held to the dog's hind and put it back on its feet. The dog winced and feel back on the ground. He did not give up. He gave it another shot. I do not usually believe in miracles, but the dog stood up, wincing, howling, but standing. I now buy the begger a slice of bread or two every time I see him. He had the courage to do what I couldn't.
I write this in the memory of the dog that no longer wags its tail when I am sad. I haven't seen him in over a week now. I haven't seen the begger either.