Dogs can show off their power at a noisy war and yet can also be shooed away by cawing crows. Its a strange world.
There were eighteen of them.
Yes, I counted them as I peeped through the door. One foot outside the door, and one foot still inside, I gasped, as the eighteen dogs burst into belligerent barking.
Then I heard a hapless whimpering.
It was no point going for a walk when the dogs of war were at their barking, bellicose best, nay worst. But I was curious about the whimpering, and my curiosity was satiated when I peeped out of the door and saw an emaciated dog limping from under the staircase leading up to the upper floors. The dogs were barking at this underdog. The poor thing whimpered piteously, trying to hobble away to safety, but there seemed to be no safe zone around. Every corner was dogged by a ferocious looking canine.
Was I in the midst of a bizarre nightmare? So many dogs? From where did they come? Was Mark Antony of Julius Caesar [Shakespeare Act 3, scene 1, line 273] shouting from the shadows, “Cry Havoc! and let slip the dogs of war?” Was it some scary, spooky story to be told in the dark?
Well, on second thoughts, no call of Mark Antony was needed for the dogs of war to be unleashed, they seemed to have taken over the world, gloating at their potential for killing, lynching, savaging, ravaging. My head reeled at this rampant darkness masquerading as day.
I could not bear to see the poor, beleaguered dog being barked at, so I tried to shoo the dogs away, taking a few cautious steps out of the house, but they barked back at me, and one of them tried to climb up the stairs to show me the stuff he was made of, and the stuff was scary, so I hurtled back to the safety of my four walls.
Then, before I could get a hang of things, a couple of crows descended from the neem tree, and created a ruckus, viciously pecking at the dogs, one by one. From the safety of my flat, I saw the dogs of war, literally slinking away, their tails between their legs. They had got their comeuppance at the hands, nay at the beaks of the canny crows.
The road was clear of all traces of belligerence, so I stepped out, looking this way and that, warily. There was no dog around, even the limping one had limped away to some hidden corner, but suddenly a pup materialised from somewhere and flung itself at me, hugging me with its forelegs, and a tiny sparrow hopped up to me and cheeped a happy tweet of welcome.
The dark had sudden contours of light, and I walked on, feeling light-hearted. The 16th century proverb, “It’s a dog’s life, hunger and ease” had referred to the miserable existence of dogs. But its a different era now. Dogs can show off their power at a noisy war and yet can also be shooed away by cawing crows. Kuchh bhi ho sakta hai!
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