Dear Finn, I don’t even know where to begin. But the skies get creepy like a hole in the mouth of a snake with each passing hour. And darkness falls like flakes and sinks into the soul of the dogdom. Before long, my voice will be lost to the howls and ululations. But this story of kindness and cruelty must be whispered to the posterity.
It was chilly and smeary, but moist and warm. Limbs pressed on limbs and fur kissed the fur. The first things the licks told me was to suckle for life. Amidst spongy jostling for tits which were many in Mama’s pits. She had such a huge tongue and she was black as black could be. Except the colourless smattering of her underside and paws. This lack of blackness I later learned was called white. I found we all had that when I learnt to see. Patches like a moth or a butterfly in between the eyes or back of our necks. And the tips of the tails and paws. Bella was mostly black and Leia was both black and not. My brother Bruno had the whites on his forelegs and belly. And on his snout. He had a spray of black about his muzzle, but the rest of him was brown. No one else had this rare colour. Except the Daddy dog who barked at night sometimes and made me wet my furs.
There was the Fifth one too who never got named. Its coat fell in between Bella and Leia in shades. and it had a wee white triangle on its back. Its sex is one of the missing pieces of the story.
Tongue to tongue, Mama told us about the wilderness beyond our cardboard home. There were two kinds of us in existence, we learnt. One, called pets, who lived with the humans who ruled the planet under a yellow sun. The others like us who lived on their own and were called strays. Life was thorny for us. We were hounded and brutalised for just being alive. Food was hard to come by. Even as the pets were showered with kibbles and chewy delicacies, we were destined to starve. We scavenged the neighbourhood for leftovers and discarded stuff. We had to hunt for rats sometimes to make ends meet. If we were lucky, we caught pigeons too. Pigeons have wings and can fly away before one could wag a tail.
At times, Mama would scare us to sleep with stories about the snake that roamed the yards just beyond our doors. Then there was the ghost of the pet dog who was buried down the path to the south. One scary night that I find difficult to forget, the ghost turned up and hung atop the house. It whined and wailed about the last food it could not eat in its bowl. The snake came too, or perhaps it was the hand of a human witch. All night long, the high winds blew and the Daddy dog barked, and Mama growled at us for the first time. We shuddered and scratched the earth as if there was no tomorrow. And the Fifth one vanished for ever.
I turn in the air and feel the faint pulses of a dog that was run over by a speeding beast that I know is called a car. Her shiny black coat was wet with blood and lifeless liquids. I know it had to be Mama, because the bubbles on the wind mewl at me exactly in the ways she had fed me and licked me. And whispered to me of dangers awaiting us out there. But that happened much later when the humans of the gated society summoned the Dog Squad. They came in with meshed ropes and cudgels. And a round-legged vehicle which was a mobile prison. Within no time she was captured and thrown in it with a thump. They drove away for an hour before letting her go at a place she couldn’t return from. For days after that, she was attacked by murderous gangs of strays of our own kind before it all ended suddenly as she was scampering to escape them.
Those blacks and whites and ash and brown. They fused to give me the colour of my coat. The colour that contained all of us together. In happiness and pain, in life and death. They remain together even if they have gone away, one after the other. Like birds from a far-off land. But it must be Bruno about whom I should tell you, before I speak of anyone else worth his hue.
(Continued in Bruno’s Story)
There are some old homosapiens who lure us and then throw stones at us deriving rotten pleasure. And then , when we don’t wag our tails they say we are not mannered and brought up properly.
Dear Abhai, we have been loyal to humans since times unknown. Once or twice in my small life, I have heard it said, “This country is going to dogs!” I wish I could understand the expression.
Going one after another …. such a painful part it is and it invariably happens. hardly one or two of lot survive.
They wouldn’t go if they were given proper care. It is perhaps ethical to control wild breeding among stray dogs, but once born, their rights to stay on the planet are as bonafide as humans.
Continuation definitely expected. I want a happy ending but I suppose it will be more grounded in reality…
As it happens, much water has passed under that bridge. I will be merely putting in words what the bubbles in the air mewl.
Yes, please, we need the continuation, but not with a “Bruce” ending, perhaps.
‘Bruce Endings’ have fused with the world on elemental-molecular basis. Beware though, tormented dogs tend to whine a lot, and I suspect there won’t be a dearth of that looking ahead.
While going through the car run over point, I was reminded of a ghastly similar scene of last week.
Stray dogs perish on the roads oftener than not.
Waiting to know about Bruno.
Luna is surely eager to tell a word or two about her brother.
Oh yes, there must be a continuation. Luna is a master stroyteller and a voice for the many that go unheard.
Luna intends to carry on unless the elements overwhelm her. Many thanks, Sandra.
I read this with trepidation Uma, as I can’t bear to read about sad things happening to animals, but you inhabited Luna’s head so well, it was great storytelling.
But sad things keep happening to them with a perturbing frequency. I have tried to be a truthful voice; I’m glad I’ve managed. You are a kind soul, Andrea.
Thanks for this story, which shines a light on the abuse that far too many animals and dogs experience. I wish every dog could have a loving home, and Finn does too! Meanwhile, I look forward to reading the rest of Luna’s story.
I have felt their yearning for home closely. Finn is lucky. Thanks for your attention; I shall try and fill out the rest of the far too common account.
Uma, this is such a heartbreaking tale and writing it from the puppy’s view made it all the more real and poignant. I was in tears when I read about Mama. It brought to mind for me a memory from long ago of a dear mama cat I once had and what happened to her. The harsh reality of how these things happen is difficult to bear, yet it is reality. I await with some trepidation the continuation of the story about Bruno.
I am delighted to have found you again at my blog, but sorry to have reminded you of your old pet and made you deeply sad. You are my invaluable inspirer and reader.
Bruno’s story will appear and wait for your footsteps.
I can’t tell you how much I missed your writing. Welcome back. Waiting to hear the rest of Luna’s story.
Thank you ever for being there, my old friend.
It’s such a pleasure to read your stories. 🙂
Thank you, very much.
Hello, Umshankar, So glad to bump into your blog. You have a poignant way of telling a tale; you had me swept up in the anticipation of the ambiance your words evoked. Have a great week. Best wishes,
Welcome to my corner, Selina. I have begun rewriting with Luna’s story. Your readership is a gift unto my awakening. Thank you ever.
I am sure it takes a special sort of ‘caringness’ to be able to see the world from the POV of another human, leave alone a stray dog. Well done Uma!
Thanks, Ankur. I had been planning to unroll this scroll for a while. I am glad it appealed to you.
So glad to be back at your blog to witness magic being woven with words. This is indeed a touching story. Something I can relate to – we faced a situation in our hostel dorm. We harbored a young female dog in the dorm and we had to stand against the entire campus to prevent them from being evicted out. (Incidentally we had just 2 dog lovers in the dorm who had let her in and we all had stood against them initially. But over time all of us got converted and stood together against the rest of the campus)
That is the power of a true leader! And the account has warmed the ventricles of my ticker.
It is a privilege to receive your readership once more, TF. It encourages me deeply to keep going.