|Image: By Beverly & Pack|
A dream...and all the memories came flooding back.i still remember the day.we were going from jammu to kashmir.the long winding highway was desolate.it was around 4pm in the evening and we were still searching for a restaurant to stop and have our lunch.as one travels towards kashmir one can clearly see the demography changing.our driver told us that if we don’t find a restaurant before 5:30pm, we would have to skip our lunch(if it still can be called lunch by then) because patrolling by army would start .then at a bend of the road we finally found a veg ‘dhaba’.under normal circumstances i just loathe ghee.but that day was exceptional!
The restaurant had only 1 item on its menu—rajmah with ghee and parantha.we happily gorged on the food! The food was really delicious!!I ate something like 9 or 10 paranthas!!
I finished first and came out of the dhaba.the terrain was hilly.i was just roaming about when i saw a sweet little dog playing with the customers there.they were giving him morsels and patting him.i too went and gave him some of the bread we had.i just did that.i didn’t even patted him or something like that.i don’t know what made him do that , but he started following me.i love playing with dogs and we both raced to the hillock behind the dhaba.i played with him for some time and then it was time for us to leave. I left him there by that ridge and started climbing down to our vehicle.silly dog,he thought i was playing with him.he rushed down and to the middle of the road.i still remember it vividly. He was barking at me and wagging his tail.
Then out of nowhere, a speeding suv emerged.actually i wasn’t even able to see it properly because of its beak-neck speed.i just heard a low thud, then a shrill bark and then everything was silent.in the middle of the road, lay in a pool of blood, the very dog i was playing with a few minutes back.the car had cut through his stomach, his intestines dangling out. His eyes were still looking in my direction.his tail still wagged a couple of times and then nothing moved.
I went numb.i didn’t know how to react.some of the people in the dhaba came out and saw what had happened.the suv had disappeared long ago.some showed pity for the dog, others were shocked. Everyone then started talking about rash driving and the accidents they cause.after some time everybody went about in their own usual business.the dog’s eyes were still fixed at me.
It was time for us to leave.i could do nothing for the dog.there was tears in my eyes, as there are now…
we reached srinagar at around 11pm at night, escorted by army vehicles.i cried the entire way.
Kashmir is a magical place.the snow capped mountains, the hospitable people make you forget your sorrows and i almost forgot the incident.but on our way back we went to vaishno devi.my mother asked me to wish for what i wanted.i prayed for what i wanted the most at that time—peace for the dog’s soul.that day i made a promise to myself.
“animals can’t speak, but sometimes they express better than us humans”
hundreds of street dogs are killed in india everyday;either by accidents or disease or otherwise.no one cares for them.but i have resolved that when the suitable time comes, i will open a shelter for the homeless and the old dogs.
Today after so many years i again dreamt of him. I dedicate this one to you my dog.may you find peace, wherever you are.