The Man who fed the Dogs
Mumbai, around Midnight
I usually talk to my mother every day for about half an hour on the phone. It is not we have a lot of things to talk about. But still, we continue. The usual discussions revolve around dogs and cats in our neighborhood back home, how folks back there are doing, the importance of by brother’s future choices, my provident fund and so on.
Last night my mother experienced something interesting. This was about a man who lived in our neighborhood. She was in our ruby red Swift car and while returning home she saw the man in gloves feeding a few street dogs with his own bare hands. I mean he was literally putting morsels of food in the little mouths of the dogs. Our whole family loves dogs and this generosity touched my mother and she remembered it well enough to tell it to me. It was actually nice. We do see people dropping food off on the streets for street dogs to lick them clean. That is considerate enough. So what this man did was indeed special. My mother gave me detailed descriptions about how each of the dogs looked like, down to their colors, so that I could remember them. I silently felt thankful for this man. I am sure my mother did too.
Kolkata, a few hours earlier
A middle aged man sat on the edge of a pond, smoking his cigarette. His phone rang a couple of times before he picked it up, slightly absent minded. He nodded his head, cut the call and dropped the cigarette on the road before squashing it with his right foot.
He then walked to a shop nearby and bought a few things, along with some rice and chicken stew. It was already late so he was apparently content to get something at least. Then he ate his food and saved the rest - mostly rice and some chicken. Then he carefully wore gloves and brought a packet of rat poison from his back pocket. He spent sometime mixing generous quantities of the weak poison in the rice-chicken mix that he had carefully saved. After he was done, he silently packed it up in a plastic packet took off his right glove. He calmly took out his packet of cigarettes, lit one and hummed a popular tune.
Around midnight, when the neighborhood went almost entirely to sleep, he got up, dusted his pants and wore the gloves back on. He called the dogs to a side, opened the packet and made small handfuls of the mix he had prepared. The dogs gathered around him, happily wagging their tails. The two black males and a white female. It was supposed to be their time of duty, they usually were more vigilant than our night guard who rarely patrolled the area well enough. As he was feeding the dogs smiling at them and calling them sweet names, the headlights of car appeared around the corner from the back. He looked at the ruby red Swift as it moved past him. He vaguely noticed the occupants smiling at him. He smiled back and looked back at the dogs as the car disappeared in the housing complex a few yards away.