Saturday, February 04, 2012

Saturday mornings and a dog-eat-dog world!

I have never really liked Hyderabad. It is not only the weather or the traffic but the very fact that it is in the middle of nowhere with almost no Tamil food unlike Bangalore where you have a Udupi restaurant at every street corner. There are no parks nearby, no places to really bike around without getting mowed down by a moron. The sun always beats on one's neck and you would end up fearing for life every time you get onto the main road mainly because of these gangs of dogs.

Back home in Madurai, in my childhood, my neighbours' dogs Saaliny, Subramani and Poornima clanged against gates and bared their teeth at the sight of me at any given opportunity. Once, the lithe and skillful Subramani weaseled his way out of a closed gate and chased me up the neem tree before my house. I had to rouse the entire street before the dog's owner came and told me that Subramani, who was being restrained from the pouncing, really had a thing going on for me. Even the stray dogs on road smelled my presence and Carpe Diem'd by barking their wits out. My wall climbing skills were put to general display, when a motherly stray dog whom I called Mrs.Norris, chased me through a series of ten houses. Pomeranians near my house, were generally snobbish, pampered and they looked down upon most people. If they were not seated on their cushy chairs eating cake, they were yapping at me while swiveling round and round with their little bodies. They did this so much that my neighbours asked me not to come to their houses as "Saaly" and "Jackie" became disturbed after my visit.

It won't be true if I can justify my cynophobia by telling folks I was a cat at some point of time in my eight births. This is because cats creep me out too, what with all the soul searching stare. I don't mind animals like elephants, hippopotamus or the friendly cow (Lakshmi) across the street. I recently read that human brain prepares the adrenaline even if it vaguely sees the presence of threat. It doesn't really put together the pixels before deciding to flee. Maybe this is why I get all prepped up to flee even at the sight of sheep, white gunny bags or anything that remotely resembles a dog at a distance.

When I was in Mountain View, I was shocked to see a flock of dogs as small as chickens lolling about in the Google campus. People brought their dogs to office and they usually had dog fences at their doors. All these dogs looked very well groomed and pretty like their Californian owners. Someone told me that dogs in the US never really bark and are very well trained. Somehow, the fact that the owners can be sued if their dogs bite a person greatly soothed me. I was having a mostly carefree summer with the only worry of mounting credit card bills. One particular day, I was carrying home a horde of things which were to become a part of the 110 kgs of I brought back from the US. On this day, among other things, I had gotten a jar of salsa, to modify it into Tomato thokku. I was waiting for my bus from Sunnyvale, when I suddenly felt something wet and soft on my ankles. I look back to find a monster of a dog, black and satanic, almost like the apocryphal buffalo of Yama, sniffing at my ankles. While a , "Here boy, come on boy" would have been an adequate response to deal with the situation, I yelled bloody murder and gripped a passerby's arm. This was a middle aged lady, who had come out for a run. The passerby now shrieked while the dog which got  more scared than I did, jumped on its hind legs and held on to me. It was so close that I could see the white's of his eye above me. The dog's owner who had sent him to fetch a stick, came to us and pulled the dog off me. It took sometime to calm the dog and the passerby and I ended up apologizing to everyone. The dog, clearly traumatized, picked up the stick, licked a bit of the Salsa and set off mournfully onto the park with his owner.

To get over the fear, I once stroked a St.Bernard puppy named Simba, making sure the owner, a 5 year old girl, held his mouth close. It gave me waves of thrill like playing with fire. The next time I went home, it had grown up to look like a fatcow and that is the last time I enquired about Simba.

After self-destructing my health for the past half a year with oodles of food, late night TV series and no exercising, I have finally woken up. For the last two months, I have started walking/jogging along the hi-tech city road early in the morning. It is a pleasant place lined by Dell, Oracle and Deloitte offices while lie deserted during the wee hours of twilight.  I have become incapacitated to enjoy this beauty without a bodyguard to protect me from dogs. My roommate, with whom I walk this stretch often finds me zigzagging to her either sides depending on the position of the stray. These strays follow us back home and get into a fight with the resident stray of our street for trespassing. Rest assured that I always finish my last mile with a sprint.

 I have been jogging around the huge KBR park which is at quite a distance from my home, on Saturdays since last week. I find the stretch calming and soothing, not only because it feels so faraway from the maddening traffic but also because of the absence of dogs.

For once, I can walk free and feel the sun rays on my face. I can walk without the fear of inciting a dog fight or without worrying about my now reduced agility in climbing trees. Saturday mornings have been reinstated to their former glory! Woof!

1 comment:

Appu said...

One hell of a hilarious post read in recent times. May dog be with you always :P :D