Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The Dog in the Night-time

Last night, the wind was not very active, and for one reason or another, I knew that something was not exactly as should be on the basketball court. There was something going on there. The area is actually very difficult to see. Usually, it passes off, in the morning, as a makeshift place for people to meet. The dhaba nearby preempts hangers-on. The Science block makes hanging-on permissible. In the aspic of all things communal, the sports arena doesn’t just stay that. It’s less mired in pushes and shoves. There are other things that come up – useful cavil in the name of college gripes and tribulations. The endless rolls of endless exegeses for all things academic. The usual diatribe, as canvassing, in times of electoral harangue. Then, of course, there is the inescapable date.

These things keep the court occupied. In the epoch of kings and queens, the barren court would signify other things. More inevitable things like the castigation of barren women, who couldn’t conceive to relieve the need for other people to make-do as passable, prospective incumbents. The ‘court’ actually reminds me of better things, too. It reminds me of the Inns of Court – the Inner Temple, in such a big warren of buildings, where mounds of paper stay on as many years go by, making no one the better for anything; just insurmountable mounds of paper that live on. Lincoln’s Inn, where habitable offices are. The Temple Church nearby that is never open. The timings are never correct and the caretakers are so willful. But the ‘court’ here, where such things do not count, make for evening strolls. The empty chasm between two blocks is therein made useful in the evening. In the morning, there are other testosterone things, kneaded loudly.

Last night, there was a dog lying there. The dog was in terrible pain. Its legs were misshapen and it kept removing non-existent fur from it’s body. There was something terrible about it. I mean, the whole thing looked so awful. It was writhing in a painful way, and the way it cavorted limply, because he couldn’t walk, so useless. It made me think of leprosy. Only this animal, this half-passable thing, wasn’t a leper. It was a needless animal living on a campus of academics, where it has no business to be.

At night, when you return from places, like Kamala Nagar, you come in walking urgently. The lights go off at ten o’ clock and the doors shut subsequently. You need to be inside and you need to sign an elaborate signature. This is testimony to adherence. Sometimes, when you walk in quickly, you see some animals weasel around. The squirrels can’t be seen in the nighttime. They squirrel around, perambulating trees, in the morning. The monkeys border the fences, but at night, they hardly monkey anymore. The birds riotously awaken to new life in the morning. At night, they sleep. At night, the only sounds of life are caterwauling ones that somewhat die out after sometime past midnight.

The dogs slink around the roads. When you see them, you feel bad. You feel assuaged. There is the bed and the room that waits for you. You have its keys and you keep it possessively. But, then, you also feel strange. These are needless dogs on someone else’s property. You do feel proprietorial about corporate spaces. This one is yours and un-needed things needn’t be in it.

The dog at the court wasn’t exceptional. It was weakened and bad-looking. It lay there as a mound of scraggly skin, waiting patiently for posthumous notice. That night, when the wind wasn’t active, I noticed. It was asleep but it kept moving. Its eyes were shut. They kept opening because the skin didn’t hold fully. Its lids were lathered. Many hours later, a man from the outside came with a long stick in his hand. It was metallic and had a loop at one end. The loop was fastened with a handle. He kept the contraption safely ahead of him. The dog, of course, with its pallid eyes, could not see. The man moved behind it and stayed there for a quiet while. Then, he put the loop around the dog’s neck. He fastened the loop tightly. He moved desperately, flailing himself. He knew the dog would suddenly whelp and writhe like a snake doused in burning flames. The dog didn’t whelp. It was already dead. All I heard were sibilant whispers from the block nearby.


Anushka said...

Heart wrenching....Cannot put it any more mildly..

completebhejafry said...

holy fuck...thats damn good stuff! dude, u the same arjun? remember anees, ur pen friend? in bangalore? if u r the same, drop me a mail, at u r the same!