Sunday, March 08, 2009

The hound of Padmanabhanagar

The time was 11 pm. There was no one on the road. For reasons better off not delving into, I was barefoot, I had no cell phone and I smelt of food. I was walking on the mud road carefully, avoiding the stones, and was just fifty steps away from my destination. I could see the light and the merry-making in the house that I was supposed to go to. Just a few strides, I thought.

Suddenly, a street dog, which was lying on the side of the road in between where I was and where I had to go, woke up. It had either heard me or smelt me or smelt the food in my hands. I was a foreigner on the road, and for all it knew, I was a thief and he was the cop. Or, it was an intelligent dog knowing where and how to get easy food. It stood up.

I quickened my pace, hoping to beat it before it blocked my way. Alas, the beast was faster. It fixed its eyes steadily on me and stood at the center of the road. I had nowhere to go, and I stood too. Both of us stood there, staring at one another. If we had rifles, we might as well have been the actors in a Wild West movie!

I looked beyond the hound and saw agonizingly how close the house was. I wished I had the cell phone to call for help. I wished my hands didn’t emanate the smell of food. I walked a few steps more towards the house, and the dog started growling. I stood standstill. So did the dog.

I then walked to the side of the road. So did the dog. I walked to the other side. So did the dog. And then, like a prey, the dog started walking towards me. As if saying enough is enough.

It was absolute terror. I felt the sweat on my brows. I had no idea what to do. For all I knew this hound would lunge at me and rip me apart. Just a bite wouldn’t suffice it.

Its amazing how a human being can think on the spot when his life is at danger despite the panic. I picked up a stone from the mud road and raised it high over my head, with a fiery face to go with it. The dog, which was coming towards me, suddenly realized that I wasn’t such an easy prey after all, and backed away to the side of the road.

Finding the path nice and clear again, I briskly walked on, with the stone still in my raised hands and the fiery face still blazing on the dog. I continued looking over my shoulder at the dog and found it again lying down on the side of the road. Within a few seconds, I reached my destination and relief enveloped me like never before.

It was the most terrorizing experience of my life.

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