It has been almost two weeks since I saw him last. Where is he? How is he? Why did we meet? Not even a single day has gone by when I didn’t think about him. I look for him every time I walk past the gate, I saw him last.
It was a fine morning. I decided to walk to my son’s preschool to drop him there for the day. The school is not too far from my house; less than a quarter of a mile but it’s on the other side of a major street. When I was about to reach that intersection, I saw a woman briskly walking to her destination. And then moments later I saw him. He was running haphazardly; he seemed to be little confused. He stopped in front of that woman and started barking. She picked something and hurled at him.
I am not speaking figuratively; he really started barking at her because that’s what dogs do. I stopped in the middle of the road watching him bark. I was scared, even though it was far from us and facing in the other direction. I am not an animal lover but I don’t want to harm them either. I enjoy a very neutral relationship with them. I don’t try to get close to them and I don’t want them to be anywhere close to me. Where I live, we usually don’t come across a lion or a tiger in the middle of the road, it’s usually a dog and they are enough to scare me. If by any chance they come in my vicinity, I generally forget to breathe. Dogs are dogs; the size, shape, color or design doesn’t make a difference. A Chihuahua is as scary as a German shepherd or a Bulldog. Long story short, this barking, and four-legged creature; supposedly ‘man’s best friends’, scares crap out of me.
Without much thinking I just picked up my son and quickly crossed the busy road. I think someone even honked at me but that didn’t matter. My main aim was to get away from that barking dog as quickly as possible. I reached school, dropped my kid off, talked to teachers, other parents and forgot about the dog. On my way back, I crossed the road and came to the side where my house is. I waved at my friend driving by. Smiling, humming and enjoying the morning I came to the corner of my street. Suddenly, all smiles vanished.
I saw the same barking dog charging towards me. I froze; by God’s grace he also stopped. I don’t remember breathing at that time. I looked around to find someone who can help me, may be the owners or someone who can shoo him away so that I can run to my house never to look back again. There was no one around. Not finding anyone, I looked at him. He was already looking at me. He seemed to be confused but it was I who was more panicked. I felt as if the only option I was left with was to fell on his feet and beg him to let me go, “please, please … Bhagwaan ke liye mujhe jaaney do.” (… for God’s sake let me go.) It is well known dialogue from Hindi movies but don’t worry that didn’t happen. It wasn’t as dramatic.
I kept looking at him. He barked at me once or twice but stood at his place. He didn’t try to come near me, which was kind of relieving. While looking at him I realized that something has gone wrong with his life. He seemed to be kind of lost and looking for someone who could help him or understand him. He too needed help. At that moment, I remembered reading something about oneness with all life in the book “The Power Of Now” By Eckhart Tolle.
That thought helped me; my feelings changed towards him. I was not as scared as before but I was still not ready to touch him. I was much relaxed and back in control. As soon as I got a grip on myself, I found myself talking to that dog in my mother tongue. It might seem crazy; Imagine a woman talking to a dog in Hindi in the middle of the road in America but yes that’s what happened.
I felt as if I was standing before a 5-6 year old boy (not a dog,) “Hey you, what are you doing here in the middle of the road? Who are your parents? Where’s your house?”
The dog opened his mouth, probably to bark but he just squeaked and sat down.
I took few steps towards him and continued my dialogue with him, “Don’t you know it’s not safe to run around in the middle of the road. Come now, go, go to your house. Come’ on go now and stop this horse play.”
He moved. He stepped back and quietly entered a slightly open wooden fence gate. He went in and calmly sat down on the grass.
I stood there for sometime then took a deep breath and began to finish my rest of journey to my house. After taking few steps, I looked back and called out at him, “Now be a good boy and stay safe.”
That was it. It was the last time I saw him and since then I have been looking for him. Even after two weeks, I look for him everywhere, left and right; I tried to listen for his bark. A sign or something that tells me he is fine and that the house he went in was his but till now no luck. I am kind of missing him, which is peculiar knowing the kind of person I am.