Oh, to be a Sundari!
Everyone in my locality knows me as the Parikrma lady that runs free schools for street and slum children. They also know me as the crazy lady who loves dogs. I have three constantly-barking dogs inside the house, two in the compound, one dog in each of my four schools and when I thought I had reached the peak, I found a shivering brown pup with a black snout and one looped down ear sitting near my gate at nights quite frequently. It was as though she was pleading to be taken in. I was forewarned by my 80-year-old mother that she would walk out of the house if I brought any new dog in. So all I could do was gently shoo the pup away and hope for the best. When the pup persisted on appearing at the doorstep every night as I returned from work, I knew I had to do something. I then sent this pup to one of my school bus driver’s home with a promise of the daily food supply. But this pup ran away and found her way back to my home. This time however, she made the school auto rickshaw parked outside my house as her new home and we sent meals to her on a daily basis. Our bus drivers fondly christened her Sundari purely because she was not. Her one ear erect and the other asymmetrically flopped over, was not a pretty sight. Then to top it all she had a tail that had been mysteriously snipped, a whodunit crime thriller, never to be solved. Several months went by and then suddenly one day Sundari could not be found. My staff must have had many a sly snigger when I sent several search parties in our locality and beyond. Sundari had disappeared and I am sure there were a few discreet sighs of relief among several circles. Days slipped by in the regular routine with none to grieve for the loss of Sundari. And then suddenly the news came, a month later, that Sundari had been sighted in a residential colony several kilometers away. How she reached there no one knows even to this day and she refuses to clarify! But now knowing her whereabouts we went there to stake our claim. Sundari was ours and ours alone! Today, Sundari has left her auto-rickshaw residence and has sought rental for the sofa in my administration manager’s office. So, everyone who comes to meet Murthy to collect payments or negotiate rates, leaves with a hairy brown behind. Sundari is nonchalant… everything belongs to her and she belongs to everyone. She has rice and bone soup for breakfast in my house, Pedigree dog feed in my neighbour’s house and sometimes attacks the garbage heap when she is hungry. And with BBMP’s efficiency she has a field day with garbage ever so often! Sundari is a happy dog with her clump of a tail constantly wagging. She greets me every morning and night. She knows that I will open my garage when it rains and when the wretched Diwali crackers go off. She knows my routine but won’t tell me hers. She wants to belong but not loose her freedom. The only time she is chained is when she visits the vet for her vaccinations. I envy her free spirit. I envy her ability to make friends with the world. I wish I too could live without the bondage of expectations. And today when I look at her kind light brown eyes I realize how truly beautiful Sundari is. And she is here to stay….
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