Of Dogs and Men


Came across these self-absorbed city dwellers in Tejgaon today; they were having a field day on top of a pile of textile wastage.

The father was nowhere to be found.

These three weren’t exactly ‘pets’ (the people in the nearby shanties cannot afford ‘pets’). Rather, the pups have been born and accepted into the surrounding community – as necessary, productive and reasonably-protected members. This has been done, as usual, with the implicit understanding that if the community survives, everyone survives.

In and out walked men, hardened by poverty and ravished by Nature, who take turns to scratch the pups’ heads; just as they do to the slum’s toddlers.

Then two university students walked over and demanded a price for the fattest puppy.

“No …not for sale. They’re from here.”

You don’t sell out your own. That was the Code. That simple principle enables this eyesore of a slum to jostle and exist in the midst of encroaching, prime real estate.

The three puppies have come to inherit dozens of fathers and siblings. But the most love they get is from a man who gets the least of it from society.

Let’s call him ‘papa’.

‘Papa’ gives a lesson in self-reflection

He is constantly mocked and summoned only for filthy or risky errands. Still this man doesn’t mind. He is an eccentric; or if you prefer the slum children’s version, a mad-man.

And it is only to the irrational mind that ‘giving love that one never got’ makes sense.

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