Sunday Stray.

A gentle pressure depresses into the back of my shin, right below the knee. I look down to find a sweet little thing looking up at me. The auburn, slender nosed, stray pup acknowledges me with a hopeful confidence.

The sun is just coming up to light up the road and at the same time, my heart is warmed. I figured that this pup, like many others, is drawn to my shoulder bag with the dangling tassels. Wrapping up the flittering threads, I pick up my bag to carry in my two hands, concealing my delight at my new little acquaintance, and continue on with my morning walk. I know better than to encourage the strays in India.

It is not long before I learn that this particular Madam however, has not just stopped for my tassels.

No, she is trouble and in trouble.

Grandpa colored this for me yesterday.

Another agenda plays in her clever head. She stays close to me at my heel, and as we walk together, a pack of other dogs threaten her with their bark. She ducks her head and stays behind me. When they catch sight of her, they flock together in the street, yelling and shouting as their circle draws nearer.

Now I become slightly concerned, and I stop at the subzi vegetable cart, pretending to examine some of the alliums so that I can find solidarity among other human beings. This rowdy herd of canines is not exactly what I envisioned during my morning stroll. Madam also stops and lingers around.

Once the coast is clear, and I feel that she is distracted enough, I pick up my pace and continue on my way, assuming that I have lost her. This is not the case. Madam is back in a flash, walking slightly in front, slightly in back, with her head straight.

I release my purse from my hands in surrender and allow her to enter in my safekeeping as I watch the situation unfold.

Every dog. Every single other dog that we meet barks disapprovingly at her.

I begin to consider her story, studying her darling figure. She is probably guilty of some mischief…but it can’t be that bad as she is so young. Perhaps she is an outcast? She is different from the others. Where is her family? All of these thoughts make me grow fonder.

My maternal instincts kick in and I no longer fear the others that bark loudly at her. Keeping a confident pace, we weave our way down the road together. She turns the corner to come along with me to the chemist shop for some shampoo. She accompanies me across the road to look at the fruits. She is just as intrigued as I am when we meet the large boar, the same one from yesterday, who is now sitting on the opposite side, toward the fence with his butt facing the road. She has to sniff him, of course.

Now that we have lost the mean dog-pack, we are cruising along, enjoying the sun and sounds of morning together in silence. We are getting close to my grandparents’ apartment complex gate, and she is my shadow. As we cross the threshold, the sleepy guards, drinking tea, suddenly come alive with a start.

“Oy! Oy!” one of them yells at the pup, while the other one reprimands him quickly, holding his shoulder.

“Madam, Appka?” Yours? he asks politely.

The way things appear, I would have thought the same. I am tempted to say “HaanjiYes.

Nahi!” No! I reply laughing, giving one last look to my self-adopted darling.  I know this story cannot last forever. They also laugh.

HUT! HUT! HUT JAO!” Go away! they say.

I don’t look back, but I send some reiki to Madam. I have helped her, but she has helped me more, by bringing love and trust into my morning.

She is chalak clever. She will be fine.

peace and love,

sonia

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