Sunday, 9 September 2012

Caesar, In fond memory of my black dog

Two things I liked about my job as an Inspecting Officer of the bank, were the fixed time schedule of work, and the opportunity to visit many places, where I would not have gone otherwise.
It was just five thirty and I was in the lodge, where I was staying for the last two days. The small town had only two lodges. The one in which I was staying was considered better, because of the tinted glass shutters it had. It was slightly away from the center of the town. But all the typical nuisances were available there too, including the the blaring loud speaker we've learned to expect in all small towns.

The occasional  announcements and the film music through the loud speakers provided free entertainment to the unemployed working class you find only in GOC.
But it was the unusual sounds that followed one announcement that attracted my attention.It was like a number of dogs barking together. 
I wanted to ask the room boy, a kid, why do they bark through the Mic? or What a place where dogs use the Mic set to make themselves heard!..But before I could find him, the barking stopped. Another announcement and then the recital of a poem followed. The poem contained many Sanskrit words which I did not understand. But I was sure it contained some reference to dogs. This only increased my curiosity about the barking.

'Any way I am going out, I will find out for myself what it is all about' I thought to myself.
I walked towards the direction from which the sound was heard, till I reached a small temple with a large open area around it.
A lot of people were assembled around a platform from where the barking and howling came.They were watching a curious dance by human dogs who barked and howled just like real dogs
I smiled at the bystander who appeared to be ready to talk…....

He told me the story of the temple where the deity is a dog.
It was long back when the GOC was ruled by local kings and chieftains.
The local chieftain, accompanied by his dog was passing through the place, when two rabid dogs came out of the bushes to attack him. The chieftain's dog fought them and killed them saving his masters life.
The dog was seriously hurt and died at his master's feet. The chieftain was so moved by the dog's devotion and bravery that he built a temple at the spot, in his dog's memory. He arranged to light lamps daily at sunset in the temple, ( There is a practice in GOC to light lamps at the final resting place of parents and grand parents). A festival was celebrated every year on the day of demise of the dog.
On that day all those who loved dogs came to the temple dressed as dogs. They played like the dogs they loved. They barked and howled.

Yes, humans became dogs, jumped around and barked to offer their tributes for the love and fidelity of their great friends. Assuring them that human beings are in no way superior to them.

I remembered my black dog, Caesar who never had an opportunity to fight any one to save me but caught and killed mosquitoes that swarmed around to bite me. He was so affectionate that he consoled me by licking my feet if I said anything sorrowful. That included the times when I said sorry if I hurt him by mistake.
I felt sorry I could not afford to build anything in his memory, but I was glad there are people out there to remember many of Caesar's tribe.

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