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The day of the quick-thinking dog

open page the day of the dog 130518

open page the day of the dog 130518  

The stray that helped the walker overcome a clearly imprudent temptation

I enjoy my morning constitutional much more than the morning cuppa. Doctors go ga-ga over the health benefits, the stimulation of metabolism, the surge of endorphins and so on that the walk provides. But just like the Gopis in the Mahabharata, whose devotion to Krishna did not require any justification, the appeal of the morning walk does not require rationalising for me. No sir. Just the thought of the cool breeze, the invigorating freshness of the morning air, the glorious view of the sun rising with all its crimson splendour, the chirping of birds… Well, one can go on and on.

As a matter of fact, for most of the three score and odd years of my existence, I had carefully abstained from this ritual, driven by a Garfield-like contempt for all sensible things. But the body catches up and overtakes you, and before I could spell Metformin, I was diagnosed with the dreaded diabetes. That too, on the eve of my flight on an Indian Air Force transport aircraft to watch a total solar eclipse! It is another story of how I was able to convince the young doctor in charge of the expedition to test me out on the sortie and then allow me to do the real thing on the day of the eclipse. But the consequence was that I was literally shaken out of my lethargic lifestyle and introduced to the great beauty of the morning walk.

My route on these walks is fairly unchanged. I had tried exploring different routes in the beginning. For those familiar with the IT suburb of Koramangala in Bengaluru, I will sketch the route on which I finally settled down to. Starting from my home at S.T. Bed Layout, I like to go on the 12th Main Road of 4th Block Koramangala, passing the 3rd Block Koramangala playground near the post office, then touching Sarjapur Road at Kudremukh Colony and going along Sarjapur Road to Aishwarya Circle, then Wipro Park and finally back to S.T. Bed.

It is on the Sarjapur Road stretch that I used to pass a dhaba copiously emitting a delicious aroma of freshly fried pakoras.

Everytime I encountered this aroma, my mind went into a tussle with my heart. Heart said, “Go for it man, you don’t want to die leaving behind an unfulfilled desire”. My mind went like, “Careful dude. Your cholesterol is not all that good and what about your status? What if somebody sees you buying that stuff?” If the mind had lips, it would have curled them with disdain. Heart responded, “Aw shucks, none of my friends will be up this early. Besides, nothing will happen with one or two pakoras. And I do walk every day and all that, don’t I?” Usually, by this time, I would have gone a fair distance away from the dhaba. Following the law of diffusion, the intensity of the aroma would have come down and the mind would win over the heart.

This tussle happened for ever so many days. One day, while going to bed I decided that enough was enough, I would definitely buy the damn thing tomorrow. I found myself waking up on a fine morning, filled with excitement and anticipation. I strode purposefully to the dhaba and got a parcel of the delicious stuff wrapped in an old newspaper. As I headed back home, I felt that everyone I passed by were staring at me, some even sniffing the air and giving knowing looks.

“To hell with them” I thought, “I don’t care, I finally did it.” I reached home safely and tried to fish out the latchkey to open the door. Feeling hampered by the parcel, I set it down on a nearby ledge and started to open the door. Suddenly, a stray dog appeared from nowhere, jumped on to the ledge, grabbed the parcel and vanished down the road.

I did not have the kind heart of Sir Isaac Newton to say, “Oh dog, you do not know what you have done.” I could only glare down the street and shake my fists at the swiftly vanishing tail of the dog. It was indeed the day of the dog!

paravenk@gmail.com

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Printable version | Jul 14, 2020 1:03:39 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/open-page/the-day-of-the-quick-thinking-dog/article23865694.ece

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