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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The legend of the Great Indian Stray Dog

Back in India after a year, I am most intrigued by that omnipresent animal, the Great Indian Stray Dog. As I have become older and possibly more mature, I am now able to fully comprehend the greatness of this feisty, versatile, and clever creature that blends so magnificently with the urban landscape of India, with its dug up roads, stinky smoky hot air, noisy streets, and real life abundance of Kathe Kollwitz prints.

It is unlikely that National Geographic will ever have these animals on its cover. The Great Indian Stray Dog usually sleeps during the day and with its ears drooping, its genitals grossly exposed, it may seem like the last animal Paris Hilton would want to kiss. But bear this in mind; the looks of the Great Indian Stray Dog can be deceptive. For when it is excited, its ears raised, its hips high and slender, its legs long and powerful, its strong jaws letting out a piercing bark, the Great Indian Stray Dog has an appearance good enough to qualify for being the symbol of any state or political party. One may argue that these dogs have been a victim of globalization, as is evident from their Jamaica style street culture. But at least these hoodlums have some personality as opposed to the arse licking, kiss seeking, shoe wearing character of the domesticated ones. And these dogs know it all too well. It looks with disdain as rich fat people drag along with them collared hairy dogs from western lands, their tongues wagging. The Great Indian Stray Dog considers these useless opportunistic sloths in similar vein as popular culture disdains fat balding white men in Bangkok’s streets.

The Great Indian Stray Dog is also the only last animal to still believe that global warming is the biggest hoax of all times. After all, it has been experiencing something more akin to global cooling. That is because as much of the world is being converted to parking lots and more tires are being manufactured than new human legs are taking birth on earth, these dogs have lot more cool shaded areas to relax than ever before.

While animal rights activists have ensured that the urban sprawls are designated as protected reserves for them, not all is going well for the Great Indian Stray Dog. After all, since they are mostly reliant on human trash for food, these dogs are as much afflicted by obesity, high cholesterol and diabetes as we humans are. They are doing their best to cope up with this “Supersize all” culture by trying to be more active. I myself have been chased by them many times during my morning runs. But such tactics can be fatal and one can often see a martyr in the street, its entrails jutting out and offering a feast to the flies, its head mashed by the heavy tires that went over it, and its eyes being poked by a crow, the other great survivor of urbanization.

So next time you see the Great Indian Stray Dog, consider its life for a moment. And if you have some time, ask some stupid scientist to put a radio tag around one to experience firsthand how urban legends are made. Believe me; it would be far more exciting than watching endless repeats of snorting whales or pampered pandas with milk bottles on TV.


Harish Save said...

Hey I really liked your writing style.

Puru Gupta said...

Nicely written - and great perspective. Thanks!