-A Canine Truth I know this dog right from my childhood. I don’t know where he came from and who his parents are. But from the day I met him, I was impressed by his smartness. He was a great relief to our village. He would bark at anything he found suspicious. The coconut thieves who played the despot of the land next to the temple had a tough time in his presence. And those anti-socials, peeping Toms, who used to break the flower pots, urinate on the donation box of the temple on their way back after the late night show of a film.
My village felicitated this dog once. Many gave long speeches praising his boldness and thanked him profusely for his service to the village. It didn’t stop there. They decided to form a service organization in his name. Those who called him a “stray dog” earlier, rechristened him as “dog”. The organization added more and more members and gradually it became popular. The members got together to decide the bylaws of the society and the Do’s and Don’t’s were strictly laid out. A new building was constructed for the organization collecting donation (forced contribution!) from the villagers. The first anniversary of the organization was also celebrated collecting fund from the villagers. Photos and newspaper reports about the organization and the dog occupied the media. The dog was well tamed. When a dog gets groomed, its bark and movements change! Those who sensed a change in the dog’s activities, including me, developed a strange fear. The dog stopped barking at things which were outside his jurisdiction and those that had social, cultural and technical problems! He became quite selective about his bark. Still, no one  questioned him. Whoever dared, got a bark and bite. I too, once.
  Today he is not the dog we knew. Five star standard food, travels by air conditioned car. Lots of assistants to bathe him and groom him. You can see how people jostle to take his photograph and autograph! Many houses are adorned with his framed photos. Last week there was an interview with him on one of the TV channels. You should have seen how eagerly people were glued to the screen. At the market place, people talked about the interview for long. In his interview, he daringly admitted that he wasn’t a teetotaler. And, one more thing………… he also boasted about having spent time with bitches from various lands and of various breed. Oh! You must give it to him for his profound knowledge in any field! Take for example, spirituality… you can’t stop him. When asked about the old saying, “Every dog has a day”, he completely agreed with it and added “not only day, night too!!” When a stray dog becomes a dog, his barking style changes! The bark turns out to be more melodious losing its indigenous roughness. You know, he was trained for many months to bark melodiously. Those who remember his old bark can tell the difference. Recently he brought out a CD album barking like old days. It was quite hard for him to imitate his own lost bark. The CD became a success, however. It bulged his wallet and bank accounts. He has also started his own TV channel and a website. He condemns the young stray dogs as “idealists” and urges them to think practically and become a good “dog”. Many among them who got inspired by this joined his college and institutions to get diploma and degrees to become “dog”s. “When a stray dog becomes a dog, he loses his talent, the fire within and the drive for selfless service” a young dog who spoke thus is missing till date. Not even his body is found. He used to sensitize all saying that one shouldn’t fall prey to what the “dogs” ‘dog’matise and these “dogs” are a social nuisance and a sign of cultural deterioration and corruption. He gave a clarion call for acting against injustice. Those who followed him used “Beware of Dogs” as their slogan. But gradually this too waned. Though stray dogs were still around, their transformation into “dogs” happened sooner and faster. Their barks quickly became melodious. They condemned the lone stray dogs as “mad dogs”, ridiculed them in public and isolated them from social circles. The films and literature of the “dogs” successfully created a stereotype of stray dogs as anti-socials and impractical rebels. Next week’s canine conference in our village marks the occasion of the old dog’s birth anniversary. I don’t know whether it is his tenth or twentieth or sixtieth!! The preparations are in full swing. They have many cultural programmes like poem recitation, cinematic dance!!! etc.. -By Santhosh Kumar Kana
  • (This is  pure fiction and has no resemblance to  people or organisations. Any resemblance is purely coincidental)