The Stray Dog : Shankari

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A little girl talking to herself and her imaginary friends, walked through the countryside of her farmhouse somewhere in the east of the world. She jumped around and continued to talk with the flowers, the birds, and the trees. She hugged a dog named as “Shankari”. The girls asked the dog, “How is my little girl today. Have you eaten anything yet? Let’s go for a walk together”.

The dog was a stray dog but he always ended up eating at her house. The dog slept at her porch during the night. The dog had barked at the stranger but let the familiar faces passed through. The dog could sense and smell the familiar faces without opening the eyes. However, the dog had barked continuously if some stranger would attempt to enter his territory. The girl wonders how this dog knows who is a friend or a foe or a stranger.

The little girl asked from her uncle with a curiosity, “ Chachu, how Shankari knows who is a friend or an enemy”. Before her uncle had given her any response, her cousin laughed at her, “How you would know if the dog knows about the friends and foe? You even don’t know if your dog is a boy or a girl”.

Do I care if my dog is, he or she? All I need to know that she is a good dog, “she said carelessly. Then suddenly came in her mind, “Chachu, Is this bad boy (her cousin) is right? Does Shankari is a male dog or a female dog?

Her gentleman uncle had corrected her, “Yes, Binu is right. Shankari is a male dog”.

She laughed, “Oh my gosh chachu, I have not known since the past 1 year if Shankari is a male dog. I have given him a female name. I should have given him a male descend name, “Shankar”. Silly me”.

The girl turned toward the dog, “I am so sorry boy. I don’t have any idea that you are a boy but I will still call you, ‘Shankari”. How this moron knows you better than me. But I don’t care who you are. All I care that you are a good dog”. She continued talking with the dog as she walked towards her farmhouse.

The dog was not allowed inside the house. Her mother had a strict rule which the girl always had to obey. She was allowed to play with the dog outside the house. She was allowed to feed the dog. The dog had permission walking with the girl every day to the farmhouse. But he was not her dog.

The dog was not vaccinated. Her uncle had found the dog or the dog had ended up meeting her uncle. Her uncle had fed the stray dog every day. the dog was grown up wondering around her uncle. The dog had lived inside the panchayat house. Her uncle used to feed the dog but her uncle had not adopted the dog either. Her uncle just fed the dog. The little girl had met the dog when she accompanied her uncle to the panchayat house. Nobody had given a dog name yet.

“Oh my gosh, she is a cute pup. I will call her Shankari”, the little girl said as she looked at the pup. The brown color pup was actually so cute. How she would know what breed he was when she did not if the dog was a male or female.

It did not matter to her. The only matter is, “Shankari is a cute puppy who loves the people around her”.

After their first meeting, the dog and girl was attached into a special bond. The dog had followed the girl where she went. The dog also knew the limitation that he was not allowed to go inside the house. There were other many stray dogs in the street but somehow the girl liked Shankari. Maybe Shankari was an orphan and nobody seen the dog’s mother. Maybe Shankari was her uncle’s dog.

Often, the little girl felt sorry and told the dog, “I am sorry Shankari. Mom is a being mom. She is a clean freak so she won’t allow you to go inside the house”.

Shankari was a stray dog but he was so loyal who had fed him. The girl noticed the dog always come to her when he was not around her uncle or her uncle had given a command okay to play with the girl. The little girl often said, “well, I know that you are not my dog. You are my uncle’s dog. My chachu is mine so technically you are mine too”.

One morning, the little girl heard the overhead announcement that the Govt employees were on their way to euthanized all stray dogs. Some people did complain about stray dogs.

“Humans are greedy and they don’t like to share anything with anybody”, little girl thoughts.

After listening to the announcement, the girl had become upset and panic. She ran to find her uncle but he was already gone to the courthouse. What she should do now to save the dogs?

She called her little gang members. “Okay, we need to save our dogs”.

One of the children said, “How we could save all of them”

Her cousin said, “At least we should try”

Well, it was not easy hiding the stray dogs. So, all children had done the brainstorming and came up with a perfect plan. Next things, the little gang members had come into the action. They had grabbed the ropes to tie dogs. In the next half an hour, all the stray dogs and of course the children were disappeared. The govt employees came and went back without findings any any dog.

Of course, they had hidden dogs into people’s barn houses and the cornfields. Keeping the dogs quite was a challenge full but the gang members were the cleaver kids so they did not forget to grab the food from their kitchen.

In the evening, both dogs and children were back together on the street. The dogs rested on the green grass under trees while the children had played volleyball in govt driven empty hospital’s front yard.

The little girl was happy to save Shankari.

Later, the girl was sent to the boarding school. However, the girl never forgets to ask about the dog when her family used to visit her in the school.

One day the girl’s mother came to visit her. She broke the bad news to the girl that Shankari was acting out so everybody had decided to send Shankari away. An unknown beggar had adopted Shankari. The girl felt so bad. The girl asked sadly, “Does my chachu knows about it”.

Mother replied, “Yes, he does”

The girl felt sad and bad. On weekends, the girl came to visit home. She found Shankari sitting on her porch. The girl got excited, “mum, you told me Shankari is gone but he is right here”.

Somehow, Shankari had made his way back to the town. The dog often continued to follow the girl when she had visited her town. Shankari spent his time around her uncle. However, the dog never had forgotten the girl either.

Of course, Shankari had a special sense. The girl could not believe the day her uncle died. Early morning, the girl and her cousins had entered the town quietly. Both the girl and her cousin were busy remembering the legacy of their uncle while uncle was rested wrapped with a white sheet on the back seat of the car. As the car entered into the town, Shankari chased the car barking loudly . The girl looked at Shankari but told the driver continues to drive. Shankari did his best to keep up with the speed of the car. Sometimes he ended up in front of the car and sometimes on the side of the car, and some times just ran behind the car. The girl had kept ignoring the dog. The girl did not have courage to tell the dog, “Your master or your protector is no more”. The girl was afraid of the dog. The girl was afraid she would hurt the dog’s feelings.

But the dog was smart. He had sensed that he had lost his loving master. The dog had already entered into the porch while the car was still not made into the front of the house yet. Her mother had dropped dishes when she looked at the dog first and then the teen girl’s face. The girl and her cousin both did not know how to tell the family, “we have just lost the saint of our family today”. But Shakari had announced the death of his master. The dog had sat under her uncle’s bed quietly. Many familiar and strange faces came to say goodbye to her uncle but Shankari did not bark at the strangers today. The girl even shocked more when she saw her father patted the dog’s head.

Shankari did follow her master to cremation ceremony and then his final prayer. The girl was gone back to the boarding school. Mother visited the girl again and told her, “Shankari has lost appetite but your father tries his best to feed him, so don’t worry about the dog”

The girl did not believe it, “Are you joking mum? Dad, you, and the dog are all under one roof”. The girl left her sentences incomplete because she knew how much her father had loved his younger brother. In the end, her mother had allowed the dog to enters into the house.

After a couple of months, Shankari was also gone to heaven. Shankari had lived his dog life beautifully.

Mother told her daughter when she visited her again, “The dog has died peacefully a couple of days ago. Your father was unwell and weak but he still went with the servant to do his proper burial”.

Many decades had passed. The girl was moved from one side of the world to another end. She is a mother herself now. In the summer of 2014, she visited to see her ailing mother. She told her mother, “Mum, I do have my own dog. His name is Bandit but I call him Banny. He is one of my four thieves who love stealing things from me. Mum, Banny is allowed to enter into the house. He sleeps on the bed. He sits on the sofa. He is the owner of the house. He is just a clean freak. He won’t sit without carpet or mat”. The dying mother just smiled at her daughter’s conversation.

How many decades are gone but she still remember Shankari and his loyalty and love towards the master.

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