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Chiknna
by Dr. Sanjoy Kumar Satpathy

That was the first morning after my retirement. When I opened the main gate I saw a little pup looking at me as if she was asking for food. May be she was few months old and had been deserted by her mother.  I went inside and brought a piece of bread and gave it to her and from that day on our relationship started much to the annoyance of my wife and children. They would say—“Street dogs are   infected with rabies you should not touch them.”

But the dog would come exactly at 1:30 pm for a handful of rice and at 9 pm for her dinner. That way time rolled by and she grew up to a moderate size “Bingo” dog. My wife, who was against this street dog, started giving her food during my absence. She nick named her as “Chiknna” meaning “Smooth and Shiny”.  Chiknna became pregnant before she was one year old, gave birth to three little ones and brought them for me to see and admire. One fine morning I found Chiknna crying and howling in front of my gate, I knew that she was missing her pups. Later on I came to know that the pups were taken away by someone to feed the guests who had come for the National Youth Festival.

Like all animals she too forgot about her kids and came back to her normal shape. She would guard all the houses in the colony and pay special attention to my house.  She would accompany me when I went out for an evening walk with my two little spitz dogs. She became an eye sore to other street dogs. She was soon isolated and this became a problem for her.

When she was three years old she became pregnant again and we fed her whatever we could so that her children would become strong. This time she delivered five lovely pups inside a small mud enclosure. The delivery timing was horribly bad. Cold winds with intermittent rains made her weak as she could not come out for food. We thought this time all her pups would die due to this adverse condition but the sky cleared and Chiknna came for her share of food from us. Extra rice was cooked for her so that she could feed her children. My wife who initially was objecting to feeding street dogs rice and roti her self-started cooking more for them, after all being a mother she knew what motherly love is.

The five pups survived, she changed her place to a safer zone near our house. The pups were two months old when Chiknna stopped coming for her usual food. Both of us were worried- ‘What has happened to her? Is she sick? Has she been bitten by a snake?  Has some one poisoned her? Our fears were justified after a day. Chiknna came exactly at 1:30 pm but could not eat anything served to her, the legs were weak, she gave a pathetic look at us and probably said ‘’someone has poisoned me, take care of my five kids”. With a stumbling gait she left our house and fell flat near a field so that her children would not see her mother dying.
 
With tears streaming down her cheeks, my wife plucked two of her choicest roses which she wouldn’t have parted in any season or for any reason and giving them to me said, “Go and put it on Chiknna.”

I thought to my self-how cruel people could be even to a man’s best friend?
 
Chiknna’s dead body was lying there and no one cared to do anything about it. With lots of difficulty my wife could inform the municipality office, but instead of helping us they started shouting at us –why you are informing us so late?”

Hours passed by no one came; we had forgotten it was a Saturday. I decided I couldn’t wait to see Chiknna’s body putrefy.  I put on   hair dyeing gloves and placed the body of Chiknna inside the large card board which was lying unutilized in the store room. I put the box in my car and took it to a far-off place and buried Chiknna in a big ditch.

I  Came back home, took a bath and washed the cloths which I was wearing during the burial.  I prayed to God for her soul to rest in peace. 

Its nine PM now and I have to stop writing and go feed those five innocent souls waiting for their mother.   
 
Image (c) Gettyimages.com

28-Mar-2011
 
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