Wednesday, December 22, 2010


I am living in a residential area in outskirts of the Madurai city, Tamilnadu, India. It’s in the Alanganallur road (rural road) and 10 kms from Periyar Bus stand. The residential area is named as Vishaal Nagar-2 and is near a village called Pasingapuram. When I occupied the house two years ago, mine was the only house in the street. Early morning the sun rise will be clearly visible from the eastern window. The entrance of my house is on the northern side and there is no obstracle for me to view the beauty of Small hillocks –Manjamalai and Sirumalai hills at the farthest distant. Now few houses have come, obstructing the view. I could no more see the sunrise from my house. However, I could still see the hills. A neighbor came before 15 months to occupy his new house, in the southern side of my house. He is Mr. Chandrasekar a wholesale vegetable merchant, living with his wife and a son aged around 25 years (youngest of his two sons). The youngest son was called Mani ( Manigandaprabu is his full name) His eldest son was working abroad and he got married recently. And another neighbor occupied a corner house in the southern entrance of the street(opposite house further down the street) . The owner of that house is working as railway ticket examiner. His wife is a school teacher and he has two college going girls. He is a Christian named Mr.Pious. He and his family are fond of pet animals. They have two dogs; have love birds, a parrot and three hens.
Actually Mr.Pious bought 5 chicks from a roadside vendor. Two died and three remains. He and his family takes at most care from feeding to veterinary services and the three has grown really well. And they were of pure white color. Seeing the quality of the birds no one can say that, it was bought from a road side vendor. The two dogs also were maintained with great love and care. They were never tied and used to wander freely inside his house. The dogs are very obedient too. Whenever I see them, they will be very clean. There is no disturbance to neighbors’ from the dogs since they seldom bark (only when they see strangers).
Mani, son of Mr.Chandrasekar who is living adjacent to my house is a college drop out. Occasionally he helps his father in his business. Sitting idle made him to think and he wished to rear Dogs for commercial purpose. The place he chose for housing them is his own house. One day he came home with a good puppy (he said it is a puppy which is just two months old, but its height was that of an aged local dog). He named it Sophie. He built a small kennel for sophie in the car parking area. The puppy had long legs and a wonderful soft skin. It was full brown in color, very active and playful. It was obedient to some extent. Suddenly he brought home another dog, a white Labrador. Soon many dogs got tied around is house and there were six dogs of varying sizes and breeds. Only Sophie enjoyed the facility of Kennel and the other Dogs used to look at it with Jealousy.  Initially Mr.Mani took care of them well. He used to take them for a walk, give them beef which he himself cook in the vacant land adjacent to my house and also give occasional medicines. Kids in the neighborhood used to visit this street to see the variety of dogs. Even a dog was of the size of a calf. Everything seems to go on well, but only for two months. Mani also had the idea of making the dogs participate in dog fair held in the city. Unfortunately it didn’t materialize for reasons known only to him. He used to boast about the dogs, how obedient they were, how they listened to his commands, how they are rare and maintained that nobody in the city had such a breed as Sophie. He used to speak as if he has more than a decade of experiance with dogs.
Soon the problem came. The entire family used to have frequent visitors. The vistors will come and stay for one or two days and leave. They also used to lock their house and leave for few days to their relative’s house. Mr.Mani will also go along with them, leaving the dogs behind. He alone will return on morning and evening to feed the dogs. The dogs will be kept tied around his house in open, without proper housing facility. The dogs, since they were not taken for a walk used to “Pee” in the place where they are tied. They will also bark in high decimals throughout the night.  One day Mrs.Chandrasekar bought a small goat and it was also tied in one corner of the house. She used to take the goat for grazing.   
One day, when the entire family was out as usual, one of the dogs untied itself and started roaming around the entire residential locality. There were six streets in our locality fenced by a barbed wire with one entrance near the first street. Ours was the sixth street. Two security persons will be available at the gate. The dog started chasing the local dogs that used to roam in the area. Worse, the dog after completing his visit came back and started biting the neck of the goat which was tied in the house.
My wife heard a strange sound, of course from the goat. She guessed something was wrong and went outside and saw that terrible scene. My wife never like dogs and was afraid of the dogs owned by my neighbor. She came to me and said what’s happening. I went out and took hold of the rope around the dog carefully and tied it in one of the poles. Then I examined the neck of the goat. It was bleeding profusely. My wife came along with my five year old kid to see the goat. She took pity for the goat and wished to offer some vegetables for the goat. My kid got very interested by the idea and came back with whatever vegetables she can get hold off from the fridge. However, the goat did not eat anything. Suddenly my kid started plucking the grass grown near by and gave it to the goat. The goat started eating it happily.
When the family returned from their short trip, my wife went and told Mrs.Chandrasekar what happened. She got annoyed and started scolding his son. Then they consulted a veterinarian and gave some antibiotic dose to the goat. Few days later they sold the goat.
The dogs due to poor maintenance continued to Pee in the area where they are tied. Soon the house got surrounded by dogs Pee. Then they also started Peeing in the entire road during their occasional morning walk.

Mr.Chandrasekar and his family got used to the stench of the pee, and lived with it. Occasionaly Mani used to clean it. Manual scavenging is considered as a bad social phenomenon. Mani became a manual scavenger, for the sake of his beloved Dogs. But he did not do this routinely, but only after a certain quantity is dumped by the dogs around his house.
Mani also had female Dogs. And when they were in heat, he used to bring Male dogs from outside for mating. And there will be a curious crowd of his friends to watch them mate. One day morning I came out of my home (busy hurrying for office and school) with my wife and kid. And the first sight we saw was the mating of dogs, watched by Mani and his friends. My wife got angry and kept murmuring about this, sitting in the pillion of by bike throughout our ride.
Another day morning I came out of the house and saw one of my sandals  gone missing. I immediately guessed what would have happened. Any one of the dogs would have taken it. I searched around my house and later went to terrace. From my terrace I looked at the terrace of Mr.Mani’s house. There at last I found my sandals lying. I collected it and lodged a complaint with Mrs.Chandrasekhar. On another day my kids slippers was found torn to pieces.  Yet another day my kid came laughing and said to me that “ Dad, a dog just came and spit on your shoes” and the incident seemed as a joke for her.
And then came the marriage for Mr.Chandrasekhar’s eldest son. He flew back from America for the marriage. The Bride was from Palani, a town where a famous Murugan temple is there. The marriage was planned to be held in Palani. The reception was planned after marriage in the residence of Mr.Chandrasekar. The family felt only then, that they should keep their home clean. The house was white washed. The surroundings were cleaned using sanitary liquids. Even Sophies kennel was cleaned (hope for the first time). The family also felt that the dogs may cause trouble to the relatives who come for marriage. So Mani was asked to dispose the Dogs at whatever rate they were demanded. It was a surprise to me and my wife when all the dogs got vanished suddenly. We asked Mrs.Chandrasekhar what happened to the dogs. She said all dogs except Sophie were either sold or gifted. She also added that his son made a huge loss in the business. Sophie was sent to a common dog care center and supposed to return, a week after marriage.
Me and my wife did not go for the Marriage and planned to attend the reception which is held in the house of Mr.Chandrasekar. The reception was planned in the evening by 7.00 pm. We purchased a gift and were ready to go to their house. Friends and relatives of Mr.Chandrasekar also started arriving. Suddenly the power went off and the entire area fell into darkness. It is a common scenario in Tamilnadu, India that electricity goes off suddenly without any warning. Also there is a announced power cut that exists for 2 hours daily. This is due to shortage of power, which has become a huge problem for every one recently. The family was careless enough that they are not prepared for such a sudden power shutdown. Mr.Mani was sent to hire a generator, but he took his own time. So the function commenced without light. The bride and bridegroom where inside the house. The friends and relatives could see only their shadowy figures due to darkness. Then someone gave the idea that chairs can be put outside the house and the bride and bridge groom can sit in them, so that every body who comes have somewhat better sight of the newly married couple. And it happened that, the Kennel of Sophie was removed suddenly and the chairs for the couple were laid there. I and my wife couldn’t control our laugh. The place which was once stenching with Sophies excreta’s, now was turned to a place where the reception ceremony was held. We however managed our laugh and converted it into a smile and gave the couple a present. I have to accept that the bride was very beautiful indeed. My wife who never used to speak about others beauty, also accepted that the bride was beautiful.
The eldest son left to America within a week of marriage along with his wife. I hoped Sophie will return but there was no sign of it. I asked Mani and he replied that Sophie died at the common care facility. He blamed them for Sophies death. And I Know pretty well who was responsible for Sophies death. It was Mani. When Sophie was there, I noticed that it grew at a rapid speed irrespective of the least care provided to it.  I also saw that it had a unusual lump in one of its leg and it found difficult to walk because of that. A good dog was let to die because of improper care.
We were peaceful for a fortnight without any barking sounds and the stench of dogs excreta’s. Suddenly Mr.Mani again came with another dog, this time a Pomeranian. Pomeranian is a dog which is a home lover and likes to roan freely. It is not a ferocious dog but a friendly dog. But this dog also was kept tied in the front of the house. Soon another Pomeranian also came for its company. And this time, their barking was so continuous that it disturbed our sleep. Again Mani came with an ugliest dog I have ever seen. The color and very sight of it was very awkward. I don’t know what breed it belonged too. Later he also bought home a Labrador, which was brownish white in color. Two weeks ago the Labrador gave birth to ten cute kids. Yesterday I saw Mr.Mani taking the Labrador and the ugliest dog. The Labrador was housed along with its puppies in a Kennel, which was again erected in the car shed. However I could not see any enthusiasm in Mani’s face. He became dull than before. This can be attributed not to birth of puppies, but to other external reasons like his unemployment, love failure (do any girls love him? Of course He has a good personality). The name “Mani” is a very common name in households of Tamilnadu. Male children were named Mani. It is also a common practice to name their dogs as ‘Mani”. One of out every 10 dogs is  named “Mani” in rural Tamilnadu.
Whenever I see the puppies, Sophies fate comes to my mind. Hope at least these puppies lead a good life.  I also feel pity for Mani. Hope that he should try his hands in some other business.

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