Thursday, February 02, 2006

Siruvayadhu Sindhanaigal: Childhood Thoughts

Today I read the story "Muyal" by Badri Seshadri. It is not necessary that stories written in first person are always autobiographical, meaning they are true stories experieced by the author. But somehow, this story seems like an event happened in Badri's life. This story brought back memories of an event that took place in my life, when I was in class 4.

The dog was simply called as "vellai" meaning white. Having a pet dog was out of question in my home, so I had to be content with the fact that I can pet the dogs that grew in other people's home in the neighbourhood. Vellai grew up in the house of "Kayirkaara amma", who lived opposite to our home, separated by the main road on which the No.1 and 2 buses of vellore ply, apart from the moffusil buses. The entire family of kayirkara amma was involved in making ropes using coir. Many times i have been part of the kayir making exercise, by rotating the machine. Slowly I became very close to vellai and so did vellai to me. Then one day suddenly, the town panchayat officials decided to catch the stray dogs. If you had seen them catch dogs you would really feel very bad. I didn't know what to do and I still remember going to one of the person who seemed to be in charge almost in tears to let vellai off. I was very selfish to just ask for pardoning of vellai. Then he said that vellai doesn't have a license and he can't do anything. I asked how am i to get a license for vellai, he said that if I pay him some amount, he can give me the license that he has in his pocket. Kayirakara family wasn't the kind of family that had a pet dog with lots of care for the dog. The dog happened to grow in their home.

I went back to my home and asked amma to give me some money and let vellai get his license. Amma did give the money to me, knowing that I really liked the dog. I ran to that person and got that small tin sheet, with a number written in yellow background. Vellai, obviously not aware of all these things, was just loitering in front of their house inspite of me putting him inside so that he can evade the dog catchers. I tied it on his neck and sort of hid him in the house even though he had the license. He was saved that day, but the other dogs that were caught on that day came in my dreams for some days to come.

The year after, after I came back from a visit to Madras to my Uncle's place, I couldn't see vellai and the face of kayirkara amma was sunken. She told me that vellai was hit by the No. 1 bus that used to ply between Katpadi and Bagayam. All of a sudden a deep sense of sadness hit me. The bus that hit vellai while I was away in chennai was "Sri Krishna Bus Service".

I have had attachments to many other dogs subsequently, but never with the same amount of intensity as was with Vellai.

May be that explains why I cried uncontrollably while watching My Dog Skip.