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PUPPY, DOG AND OBLATION
E. Dinamani
       Om a Brahma Bhuvana loků..
       Amavasya coincided with the last day of the month long Tarpan. Incantations over, I went down the bank of the big river in front to immerse the offerings. As had been instructed by my father, after the things had been consigned to the river, remembering the manes with closed eyes, I pushed the water forward three times. I touched the puppy in the last push. It was adrift on the river waters and still alive. Though the belly was swollen a little, it was still able to give a ghost of a growl and the two eyes opened drowsily. Although a little startled at first and filled with abomination, a strange feeling of compassion that I did not suspect was there deep down inside till that moment made me pull the poor creature out of the water to rest on the bank. The ears moved, the eyes opened and the tail was wagging weakly. Slowly squeezing out the water from its fur, I started looking up and down the river keenly hoping to discover its master or mother. Not a single soul, not a thing was to be seen in the immediate vicinity. Only a pregnant cow could be seen on the opposite side walking with much difficulty.
       I had not the heart to leave it alone exposed to an unknown fate. The long face, the plump body, the few diminutive whiskers, the constantly wagging obedient tail -bound up with these I was filled with pity for the wretched creature. I brought it along.
       My youngest son was the most jubilant of all. But, his sister scoffed at it and wore a sour face. On the other hand, their mother turned her already big nose still bigger up at the intruder. And that was not all. For her mouth now turned into an oversize rattler coupled with a long tongue. There was no question of letting it climb up even the steps. If it had been found resting on a piece of thrown away sackcloth by the wall of the outbuilding, she immediately changed countenance as if it were a concubine, not a helpless puppy! But, one day (after a few days of its existence with us) I caught her blowing over a misshapen aluminum bowl filled with hot milk and the puppy was cavorting about her feet at the threshold. Filled with the fear of some unnamed disaster, I rushed in and threw out the puppy with my foot. How hurtfully she then hit out against me-
       -Half insane you are, a monster! Can't you see how eager- it was for milků. !
       -I see! So, you've started to thaw out.
       -How could I remain unmoved seeing the manners of this rascal! Beatings won't drive it out; it won't be shooed away; instead it would snuggle down my feet and start licking the toes. When you whack him with a stick, it would just yelp. And before you close your eyelids, it would be sitting before you, looking expectantly, tail wagging. What a little dear it has turned out to be, the miserable wretch. And what an appetite, too... here, take this. Slurp it down. How you resemble your father (that's me)! Take it slowly.
                                       

    

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