Dogs and Cats

Dogs and Cats

Posted by nag.rajan on Sun, 2008-04-13 15:44 in

In the story "The most Outrageous Day", I have tried to convey the unusual part played by stray dogs in the everyday life of people in Bangalore. The density of dogs is unbelievably high and on a usual day one might come across more dogs than people. Some people think that there is not much difference between them.

The high density of dogs means that there is also a higher possibility of an interaction with them - for example : It is normal for a person on a motorbike in bangalore to be chased by dogs, trying to bite his calves. on the way home. This has given rise to the famous riddle - "You can try to outrun the dogs while you are driving a motorbike, but what do you do when you reach home and need to stop?" This might soon be an HR question by companies in bangalore as the answer will convey how long is your life expectancy without a car. I welcome sample answers in the comments section (Sample answer - have a scary dog barking horn installed and join their gang and chase other bikes riders with the dog gang while honking your horn loudly and proudly).

Now, due to the high density of dogs, it was impossible to avoid them completely and we used to run into them on various occasions, and some of them happened while driving a car. My friend Mayank is a very passionate animal lover, simply adores dogs and cannot bear the thought of any harm befalling these lovable animals. Thus when a dog inadvertently wanders onto the middle of the road, and right into the front of the car he is driving, he is unable to control his reaction and simply reacts in order to avoid a collision. Of course, this could result in an unexpected bump for the scooterist riding alongside.

I, unfortunately, have not been gifted with fast enough reaction time so as to maneuver past them (or for that matter, anything coming suddenly in front of the car). And it so eventually happened that a dog jumped in front of the car I was driving. I was caught by surprise as the dog was hidden by bushes on the divider. I probably had a moment to try and veer the car out of the way, but instead I tried to brake. Alas, my efforts were too late.

Mayank was sitting in the passenger's seat and was obviously very sad and enraged - he thought I should have veered to the side. I was also feeling bad for the episode and it was made worse seeing Mayank's pain. Fortunately, the car wheels had not run over the dog and it had escaped death. It had passed right between the wheels. I noticed in the rear view mirror that the dog had got up and was now running across the road.

Of course, this car accident is not a solitary instance of our interactions with dogs. My interactions with dogs have been more numerous while riding a motorcycle, simply because I have been riding it for almost 10 years in this dense atmosphere with high concentration of dogs. Also, motorcycles probably look like easy targets to dogs, as compared to cars. Motorcycles can be called dog magnets.

Naturally, my friends also have had their share of similar incidences with canines. The first involves my good friend TG.

TG was a friend who used to work at Texas Instruments and used to frequently visit our house in the evenings. He didnt have any vehicle for commuting and looked at the opportunity to walk back to his home as an exercise. In those days, I used to practice my cricket drives in the living room, using a arrangement in which a cricket ball is placed in a sock and the sock is suspended from a hook in the ceiling using a nylon badminton racquet string. This arrangement was also close to the glass window, but there was not much danger of the ball hitting the window as I was between the ball and window and hitting the ball away from it.

TG noticed this arrangement and wondered... "Wont the glass break if we play here?".
"Not a chance", I replied. "I have been playing for a month now and nothing happened", and I went into my room to change footwear. In the meanwhile, TG took the bat, swung it and hit the ball right into the window pane, shattering it on the first shot. I am not sure if he was hitting towards the window or away from it.

As I came running into the room, he said "Sorry buddy, but according to you, the glass was unbreakable". As TG left for the day, I was thinking about how to get TG to pay to fix the window. I didnt know what was in store for him.

As he walked back towards his home, a gang of 5-6 stray dogs curiously started following him. He noticed them and quickened his pace. The dogs quickened their pace as well and started making menacing noises. Few more dogs joined the pack at the next intersection and TG started panicking. He decided that it was time to drop the facade of coolness, panic openly and start running. While running, he would occasionally turn and look over his shoulder to make sure that the dogs were at a safe distance. In his haste, he failed to notice an open manhole in his way and stepped into it.

TG fell and twisted his leg badly. Fortunately he didnt break anything, but injured his leg bad enough that he was not able to walk properly for 2 weeks. Even today, his leg has not completely healed. Once he fell, the dogs had an easy prey. The dogs came close, inspected him, smelt him and conducted their investigation, but soon lost interest in him. He was definitely not a rider on a motorcycle and there was not much fun in chasing a stationary target.

The result - That window pane never got paid for.

DM was another friend who had an unfortunate run in with dogs. He was returning home from the office on his motorcycle when dogs started chasing after him, barking, and snapping their jaws near his calves. This was almost usual behavior, but the dogs today seemed more ferocious and closer than ever. He sped up and looked around to see if he had outrun them successfully. The momentary distraction was enough for another dog to step right into his path unnoticed. As the motorcycle passed over the dog, it skidded resulting in the motorcycle and the rider sliding a fair distance on the rough asphalt. The dogs were jubilant... 1 down, (1Bilion - 1) to go. Thankfully, except for a few scratches, DM was unhurt, but shaken by the incident, and more than anything else, his slow driving speed saved him. The dogs now left him alone in search for fresh prey.

DM called us on the phone for help,
"I had an accident with a dog. Please come and help".
Neeraj replied back with utmost concern "Oh god, I am so sorry, Is the dog all right?"

We finally rescued DM and reached back home. Any such episode of accidents with dogs was always followed by reminiscences about how we all have had run ins with dogs in various ways. My run ins were probably the most diverse. They reminisced how I have had incidences with dogs on various kinds of transportation media - on cars, motorcycles, bicycles, and on foot (Yes, even on foot - I and a dog were minding our own businesses. I happened to step on it by mistake and my friends were there to note it). There was also an incident when I, and some friends, were chasing after a bunch of dogs at 1 am in the night, but thats a different story.

On this occasion, DM in his injured state, and on hearing these incidences with dogs commented - "Dogs are inherently stupid animals. They have no mind of their own and are always creating trouble for others. They have no care for their own lives and are always getting run over and killed in the most outrageous manner. I wonder if Darwin's theory of natural selection is correct. This stupid species should have been extinct long ago".
He paused for a breath here and continued "On the other hand, cats are very smart animals. They are very cautious, and careful in their approach, which keeps them from harm. They are also very agile and graceful with lightning fast reflexes, which enables them to avoid dangers. They can smell danger from a mile away and are always wary of strangers and vehicles. Its almost as if cats have a superpower, a blessing from the gods themselves. A cat could never be involved in such stupid road accidents like these dogs. A cat could never be run over by a car or a motorcycle" he praised.

"I ran over a cat once on my motorcycle" I informed.

DM was enraged, as if I just ran over his cat. "What bull... no one can run a cat over" he resisted. But I was talking about the past. Nevertheless, DM was not happy that I ran over his hypothetical, superpower, divine cat. It was against his newly acquired religion and blasphemous.

A few days after this incident, we all went to play badminton in the newly constructed courts in the Texas Instrument campus. Just outside the badminton courts were the lawn tennis courts where some players were practicing. One of the players was practicing backhand returns against a practice wall.

DM commented - "It is not much use or fun to play against a wall. It does not provide real practice and then there is no agony of losing or the joy of winning. Its no use playing against something you cant compete with or you cant beat".

Out of habit and remembering the cat incident, Tyagi commented, "I have beaten the wall".
DM was again enraged as if someone had beaten 'his' wall. "What crap...?"

"Oh yes, I beat it yesterday. Do you want to know the score?" Tyagi countered.

Tungar also had some runs ins with dogs on his motorcycle, but thankfully neither the dogs nor Tungar had any lasting injuries from any of them. You already know about one of them from "The most outrageous day".

I have also come across people who, after hearing some dog chronicles, have chastised - "Why do you talk about such incidences involving dogs? Kya Kutta Insaan nahin hota?". I only explanation I can give is that, dogs to me, are one of the most important things in the world and they make life exciting and interesting in their own way. I treat them just like humans... love the ones which like me and stay away from the ones which bite. I love dogs and would like to have them as pets someday.

If you are a dog/cat lover, you might enjoy this.

For those who think that the dog incidences might be a figment of an over-creative imagination, all of them are absolutely true and do not encompass all the incidences that occurred. The dog menace in Bangalore is very real and there is hardly anyone in bangalore who is untouched by it in some way. One statistic claims that a person is bitten by a dog in bangalore every 5 minutes. In an unfortunate incident, 2 small children were killed by stray dogs about an year ago (2 months apart), near the place I used to live which resulted in a severe backlash from the authorities to counter the increasing number of such incidences.

During the time, the opinion on the internet was bitterly divided between romantic-idealist dog lovers vs. blood thirsty stray dog haters. You can guess which side the motorcycle riders were on. I found some of the interactions between these groups to be hilarious (just search bangalore dog incident and there are tons).

This news just came in - Dog-hit grounds flight in Bangalore.

nag.rajan ki jai ho. raat ko

nag.rajan ki jai ho. raat ko 1 baje neend mein padhte padhte bhi hansi aa gayi..

Posted by hitesh (not verified) on Tue, 2008-04-15 01:21
ha ha .. you have a

ha ha .. you have a newspaper article to substantiate your anecdote ! actually the newspaper article is quite hilarious too.
you should include the dog chasing story .. that one is a classic.

Posted by murali (not verified) on Tue, 2008-04-22 01:47
""One statistic claims that

""One statistic claims that a person is bitten by a dog in bangalore every 5 minutes.""
That must be a supremely active dog :-)... Lets get that one first.

Posted by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 2008-07-18 01:36