27 May 2015

Lali's Story

The streets can be a rough and cruel place to grow up in. There must be about a thousand homeless street dogs in this city alone. Lali was one of them. As a cute stray puppy, she was cared for by an old man. When he quit his driver’s job to move to another town he abandoned Lali to the streets.

Lali lived of scraps offered by passersby and scavenged around the garbage heaps. Food was difficult to come by. Hunger and thirst became her shadow. Insecurity and fear her constant companion. Nights interrupted by barks and fights between the different street dog gangs. If you wanted to survive in the streets you had to fight. Lali was tough; she survived.

But unlike the other street dogs she trusted humans. She came right up to them, waging her tail as if pleased to see them. Her brown eyes looking soulfully at anyone who would stop by. Those eyes could melt even a hardened dog hater.

That was precisely why the Mishras  decided to adopt her. They were wooed by her docile nature and expressive eyes. Their two children fed her and played with her all day. And soon Lali was living with them.A year or two passed by. She was content and happy. She had a family. Every dog needs a home and a family.

Lali’s happiness proved to be short lived. The Mishras moved out on transfer to Delhi. They didn't want to be burdened with a dog, least of all a desi one!

Lali could never understand why the Mishra’s left. For days she cried and sniffed around their  empty house until she was shooed away by the new tenants. She was back on the streets. The neighborhood dogs looked at her as a threat and the summer heat was getting almost unbearable.

That’s how I found Lali- defeated, dejected and almost dying of dehydration and heat. She was caked in dirt and filth.

Nagpur was a blasting 47 degrees last year. I decided to get Lali into the house. She entered hesitantly; chose to just lay down right at the front door, grateful to be out of the heat.

In the evening when my husband came home and found a dog inside the house he threw a fit. For him dogs and cats are best kept at a distance. To him they spelled diseases and trouble. He grumbled and cribbed while I maintained a stubborn silence. In the end Lali’s brown eyes won him over. I think we all fell in love with her amicable and mild nature.

 Lali has become a part of my family. We have adopted her. She has her bad days and mood swings. She’s not young any more. She sometimes looks lost in her thoughts and aloof. I leave her alone to deal with her past.I know our constant love will ultimately erase all her unpleasant memories.
And I  wonder if she knows it’s our anniversary today,its been exactly five years since she became a part of my family.

Lalli And Me

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