Badal aka Monster aka Suresh

My memory of childhood is very weak and feeble. I can hardly remember my mother and other siblings. Also, I’ve no image of my father in my heart and mind. He must have been a super one, if I think that I’ve inherited his look and power. Since that part of my memory is hazy, I’ll not spend much words and space about my father.

Early childhood was very sweet though short lived. I was always close to my mother, compared to other siblings. As a result, I used to get my mother’s love, affection and obviously quota of milk, much more compared to my other sibling brothers and sisters. As I had mentioned, this joyful period time quickly came to an end before my realization. One day, when I was in deep slumber after having stomach full of mother’s nectar, something happened. I could hardly imagine that it was my last nap on my mother’s sweet lap.

I woke up to a harsh reality. Later I realized that hard reality was much lighter in comparison to other situations which I faced in my life afterwards. By that time I could barely open my eyes. I looked around for my mother. I could find neither my mother nor my sibling brothers and sisters. I looked around for the warm and cozy comfort of my mother’s presence. But alas, she was not around. I called her again and again. But there was no reply from her side. I cried. I called. I cried. In between my every call and cry I maintained a small period of silence. I wanted to hear her reply. I was eager to hear her voice. My small ears were keen to listen to her assuring response.

No reply came forward. I strained my vocal cords as much as that little baby could do. I cried louder and louder. I was hungry and was looking for my mother’s milk. I was losing my strength. Still I cried for her. Tears rolled out from my both eyes. I cried and cried and cried. Then probably I lost conscious due to combined effect of fear, hunger and desperation.

My sensations told me that I was static, yet I was moving very fast. All my familiar mountains, trees, localities were running fast behind. Later I understood that I was on a vehicle, driving downwards from the hills towards the plain. There was a family in the car. I was lying in a plastic basket, kept in the backside of big car. When I opened up my eyes, cried a bit again, the car screeched to a halt. A little girl (Pinky, as she was being called) came and gave me little water, milk and made efforts to make me comfortable. She had probably liked my look and that’s why they were taking me to a place called NOIDA.

After an arduous journey we reached their home. It was not like my place of my birth. There was not much of open space. Not many friendly persons. But Pinky was nice to me. She would take care of me except when she was out to school, mall or other places. I stayed in her room, shared her bed and occasionally licked her sweet face.

As months passed, I started growing up. I would go to the park, bark at others at my will and started feeling happy. But again this short span of happiness in life did not extend well. One day I heard that they would be leaving for some place called Mumbai. I could hear hot debate between Pinky and parents about some space constraints in the flat at Mumbai. His father would frequently ask her ‘How can you keep him in a small flat there?’ Instead of giving reply, she would cuddle me and would cry whole night. Then one day, they started packing off their household items. Pinky was not to be seen anywhere. Probably she was already sent to some boarding school.

One fine morning, they put me on the road, outside the gate and sat in a car. When the car started with whole family, I smelt something wrong. I rushed towards the car and wanted to ask ‘What are you up to?’

The car engine roared and started moving. Panicked, I ran behind the car. But the car picked up the motion and in fraction of seconds disappeared in front of my eyes. I wanted to go back to the house but alas. The security guards blocked me at the gate. I was perplexed and puzzled.

There were other dogs on the street. They attacked me as a pack of wolves. I tried to defend myself but in vain. I was alone and they were a few. At the end of a brief battle I found myself licking my wounds.

I was hungry. No food. In a nearby dustbin, there was some leftover food, thrown away by the local people. Other dogs were scavenging some eatables out of that. I didn’t dare for the fear of another round of attack. One guardsman, at the gate was kind. After his lunch, he gave me a piece of roti. It was dry and hard, yet I chewed it to meet the hunger. He named me Suresh.

Days passed, months passed and years too. Meanwhile, I realized that Pinky and her family are not going to come back. They have gone forever. I’ve to survive in this place and in my own terms. The power, aggression and commanding nature that I had inherited came to my rescue. I fought pitch battles off and on with those dogs who were dominating the locality. They were Indies, hardly any match for a full-grown Himalayan Sheep Dog!

My reflex actions, muscular body and leader like attitude soon made me uncrowned king in the locality. Those who would attack me earlier accepted my superiority. I became the boss - the Alpha male of the locality. A few would call me Prince too.

It was not smooth sailing all these years. There were occasional fights for supremacy, over female dogs during courting periods and on many other issues. At times I would get wounded and needed treatment. An aged couple called Mrs. Sathyam and Mr. Sathyam, IAS appeared as my guardian angels. They called me ‘Badal’ because of my black and white coat. Not a bad name, I suppose.

They would feed me, along with other street dogs, every day in the morning. I would travel in their car to a place called SPCA, NOIDA. I didn’t like that place. Not because there were many dogs but for the reason they would pinch me with a needle. Mrs. Sathyam would say those were vaccination injections. That created some fear in my mind. So afterwards, I was never comfortable in car ride.

By some twist and turn of destiny, the safe umbrella of Sathyam couple over my head was blown off, after long eight years. They also left NOIDA and went to somewhere called Coimbatore.

The things started deteriorating around me. Age was catching me up. Vision of my dark rimmed luminous pair of eyes began diminishing. Teeth, which at one point of time could tear anyone apart, started falling. Still I maintained my domain with iron fists.

At this point of time I met Rishi. I could easily make out that we are made for each other. We would meet on the streets more than often when we could exchange pleasantries! He gave me a new name ‘Monster’. Aha, what a wonderful name. I had seen my Sonali mom, along with Rishi in between. She would give me food, pat my head and would say many loving words.

One day there was a fight and I was injured very badly. The injury was on my neck where my tongue could not reach. Soon it became maggot infected. I was running up and down of the road due to unbearable pain.

Sonali mom and her younger son Bazuca came as God sent and took me to their home for treatment. That was the end of another phase of my life. The era of Road King ended and I continued to live with them at their home.

I was the son of Sonali mom and therefore lived as their family member. They would take care of my all needs – food, morning and late night walks, medicines, etc. and all my tantrums. My only duty was to sit on a sofa in the drawing room (my throne) and to scare away any visitor - maid, milkman, newspaper delivery boy, postman, courier chap and the list is endless.

I should speak about one night specifically. It was a night of chilly winter and the whole family was in slumber. I smelt something wrong in the kitchen. I called them up but as they were fast asleep they didn’t respond. I raised my voice, yet no response was coming forward from the bedrooms.

I continued yelling. After sometime they woke up irritated and came out of quilts. Before they could see me in the drawing room, they rushed to the kitchen. There was a short circuit. There were sparks and some wooden board had caught fire. They swung into action, disconnected the power supply in the kitchen and doused the small fire. That night I had received maximum number of hugs.

Off late, I was growing older. My black and white coat started greying. Almost lost vision and was guided by olfactory glands and audiometric nerves. Teeth decayed one by one. I was hand fed by Sonali mom. Recently, while I tried to get up to my sofa, I missed it and had a fall. Within couple of hours, my health deteriorated. In the morning I had a walk in the locality but by the afternoon I could hardly stand. Breathing became difficult and I was gasping for air.

Rishi and mom rushed me to the vet. He gave me so many pierces in my skin. I lay down on the cold steel table of the vet. Gradually, my body lost its warmth and started matching with the coldness of steel. I could hardly see them but could feel their anxieties. Mom took my head on her palms. It was soft and assuring. Slowly all the Oxygen of the world began eluding me. I don’t know why Rishi and mom broke into inconsolable cry.

I’m waiting here on a mountainous roadside like one of my predecessor. He had guided Yudhistir on his way to Swarg (heaven). I too will take those wonderful souls of earth who were kind to me, whenever they will arrive, to Swarg. Yes, that’s my duty.

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