Noida. I had some good reason to go to Noida, the satellite city of Delhi last week. Now no one without any real purpose would ever go to Noida. The only thing worth seeing in Noida is the park littered with elephant statutes, not from the point of entry to the city. Fifteen years ago there was a very long green belt there. A part of the belt remains but most of it is replaced by a concrete edifice. It has elephants of various sizes and some very awe inspiring statues of our revered leaders.
But my purpose of going to Noida wasn’t to pay obeisance at the memorial, for I am told that practically no one knows how to enter this ziggurat. There is no parking, at least not anyone whom I spoke to knows about it. My purpose of visit to Noida was to meet my friend who lives in Sector 29 and is currently recovering from the shock of getting bitten by two street dogs in quick succession. I reproduce the WhatsApp message that my friend sent me.
“Dear Sudhir, Lalit here. I was bitten by an innocuous looking but very determined stray dog at 5:30 AM when I was going for my usual morning jog. As I was running joyously, this light brown coloured dog came and without any warning sunk his teeth into my left hip. As I fell down and he tore into my left leg’s calf region. I tried to repulse him by kicking him with my right leg, even as I was lying prostrate on the ground. And then another dog, almost like his twin brother, came and bit me on my right calf. I am in hospital right now. I have been administered one injection and I have been asked to complete the full course of 5 anti rabies vaccines over a period of 28 days. I am feeling very low and lonely. Please come and meet me at home as I will be discharged from the hospital in next one hour.”
So I took a metro train to Noida and disembarked at the Botanical Garden station. As I was walking hurriedly towards my friend’s house I saw this light brown coloured dog resting on the traffic beat box that was kept in the middle of a not very-busy road intersection. The dog looked indifferent to what was happening around him.
That Greece was going to default on the IMF payment didn’t bother him. He was least bit interested in the tweets being posted by Lalit Modi from London to the high and mighty in New Delhi and Mumbai. He seemed to have no excitement about the fact a boy called Ajinkya Rahane who was dropped by his captain not so long ago was appointed as the captain of the Indian cricket team. All that the dog seemed to be interested in was to look away from the gaze of those who were looking at him.
The traffic was slowly building up at the intersection and the traffic constable was absent from duty. Now I am an activist-citizen who can’t take this lying down. After all I am the fan of someone who screams “The Nation wants to know” all the time. At least the Police must know that an outpost that belonged to them has been usurped by a dog. I dialed the Police station and said, “ Hello, Good Evening.” The voice on the other side said, “ Bolo ji Bolo (Yes, say what you have to say).” I said, “First return my Good Evening ji. Elementary courtesy ji.” The answer, “Accha ho gayi Evening ji. Ab toh bolo (Okay, we now know that it is evening time, Now say something)”.
For the sake of keeping it simple, I will quote only the English translation of our conversation. I said, “Sir there is a dog who is occupying the traffic box here.” Police station, “So? Is it your traffic box that he has occupied?” I replied, “No Sir, but how can a dog be sitting at a place where a police constable is supposed to standing right now?” Police station, “There is no section of IPC that the dog or the Police constable is violating.” I excitedly said, “But Sir a Traffic constable is supposed to be performing his duty right now. The man is missing. That’s my point.” Police Station, “There is no traffic right now that would need signaling or marshalling. We know what to do. Is that okay with you?” I protested, “But Sir how can a dog take the place of a constable? Is it good for the image of the Police department?” Police station, “Don’t worry Sir. The dog there is our own dog. Can you tell me what colour of dog is it?” I replied, “Light brown colour Sir.” Police Station, “Check again, it is a khakhi coloured dog. It is our own dog. See the colour again. It is khakhi. Now move on and don’t try to take a picture of our dog. Otherwise his twin will come and catch your left hip by his sharp teeth.”
I ran and ran and ran till I reached my friend’s house. I narrated my own story to him and he did the same to his doctor who has doubled the potency of the anti-rabies vaccine now. I am posting this story so that the “Nation could know”
Sudhir Bisht is a published author, a freelance columnist and an occasional reporter. He is member of Press Club of India, New Delhi. Feedback welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org