Silk Is Not Alone

Silk is the latest in the apartment menage. She is a lovely black and white dog, quite definitely under a year old, whom our landlord took a fancy to. So he put a collar on her and brought her to the basement, where she lives in uneasy peace with Appu and Apputtu. However, all the kids in the complex love her and she can be seen zooming around all evening with them. Some of the parents have even unwound enough to allow her in the tiny children’s park we have.

We order homemade chicken and rice for our mutts every day and our landlord has asked us to get some extra packets for Silk and Sunny (yes, they’re named after Silk Smitha and Sunny Leone; yes, the landlord is a good man but subtlety is not his strong suite.) for which he pays us at the end of the month.

His trusted aide Shambhu is responsible for collecting these packets from us every day, morning and evening. But of late, I’ve noticed him slacken in more and more ways and we end up having to remind him or feed Silk ourselves. Last night, it was raining heavily and a gale was blowing. Despite a reminder, Shambhu had once again not turned up to collect the food.

After a long day, I was tired and impatient and angry. Nobody cares about these dogs except me, I thought. Not one fucking person. Feeling like a martyr, I stomped downstairs to feed Silk. She was lying curled up under a tall table on sheets of newspaper, and my heart melted at the sight. I could see Shambhu in the guards’ cabin. I felt a wave of resentment – he was nice and warm and toasty and had probably had his dinner too. Whereas this tiny thing…

I put Silk’s bowl in front of her and she began lapping up the food at once. I then took A and A to the other side of the building (both of whom were growling and raring to have a go at Silk) and fed them. Once they were settling down, sated, I went back again to make sure Silk had finished her portion. The sight that met my eyes is one I will never forget for as long as I live.

One of the watchmen’s small daughter had crawled under the table with Silk and was now curled up with her on the newspaper. Hearing my footsteps, both of them looked up at me with big eyes as if to ask, “Yes? How can we help you?”

As the rain lashed in the background, I stood there, my eyes blurred with tears, knowing that Silk was not alone. Not friendless. And that there were things more soul-warming than the handfuls of rice I had fed her.


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