Jack assumed ‘freedom’ was all about living in the open areas like his stray friend Tommy. He was on the run one gloomy night, leaving his pet parent Nysa behind, to experience the world outside. Read on…
I stood at the threshold of the boundary gate after my early morning breakfast, with my muzzle hemmed between the two iron rods of the wicket gate. While my eyes made all the effort to move from left to right, searching to sight my only and best friend, but still I could not get a whiff of Tommy.
Ahh!! Finally he comes running – he is an adorable black and brown furry stray dog, with perfect V-shaped ears, complementing his strong medium frame and a gentle face. We first became friends, when Tommy used to sit outside the gate to have a sunbath in winters.
“Why were you late?” I woofed at him angrily, “I have been waiting since so long.”
“Oh! I am sorry, I slept the whole night on the roof of a car, woke up late today,” he said with a chuckle.
“Really you slept on a car top?” Facing towards the blue sky, I asked him with all my eagerness, “How did it feel to sleep under the moonlit-starlit sky?”
“You can’t imagine the feeling Jack,” he said with a spark in his eyes, “It was just magical.”
“Tommy, how is life outside?”
I asked him with a voice burning in curiosity.
“FREEDOM is the word, nobody bosses over me, I do what I want to do, and I am my own boss,” he said with full of pride.
Nysa’s voice was calling my name out, “Jack….Jack where are you? Come here…come here!”
“See you tomorrow,” I quickly said.
I saw Nysa standing – a willowy young girl, in her twenties who lived all by herself in the city with me. How envious I felt, her care had taken away this contentment from me.
Walking back home the sadness of my heart kept repeating mutedly to her, “Please unleash me, I want to experience the freedom of the outside world.” That night when Nysa stept, I was going on an unreturnable journey.
With years gone by, we both had grown to love each other, more and more each day. My tears filled my eyes as I knew I would never see her again, but I had to go.
That night, I managed to run away. Reaching the park, I began to rub my body against the soft needles of the grass pricking my coat. It felt blissful as if somebody was massaging me. I dozed off, in the morning only to be greeted by the gushing water which the gardener jetted all over me with his pipe, I scuttled towards the road – all wet with my heart beating faster than ever, only to encounter a speeding car advancing towards me.
“Jack, get to a side, towards the tree,” Tommy barked with all his lungs, standing at the corner. Crossing the road he came darting towards me. “What are you doing here?” he snarled at me, more out of curiosity than concern. “And, why are you wet?”
“Oh, I ran away from home last night,” I said, “I want to have a life like yours, where I do what I wish.”
“So what have you thought where are you going to live Jack?”
“With you, my best friend.”
“With me… with me, why?,”
he said resignedly.
“Ok, then I am very hungry and it is already my breakfast time.”
“Ok…Ok! Well, come along,” said Tommy stiffly.
He took me to a garbage dump; the whole stink was rebelling and revolting.
“Now you can choose from here what you want to eat,” he said, impassively.
“Here, how can I eat from here?”
“Hey, listen Jack,” Tommy said with hauteur, “This is the only food available. Eat if you want.”
“But you said, you eat goodies from the Gurudwara every day.”
“Yeah, I do, but not always, may be once a month when there is a feast, and today there isn’t one, so choose from here.”
“I prefer not to eat,” I said in an uncompromising tone.
“Your wish,”Tommy replied staring impassively at my sad face. “I am going to make my pick. You can stand and see.”
I stood there hungry, dejected and depressed, looking at
Tommy obscurely why was he behaving this way.
Suddenly there was a shower of stones by a burly man, one of them came and hit my ankle. I was bewildered and baffled to what was happening, slowly hobbling I came and sat under a tree, crying, my heart drowned in the sadness, thinking why were things so different from what I had thought.
After a while, I tried getting up from there and began walking lamely on an unknown road. The sun was burning and the heat was just like an oven left on high all night, which I had never encountered living in Nysa’s air-conditioned house, I was hot and feeling thirsty with every step of mine.
Walking a few yards I had a glimpse of a puddle, coming closer. I saw mosquitoes and flies floating over – it was mucky – feeling helpless, I tried to dip my tongue, I heard a ferocious bark, I lifted my face, only to see three stocky stray dogs in front of me.
“What are you doing in our territory?” one asked with an air of authority.
“You can’t drink water here,” said the other.
“Go back,” said the third.
“But…But… let me drink water.” Without waiting for a reply, I bend forward my velvety muzzle into a pool of water. Just then one of them leaped forward with his sharp teeth cutting across my one ear. I yelled in pain and retreated from there, walking listlessly, I crept under a car in ache and soreness, falling asleep soon.
When I got up, it was already dark, and I stood all alone on the street. I really missed Nysa, my family, she was the only one who had protected me from the world where even water had a price.
I decided to make my way home, to my own paradise, lost in myriad of streets I walked alone, when the feeling of being lost started gripping me I saw a red bricked house, it was my own house, Nysa stood at the gate, under the midnight moon. Seeing me, she came running, I guess no one in this world would have been more happier. After all she was the only one who cared for me, a true friend….MY PARENT.
That night, I returned home to live a secured and blissful life!