In India there is always a friend nearby, someone to pass the time with. Its the animals that fill the streets in India that cause me to never get lonely in this country. As I walk through the streets my eyes are always alert for animals to play with, give food to or just to admire from a far.
Recently I was strolling through a popular market in Delhi. I spotted a limping dog making her way through the vendors. I could see that she wasn’t putting weight on a back leg. I instinctively kept my eye on her as I walked towards her. Just as I was about to start making my typical cooey-kissey-doggy noises and hold out my hand to see if she would accept a stroke on the head, a man selling bread kicked her in the side.
She squawked and ran off. I knew that the kick wasn’t hard enough to hurt her seriously but it sure scared her. It was enough to set me off. I lost my temper. Within seconds he had a crazed white woman shouting insults at him in a jumbled mix of English and Hindi. After a few minutes of being publically embarrassed by my high volume rant questioning his character in front of his customers and neighbours, he quietly mumbled “sorry madam”, I shouted back “don’t apologize to me! Apologize to the poor hungry street dog you just kicked for no reason”.
With nothing else left to say I turned and left. I couldn’t shake my anger. My heart thumped in my chest as I marched through the market mumbling and cursing to myself. Gritting my teeth I cursed this man, this country and the entire world for being such assholes to animals.
Soon enough my eye again caught sight of some more dogs in the distance. There appeared to be a small pack of about 6 or 7 happily jumping about with their tails wildly wagging. I kept my eye on them as I wandered over to take a closer look. I saw a guy standing near them and feared that I was about to witness something ugly again. But this time instead of a man selling bread and kicking dogs, it was a man who had a big bag of bread that he was distributing to the dogs that were clearly his good friends. He was happy to have them jump up on his legs and was gently scolding them for fighting with each other over the bread. My heart floated back up from the dark depths into which it had sunk. With a big smile on my face and a slight tear in my eye I approached the man. If the bread vendor in the market deserved my temper then this one certainly deserved my praise.
It took him a minute to understand what exactly I was trying to say. I told him the story of the man that I just saw kick the dog and how horrible it made me feel, and now just 5 minutes later how thankful he had made me for his kindness and compassion for these dogs. I could be wrong but I think that I saw a slight tear is his eye too. We spent a few more special moments together as friends, giving the dogs the rest the bread. We thanked each other, shook hands and I walked away. Again I had a pep in my step. Loving life, loving India, her animals and her people. I continued on.