I met him on my recent trip to Shimla and it immediately struck me that he looked different from the dogs I see in the plains – he was bigger in size and had longer hair.
So I went up to him while he was basking in the sunlit spot right in the middle of a busy street (like all dogs do) like a boss. But really, why do dogs lie down in the middle of a busy street?
This is not what I asked him.
“Excuse me. I couldn’t help but notice that you have such long thick and bushy hair! Why is that?” is what I asked him.
He raised his eyebrows like he was some kind of a gang lord and looked at me with his hazel brown eyes that contained much wisdom in them.
“I live in the mountains, how do you suppose I keep myself warm? With my long thick and bushy hair!”
And then he went back to resting his head and the rest of the body on the tar road.
“Duh! It’s quite obvious! I’m sorry I’m not used to seeing dogs with long hair. Forgive me.”
He raised his eyebrows again to give me a sideways glance.
“But what do you do in summers? With all that hair, I mean.”
“Summers! What summer?” he barked at me. “We don’t have summer here.”
“Pardon me but this place feels quite….warm to me even in the monsoon.”
“Hmmm” he began and took a long pause. And then took a deep breath in. And then sighed.
“There was a time when the air was cool throughout the year. Now it’s becoming warmer each year.”
“I know why. It’s because of global warming!” I chipped in.
“And all the tourists…like yourself” he sighed again
“What do you mean? How dare you!” I said defensively.
“Tell me something, how did you travel here?”
“I took a flight then a train and then a taxi.”
“Look at the road behind you.” He said.
I turned to look. “There’s nothing.” I said.
“Nothing except your carbon footprint.” He said as he got up and walked on.
A bus full of tourists was approaching towards me and the driver was honking so loudly that all the birds sitting on a tree nearby flew away; the monkeys also ran for cover.
As the bus drove past me the exhaust pipe threw up a cloud of black smoke so thick and large that it enveloped me fully! I found it almost impossible to breathe for a few seconds.
“Now you know how we feel every single day of our lives!” I heard an acrimonious chorus from behind me.
It was the tall and majestic pine trees lining that very busy road.
I apologised to them. What else could I do?
Then I cursed the driver & thought to myself – why did I come to the mountains? If I wanted polluted air I could have stayed back in the city!
I looked around for the mountain dog. But he was nowhere to be seen. I searched for that handsome black and brown furry body but I found no dogs on this busy stretch of road.
I asked the trees if they had seen him. But they had already started to doze off.
It was dusk now. The lights on the street and in all the shops were coming to life one by one looking like twinkling stars in the sky.
But even in all this light I couldn’t find him. My dog friend was lost somewhere in the din and melee of tourists.
I looked down towards the busy Mall Road below me. Every inch of the road seemed to be swarming with humans as if they were bees.
And the tourist season hadn’t even begun yet.