Ours is a small family. My parents, my grandmother and I made up our family. Being the only grandchild in the family, my grandmother’s love and indulgence made me king of the desperado. Every time I played some mischief my grandmother came to my defense. When that grand old lady suffered a heart attack and that too when my father was away from home, it made me feel very upset. My father had gone to our ancestral home located in a remote village in Bihar to settle some disputes over our agricultural land. My grandmother was rushed to a hospital and put in ICCU. While my mother stayed back to take care of my grandmother took our car and the driver to bring back my father. It was about 5.30 in the afternoon when we started. We had almost reached our destination when a mob of about a hundred people blocked our way. There had been a fatal accident and they were not in a mood to listen to any reason until some police official reached the spot and assured compensation. I was at loss at what to do but suddenly I remembered detour by which we could reach our village. We reversed our car and the detour. After going some distance it was no more motorable. We stopped there for a while and could not decide what to do. The driver did not know the route. Moreover, someone had to be left behind to guard the car itself. There was total darkness all around and I was not very confident about myself. I looked at my radium dialed wristwatch. It was 8.35 p.m. As I was bracing myself for the walk, a robust black dog appeared from nowhere. Both of us were very surprised and even more surprising was the way it behaved. It wagged its tail and tried to lick me in a familiar manner as if it had known me for years. I was first to feel uncomfortable and as began walking, the dog also came along. The dog walked a little ahead of me and had to be very familiar with the place. As we walked along the road forked out in two directions. Though I was undecided which one to follow, the dog led me from the front and one direction As we were passing beneath the menacingly obscure trees a sudden blood-curdling sound sent cold shivers down my spine. I stopped dead and almost fainted as heard the flapping of wings. I guessed it to be an owl. As I steadied myself again the dog appeared to motion me to move forward. It was past nine as I looked at my watch. We passed through meadows and fields and came to a place where the road made its way through thick bushes on either side. 

The darkness appeared to have to formed lumps on the bushes and the glinting fireflies made it eerier. Suddenly I noticed a pair of eyes glowing brightly. My companion also sensed something wrong and started growl and then pounced on it. The menacing fight and the howling and growing of two fighting animals made the situation too much for me and I fainted. When I opened my eyes, I could faintly make out my father’s blending over me. My father looked extremely worried and continued to ask me why and how I came to be there. When I told him what happened until I lost consciousness, he became all the more worried. When I asked him how I got there he explained that I was lying unconscious on the road and the dog was sitting next to me. Some of our village folk on their way back home from the cinema picked me up and brought me back.

Surprisingly, the dog followed them till they reached the fringe of our villagr but was not to be seen after that. While I was being attended to by the doctor, my father sent some men to bring back the car by another route. It came within half an hour and we were on our way back home. We reached home past midnight and knocked the door. One of our neighbors opened the door. We rushed in and found my grandmother lying at the center of the room covered with flowers and wreaths. My mother, sat motionless near her head. I felt like crying, but a lump in my throat chocked my voice. My father controlled himself for some time and then asked my mother how it happened. My mother told him everything upto her granny’s hospitalization upto which I knew, expect that she regained consciousness for a while at 8:30 p.m. and wanted to see me and my father. When told that I had sent to bring my father, her eyebrow wrinkled with worry and she didn’t appreciate my mother’s wisdom of sending me alone. Next moment she slumped into unconsciousness again and breathed her last at 8:35 p.m. The timing flashed through my mind could faintly and it occurred to that that that was exactly at that moment that I was hesitantly pondering in that desolate place whether to go ahead or not when my companion, my Savior of that night appeared from no where to escourt me safely to my father. Was it just a coincidence or……

Does it surprise you then that people say that my love for and indulgence of animals borders on madness?

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