BY Adarsh Madhavan
The rotund man gaily walked out of a popular restaurant, ignoring the outstretched hands of a frail old lady plonked right in front of its entrance, but he didn’t fail to air-kick a harmless, scrawny community dog that was innocently sniffing at something on the road.
Otherwise, the man was blissfully unaware of everything as he spat something out of his globular mouth on the street just missing by inches the feet of passersby; waved at his friend to go get the car parked nearby, while he carelessly crossed the narrow and ultra-busy street, went and faced the wall of a house, opposite the restaurant, and started relieving himself in front of everyone. There were many women, children and so many others there but then, no one batted an eyelid.
No one seemed to care. No one even seemed to have even noticed it in the cacophony of sounds and the crowds that milled around.
And the wall didn’t break with this unruly afternoon shower too. It stood mute witness as it stands dumb witness to a well-fed cow that defecated next to it, splattering the greenish thick dung across the road as it walked munching something nonchalantly, tail flicking flies.
No storm raised
More people spat, sneezed, coughed, some of them mask less in this age of the pandemic, but no one protested, no one raised a storm. However, they didn’t fail to shoo-shoo that poor old street dog, desperately trying to find a morsel to fill his bone-sticking, hunger-burning body.
Then a car screeched to a halt in front of an abandoned house nearby, the windows rolled down, a hand came out clutching a large greasy packet laden with half-eaten food and folded plastic plates, spoons etc.
The ‘mysterious’ hand took a swing of the bag but it didn’t even reach inside the compound, instead it hit the wall and the contents spilled out onto the municipality-cleaned road. People just side stepped the items before them and walked on without a curse or even a murmur. They couldn’t care less. Some of them are even complicit in this throwing game. More people stopped at the old house’s compound with more ‘deposits’ as they carelessly tossed them into the newfound ‘bin’. Some of them seemed to be experts at it, probably owing to years of practice. Maybe someday they should use a makeshift garbage bin-throwing competition. There will be many a winner from this town.
The din they raise
But, my God, the din they raise, when someone tries to discreetly place some morsels of food on abandoned roadsides for some hunger-stricken streeties, could be heard across several continents.
“How dare you feed these – these dangerous diseased creatures?” they rage. “How dare you feed them in front of our home?” they thunder, even though we only feed the dogs far away from the front of people’s homes, on a public road, on which everyone has an equal right.
No feeding please, we’re human
But, oh, on the same pot-holed, craggy road, one can urinate, defecate, throw waste and spit on top of it, but you can’t feed some poor, famished and near dead sentient beings a handful of rice.