Lead, kindly dog

I am writing this letter to you to tell you about my experience of meeting a nation-culture that is in a sort of self-indulgent turmoil, very similar to India, may be slightly ahead in time.  My gut feeling has partly come true and the rest has been a pleasant surprise.  You showed me the importance of sensing one’s path even before he/she is a part of it.  I am happy to tell you that I have begun to feel the ground underneath and it is so comforting to know that you are in touch.  You had told me to be aware of the palpable discomfort on the ground … and there was…a discomfort in my own self as well as the people around me. You had reminded me to respect an occasional discomfort and understand its historical context.

Cartoon Courtesy: Connie Martin

You know how I love to travel on my bicycle.  I thought cycling was a slow-moving rendezvous with (our) nature, and you always preferred walking to running beside me.  We used to walk together (although you were a walking menace) and even after long walks we could not cover many places. Going round and round and always back to the same place. I got to give it to you.  I now know what you meant. The art of being part of something yet not being part of it…

You had advised me not to look for lookalikes.  You taught me how to be at home with one’s own self, even though one may not follow the surrounding routines. You lived out of your comfort zone all your life.  I am learning that every day. You know that people like me who are cast in iron, cannot stay away for long from a magnet called my home land (Karnataka).  You are not here.  Your memories do serve me well, although they are not adequate.  Thank you my canine friend…

PS: This was a letter I had written to my pet dog in the year 2010.  I did not send it to him since my dog died in 2003 after living a full life of 14 years.  You might think this person has ‘no life’, writing letters to his dead dog, who obviously couldn’t read!  You are free to have that opinion.  I am that kind of 007, who has bonds with many things living and non-living.  They are part of me.

PPS: For those who are interested, Lead, Kindly Light is a famous hymn written by JH Newman (1801-1890).  More importantly the poem has a better Kannada version (ಕರುಣಾಳು ಬಾ ಬೆಳಕೆ) translated by BMSri (1884-1946).

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