Lead, kindly dog

courtesy: http://conniemartin.wordpress.com/

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.

You know how I love to travel on my bicycle.  I thought cycling was a slow-moving opportunity to cherish nature and you always argued that walking was a better bet.  We used to walk together (although you were a walking menace) and even after long walks we could not cover many places. 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.  The non-political institutions of democracy in most countries are doing a better job of engaging the society for its good than their counterparts in India.  Oh! Why did I do that?..sorry…I know you hate politics.  You know that people like me who are cast in iron, cannot stay away for long from a magnet called India.  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 would just like to say that when you develop a durable kinship with anything (living or non-living), you tend to internalize them to an extent that they become part of you. A few days ago, I watched ‘Marley and Me’, an English cinema (dramatised from a real story, a book) released in 2008.  Although cheesy in some places, I could connect with the story really well. The cinema prompted me to share this letter with all of you.

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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