When locals fighting against the authorities, came out against the arrest, no one could guess that it was for Mudi. Found two years ago as a puppy who was abandoned in Srinagar’s Hyderpora, Mudi is now the pet that everyone loves to pamper.
By sundown, the lip-smacking smoky-smell of barbecue makes Bilal’s roadside cart one of the main attractions in Srinagar’s Hyderpora. Among his regulars—chirpy teens, gym-goers, middle-aged labourers, homebound officials, freeloaders, etc—a brownish black dog shows up, wagging his tail.
Before a teen, apparently a new customer, could kick the dog out, Bilal in his late 20s interrupts, saying, “DON’T… Don’t scare the dog!” Even before the teen could make sense of this bonhomie, the skinny barbecue seller whistles and the dog gets his share of Naan and barbeque.
“This is a special customer,” Bilal smiles, as he moves back to his barbeque cart.
Unlike other dogs wandering the streets of Hyderpora, the dog has a special identity and a unique connection with the locality.
Just a few weeks ago, the entire locality was in the Hyderpora square, fighting a pitched battle to rescue the same dog from the authorities. The authorities had to give in, and the dog was pulled out from the dog-catchers’ vehicle to the cheer of the public, as the other dogs stayed in the ‘military looking’ truck.
A day after the incident, as shutdown is observed, Raja Begum in her late 50s is walking towards her farms with an anxious face.
Besides the armed forces, she is also worried about the presence of dogs on the street. The city is grappling with ‘canine terror’ for years now.
As Mudi starts following her from the Wazbag square, Raja turns calmer and relaxes. At one point, when the dog takes a wrong turn, it comes back after she shouts, “Pakki yapear, oore che yem hooen” (Come back, these dogs are there). She gets the pet something to eat, the moment they reach home. And none of this seems odd to anyone in the locality.
Two years ago, the dog was left behind by its parents as a two-day-old puppy in the Hyderpora neighborhood. The local kids used the pediatric-medicine pump to feed milk to it. And soon the pup regained health.
Within six months, the puppy had found some favorite places. It follows a schedule and can be found at different places at different times of the day.
For breakfast, Mudi starts the day at the local baker’s shop, to get its favorite hot Naan or Lavasa. This he gets without standing in the queue.
Then a brisk long walk for a couple of hours in the neighborhood follows as the daily routine.
By noon, it shows up at the busy meat shop to taste some meat residue. The dog doesn’t like the hard ones. And almost all the butchers in the neighborhood know that.
Taking a sound nap in the afternoon is its priority and that too at in a lawn, under the shadow of a tree. And if it finds the doors closed, it has another place to rest, near Dar Milk Shop or outside Masjid Usmaan.
Mudi doesn’t get disturbed most of times, till it wakes up for some stretching, yawning and warming up. Occasionally it doesn’t mind having a piece of cheese from the milk shop as well.
Before the sunset, as his routine, Mudi never misses the party at Molvi Shab ka Dhaba, where many youngsters enjoy evening tea and sausages with a chat about the day’s happening. The dog has its favourite from the sweet shelves of Molvi Shab.
“Get it a ‘balushahi’, it won’t eat anything else,” says Kaleem Ullah, Molvi’s son, as he gets tea for his other customers. Cooling its heels on the other side of the eatery, the dog knows it well that its order will come in a while.
Back at Bilal’s barbeque cart, the footfall is gradually fading, as it’s almost 10:30 in the night. Among the people leaving, one in his early 20s with a short trimmed beard whistles back and shouts out, “Mudi, let’s go home! Are you staying here for the whole night? Aren’t you done yet?”
The dog, named Mudi by the local kids, turns attentive and follows the familiar voice, wagging its tail left and right and goes home with the boy.
The story is based on a real dog named Mudi and is not a piece of fiction.
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