Neither here nor there!
Yes, dual loyalties end up nowhere!
Salt N' Pepper
DR. AJAZ A. BABA
Yesterday I saw a dog on the road. Did I hear you say ‘Big Deal!’? Well of course the sentiment expressed is quite understandable. It is indeed no big deal seeing a dog on any of our roads nowadays. Not only has the canine population seen an exponential rise in recent times but also it is the dogs only who can defy both curfews and hartals. Any wonder then that you see a lot of them around!
Actually when I mentioned that I saw a dog on the road it was this particular dog that I was talking about. It was not some run of the mill dog-next-door. You see there are dogs and there are dogs, which is to say that there are all sorts of dogs. There is this dog-next-door that is the dog that lives in your lane and is fairly acquainted with you. It does not bark at you even if you return late to your home. Then there are the highway dogs, the sort who chase cars and scooters and invariably drive the men who drive these up the wall or down a ditch (depending on the local topography!)…
Hey doesn’t it look like we are digressing from our original topic?! This monologue is too brief anyway to do justice to the various classes and sub-classes of the canine kind. To return to our original narrative, I saw this particular dog on the road. It is known to me and in fact is a rather well known dog generally. This dog used to belong to our local dhobi (washer-man) whom he would follow all day long. Now this poor fellow would have a hard day, spending part of it at the river bank washing the clothes and part of it at home ironing them. The dog as befits any faithful member of its kind would be with its master either on the river bank or at home.
Now when you spend a great part of the day at home and then an equal amount away at the river bank (or the washing ghat to be more precise!), it automatically follows that you don’t spend a great part of the day at home or at the ghat. Now this could mean that you belong to both these places or that you belong to neither. General consensus in the matter favours the latter assumption. In fact this consensus has been enshrined in a proverb which maintains that a dhobi’s dog belongs neither to the home nor to the ghat! Something like ‘a dog who runs after two bones catches none’. With the passage of time, as usually happens, this observation has come to be applied to all creatures including humans and is meant to imply that a person who tends (or as is more likely, pretends!) to have dual loyalties ends up nowhere!
Back to the dog of our story: The poor dhobi died and left his business and the dog to his son. The son had his own ideas about how to run the business. He started a modern laundry, dry cleaning and all that, setting up shop outside his house. The dog found this new life style too boring. He badly missed the frequent excursions between the house and the washing ghat. His discontent grew steadily until one day somebody whispered to him that his personality (and in particular the inconsistencies thereof!) was pretty well suited for politics, it being a well known fact that politics is all about inconsistencies and so particularly suitable for those who find it difficult to stick to a point, a policy or a place! The dog accordingly jumped into politics.
Now it was this dog I saw on the road yesterday and I was surprised to see him looking rather woebegone! As I was observing him a stone caught him on the head and he yelped piteously. I scolded the street urchin who had delivered the missile and made comforting noises with my mouth to soothe the beleaguered dog.
“Weren’t you supposed to be in the ‘winter capital’ these days?” I asked the dog.
The poor dog said (whined is more like it!), “I was kicked out of that place and I get brickbats here as well! I tried to belong to both places, when there I would try to be theirs, back here I would try to belong here. I ended up belonging nowhere!”
Well I guess you cannot escape your destiny! A dhobi’s dog just doesn’t belong anywhere, all its efforts to the contrary notwithstanding…
P.S. This is strictly a tale (even if an ignominious one!) about a dog (a particular dhobi’s dog!). Any similarities whatsoever particularly with certain humans are entirely coincidental and unintentional!
(Truth is mostly unpalatable…but truth cannot be ignored! Here we serve the truth, seasoned with salt and pepper and a dash of sauce (iness!). You can record your burps, belches and indigestion, if any, at firstname.lastname@example.org)
Lastupdate on : Fri, 7 Dec 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Fri, 7 Dec 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sat, 8 Dec 2012 00:00:00 IST
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