It was not unusual for me to stroll away into the huge, private, farmland in the scorching heat, that too in the month of May, where the workers had gone for lunch. The farmland is well protected by a barbed fence on three sides and a gated wall at the entrance, with a security cabin. Whenever I find free time at my work desk (which I deliberately create sometimes too), I simply walk deeper to its interior parts, almost two kilometers down the lane. Once, while I was crossing a thin stream of irrigation channel from a nearby well, I happened to see those puppies, all cuddled together, treading upon and over one another without inflicting any pain to the siblings, sharing the warmth of togetherness, despite the hot summer’s humid atmosphere.
They were left unattended and were happily oblivious of any formidable risks around them. They did not care about me when I approached them, and were instead, deeply engrossed in each other’s presence of different fur color, except one puppy that was faintly fascinated and moved towards me. He took a few staggering steps towards me before retreating to the safety of his siblings, who collectively ignored me. The place was cool as the channel of water flows along and they are kept on the sides of the bricked channel wall on either side. They should have been four or five days old and did not seem to be hungry with their ball of paunch. The channel was running with a drooling sound, akin to the meekly feeble sound emanating from the soft, premature throat of the puppies. I left them as they were and moved on to have my own time, listening to various bird callings and the grumbling of the grazing cattle alongside the egrets flapping their wings and flying away, upon seeing me coming closer to the water filled, square, paddy fields.
On my way back to the gate after a long stroll, I looked at the puppies playing around, vaguely scattered from their previous position of huddling, but still intact as a group of siblings. Two of them were pissing by lowering their back, bending the knees of their hind legs closer to the ground. It was almost an hour and I was wondering what would happen to the puppies if they became hungry; and their paunch looked thinner. As far as I could see in all directions I could not see the mother in the vicinity.
How could the mother dog understand the passage of time, from the last feeding of its puppies to their next feeding? How would the mother manage to see the clock of time? How is it possible for the puppies to call their mom and inform her that they are hungry? Would their feeble sound reach the mom’s ear beyond a kilometer square area? Though the premises were fenced with barbed wires and bushes, there are gaps through which the mother could get into the farmland. I understood that it was time for the mother dog to fill her stomach too so she would have the strength to survive and feed her young ones; I could imagine how she would run around the nearby housing to grab something to fill her tummy. I prayed for her to get something and come back to her young ones soon. I was a little disturbed, however, wondering what if the mother dog could not make it back to its puppies, as it is a very common site to see the corpse of dogs, oftentimes beyond any morphological recognition, due to unscrupulous heavy vehicles running over them repeatedly on the nearby highways.
As I approached the gate the security guard opened the gate for me to go out. A pal of grey feeling, a kind of soft sadness smothering my heart, on brooding over the playful and curious puppies yet to face the world and the mother dog unable to get her lunch from the nearby households. I was about to cross the road when I saw a dog running from the opposite direction. As it neared me, I could strongly guess that it was a mother slightly desperate to go across the road. I could see her teats were heavy and saggy. She tried to get into the gate while the security guard was closing the gate behind me. Seeing the gate getting closed, she made a turn and bent through a bushy hole, enough for her to get in and go into the depths of the farmland.
I realized why she was so desperate and was awestruck to learn how the biological clock was functioning within her body and mind. How come she could realize that it was time for her to feed her puppies? Suddenly, I realized, perhaps her breasts would be sore and painful, swollen with milk. I know working women suffer a lot during their breast feeding phase. The milk would flow out, wetting their clothes, become inflamed and painful if not fed or were drained off breast milk. I used to wonder why there is pain for the breastfeeding mother if she didn’t feed her baby on time.
It was intriguingly amazing to realize how the biological clock within each species of creation functions and prompts each member of the species to act accordingly, even, through pain and suffering as natural cues!