Call me Ack Ack.
For the purpose of this blog, Ack Ack is indeed my real name. I am a Lhasa Apso poodle, a fairly small dog, with lots of body hair and beautiful eyes.My sole objective in writing this blog is to express publicly why I dislike Diwali so much.
I was born during a period of great turmoil, when India was at war with a neighbouring country. My mother tells me that, at the exact moment of my birth, there were anti-aircraft gun firing all around us. They were called ack ack guns in those days, because of the peculiar sound they made, and my master named me accordingly.
I have five other brothers and sisters, but my closest friend is Niraj, my master’s younger son. We play fetch together, and sometimes we even eat together because he gives me scraps of food from the dining table. I always feel he is one of us, a bit better than a human being.
I was one year old during my first Diwali – this is about twelve years in dog time. Even the day before Diwali, I felt terrible; I had a premonition that something bad was about to happen. We dogs have a sixth sense, like most other animals. All through the day, I heard sounds like distant gun shots that sent a shiver down my spine and up my tail. In retrospect, maybe it was just some distant neighbours letting off fire crackers, getting a early start on Diwali celebrations. Also there was a terrible chemical smell all around the house especially in the area where the firecrackers were stored.
The day of Diwali was a big disaster for me, starting very early in the morning. Niraj and his human friends collected outside our house, and started letting off rolls of fire works, creating a machine gun sound. I was whimpering and whining, trying to grab his attention. My tail stopped wagging, and I had a morose look on my face. No one even noticed me, everyone was busy letting off crackers or lighting lamps, or preparing food. My brothers and sisters were running around here and there but no even noticed them.
By evening, the noise was intolerable. My hearing is a hundred times more powerful than human hearing, and I could feel wrecking balls inside my head as the fire crackers just went on and on. The smell of burnt fire crackers was overpowering; did I tell you that my sense of smell is very, very strong?This smell reminded me of my birth, when anti-aircraft guns were booming all around me, and the smell of gunpowder filled the atmosphere.
I was so restless that I couldn’t find peace anywhere inside the house. I got out of the house and walked to the nearby zoo, entering it through a hole in the wall; dogs don’t have to buy any tickets. There was no peace inside the zoo, either. My friend the tiger was in deep agony and roaring away at the top of his voice. My other friends, the monkeys, were screeching and screaming in fear. The birds were in turmoil, also, tweeting messages of desperation to their friends. I even found a couple of dead birds on the ground; the poor creatures could not stand the noise.
For the first time in my life, I was very angry with humans and kept barking all night. Why were they so cruel to us on this most auspicious day? Why couldn’t they light the fire crackers in some public park, where it wouldn’t bother animals like us? It would also give them to a chance to meet other humans and, perhaps, they would learn to get along with each other.
I felt much better the next day. Dogs cannot hold grudges for very long, it’s not there in our DNA. My friend Niraj was asleep in his bed, and I started licking his feet. He woke up with a smile and gave me a big hug. It made my day.
Sometimes, I think that dogs have been sent to earth with a purpose. We are here to teach humans to be better humans, by setting a good example. We are here to teach them to be kind, compassionate and playful, and to greet other humans with a friendly sound. We are famous for our puppy eyes, that puppy look will melt any heart and bring out the compassion in any human being.
Above all, we are sent to earth to give lessons in loyalty and gratitude. We are grateful to any one who gives us food even once, and will remain that person’s best friend for life. We are loyal to our masters, and will gladly give up our life for them. If humans could do ten percent of what we do, there would be peace on earth.
After all, the word dog is nothing but God spelt backwards.