This is a true story which I cannot classify. Is it tragic? Or is it ridiculous? Or is it Absurd? But it is something that makes me shiver. Have some of us been unlucky to have undergone something very similar?

The story relates to an incident that happened at Roorkee. I have a good friend who was a student of the Roorkee University which had a school of engineering that was quite reputed. The geology department of Roorkee was quite a competent school for earth science, and this friend of mine was a research scholar working for a Ph.D. there. We happened to be tent-mates at a GSI Training camp at Chittorgarh, Rajasthan, and I was sent there from Delhi University for training. In the biting cold of Rajasthan winter nights, with the tent being lit by a dim hurricane lantern, both of us would spend many moments in the tent recounting stories and that is how I heard this one.

The Roorkee University has a fairly large students hostel which I was lucky to visit later. My friend told me wistfully of the camaraderie that existed there, specially recounting affectionately, the intense warmth that results between inmates after a period of ragging by the seniors. Freshers are given an intimate knowledge about ‘table manners’ – on how to dine with a knife and fork, courtesies, manners, the polish that one has to acquire, especially so if one happens to be a rustic from the surrounding countryside without such exposure. When I visited that place, the inmates were certainly a happy lot and quite amicable with each other.

It seems the hostel campus which was quite sprawling, had a happy, mischievous, perky female dog that was very friendly and popular with the inmates. Many of them would adore her and feed her affectionately with juicy tit-bits from the hostel mess. She used to scamper around lazily and was only too eager to be petted and fondled and had an innocence of what humans around her expected. She was friendly, happy and of course well-fed and secure. The students too had a great regard for her and viewed her as a picture of innocence – a clean spirit, without the cunningness, malice and other instincts that are so common with the human species. This went on – the female dog and the students, living in a symbiotic ethical and moral inter-feeding.

One day the students found that disaster had struck. The female dog was found to have mated and locked up sexually with a mongrel. The feelings of the students were outraged. They all assembled with lathis and sticks and patiently waited for the act to end. After an interminable period, when the two dogs finally separated, the male dog was given such a severe beating with sticks that it collapsed feebly under the assault, yet conscious and alive. My friend told me that it later recovered, slowly gathered itself up and vanished from the scene.

After some months the female dog gave birth to a brood of sprightly puppies and the students were quite thrilled. The bonnie puppies would fondly play with the mother, and were a source of entertainment to the students. A few days later, the students found that one of the puppies was savagely attacked and mangled and torn to shreds. And a few days later yet another one. When it was happening the third time, the students noticed that the culprit was the male dog that was attacked and beaten severely by the students. This time the dog was too clever and skilfully managed an escape without receiving a single blow. Then it returned again and yet again and finished off the whole brood. The female dog, my friend told me, gradually withered away due to the death of its brood and slowly expired! So we have the story of a serial-killer dog!

My next entry will again be about human-animal interaction but I promise it to be rather hilarious one in contrast to this sombre story!

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Deepak Bellur

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