Vantage point

Wednesday, January 29, 2003

Have you ever jumped out of your skin? Happened to me a few minutes back. I stepped out of my room to get some water from the cooler downstairs and as I turned, a dog suddenly materialised out of thin air. Now I don't know who was more surprised, me or the dog. Both of us jumped out of our respective skins and took a step back each. Then as the skins were busy re-wrapping themselves around our respective bodies, we spent the next 5 seconds staring at each other with deep mistrust, reminiscent of the way Clint Eastwood and some other morose dude would stare at each other before they drew their guns out in those old Westerns.

I was wondering what a dog was doing on the third floor of my hostel at 2 a.m. in the morning. The dog (I can merely conjecture) was wondering what a human being was doing on the third floor of its hostel (these dogs are delusional I tell you, no respect for property rights).

Then as the initial shock of spotting each other subsided, my thought process moved on to the next logical step. Now I used to be a big dog-lover until a harrowing experience (maybe I'll write about it later) about 5 years back made me take a diametrically opposite view regarding the matter. So the next logical step was not that of petting the dog and making polite inquiries about its current dietary habits, but of getting him out of the hallowed corridors of Top floor, Hostel 11. I am not given in to violence against animals, and so I stamped my foot a couple of times in the hope that the dog would get scared and run. Fat chance. Then I stamped my foot harder and emitted some loud noises from my throat which were better suited to be included in the background music of an Eminem song. This seemed to jar the canine a bit and I could see consternation on its brow (does a dog even have a brow?). I am sure he feared that the background music was to be followed by the actual song and I am sure this filled his heart with dread. Assuming that he was a frequent visitor to our floor, judging by the familiarity with which he moved around the premisis, he was sure to have heard me sing, either when I was in the shower or when I was alone in my room(and everyone else on the floor was away at lectures or lunch thus rendering them incapable of inflicting any bodily harm on me as retribution for having inflicted my singing on them).

I decided to test this hypothesis of mine regarding his fear. I let out a high pitched-yet-guttural sound at about a zillion decibels which went something like "O HUMDUM SUNIYO RI". As I suspected, my rendition of the first line of the song from Saathiya had the desired impact, and the dog's front paws were distinctly behind his hind paws as he made good his escape.

I don't know why he was in a hurry, but I can imagine only two reasons. One to save his sensitive ears the trouble of enduring the whole song in my "rugged" voice. The second, to locate A.R. Rahman and take a nice juicy bite out of his leg for being the root cause of that song. I vote for the first one being more likely.

Anyway, moral of the story - If you are surprised by sudden appearances of dogs (or other quasi-domesticated creatures) outside your room at 2 a.m., the best way to convince them to leg it is to holler the first song that comes to your mind in an unbearable pitch and tone.
Always remember this!