the birthday party

the strangest thing happened today.

as i walked out groggily in the morning to pick up my sachet of milk from the grocer nearby, i noticed a bunch of canines feasting on a box. as i neared them, one of them – this scrawny little creature that i have on occasion had the good fortune to feed – looked at me, wagged his tail excitedly, just for a brief moment, before digging into his meal again.

“he seems to know you”, the young man, who i had presumed was feeding the animals, said.

“i have favoured him a couple of times. dogs remember, they always do”, i replied.

as i looked down, i realised, much to my surprise, that it was actually a cake the dogs were eating.

“that is an expensive diet”, i exclaimed, almost involuntarily, and added, “and probably unhealthy for the animals too”. not that they were otherwise in the pink of their health. these were, after all, quite far fetched from their home bred counter parts – who were well fed, groomed, and most importantly, fortunate enough to have ample attention. i suppose for these hungry fellows, on the contrary, anything would go – they weren’t expected to live too long anyways. they weren’t exactly wanted. so as long as they lived, they might as well rid themselves of their hunger, among all the other miseries that their wretched lives and us humans had subjected them to.

“it was for a friend. she was supposed to cut it last night and all that. just refused to turn up, and hardly spoke a word about it”, he volunteered. he was young, but looked fatigued. he had the look of a burdened man.

there was an uncomfortable silence that followed. we both watched the dogs lap up the last bits – lick the box clean of any bits of cream that remained.

“i don’t understand why people make such a big deal of birthdays – i find them bourgeois”. i hadn’t known what else to say. i am usually at a loss to say nice things to people, especially at a time of discomfort.

“i don’t either, but she wanted it, it was her idea. said she’d like a cake, and that she’d like to cut it in the middle of the night, and that i ought to sing for her”.

the early morning sun was just beginning to shine upon us. in the yellow glow, i noticed little drops of tears glistening in his eyes.

“well, you sure made their day”, i told him, pointing at the dogs, and added “it is going to be a beautiful day” as i walked away, wondering if the poor dogs were at all aware of the little chat that transpired between us. sometimes, i wonder if i’d rather have lived blissfully ignorant life, a life of instinct, something more like those hungry dogs.


25 thoughts on “the birthday party

  1. hey nice party and what a sweet guy to be able to feed some creature(s) that cake instead of keeping it on the racks for a couple of days before trashing itnice guys, don’t always get what they want but they can at least give no? and thats what makes them niceand btw sweet cake isn’t healthy for anyone na? :P(bitter diabetic akka)

  2. I agree that this insistence of celebrating birthdays, anniversaries, weddings etc. is bourgeois. My birthday is coming up soon and I will ensure that I do not indulge in such waste of money!

  3. i’m glad he didnt waste the cake,but chose to feed the less fortunate dogs.very sweet of u to write such a post,dharma.i’m still travelling 8 hours a day for work,thats y this irregularity at blogs.hope u r doing fine,friend.

  4. I am BIG on birthdays…really BIG! They are special to me and I believe in celebrating them.I only hope this guy does not lose his spirit, believes in taking cake for someone, believes in singing and keeps his nature to make birthdays special for someone else INTACT!

  5. The dogs were probably lapping away at the cake because they could sense that that the young man needed for them to do so.Dogs are extremely sensitive beings and loyal too. They will sense your need and then deliver. Sometimes doing things they wouldn’t normally do. It is a difficult place to be in. For us humans. We don’t particularly understand loyalty or selflessness.Do be careful what you wish for. 🙂

  6. I love this, Bum, maybe more than anything you’ve done so far! I felt felt both joy and sorrow for the dog that recognized you. Just like another human on the street, he looked up from what he was doing and acknowledged you. Dogs never forget. They have the secret of unconditional love. They are my gaping-open soft spot, like children, like any sentient being that’s innocent and needs looking after. And double-whammy—the sadness for the man whose sweet efforts were slighted—conveyed to die for, shining like diamonds, more than pearls, because of the heart, the source. I’ve bookmarked this jewel :-)missalister

  7. Beautiful post. When I read this one, I felt happy for the dog, sorry for the young man – alister has already said this! Dogs are always loyal to the person who feed them. Even if you hit them when they do something you don’t like, they will remember you as the person who fed them and wag their tail happily when they see you next time. Humans will never do that! Best of luck next time, for the young man! You made me remember my dog who was with us for 11 years.

  8. like Sandhya even i was remembering my dog which lived with us for 10 years and was the cynasure of all our eyes! My mom feeds stray dogs on a regular basis and it’s amazing to see their devotion for her…felt very sad for the guy but i am a bit curious as to the exact reason he was crying…just cos she did not come as promised or was there something else bothering him? Guess you also don’t know…sigh…

  9. Guess.. it always hurts to expect something in return. Why cant we love unconditionally? I am at fault most times. Very few ppl in this world do not expect or try their best not to..I admire that in u machan! Luv shek

  10. POOJA,thanks!XH,absolutely!and welcome aboard – pls do drop by more often :)AKKA,thats the sweetest comment i have seen off late. i love your definition of nice people – truly, they give even if they don’t get.sweet cake may be allowed in moderation, no? :PNILU,i am glad, though sometimes, we just have to go about doing these things for others’s sake, no?MD,thank you – i am doing just fine. i hope you are too. 8 hours a day in travel – i can’t imagine. why, that must make it, what 16 to 18 hour days for you?J,glad you are. about the guy – well am quite sure he won’t lose that spirit – the fact that he chose to feed the strays rather than just throw the cake is testimony to that…CHUTNEY,most of the times, yes.SHINI,hell yes, i never thought of the fun bit. D,no other excuse, but then, i party for the sake of partying. and i like them quiet. some like them big – i guess its every man for himself.DET-RES,good to see you here…you’re very right about dogs. and about humans – selflessness is something worth yearning for, imho, though a lot of people often disagree with that…MISSALISTER,am i glad or what? your comment made my day! i respect you for the way you write and i think you’ve got serious talent, and i am thoroughly encouraged.i particularly wanted to convey the sadness and am glad i did…SANDHYA,i’ve never had a pet dog, but only made friends with the strays wherever i have been…ARPITA,it sure did!Z,long time!DEEPLYDIP,welcome here!bless your mom – i find it one of the most compassionate things to do.i am not sure if i know, but i didn’t ask – felt it would pry too much into his affairs.thanks for dropping by…SHEK,try their best not to, is the key – and i am far from that, so save the admiration, my dear bum friend. u have a heart of gold, from what i know.MANASA,oh, i get ANGRY when food gets wasted too. glad u liked it 🙂

  11. SOBER DRY DRUNK,welcome back – its been long, and it is good to see you back here in your new ‘avatar’ :)well, i didn’t want to bother him with too much curiosity, i thougth may be i would be intruding – and so i did not dig too deep.i think what happened will remain a mystery, and left for the reader to guess 😉

  12. birthdays are not supposed to be big but special….in any which way..i too feel that parties n cakes n gifts dnt make birthdays special….as for dat guy…hope things get better btw his friend n him…n yeah dis budday was special too…nobody treats dogs on their budday’s..but this budday person gets the credit!!!

  13. STATE OF MIND?,welcome here…:)well, i hope things are better too.thanks and do drp by more often :)DET-RES,of course i noticed, with much gratitude!! thank you and do keep coming by 🙂

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