The curious Incident of the Dog in the Day-Time

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time is a 2003 novel by British writer Mark Haddon. It is the story of a boy with autism who investigates the death of a dog. The title came from a statement made by Sherlock Holmes in the story 'Silver Blaze' about a dog that did nothing when an intruder entered the house. Curiously enough even as I am writing this piece,the ‘Sherlock Holmes’ movie has just been released and ‘My Name is Khan’, a movie where the hero is autistic is planned to be released soon. However my intent is not to review either of the movies. Incidentally the hero of the last movie I reviewed ‘3 idots’: Aamir Khan has named his dog Sharukh after the actor starring in 'My Name is Khan'. Goes to show how inter connected the world is.

"Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, And sorry I could not travel both And be one traveler, long I stood And looked down one as far as I could To where it bent in the undergrowth;" writes Robert Frost in his poem ‘The Road Not Taken’. I was in a similar situation. Just that there were three roads instead of two. And the wood consisted of just a single Banyan tree plumb at the junction of the three roads. And to say the truth, I did not fancy any of the three roads, one lined with small shops selling groceries, hard ware and other odd and ends, one lined with small shanties and the third accompanying a gutter flowing with drain water sending out foul odors. The one interesting to this narrative however is the one with the shanties. For outside one of these shanties was the incident that made me curious.

Just outside one of the shanties was an electric pole and to the pole was tied a dog. Whether I passed through at dawn or dusk, noon or night, the dog was always there tied to the pole. The dog itself was none too interesting; just a mongrel, though a pretty clean one at that and could almost be called cute. Nor was the rope by which it was tied: just a normal jute rope. But what was curious was the fact that one would keep a member of the canine race tied up like that day and night. The dog did not look too dangerous and the only thing freely available to all citizens of our country was available to all dogs in general as well: freedom. In fact most dogs in the country have access to food and shelter as well, something that many of their human counterparts lack. But who said food and shelter are the most important things in life? Aren't there better things in life such as freedom and the right to vote for our favorite politician?

But we are not discussing politicians here. We are discussing dogs. So let’s get back to the topic at hand. What could be the reason for the dog to be kept tied up that way? Could the dog be a demon in disguise: a shape changing monster? And the rope an enchanted one cast by a sorcerer to keep the creature bound? Are the shanties and shops and Banyan trees just a facade to hide a school of witch craft and magic? Have I stumbled upon India's own Hogwarts? Maybe the animal in question is not a dog but actually a dragon. After all one should let sleeping dogs lie and never tickle a sleeping dragon. Or alternatively the dog could be a princess enchanted and held captive by a witch living in the shanty. This is getting interesting, isn’t it? It could very well be the theme for Danny Boyle's next movie 'Slum Bitch Billionaire'.

But wait. I think we have dwelt too deep into the realms of superstition and irrationality. Let’s return to the path of rationality and scientific temper. Talking of which I have often wondered what is scientific temper. I remember one of our lady politicians has had acid flung on the face of an IAS officer who had earned her displeasure. Would that qualify as a classic example of display of scientific temper? Hold on for a minute. I need to remind myself that we are discussing dogs here and not politicians. So taking a more scientific view point, this dog could be an alien that has tried to infiltrate our beloved planet. Our ever watchful Men in Black must have intercepted it and be holding it captive. Let us move on from science fiction to real science. Maybe it is a Schrodinger's dog that can be alive and dead at the same time unless constantly under observation. So the owners might have tied it up to ensure constant surveillance to prevent it from going from the state of being alive to the state of being dead between two successive observations .

Let us leave aside these conjectures and try to analyze the issue from the first principles applying pure logic. After all what good is a hypothesis that can’t be proved. What do people try to safeguard? Things those are valuable. So if we prove that the dog is precious then we have the valid reason for keeping it locked up. Here goes the logic. Dog is man's best friend. Diamonds are a woman's best friends. Both men and women are humans. Diamonds are precious. Hence dogs are precious. QED. Not so fast. We still have the anomaly to this theory. What about other stray dogs roaming freely. The free dog anomaly can be accepted if we find at least one diamond lying around in a trash bin. But I am not too enthusiastic going around sniffing trash bins to discover diamonds. That is the jobs of stray dogs (sniffing trash bins) and Professor Arindam Choudary (Discovering the Diamond in You).

Maybe instead of breaking my head over the issue I must take the government's help. What about a petition under RTI (Right to Information Act)? But then I am getting an ominous feeling about how this is going to fan out. The government would establish a commission under a retired judge who would spend 17 years conducting enquires and come up with a 1000 pages report that proves comprehensively that the animal in question is indeed a dog and that circumstantial evidence seem to indicate that the animal was kept tied up. And a dog's life being around 15 years, the animal would probably even be dead by then. If I wanted quick action I should probably get in touch with Maneka Gandhi and her people for animals brigade. They would just cut the Gordian knot. Here the Gordian knot would mean the knot around the dog's neck. The dog would be freed but the mystery would remain unsolved.

I still pass by the Banyan tree. The shanties are still there as are the shops. The dog can still be seen tied outside. The mystery still remains. Perhaps some mysteries in life are not meant to be solved. They are just there to intrigue mankind and simulate his thinking process. Thank God for these small mercies. How mundane and humdrum life would be without them.

Related Post: A Strange Adventure

22 comments:

Aphron said...

Very Funny..I could not stop laughing...Its Amazing how many theories you can associate a Dog tied to a Pole!! "We are discussing Dogs not Politicians"...Good one..
BTW Aditya here

The Fool said...

Thanks Aditya.

Prateek Wanna be Eloquent!!!!! said...

very nice blog...hilarious too :)

The Fool said...

Thanks Prateek

rajat said...

You are haunt by Conspiracy theories.if you "really" care about the dog,simply cut the rope set dog free!

The Fool said...

@rajat - And get thrashed by the slum people or still worse be bitten by the very same dog?

rajat said...

A story came in my mind "Once a farmer saw a sadhu Baba busy in rescuing a scorpion from drowning in a river but scorpion stung him every time sadhu touch him,when former ask why he is doing so even after bitten by scorpio many time ? he answered 'Even this little scorpio do not leave his nature why should i' ". As a Human you surly know what freedom is ?

The Fool said...

@ Rajat - Wish I had the courage. Even in this case, dog did not look too unhappy. Last year in Hyderabad, I noticed someone has stuck a paint tin, down a dog's head. I knew all along the right thing was to catch the dog and get the tin out. But could never summon sufficient courage. Thats the difference between saints and normal people. I aspire to get there but fact is I still am not there.

Sangeeta R. Goswami said...

Hii,
Me and some of my frnds hv started an E-magazine called Reader's Quotient, it is totally for a noble cuase, i came across ur blog in my quest to search talented writers for the e zine and felt worth to inquire if u shall be interested to come along with us
If yes pls contact us at sangeeta.goswami@readersquotient.com
waiting for ur revert
regds Sangeeta
www.readersquotient.com

Rachna said...

Ah now that is an intriguing tale :).

The Fool said...

Thanks, Rachna.

Suresh Chandrasekaran said...

Ah! TF! How many facets of life you can explore with one dog tied to a pole :) Hogwarts, Schrodinger's cat (Ooops! Dog :) ), politicians, bureaucracy - Amazing!

umashankar said...

The greatest pleasure of a dog is that you may make a fool of yourself with him and not only will he not scold you, but he will make a fool of himself too, even if tied to an electric pole. (With apologies to Samuel Butler)

One of the finest discourse on anything I have come across of late.

The Fool said...

Thanks Umashankar. You are one who can be trusted to have a quote ready for every occasional. Glad you liked this musing. This is one genre I tried and gave up early in blogging day due to lack of response.

The Fool said...

Thanks CS. Thats how crazy my brain runs.

matheikal said...

Gorgeous satire. Great.

Niyati Mavinkurve said...

Haha very funny post!!! I loved the whole tale spun out of one tiny little dog!! However on deeper introspection, I do believe we can never muster enough courage when its needed.
I shall follow your posts!!

debajyoti said...

hahaha, absolutely brilliant!!!! this is exactly what i look for on your blog. please submit these old posts on indivine so that we can read them. we are too lazy to go through the archive :D

sharing this post on twitter.

The Fool said...

Thanks matheikal.

The Fool said...

Thanks Niyati. By the way Dog was not that tiny. True. Tough to do anything out of the ordinary.

The Fool said...

Thanks deb. Shall submit more of them and shall try to write new ones also now and then.

evernoteforadhd said...

An amazing article. You have such a great talent of spinning yarns around a single thought. Loved the post.

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